Fellow Governor Remains The Front-Runner To Follow Bernanke

Fed Governor Yellen Seen As Possible Successor To Bernanke
The New Yorker provides some background on Janet Yellen, whose name is being floated as a possible successor to Ben Bernanke and one of the most liberal members of the Federal Reserve Board.

A loyal supporter of Bernanke’s policies, Yellen would “arguably be the most dovish figure to head the central bank since Marriner Eccles, the Mormon banker whom F.D.R. appointed during the depths of the Great Depression,” says John Cassidy.

Since becoming vice-chair in 2010, Cassidy notes that she often has argued for expansionary policies and “consistently highlighted the human costs of the  recession, particularly the high levels of unemployment and underemployment.”

Matthew Iglesias all but states that Yellen will be the next Fed chair. He says when Bernanke – as expected – steps down, “then you’d need a very compelling reason to pass over the clearly best qualified candidate. When that candidate would also be the first woman to hold the job ever, you’re talking about a pretty high bar.”

Yellen, however, is not being embraced by everyone in the financial community. Bob Janjuah, a strategist with Nomura, was frank in his assessment of Yellen’s potential leadership of the Fed.

“A client said to me a few weeks ago that if Karl Marx was in charge of the world, he’d have Janet Yellen as his central bank governor. She is far looser or more dovish than Bernanke,” Janjuah told CNBC Europe.

“My issue with somebody like Yellen is that she’s potentially perceived as such a loose cannon – so loose – that it would scare the bond market, whereas Bernanke has built up a certain level of credibility with the market,” he added.

In Syria, Deaths Increase As UN Runs Out Of Refugee Funds
In more than two years of civil war, approximately 70,000 Syrians have lost their lives and March was notable as the deadliest month since the fighting began.

Life for those who have survived is not much better as the United Nations reports that it has run out of funds to cope with more than 1.25 million refugees.

“The needs are rising exponentially, and we are broke,” Marixie Mercado, spokeswoman for the U.N. Children’s Fund UNICEF, told a U.N. news conference in Geneva.

Syrian Conflict Requires Political Solution
Benedetta Berti draws a comparison between the civil war in Syria and in Northern Ireland. She maintains that as was the case in Northern Ireland, the Syrian conflict is not going to be resolved on the battlefield, but requires a political solution.

“And even if the opposition manages to decisively defeat Assad and his regime on the battlefield (and that will be nearly impossible without significant outside help), it is extremely unlikely that the opposition would be able to restore calm and stability without striking a deal with both the remnants of the ancién regime and the Alawite community it claims to represent,” Berti argues.

West Increases Training, Remains Opposed To Intervention
While the US and European nations have increased training of Syrian opposition forces, neither appears willing to move beyond such limited intervention.

Christoph Reuter looks at the justifications the West has used to avoid intervening in Syria, concluding that some are “simply illogical.”

“There are many good reasons to refrain from military involvement in other countries. In the case of Syria, however, some of the rationales put forth are simply illogical. For example, there is the argument that there are already so many weapons in the country that it doesn’t make sense to send in any more. By that logic, we could have spared ourselves the invasion of Afghanistan, not to mention the entire arms race conducted in recent decades,” Reuter writes.

The hesitancy to become involved, Reuter asserts, plays into the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has for two years “systematically tested out whether the international community would object to his use of tanks, of military helicopters, of jets and of missiles.”

“Assad and his generals would sooner accept the country’s destruction than yield their grip on power. And as long as the West allows them to continue, they will,” he concludes.






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