Europe news highlights | Week of 8 June 2015

Greece is Weakened  in its Austerity Challenge 

“There was a window of opportunity to change course,” said Paul De Grauwe, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science who is a critic of austerity. “But somehow the northern view — of Germany, Holland and Finland — has prevailed. Why was this? That is where the power is. The power of the purse.”

via Greece’s Alliances Fade in European Debate About Its Debt Crisis – NYTimes.com.

For Greece to Win is Game Theory the Plan?

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Yanis Varoufakis is an expert in game theory and a key negtiator in Greece’s efforts to overcome the financial pressures of austerity.

Virtually everyone agrees that a default by Greece is the least desirable outcome for both Greece and its creditors — among them Germany and France; the European Central Bank; and the I.M.F. Yet one of Dr. Nash’s critical insights is that there may be many possible outcomes — so-called Nash equilibriums — that produce suboptimal results. A Nash equilibrium exists when each side’s strategy is optimal given what they believe to be the others’ strategy.

For example, if Germany and other creditors don’t believe Greece’s threat to default, and underestimate the severity of such an outcome, they might see their optimal strategy as remaining firm in their demands for Greek fiscal austerity and structural reforms. If, on the other hand, Germany believes Mr. Varoufakis to be ideologically motivated to reject further austerity, it might well cave to Greek demands for leniency.

via In Greek Debt Puzzle, Game Theorists Have it

Can a Market Solution Solve the European Refugee Crisis?

A Yale University professor looks at European country incentives, sees a market-of-sorts already in place, and observes that the question is not whether refugees should be allowed to enter–but where.

via Creating a Market for Refugees in Europe – NYTimes.com

Ask a Russian Major about Putin

Still can’t figure out what makes Russia’s top leader tick? In an article that is both literary analysis and intelligence brief, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s dean lays out the psychology, historical mindset, and cultural underpinnings of Vladimir Putin and the Russian people that he leads.

Forget the NSA intercepts or spy satellite imagery. And drop the jargon-filled scholarly analysis from those political science journals.mInstead, get back to the richest literary gold mine in the Western world: Russian novels and poetry. Read Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, and Bulgakov. That’s where you’ll really find how Russians think. And it’s all unclassified!

via James Stavridis in foreignpolicy.com

Nobody Likes the New U.S. Embassy in London

So the old location in Grosvenor Square was historic, elegantly designed, and yet susceptible to attacks and outdated. The NYT reports on much ado about thew new one–which solves the security problem with a LEED-certified technology-packed building but leaves others wanting more.

via With Move Across London, U.S. Embassy Can’t Please Everyone 

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