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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.

Diversifying Yemen's Economy

George Kosmidis, The Jerusalem Post | July 17, 2012

Yemen is struggling with much more than insurgents and al-Qaida cells. ++ The unemployment rate is 35% and the population growth rate is 2.5%. ++ It is necessary for Yemen to diversify its economy away from the oil and gas sectors. ++ This can be done by stabilizing the city of Aden as a prominent deep-water port and free trade zone. ++ Improving security in the mining and mineral sector will also yield profits. ++ Tourism in the country, especially given its natural beauty and architecture, can also decrease turmoil and violence.

More Than Meets the Eye in Syria

Aisling Byrne, Asia Times | July 13, 2012

The Western media has promoted a false narrative on the Syrian conflict. ++ They have created a simplistic story of struggle for democracy and blame the regime for everything. ++ But atrocities committed by the insurgents are rarely reported ++ Or how Russia has attempted to facilitate reconciliation from the onset. ++ This is part of an information campaign to paint the Assad regime in the worst possible light and justify intervention. ++ However, nothing is black and white, and this situation is no different.

Who Defines the World Order?

Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center | July 11, 2012

Russia will not change its position on Syria unless the conflict's internal dynamics shift. ++ Moscow does not view Syria as Middle Eastern geopolitics. ++ Rather Russia sees it as about who defines the world order. ++ Moscow consistently opposes military force without a clear UNSC mandate and rejects regime change. ++ Russians are also much less optimistic about the Arab Spring. ++ For these reasons, Moscow does not support regime change in Syria and by extension prefers a brutal Syrian order compared with possible chaos.

Challenging Assumptions

Mure Dickie, Financial Times | July 9, 2012

The chairman of the investigation into the Fukushima disaster lays much of the blame on the shortcomings of Japanese culture. ++ Japan's famous alliance of bureaucracy and big business allows for substandard regulations. ++ However, focusing too much on culture might shift responsibility from those people actually responsible. ++ The problems identified in the final report are all too common in many countries. ++ The way to prevent future nuclear accidents is to constantly review assumptions and refine institutions.

Routes and Access are Just the Start

Editorial, The New York Times | July 6, 2012

The politics of routes and access in the Pak-Afghan region has muddled US-Pakistan relations. ++ Following a 2011 NATO attack in Pakistan, Islamabad closed roads to the Afghan border. ++ Consequently, the US had been relying on a longer ground route through Central Asia at a cost of $100 million more a month. ++ Washington responded by holding $1.2 billion in reimbursement for counterterrorism operations. ++ The new compromise agreement ends this dispute, but it alone has not helped reverse the deep mistrust between both countries.

Asia and China's Ascendency

Yuriko Koike, Former Japanese Minister of Defense | July 2, 2012

Despite the global economic shift to Asia, America's focus for some time has been elsewhere. ++ Critical issues are coming to a point. ++ For example, there are competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. ++ China's rise is at the root of such troubles. ++ China sees itself as a new 'Middle Kingdom' allowed to treat neighbors like vassal states. ++ The best solution is for the US and China to share responsibility for regional order. ++ This means that Asia needs an effective multilateral framework to deal with China's rise.

Make the Germans Pay?

Geoffrey Wood, Financial Times | June 29, 2012

Germany is told that it must shell out cash in order to save the Euro. ++ This argument presumes that Germany has only benefited from a depressed exchange rate. ++ In fact, a depressed German exchange rate has shifted productive resources into goods traded internationally. ++ This means more goods have not been produced for consumption in Germany; in other words, a lower standard of living. ++ So while Germany has benefited somewhat from a depressed Euro, the country has also had to pay its own costs.

Darkness in Egypt?

Seumas Milne, The Guardian | June 27, 2012

The Arab Spring has turned into an Arab winter. ++ Although wanting to emulate Turkey’s model of democratic Islamism, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is confronted with a military regime that is in favor of the older practice of “deep state” control over the tattered guise of parliament. ++ To face down democratic issues, Morsi must mobilize his own base along with progressive and anti-regime secular forces. ++ If this is done, there will be a spread of revolt for genuine democratization throughout the Arab world.

Making a Difference by Not Making a Difference

Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post | June 25, 2012

Much of the Arab Spring has been a mess. ++ Violence continues in Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and in Syria, while the victory of the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has led to a power struggle with the military. ++ Although Obama is definitely not the prime cause for the mess, he is at fault for waffling back and forth between the sides instead of choosing one. ++ By not supporting the start of democratic transformation or the removal of dictators in Syria and Bahrain, his inactiveness has tipped the balance toward the old regimes and chaos.

Let the Islamists Govern

The Economist | June 22, 2012

The power struggle in Egypt between the generals and Islamists is complex. ++ The generals have not pulled off a counter-revolution. ++ They are trying to control the new democracy and hold on to their special privileges. ++ The West should oppose the generals and support the Islamists. ++ The best way to tame the Islamists is to hand them the day-to-day governing of the country. ++ More repression would only give them the high ground. ++ Thus, the West must make frequent calls for the army to stick to its democratic promises.

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