The Global Note: After Gadhafi…Clinton Warns Pakistan…Chinese Toddler…Japan Beats France — In Food?

By Tom Nagorski

Oct 21, 2011 12:37pm

LIBYA: THE DAY AFTER

-NO DOUBT…The blizzard of images mean there will be little doubt – even among the conspiracy-minded – that Moammar Gadhafi died, and he died violently. It’s the opposite of the Bin Laden treatment; we now have all kinds of pictures showing the former Libyan leader pleading for his life, and images captured after that plea failed.

-”FIREFIGHT” — OR “EXECUTION”?…All those pictures are raising skepticism about the new leaders’ acccounts of Gadhafi’s death. They said the former Libyan leader and his son, Muatassim, died of injuries sustained in a firefight – and that they were trying to bring him to a hospital for care. Looks to many observers (you be the judge) more like an execution – or a mob killing. We know Gadhafi was captured after a large convoy leaving his hometown of Sirte was hit by a NATO airstrike. Both a French plane and an American drone hit the convoy, but it’s not clear which strike actually sundered the convoy. Gadhafi was found hiding in a drainage pipe with a silver pistol in his hand and his famous golden pistol in a bag at his side. One of those videos posted on YouTube shows Gadhafi repeatedly pleading “Haram Aleiko,” an Arabic expression used as a plea to convey vulnerability. Another video (warning — it’s tough to watch) shows the men’s bodies on display inside private residences in Misrata. As the New York Times writes, Gadhafi’s injuries raise questions: Was he, as the Libyan government claims, simply caught in the crossfire? Or did anti-Gadhafi forces take a more active role in his death, effectively executing the former leader? The Los Angeles Times also writes the footage raises troubling questions about the ability of Libya’s new government to ensure the right of fair trials. The UN’s human rights office has called for a probe into Gadhafi’s death.

-THE BURIAL…Libyan TV is reporting Gadhafi will be buried in an undisclosed location, in accordance with Muslim rites, in the coming hours.

-THE SURVIVOR…Gadhafi’s most-famous son, Seif al-Islam, is thought to be wounded and still on the run, perhaps headed to Niger, according to Libyan TV. 

-NATO OPERATION TO END…Luis MARTINEZ reports from the Pentagon: NATO meets today and may end its eight-month-long operation in Libya. That does not mean the operation would end immediately, but in a phased manner. Meantime, the Wall Street Journal writes, Gadhafi’s demise is something of a coup for the alliance. NATO has been seen as an increasingly obsolete alliance in recent years, but Gadhafi’s death points to a new template for military intervention that is dependent on a NATO-like alliance.

-MAKING IT OFFICIAL…The BBC reports the National Transitional Council is expected to make an official declaration of Libya’s liberalization from Gadhafi’s rule in Benghazi tomorrow.

-THEN WHAT?…All kinds of questions about what was once unthinkable: a post-Gadhafi Libya. In a way, the quest to capture Gadhafi held the country together, with the interim government putting off decisions until Gadhafi was captured. As the Wall Street Journal writes, armed militias, religious leaders and regional leaders now face the challenge of setting aside the military tactics that toppled Gadhafi to join the National Transitional Council in building a new government. Concerns are mounting that factionalism could break down into civil war.

-VINDICATION FOR OBAMA?…In contrast to his floundering economic policy at home, President Obama has notched a string of foreign policy successes - the latest being Gadhafi’s demise. As the New York Times writes, Obama was criticized by those on the right for ceding American leadership and by those on the left for blundering into another Arab country without an exit strategy when he committed to military intervention in Libya. But with Gadhafi’s addition to a long list of tyrants and terrorists dispatched during the Obama presidency, even critics are being forced to recognize the success of Obama’s reliance on collective action and surgical strikes. The Washington Post takes it a step further, comparing Obama’s policies to that of his predecessor President Bush, noting Bush’s removal of Saddam Hussein cost nearly $1 trillion and more than 4,400 American lives while Obama’s approach removed Gadhafi without a signal American soldier on the ground.

-GADHAFI’S DEATH — AND OIL PRICES…With Gadhafi dead, oil exports from Libya could rise again. The Miami Herald takes a look at the flux in oil prices since the turmoil began when Libya produced about 1.6 million barrels per day, and has since shifted to producing 390,000 barrels a day. Major oil companies are already working with the transitional government to help boost production.

-YOU WATCHING, BASHAR?…All those videos of Gadhafi’s death are must-see TV in certain capitals. Just imagine being a fly on the wall with Presidents Assad, or Saleh. Already, Syrian protesters are drawing inspiration from their Libyan counterparts, hoisting signs that read, “We congratulate Libyan rebels for the victory.” The bloody pictures of Gadhafi show the fragility of once-unshakeable strongmen. They’re also likely to intensify debate about possible military intervention in Syria and Yemen after its success in Libya.

