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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.

Mursi in the Spotlight, For Better or Worse

Amira Howeidy, Al-Ahram Weekly | August 17, 2012

Egypt's Pres. Mursi pulled off a "soft-coup" when he dismissed the military--a testament to his legitimacy and his intention to reshape the state. ++ Following the attack on 16 border guards, the balance of power has shifted in his favor. ++ However, his political capital will soon run out, especially if he doesn't increase transparency and finally answer questions about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood over his office. ++ Now that the military is gone, Mursi alone is responsible for dealing with Mubarak's ugly legacy, for better or worse.

If Europe Can Do It, So Can the Islamic World

Russell Berman, Hoover Institution | August 15, 2012

Can Islamism reorient its extremist wings into a moderate force for modernization? ++ Europe's history, especially that of the Christian Democratic parties and Germany who we thought could never accept democracy, shows that it can. ++ US policies toward the Arab world need to distinguish between potential friends and enemies. ++ The US should promote cultural exchanges, attempt to build bridges with younger, moderate Islamic politicians with western leanings, and help political Islamism evolve into a stable force for modernization.

Put an End to NATO Expansion

Doug Bandow, Forbes | August 14, 2012

With the end of the Cold War, the justification for NATO expansion is gone and the new members bring more costs than benefits. ++ Georgia's inclusion into NATO is a dangerous liability for the US. ++ It is a geopolitically aggressive move and can provoke nuclear confrontation with Russia over matters of little importance to the US. ++ Furthermore, Saakashvili's government does not act responsibly. ++ The US should endorse Georgia's independence but should return to being a normal country with a defense policy based on defense.

Politics May Beat Economics in Russia's Oil Industry

Neil Buckley, Financial Times | August 10, 2012

With declining output from onshore fields, Russia's oil industry is at a new crossroad. ++ Russia needs foreign partners, to stimulate competition and help develop offshore fields in its Arctic region. ++ Given that Putin loves politics more than he loves Russia and oil, it is more likely that he will want energy to stay under Kremlin control. ++ Russia will probably follow a suboptimal economic model and let the state giants lead the consolidation - a dangerous model that can easily mean greater inefficiency and corruption.

A New Approach to Decreasing Drug-related Violence

Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution | August 9, 2012

Policies put in place to reduce violence stemming from organized drugs, either by legalizing or suppressing drug flows, are ineffective. ++ Though many believe legalization will mitigate financial loses from organized crime, thus reducing drugs, smuggling will still persist in less robust states that suffer from ineffective law enforcement. ++ What is needed instead, is for states to strengthen their bonds with marginalized communities thereby weakening organized crime and encouraging obedience of the laws amongst publics.

Why Israel (and the US) Exaggerate the Iran Problem

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times | August 8, 2012

Israel's "bomb Iran fever" is based on lies and what if's. ++ Iran does not even have nuclear weapons and has offered concessions beyond its obligations under the NPT, but still Israel is foolishly convinced that it is a threat. ++ In part, it is a public relations stunt the Israeli government plays off of. ++ Israel would not attack Iran without consent from Washington and the others anyway. ++ The US has also had Iran fever for years. ++ Iran's "nuclear weapon program" gives the US an excuse to want to control this vital, oil-rich, and strategic country in Eurasia.

Thought Control in a Digital World

Gordon Crovitz, The Wall Street Journal | August 6, 2012

The analogue years are long over, as an increasing number of people across the globe have access to the information that they need from digital media. ++ It is becoming more difficult for authoritarian regimes to mis/disinform the public. ++ The recent demonstrations in Hong Kong is a clear case in point, as protestors objected a government-funded booklet titled, "The China Model." ++ The booklet praises China’s one party system and suggests that Hong Kong people should learn how to “speak cautiously”.

Another Failed UN Mission

Editorial, The Washington Post | August 3, 2012

Although Annan recently resigned, his mission in Syria ended months ago. ++ Diplomacy has actually bought Assad time to prepare his military, while Putin continues to cling to an outdated Cold War mind-set opposing the US at every corner. ++ Meanwhile, the international community was unable to reach a political consensus and use military force. ++ In absence of this, the unarmed UN personnel deployed in the battleground were unable to carry out their job. ++ Obama must curb the violence by boosting material support to the oppostion.

Afghanistan Needs Peace First, Money Later

David Cortright, The Daily Star | August 2, 2012

The annual $4 billion in aid pledged to secure Afghanistan's futures will not foment economic development until there is peace. ++ After 30 years of war, it is no wonder the country is so underdeveloped. ++ It has been challenging to negotiate a settlement because neither the US nor the Taliban are willing to give in to the others' demands. ++ A peace accord, overseen by a UN team, between insurgents and the Kabul regime would reduce the need for large unaffordable security forces and allow attention to be focused on other priorities.

Be Careful, European Central Bank

Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard | July 31, 2012

ECB President Mario Draghi walks a thin line between monetary policy and fiscal policy. ++ He wants to purchase more Spanish and Italian bonds, but it is dangerous because they bear high interest rates. ++ Instead, the ECB should conduct open-market operations by buying and selling a neutral basket of sovereign bonds, which would include French and German bonds. ++ Draghi should avoid programs that prevent the public from noticing fiscal improvements or failures. ++ If he pushes the limits too far, Germany might leave the eurozone.

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