Corridors of Power: Crisis is in the Eye of the Beholder, EU Translators and More

THE U.S. FINANCIAL CRISIS -- Not surprisingly, a wide cross-section of the world press is having a field day with the U.S. financial crisis and its political implications. A couple of typical samples: In the Italian left-of-center newspaper La Repubblica, foreign policy and U.S. specialist Vittorio Zucconi unleashes a scathing commentary on the Bush administration. The roots of the crisis, Zucconi writes, are not financial, nor economic, but political. In his lame address to the nation Bush Wednesday blamed everybody but himself and his government for the crisis, but the reality is that for nearly eight years, "America has been bereft of a competent and reliable government. . . . The Bush administration lost all credibility and all authority, enmeshed as it was in a net of lies, propaganda, ideology, messianic fervor, incompetence, and electioneering -- a net which, once woven, could not be unraveled. . . . The present catastrophe is the final verdict on Bush, and his accomplices in Congress, which his Republican party controlled for seven years, and which the Democrats have not succeeded in setting straight."

An editorial in the Saudi Gazette targets Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who, according to the paper, "has always been just a bit challenged by economic issues, even saying when the financial crisis broke that the country's economic fundamentals were strong . . . when everyone could clearly see that this was not the case, and some may even have wondered how much in tune with economic issues a man could be who does not even know how many houses he owns. . . . The [financial] earthquake has put an end to this mindless clamor of the silly season. . . . It's time to get serious."

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? -- America's "new Pearl harbor" (Warren Buffett's phrase) looked different from the Polish mountain spa of Krynica where leading politicians and economists from Eastern and Central Europe countries, including the recent antagonists Russia and Georgia, gathered for the annual regional economic forum this week. More participants attended the panel discussions on the plans for the 2012 European Cup in Poland and Ukraine than the ones on the American crisis. The consensus was that in their region the shockwaves from Wall Street have so far been containable. "Based on my observations, I can say that for now there has been no terrible impact on the countries of Eastern and Central Europe," Prague banker Jan Juchelka was quoted as saying in the Polish press.

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