Strauss-Kahn Coy on Opposing Sarkozy and Intervening in Greece, IMF and
Greek Denials, Yemen Deferrals
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 4, updated
-- The managing director of the International
Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn bragged Thursday to radio
station RTL in his native France that he might leave the IMF early --
and perhaps challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency --
and that if
asked by Greece, the IMF could "intervene" in
both comments were dodged later on Thursday by the spokesperson for
Strauss-Kahn and the IMF, Caroline Atkinson. Strauss-Kahn is quoted
that "As it stands... I am planning to see out my mandate.
But if you ask me whether in certain circumstances I could reconsider
this question, the answer is yes, I could reconsider this question."
consciously leaving open the door to reconsider and leave.
But Ms. Aktinson emphasized only his "planning to see out my
mandate" and called everything else "hypothetical."
Greece, Strauss-Kahn said
regally, "I have a mission on the ground to
provide technical advice requested by the Greek government. And if
we're asked to intervene, we will." He added, "I understand
that the Europeans don't want this for the moment."
on Thursday morning asked Dimitris Droutsas, Alternate Foreign
Minister of Greece, to describe his government's thinking about IMF
help. Mr. Droutsas responded on the record, "Categorically may
I state, any idea of the IMF... there is no idea about that."
Thursday's IMF biweekly briefing, Ms. Aktinson emphasized the "the
IMF" -- not just Strauss-Kahn -- "had a technical team in
Athens because the Greeks are very interested in getting any help
from us on the technical implementation of the plan."
Later on February 4 Droutsas told Inner
City Press, on camera, that he was unaware of any IMF team having been
in Athens. Video here,
last question. One wag wondered, has the IMF become like the CIA, or Xe
/ Blackwater, whose presence is alleged and denied?
IMF under Strauss-Kahn brags
about being present. As with
the wider UN, the rush to be relevant.
ready to "intervene" in Greece, could leave IMF - "hypothetically"
then, that when Inner City Press asked Ms. Aktinson about Yemen --
using as the lead in a quote by UK Foreign Secretary (Ivan Lewis)
that "we address the economic problems that face Yemen,
especially through the IMF program" -- Ms. Atkinson said she
didn't have information about Yemen and would have to respond later
to Inner City Press. But as February
4 hit midnight, no information was provided. Yemen is in the
news, and one would expect the
omnipresent Strauss-Kahn to be all over it. We'll see.
a pro-IMF spin in responding to Inner City Press' question about the
IMF's new loan to Haiti, but we'll be writing about that later, along
with the IMF's Yemen response. Watch this site.
* * *
Russia Denies Paulson's "Dump Fannie Mae" Story,
Chinese Tricks Explored
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 2 -- Buried in the just released memoir of former
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is the allegation that in
August 2008 Russia asked China to join with it in dumping on the
market the securities of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.
not draw the connection, it was in August 2008 that Russia's conflict
with Georgia about the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
flared up into a war. The U.S. Administration jumped to Georgia's
defense, at least verbally, and according to Paulson, Russia try to
lure China into a "dump the GSEs" campaign. As it turned
out, Russia did sell its over $60 billion stake in the two mortgage
asked a senior Russian representative to the UN about Paulson's story
on February 2, as the Security Council met about its program of work
for February. "I don't think so," the diplomat said.
Paulson tell the story? "We are getting closer with the U.S.,"
the diplomat said. "People get jealous." He went on, "We
don't have a good relationship with China right now. The U.S. does
not have a good relationship with China." He shrugged. "People
don't want Russia and the U.S. to get along."
his story in "On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the
Global Financial System" to the Chinese, bragging perhaps that they
along with Russia's urging. So, in this view, was China trying to
drive a further wedge between Russia and the U.S.?
Paulson, China: Russia's "dump Fannie Mae" strategy
the time of the
South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflict, through which Russia recognized
both territories as countries independent from Georgia, China
expressed unease. What if Tibet or Taiwan, or even Uighur Xinjiang
Autonomous Region, were similar recognized by another state?
officials did in fact pass dirt about Russia along to the U.S.
Treasury Secretary, perhaps the disagreement about recognizing
breakaway separatist states explains it. It's something that should
be expected to be covered more in the media, as Paulson hawks his
book. It is may arise further at the UN -- watch this site.