Argentina's war with the vulture funds

Most of the crew of the Argentina navy ship Libertad has returned home, leaving behind their a skeleton crew to man the three-masted sailing ship in Ghana. The Libertad was prevented from leaving Ghana have a local court ruled in favor of the U.S. "vulture fund" NML Capital, which says it is owed  $370 million by the Argentine government from its default a decade ago. 

Argentina is angrily contesting the seizure at the United Nations.  Speaking today, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman vowed to reclaim the ship, and also made clear that this is not an isolated incident

“Until the case of the frigate ARA Libertad, the vulture funds managed to impound 28 assets from the Argentine state”, said Timerman, but in all those cases Argentina managed to recover the disputed assets.

Timerman also announced that the government has decided to litigate in international courts the release of the frigate retained in the port of Tema. Three options are under consideration according to diplomatic sources: the Law of the Sea international tribunal; the International Court of Justice in The Hague or arbitration.

After reading the list of impounded assets (and recovered), Timerman pledged that “we are going to recover ARA Libertad as we recovered all of the other government assets”.

Those nearly-seized assets include the president' private jet,  a communications satellite, the U.S. ambassador's residence, and embassies in France and Germany. Funds have also attempted to seize Argentine national bank assets desposited in New York. 

In another recent development, an Argentine navy corvette has been forced to dock in South Africa due to mechanical difficulties. The embassy is reportedly preparing a legal defense in case NML tries anything.  


Meat Loaf, Naked Cowboy endorse Romney's foreign policy

As Election Day nears, the Romney campaign is busy publicizing the newspaper endorsements that the former governor is racking up. But the Republican candidate also received support from two unlikely figures on Thursday -- rock legend Meat Loaf and New York City icon the Naked Cowboy. And just like Clint Eastwood, who lectured Invisible Obama about counterterrorism and the war in Afghanistan, both cited foreign policy as a reason why they decided to endorse Mitt Romney.

During an appearance with Romney at a rally in Ohio last night, Meat Loaf, who rose to prominence during the Cold War, issued a full-throated defense of Romney's aggressive positions on Russia, adopting storm language that fit with the song he performed, "Stand in the Storm." (The song notes that "this world is tough as a splinter" and urges people to grow a "backbone" -- lyrics that fit nicely with Romney's pledge to show "more backbone" to Russian President Vladimir Putin.) Here's what Meat Loaf told the crowd, per the New York Times:

There has storm clouds come over the United States. There is thunderstorms over Europe. There are hailstorms, and I mean major hailstorms, in the Middle East. There are storms brewing through China, through Asia, through everywhere, and there's only one man that on the other night when President Barack Obama, God bless him, said to Mitt Romney, ‘The Cold War is over.' I have never heard such a thing in my life. The man needs to understand Putin and Russia, so I want you to know that there is one man who will stand tall in this country and fight the storm and bring the United States back to what it should be ... Gov. Mitt Romney!

Also on Thursday, the Naked Cowboy, a fixture in Times Square, told a CBS affiliate in New York that he had already voted for Romney by absentee ballot in the critical swing state of Ohio. And he explained why, echoing the pitch he made when considering a presidential run back in 2010 and backing Romney's bullish position on defense spending:

I believe in a small, decentralized, fiscally responsible federal government. I believe in an economy with free market principals, and I believe in the strongest national defense on earth. And those are the antithesis of all three things Obama is doing.

With endorsements like these, who needs Colin Powell?