In Friday’s round-up of the world papers: German gloom on the future of Europe, and how the mobile phone of Osama Bin Laden’s courier is providing clues to how he eluded US forces for years.
Much of the press is focusing on the Greek debt crisis and the prospects of a domino effect across the eurozone. The International Herald Tribune, on its front page, says that we are at the start of a crucial 10-day period for the euro. In an article entitled: “A stark precedent for Greece”, it compares Greece with Argentina, saying ten years after Argentina’s default, Buenos Aires remains shut out of credit markets. It quotes a business consultant, Jaime Abut in Rosario, saying a “default is not free. You have to the pay the consequences and for a long time”.
The International Herald Tribune includes a comment piece from the Greek press entitled “Time to Act” which says Greek’s ruling Socialists should know better than to believe a reshuffle will do the PR job for Athens. It says the critics of Greece’s failure to collect taxes and to privatise don’t want fine words anymore but want to see some action.
The Guardian's International comment writer Martin Kettle says: “the nationalists have won, Europe’s dream is over”. He says so “as someone who wanted and wants the European project to succeed”. He says “the Delors’ generation has gone from the scene and the nationalist right and global bond markets have won”. Adding that the most remarkable thing about the pessimism is that it no longer seems so remarkable.
An editorial in the Frankfurter Allgemeine says the European Union was the best thing that could have happened for Europeans - Europe is free of war, mass poverty and dictatorship - but “now Europe is ending” as the shared currency crashes. Added to which there is - the paper says - concern about immigration, while in foreign policy, individual countries are pursuing their own nationalist interests in the Middle East.
And Italian paper Il Giornale, owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s brother, quotes Berlusconi warning Brussels that “if Athens goes then the euro is at risk”. Berlusconi, it reports, fears a domino effect.
The New York Times reports that the mobile phone of Osama Bin Laden’s courier contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of the Pakistan’s secret services. That would suggest Bin Laden could have used the group as part of his support network – the group is the Harakat ul-Mujahadeen. It’s the strongest lead yet in the hunt for the answer as to how Bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad for years – just three hours by car from Islamabad.
Obama’s announcement of the details of troop withdrawal is a top story for the USA Today’s international edition, with the headline the “Tide of war is receding”. It says Obama ceded to public discontent in pulling out more troops than recommended by General David Petraeus, the commander of troops in Afghanistan.
The other side of the story is seen in a cartoon in the International Herald Tribune which shows US troops heading out saying “We’ve achieved our goals” and a local fighter, long in the tooth, saying: “That’s exactly what the Soviets said”.