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 .
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?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.