CLINTON WARNS PAKISTAN: THE SNAKE WILL BITE

A blunt – and colorful – warning from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today. Nick SCHIFRIN reports from Islamabad: Clinton told Pakistan it had tolerated safehavens inside its borders for too long. “If you have a snake in the backyard, you can’t expect it to only bite the neighbors,” Clinton said. “It’s eventually going to bite you.” The point of that story and her 24-hour trip here are clear: lead an extraordinary, high-level delegation of the U.S.’ top diplomat, top spy, and top military official to tell the Pakistanis with one voice that they needed to make a choice: kill the Afghan Taliban that has safehavens in Pakistan; help the U.S. kill the Afghan Taliban; or bring the Afghan Taliban to the table. The troika of Clinton, CIA chief David Petraeus and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey met with Pakistan’s army and ISI chiefs. It was a “tough” meeting, in the words of one senior U.S. official.

THAILAND’S DISASTER: THE WATER, AND THE MONEY

While the focus now is on saving central Bangkok, the economic fallout from Thailand’s floods is a huge story, too. As Akiko FUJITA reports: Flooded factories have already disrupted global supply chains. Just as we saw after the tsunami in Japan, it will take months for the companies to get back up and running again. Some eye-opening numbers from Bloomberg: Apple and Toyota are facing the worst supply disruptions since the March earthquake in Japan. Floodwaters have set back supply of components used in Mac computers, while Toyota suspended production of its Camry and Prius vehicles. Thailand is the world’s largest producer of hard-disk drives, and California-based Western Digital Corp – the world’s largest maker of hard-disk drives – says it will post a loss this quarter, and may take several quarters to resume normal productions. Japanese carmakers – including Toyota, Honda, and Nissan – are losing 6,000 units of production every day, since halting production early this month. Losses are estimated to top $500 million a month. GM, which assembles the Fiesta in Thailand has halted car production from October 19 – 22. Sony announced yesterday, it’s delaying the release of some cameras and headphones because of Thai disruptions. More here.

NEWSCORP SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

On the heels of this summer’s phone hacking scandal, News Corporation’s shareholders meet today in Los Angeles in what promises to be a highly contentious meeting. Investors will vote on whether the Murdochs will be re-elected. Some shareholders will get up to 15 minutes to speak directly to Rupert Murdoch. The most vociferous protest is expected to come from Tom Watson, the British Labour Party legislator who has led the phone-hacking investigation. Playing to Murdoch’s favor are NewsCorp’s financials: shares are up 14% with a 52-week high of $18.35 and the stock closed at $17.05 on Thursday.

HUGO CHAVEZ: I’M CANCER-FREE

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has declared he has beaten cancer, less than five months after he revealed his diagnosis. He still looked ill in his comments broadcast on state television, but asserted, “no abnormal cellular activity exists.” Despite Chávez’s announcement, mystery still shrouds his condition. He has never publicly revealed what type of cancer afflicted him. Altogether, Chávez, 57, underwent four chemotherapy treatments, including three in Cuba and one in Venezuela.

NEW DETAILS ON ARIEL SHARON’S CONDITION

Interesting look at a leader whose illness rocked the Middle East nearly six years ago. The New York Times speaks to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son, who reveals new details about his condition. Sharon suffered a stroke in early 2006 and remains in a coma-like state, but has put on weight and responds to some requests. His  son is publishing a biography of his father. 

CHINESE TODDLER – FROM THAT VIRAL VIDEO – DIES

The Chinese toddler who was twice run over by vans and ignored by passers-by died a week after the accident. The plight of the child was captured on a security camera, the video went viral, and the story came to symbolize what many Chinese see as a decay in public morals after decades of economic growth and rising prosperity.

BASQUE SEPARATISTS: NO MORE TERROR

After killing more than 800 people across Spain in the last four decades, the Basque separatist group ETA announced it would lay down its arms. The group has been decimated in recent years by arrests and declining support.

JAPAN BEATS FRANCE – IN CUISINE?

Akiko FUJITA again – on a very different story: Japan has officially unseated France as the culinary capital of the world – at least according to the Michelin Guide. The 2012 edition released today gives Japan 296 Michelin stars. There are 29 three-star restaurants here, compared with 25 in France. Last year, the two countries were neck and neck with 26 three-star restaurants. But the closure of Marc Veyrat’s three-star restaurant in Savoie sealed Japan’s fate. ”Japan is a unique country with many cities full of high-level cuisine,” Bernard Delmas, president of Michelin said. ”That is why, even in the fifth year of the arrival of our guide in Japan, we continue to discover new stars to introduce to our readers.”

AFTER CONTROVERSY, BRITISH HORSE WHIP RULES AMENDED

The BBC reports the British Horseracing Association has agreed to amend controversial new regulations on the use of the whip after an outcry from jockeys. Riders must still only use the whip a maximum of seven times, but they can now use it at any point during the race. Jockeys were upset that the new rules dictated they could only use the whip during the final furlong of the race.

PICTURE OF THE DAY: THE QUEEN AND THE GIANT

Quite a moment in Australia — when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth meets a very, very tall woman.

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