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Top Press Commentary

A careful selection and summary of editorials, commentaries, and analyses from the world’s leading newspapers and magazines to help you stay on top of the latest debates and developments in the transatlantic agenda. See list of monitoring sources.
Readers can also see how the perspectives and priorities diverge in different regions.

Rebalancing the Asia Pivot

Robert Kagan, Brookings Institution | November 26, 2012

While the Israel-Palestine conflict escalated, US foreign policy concentrated on "pivoting" to Asia. ++ In the Middle East, this strategy could be interpreted as lack of US interest towards the region. ++ Instead of discussing a rising Asia, the players in the Middle East demand a more active role of the US. ++ US engagement in the region might have turned from enthusiasm into disillusionment. ++ Paying attention to Asia is legitimate but US foreign policy must not neglect its responsibility for other regions, in particular the Middle East.

Germany: A Casual Bystander

Markus Horeld, DIE ZEIT (in German) | November 22, 2012

Turkey has requested NATO members to deploy Patriot missiles close to its Syrian border. ++ The inquiry has generated a lively debate in Germany. ++ The Foreign Ministry stressed that Turkey´s request should be approved while the political opposition asks for a closer review in order to prevent a direct German military involvement. ++ It is likely that the final outcome will be some vague German strategy including some military and political loopholes. ++ Germany still lacks a distinct definition of its international role.

The Consequences of a British Exit from the EU

Charles Kupchan, Council on Foreign Relations | November 20, 2012

UK Prime Minister Cameron may well be putting in motion a political process that will culminate in Britain’s exit from the EU. ++ That outcome would deal a serious blow to European solidarity and shake the foundations of the transatlantic alliance. ++ Britain has long served as a bridge between the United States and Europe, but London cannot remain an important partner on matters of European defense should it become a bit player within the EU. ++ Britain is also set to pay a heavy economic price for standing aloof.

Israel's Questionable Move

Tomas Avenarius, SZ (in German) | November 19, 2012

The Arab Spring has changed attitudes towards the Israel-Palestine conflict. ++ With growing assertiveness, Arab countries are likely to redefine Israel’s politics. ++ Israel’s air attacks on Gaza have weakened Hamas militarily but have strengthened its acceptance within the Arab world. ++ Turkey, Saudi-Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia challenge Israel’s actions. ++ The new front for Israel might not be pan-Arab but Islamic. ++ Solidarity with Israel will not be unconditional anymore even in the USA and Europe.

Free Trade for Mutual Benefit

Frances G. Burwell, Atlantic Council | November 16, 2012

The US and Europe remain each other’s largest economic partner with a daily trade amount of 3.6 billion dollars. ++ A renewed partnership with the US could in particular stem from cooperation in economics. ++ Reducing barriers to trade and investment across the Atlantic spurs both the European and US economy by roughly 0.3 to 0.7 percentage points. ++ Bilateral negotiations towards a free trade agreement will not be easy. ++ In the long run, however, the mutual economic benefit will outweigh the political costs.

It Is the Asian Economy, America

E. Bower, Ctr. for Strategic and Internat. Studies | November 14, 2012

After focusing on geopolitical ties in its first term, the Obama administration's Asia pivot should now turn to trade policy to grow the US economy. + + Obama’s announced trips to Southeast Asia in November can widen the scope of trade engagement in particular through free trade agreements with ASEAN. ++ While facing a “fiscal cliff” at home, US commitment in Asia could entail fiscal consolidation. ++ Obama will have to lead a discussion among Americans why concentration on Asia and ASEAN is vital for immediate US economic recovery.

Five Challenges for US Foreign Policy

Stephen M. Walt, Harvard University | November 12, 2012

Five paramount issues exist in shaping the US foreign policy agenda. ++ Managing America’s Asian alliances means a competition for influence in the Asia-Pacific. ++ In dealing with the Arab Spring US leverage will be limited. ++ With regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict a two state solution will not be applicable. ++ The administration will have to adjust to a nuclear-capable, but not nuclear-armed Iran. ++ In general, US foreign policy should abandon unilateral approaches and should focus on diplomacy and multilateralism.

Hu's Contradictory Legacy

Damien Ma, Eurasia Group | November 9, 2012

Political, economic and societal inconsistencies have increased during Hu's tenure in office. ++ In foreign policy, China has made progress with regard to the Taiwan issue, but has worried Asian states and the USA with growing "hawkish" assertiveness. ++ The next administration of Xi Jinping and the CCP must close the credibility gap on issues like political freedom and transparency. ++ There are many challenges for China's path to a leading power. ++ Sustainable success will only be possible by opening up to political reforms.

Uniting the States with Pragmatism

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, FAZ (in German) | November 8, 2012

America's s polarization is not only an academic and media notion, it is real. ++ Obama must engage in overcoming this societal and party chasm. ++ The country needs a bipartisan approach to consensus given increasing domestic and international challenges. ++ A prerequisite is: the Republicans have to acknowledge their defeat. They must act responsibly together with the administration ++ Pure rhetoric in conjuring up “harmony”, “hope” and “change” is not enough. ++ America can resolve its crisis. It needs a leading, pragmatic Obama.

President Obama's Success

Editorial, New York Times | November 7, 2012

Obama’s re-election victory was not a sign that a fractured nation had finally come together on Election Day. ++ “Richer Americans supported Mr. Romney, while poorer Americans tended to vote for Mr. Obama. There also remained clear divisions among voters by gender, age, race and religion.” ++ “Midwestern voters seemed to endorse the president’s argument that the government has a significant role in creating private-sector jobs and boosting the economy.” ++ “The delays and breakdowns in voting machines were inexcusable.”


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