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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.

European Central Bank Walks a Thin and Dangerous Line

Martin Feldstein, Project Synidicate | July 31, 2012

ECB President Mario Draghi threads a thin line between monetary policy and fiscal policy. ++ He wants to purchase more Spanish and Italian bonds, but it is dangerous to make purchases that 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 of failures. ++ If he pushes the limits too far, Germany might consider leaving the eurozone.

Iran in the Shadow of Continued Sanctions

Editorial, The Wall Street Journal | July 30, 2012

The Iranian government has been able to circumvent existing sanctions by replacing companies on the list with newly established front companies. ++ Financial channels in the form of forfeiting companies have also been used. ++ Consequently, the US approach to sanctions has become increasingly ineffective and will need tweaking. ++ Congress must blacklist Iran’s entire energy industry and demand that the Belgian bank consortium, Swift, cut off any entity that is participating in oil trades with Iran.

Is the IMF Losing its Steam?

Arvind Subramanian, Financial Times | July, 27, 2012

The resignation letter of a senior IMF official is proof that the IMF is faltering in its mission as crisis-stabilizer. ++ It has failed to mobilize its intellectual and financial resources to help solve the eurozone crisis. ++ Neither its lack of sovereignty nor its limitations as a private institution are sufficient excuses for its complacency with dysfunctional orthodoxy. ++ At this rate, the weak and unresponsive IMF is unprepared to provide stability for the next big crisis. ++ It is losing its claim as a truly international monetary organization.

Romney is Clueless about Trans-Atlantic Relations

Annette Heuser & Tyson Barker, Der Spiegel | July 26, 2012

Mitt Romney, who has not yet articulated a trans-Atlantic policy, will soon visit Poland and the UK. ++ He may not be received well because he has neglected to mention anything about NATO or the EU. ++ His current European policy wrongfully follows a Cold War rhetoric and views Russia as a foe. ++ His only good platform has been a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. ++ He will inevitably have to articulate a policy vision that recognizes America's continued role as a European power.

The Lebanese Solution for Syria

Jawad Boulos, The Daily Star | July 25, 2012

Syria struggles to reach an acceptable settlement, even with the help of the UN. ++ There is no doubt that whatever course of action it does take, Lebanon will be affected. ++ Lebanon's President, Michael Sleiman, should therefore promote the Lebanese formula of governance for post-Assad Syria. ++ Lebanon proves that democracy can only be achieved by recognizing the right of religious minorities to hold guaranteed shares of power. ++ Once this model gains traction in Syria, regional players should step in to bridge the geopolitical divide.

Down with the World Bank

Doug Bandow, Forbes | July 24, 2012

The newly appointed president of the World Bank, Jin Yong Kim, should close the organization. ++ The Bank may have played a useful role in the past, but it has since abandoned its original mission as lender of last resort and instead has financed many doomed-to-fail projects and unjust regimes. ++ Aid cannot compensate for bad domestic economic policies in recipient countries. ++ Ultimately, only private sector development in the Third World will alleviate poverty. ++ Therefore, the Bank is no longer needed.

An Honest Monti Just Might Save Italy

Ferdinando Giugliano, Financial Times | July 23, 2012

The tale spun by Monti is one in which Italy secured the right to use eurozone rescue funds without any additional conditions. ++ As the country approaches an investment crisis and it becomes more likely that Rome will have to tap into these funds, it should expect the creditor countries to demand more supervision. ++ There are costs to closer integration and to avoid failure, Monti should explain them to his constituents. ++ Otherwise, he stands to lose Italy's europhilic support and his beloved integration project will backfire domestically.

Turkey: NATO's Wedge in Syria?

Jeremey Salt, Al-Ahram Weekly | July 20, 2012

Among all the countries involved in the Syrian "cauldron", Turkey's agenda is the hardest to discern. ++ Both committing itself to regime change and sponsoring an armed group for the first time in a neighboring country, Turkey is taking a huge risk. ++ Capitalizing on recent tensions with its neighbor over air space, Turkey is NATO's wedge in this phase of the Arab Spring. ++ Turkey's role is crucial to Western strategic planning and the Syrian conflict is an opportunity to reshape the political climate of the Middle East.

Russia Stymies Effort to Curb Syrian Violence

Andrew Rosenthal, The New York Times | July 19, 2012

When three top officials in Assad's regime were killed in a bombing attack, Russia, with behavior similar to the old Soviet Union, claimed that the West was somehow behind it. ++ When the UNSC votes on whether to extend the oversight of a peace plan, the US and other Western nations will only support the resolution if it also calls for enforceable sanctions should Assad renege. ++ Rather than opposing the resolution, Russia should use its leverage within the regime to contribute to a diplomatic solution.

Conflicting Agendas in UN Agencies

John Bolton, Former US Ambassador to the UN | July 18, 2012

The UN agency WIPO has provided technical support and hardware to Iran and North Korea. ++ Although its contributions are only meant to improve the intellectual-property agencies of both countries, its actions violate UNSC resolutions prohibiting any assistance which could contribute to their nuclear-weapon programs. ++ This lack of accountability and cohesion within the UN highlights its institutional flaws, including the limits of the US' influence. ++ The funding channels of the WIPO should be more financially dependent upon UN member-states.

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