North Korea escalates its conflict with the South
An analysis piece in the Economist states that North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island marks an escalation by the North because it caused civilian injuries and damaged civilian property. Analysts question if North Korea is trying to force a return to six-party talks or wants to boost domestic support for Kim Jong-un.
QUOTE: Regardless of what happens next, today’s events are a sobering reminder that the two Koreas remain officially at war.
Trade agreement would give Japan a needed boost
Clayton Yeutter, a former US trade representative and secretary of agriculture, and Warren Maruyama, a former general counsel for the Office of the US Trade Representative, write in the Wall Street Journal that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would give Japan an opportunity to recharge its global competitiveness. It would help by opening up Japan’s economy, improving its agricultural sector, removing trade barriers and more.
QUOTE: Japan can take full advantage of TPP if it is used as an opening for wide-ranging domestic reforms that go well beyond trade.
Germany might kill the euro
Columnist Gideon Rachman writes in the Financial Times that Germany is likely to force the eurozone to break up. Much of the country is angry as German citizens have had to live through public spending cuts, but their taxes might go to bailing out other nations.
QUOTE: If the Germans became convinced that their eurozone partners were simply impossible to deal with – and that therefore the whole single currency experiment could not work – they might decide to quit.
Policy errors caused Ireland’s crisis
Garret FitzGerald writes in the Financial Times that Ireland’s current crisis is a result of three past policy mistakes. A minister doubled the rate of public spending, the government encouraged the subsequent housing boom, and a banking system allowed uncontrolled competition.
QUOTE: Despite the gloom a very different and more effectively governed Ireland should yet emerge from this humiliating crisis.
NATO should update its military plans for a new era
Columnist Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post that it is time for NATO to update its plans. It should hold military exercises to ensure that its military establishments can work together and to project an image of NATO’s strength.
QUOTE: We in the West might have gone sour on ourselves, but Europeans on our borders still find us magnetically attractive. But we will only remain so if we try.
Investors wait to see if Sri Lanka takes action
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that the recent tax and budget reforms announced in Sri Lanka look promising, but the real test will be if they are properly implemented.
QUOTE: Yesterday's budget announcement showed that the government can talk the talk of attracting foreign investment and getting the economy back on track. Investors will be watching carefully to see how quickly [President] Rajapaksa moves to turn talk into reality.
The US must push to reunify the Korean peninsula
John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, writes in the Los Angeles Times that it should come as no surprise that North Korea has revealed a new nuclear facility, as the regime has never seriously considered ending its nuclear program. The US should respond by pushing for unification of the Korean peninsula.
QUOTE: The last thing Washington should do now is resurrect the failed six-party talks or start bilateral negotiations with the North.
Help Ireland by leading it out of the euro
India’s population growth threatens a ‘demographic disaster’
Journalist Shreyasi Singh writes in the Diplomat that high fertility in many parts of India threatens to derail the nation’s strong economic progress. She writes that its population growth could become a “demographic disaster.”
QUOTE: The sheer scale of the task of managing population growth in a country that now has 17 percent of the world’s population is extremely daunting. The task has been complicated over the years by the changing perceptions of population and family planning.
Revolt of the retired
Columnist James Surowiecki writes in the New Yorker that a major reason the US Republicans did so well in the midterm elections was because the retired population shifted dramatically in their favor. They were furious with the Democrats over the health care bill.
QUOTE: The very people who currently enjoy the benefits of a subsidized, government-run insurance system are intent on keeping others from getting the same treatment.