Should Mayors Lead The World? – And Other News

Morning Discussion: Should Mayors Lead The World?
Ted Talks features a speech by political theorist Ben Barber in which he suggests we should “start talking about cities,” rather than nation states because they “are not only the oldest institutions, but the most enduring.”

He stresses there are already inter-city alliances and other united cities coalitions that are engaging on a local level in which mayors and city leaders share best practices.

Nairobi Attack: Al-Shaabab Seeking To Reassert Influence
National security analyst Peter Bergen suggested the Nairobi attacks may have been an attack designed by al Shaabab to reassert its influence in Somalia.

He says Al-Shabaab retained control of southern Somalia until the African Union and Kenya intervened in 2010-2011.

“In 2011, the U.N.-sanctioned African Union mission partnered with Somali troops to fight Al-Shabaab militants, and in August of that year, African Union and Somali government forces defeated Al-Shabaab forces in Mogadishu, forcing the militants from a stronghold they had controlled since 2009,” Bergen writes.

Germany’s Merkel Wins, But Also Faces Challenge In Forming Coalition
Germany’s Angela Merkel won a convincing reelection, but she her victory will be short-lived as she faces a challenge in forming a working coalition.

“So Germany faces tense days and weeks of coalition talks with the most likely outcome being a grand coalition. It’s a constellation most of Germany’s European partners would prefer.

“Many of Germany’s European partners regard a grand coalition between the conservatives and the SPD as the best possible outcome. It ensures continuity at the helm of Europe’s most powerful economy and it will likely force Merkel to put a bigger focus on stimulating economic growth and curbing unemployment in the euro zone,” David Crossland asserts in Der Spiegel.

Merkel has enough electoral strength to go-it-alone, but that is a risky proposition. Another option is to form a coalition with  center-left Social Democrats (SPD), who came a distant second with 25.5 percent.

Douglas J. Elliott of the Brookings Institution believe the next few weeks will bring difficult negotiations with two potential left-wing partners that should produce a “coalition agreement [that] will strongly influence government policy for the next several years, including in regard to the euro crisis. Yet it is difficult to know what will be agreed upon, although it is unlikely there will be any major deviation from existing policy on Europe.”

But, he adds, nothing is certain.

“So, we have an odd situation and a range of possible results. In particular, a Grand Coalition between the two big parties could be noticeably more left-wing than the prior government because Merkel needs to work very hard to persuade the Social Democrats to join and has to give them key positions in the cabinet.”

Elliott offered his thoughts prior to the election on the potential impact on the Eurozone. Those comments can he seen here.

“Polls show that the consensus-driven German public would welcome a right-left partnership, as would Berlin’s European partners, who hope the SPD might soften Merkel’s austerity-focused approach to struggling euro zone members.

But after alienating millions of their own supporters when they partnered Merkel in her first term between 2005 and 2009, the Social Democrats are wary of a sequel,” reports Reuters.



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