FROM Bronwen Maddox
European and US Economies at the Tipping Point? Europe's debt crisis is causing financial ripples all over the world, and elected leaders are trying to prevent a tidal wave. Looking a lot like Greece but much bigger, Italy is having trouble paying its bills. The national debt is 120 percent of gross domestic product and, recently Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced sweeping austerity measures. The reaction was a national strike on Tuesday that shut down public transportation and air travel. Today, Berlusconi re-vamped his plan and then called for a confidence vote in the Parliament. Will Germany bail out Greece? Italy? If not, what's in store for the US and the global economy? Segment image: Angela Merkel arrives to speak during debates over the federal budget on September 7, 2011 in Berlin. German Chancellor said, 'Should the Euro fail, then Europe fails.' Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Economics and Politics in the Euro Zone It's not just Greece any more but larger countries facing an economic crisis. If they can't pay their debts, the big fear is collapse of a major financial institution. With Italy's national debt at 120% of gross domestic product, last week Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced sweeping austerity measures. The reaction was a national strike on Tuesday that shut down public transportation and air travel. Today, Berlusconi re-vamped his plan and called for a confidence vote in the Parliament. Like the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008, such a collapse could set off a global chain reaction and another recession with drastic consequences here in the US. Italians don't like austerity measures, Germans don't want to bail them out, and elected leaders in 17 countries are struggling to figure out what to do. US investors are cutting back on exposure to Europe, which could make things worse. We get updates from several countries.
Hollywood, Smart Power and Public Diplomacy Americans are about to celebrate the Fourth of July at a time when America's international reputation has been in decline. A country that sees itself as free, prosperous and generous is identified with the war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib and the defense of torture. Since Americans don't know much about the rest of the world, restoring the country's image will be a two-way street. Can Hollywood be an agent of public diplomacy, explaining the US to other people, at the same time it educates Americans about the rest of the world?
PM Brown to Pull Half of British Troops Out of Iraq by Spring Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Parliament today that British troops in Iraq will be cut in half by spring of next year. Conservatives were outraged that he announced a reduction last week while he was in Iraq and accused him of playing politics with the armed forces. Bronwen Maddox is Chief Foreign Commentator for the Times of London.
PM Tony Blair Appointed Special Middle East Envoy Hours after he stood down as Prime Minister, came the long-expected announcement that Tony Blair will be Middle East envoy for the co-called Quartet, the US, Russia, UN and European Union. Addressing his goals today in the House of Commons, he stressed the absolute need for a two-state solution, comprised of a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian government and institutions. Bronwen Maddox is chief foreign commentator at the Times of London .
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.