Frontrunning: May 23

  • Global stocks see-saw, yields slip as investors get week off to cautious start (Reuters)
  • Bayer defies critics with $62 billion Monsanto offer (Reuters)
  • Iran has no plans to freeze oil exports, official says ahead of OPEC meeting (Reuters)
  • U.S. lifts arms ban on old foe Vietnam as regional tensions simmer (Reuters)
  • Anthem, Cigna Privately Bicker as They Seek Merger Approval (WSJ)

Erdogan Nears Absolute Power With Appointment Of Puppet Premier, Stripping MPs Of Immunity

During today's congress of Turkey's AKP, Erdogan confirmed an impotent lapdog, Binali Yildirim - a close ally for two decades and a co-founder of the ruling AK Party - as his new prime minister on Sunday, which as Reuters explained was "a big step towards the stronger presidential powers [Erdogan] has long sought." In plain English, Turkey is unofficially a dictatorship, in which Erdogan is president only in title and in reality a supreme despot as there is no longer anyone who can politically challenge the president.

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Refugees have little or no respite today in the world and that’s a telling tale of the type of world that we have created around us.

Greek Pipeline Breakthrough To Challenge Russian Gas Dominance In Europe

After years of debate, political jockeying and acrimony, a major pipeline project to bring natural gas to Southern Europe has broken ground. The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will connect the Caspian Sea to European markets, providing Europe with another large source of natural gas that will help the continent diversify away from Russia. The route begins at the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, where the South Caucuses Pipeline will carry Caspian gas from the large Shah Deniz-2 gas field, delivering it to the border with Turkey.

Frontrunning: May 19

  • Fed Puts June Rate Increase on Table Provided Economy Says Go (BBG)
  • European shares drop as mining stocks weaken, airlines fall (Reuters)
  • Oil drops below $48 on Fed hike speculation, fading support from outages (Reuters)
  • Violent Struggle Over Oil and Money Rattles Global Energy Market (BBG)
  • Bayer Proposes to Acquire Monsanto (WSJ)

EU-Turkey Migrant Deal Unravels Turning Greece Into Massive Refugee Camp

The EU-Turkey migrant deal, designed to halt the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece, is falling apart just two months after it was reached. European officials are now looking for a back-up plan - a confidential plan to house all migrants arriving from Turkey on Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. Migrants would remain on the islands permanently while their asylum applications are being processed. The plan, which Bild reports is being discussed at the highest echelons of European power, would effectively turn parts of Greece into massive refugee camps for many years to come.

US To Send Troops, Weapons To Libya To "Fight ISIS"

Just two years after the US provided generous amounts of modern weapons to both the "moderate" Syrian rebels as well as the Iraq military, which then conveniently and almost immediately "fell into the wrong hands" and served to arm what was then a little known group of Muslim fundamentalists that went by the name of the Islamic State, the US is about to do it again.

Who Rules The World? Part 1

The Western picture of world order is that “ever since the end of the Cold War, the overwhelming power of the U.S. military has been the central fact of international politics.” This is particularly crucial in three regions: East Asia, where “the U.S. Navy has become used to treating the Pacific as an ‘American lake’”; Europe, where NATO -- meaning the United States, which “accounts for a staggering three-quarters of NATO’s military spending” -- “guarantees the territorial integrity of its member states”; and the Middle East, where giant U.S. naval and air bases “exist to reassure friends and to intimidate rivals.” The problem of world order today is that “these security orders are now under challenge in all three regions” because of Russian intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and because of China turning its nearby seas from an American lake to “clearly contested water.” The fundamental question of international relations, then, is whether the United States should “accept that other major powers should have some kind of zone of influence in their neighborhoods.”