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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.
Philippe Maystadt, Project Syndicate | April 27, 2012
International trade is not a zero-sum game; it is a mutually beneficial good. ++ Any steps to stop international trade through protectionist measures will only hinder economic growth in Europe. ++ Innovation is a major driver of economic progress. ++ Innovation comes largely from strong domestic and international competition. ++ This means that the EU should provide support for rules that encourage competition as well as R&D and patent protection. ++ In particular, the EU should make its services sector more productive.
Editorial, The New York Times | April 26, 2012
The highly anticipated Egyptian presidential election is just around the corner. ++ Although not without its problem, the parliamentary elections in February have been viewed by most Egyptians as legitimate. ++ The bar must be set much higher for the country’s presidential elections. ++ The situation thus far as spurred doubts about the legitimacy of the process, when the presidential election commission disqualified 10 of 23 candidates. ++ For the sake of bettering Egypt’s future, there must be a credible vote.
Yukon Huang, ShanghaiDaily.com | April 25, 2012
America’s trade deficit with China mounted to a hefty US$295 billion in 2011. ++ China has been accused for allegedly manipulating its currency, thereby driving the US trade deficit. ++ In reality, however, China’s trade surpluses can be explained by an increase in Chinese household savings rates, an East Asian production sharing network revolving around China, and an increase in US consumption followed by rising fiscal deficits. ++ Furthermore, the US trade gap peaked around 2005, while China’s surpluses only began increasing that year.
Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University | April 24, 2012
There has been a diffusion of power away from governments over the years. ++ Cyberspace is a good case in point. ++ The recent sabotage of Iranian centrifuges is just one example of cyber warfare. ++ Large countries, such as the US, which built the Internet, are vulnerable to being exploited by small states and non-state actors, since the barriers to entry in the cyber domain are low and cheap. ++ Soon terrorists will achieve cyber-sophistication. ++ The time has come for states to discuss the measures needed to curb this new threat.
Editorial, The Washington Post | April 23, 2012
The violence in Syria will never be ended through diplomacy. ++ The Obama administration must accept reality and work with options that could end the bloodshed. ++ More unarmed observers and sanctions will not work. ++ An arms embargo only reinforces the regime's military advantage. ++ Any new proposals should emphasize safe zones or humanitarian corridors, which could be enforced with a small military force. ++ The administration should also consider greater direct support to the opposition.
Carles Boix, The Financial Times | April 20, 2012
Spain faces a structural crisis. ++ International demand for Spanish bonds is extremely low, making Spanish banks the main buyers. ++ This comes in the aftermath of the Spanish government playing politics and not offering sufficient reforms. ++ The central government must take steps such as cutting public wages, freezing pensions, and postponing retirement ages. ++ Spain should also absorb non-productive autonomous governments and allow the productive regions like Catalonia to prosper.
Dan Morrison, The New York Times | April 19, 2012
The annual opium harvest in Afghanistan is coming. ++ In 2011, opium farmers earned $1.4 billion, around 9% of Afghanistan's GDP. ++ The Taliban use the opium trade to fund their attacks. ++ Opium is a a major source of corruption in the country. ++ Instead of poppy eradication, the US government should simply buy the opium crop. ++ This opium could be then used to cover the worldwide shortfalls in morphine. ++ Afghanistan could also duplicate India's licensing system for farming and selling opium.
Minhaz Merchant, The Times of India | April 18, 2012
South Asia has the potential to become a geopolitical and economic power, despite suffering from corruption, terrorism, poverty, poor infrastructure, insufficient healthcare, and major socio-economic inequalities. ++ The region is reaching a tipping point. ++ The three As, "Allah, Army and America", are no longer defining Pakistan, while Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are moving toward a more prosperous and peaceful future. ++ India must provide leadership, so that South Asia can balance against China's rising power.
Jonathan Schell, The Daily Star | April 17, 2012
Iran and the P5+1 are moving to draft proposals to address their differences over Iran’s nuclear program. ++ In exchange for the full disclosure of all programs, Iran should be permitted to continue the enrichment of uranium for civilian purposes. ++ This should be facilitated by a grace period as proposed by Pierre Goldschmidt, meaning that Iran will not be penalized if it acknowledges any violations of the NPT, of its safeguards and/or the existence of any undeclared nuclear activities and material.
Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post | April 16, 2012
As this year's American presidential election looms closer, Barack Obama's foreign policy strategy has been simple: put off policy solutions until after the elections. ++ Obama has been willing to delay arms control negotiations with Russia and avoid military action against Syria and Iran. ++ Although buying time might serve his electoral needs, the number of civilian casualties in Syria has been increasing and the momentum gathered by the administration to collect support for further sanctions against Iran might be broken.