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Testing Europe's Stress Tests

IHT: Military posturing won't change North Korea's policies. LATimes: The US could learn from Germany and Japan. Project Syndicate: Obama has failed to make headway on climate change.

Demanding Chinese workers may help create American jobs

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that the growing power of Chinese workers could be good for the country’s economy. As workers demand and receive higher pay, they will have more spending power and boost domestic consumption. This could in turn help the global economy.

QUOTE: This will help foreign companies and the workers they have idled. A 20% rise in Chinese consumption might well lead to an extra $25 billion of American exports. That could create over 200,000 American jobs.

Vietnam seeks to balance China’s role

The Hanoist, who writes on Vietnam's politics and people, writes in the Asia Times that Vietnam is attempting to balance China’s power in the region by cooperating more with other ASEAN nations and forging closer ties with the United States and countries like Russia and India.

QUOTE: While the Communist Party leadership in Hanoi remains deeply ambivalent about getting too close to Washington, there is a growing realization that the US is essential to counter-balancing China's rise.

Europe’s stress tests leave too many questions unanswered

Jennifer Kapila, Elisa Parisi-Capone and Arnab Das, with Roubini GlobalEconomics, write in Forbes that Europe’s banking system still faces great risks. They argue that the stress tests were not satisfactory because they left out the possibility of a sovereign default scenario.

QUOTE: We're still not convinced of the European banking sector's resilience and therefore are concerned about the scale of the potential liabilities that stressed sovereigns need to backstop amid a low-growth environment.

Chinese investments influence Western entrepreneurs

Business Asia column editor Joseph Sternberg writes in the Wall Street Journal that China is encouraging its large companies to expand globally. The state companies that do business in the United States are bringing jobs here. But they also may be confusing investors.

QUOTE: [The question is] whether Chinese companies are making "smart" investments in the West, or whether they are becoming a recourse for Western entrepreneurs struggling to raise capital from market-oriented investors with a more hard-nosedly economical view of the world.

The US could learn from Germany and Japan

Author Steven Hill writes in the Los Angeles Times that the United States could learn from Japan and Germany as it tries to handle its economy. During its toughest years Japan managed to keep unemployment down and provide universal healthcare. Germany has also been able to meet the needs of its people.

QUOTE: The world needs to figure out how economies can provide for their people without relying on destructive bubble-driven growth or overheating in a Venus-like atmosphere. This is not an easy challenge, yet it is the path that Japan, Germany and others have chosen. Americans would be wise to learn from them.

Military posturing won’t change North Korea’s policies

Christine Ahn, a policy analyst with the Korea Policy Institute, writes in the International Herald Tribune that the military provocations by North Korea, South Korea and the United States show how easy it would be for another war to break out without a peace treaty. She argues that military posturing has never convinced North Korea to reform its policies.

QUOTE: President Barack Obama is continuing his predecessor’s hard-line policies of sanctions and military posturing. These have been counterproductive and have done nothing to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation. Worse, they are actually increasing the chances of military conflict in northeast Asia.

Clinton’s South China Sea declaration changes US-China relations

Columnist Gordon G. Chang writes in Forbes that contrary to China’s claims, the United States had been ignoring the South China Sea. It only began to interfere when China became more aggressive. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confronted Beijing and showed that the United States has not become weak and irrelevant.

QUOTE: Her South China Sea declaration has been called a "landmark" and a "pivot." It is, and it may end up as the moment she redirected not only America's China policy but the China policies of nations in the region.

Obama has failed to make headway on climate change

Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University professor of economics and director of the Earth Institute, writes in Project Syndicate that the international community has failed to do more to combat climate change because of the costs involved , the complexity of climate change science, the success of disinformation campaigns and American politicians’ reluctance to enact a successful climate change policy.

QUOTE: While it is clear that Obama would like to move forward on the issue, so far he has pursued a failed strategy of negotiating with senators and key industries to try to forge an agreement. Yet the special interest groups have dominated the process, and Obama has failed to make any headway.

Europe’s banking system still shows weaknesses

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that the stress tests of European banks have led to new disclosures and more transparency in the system, but they have not shown that the banks could withstand another shock.

QUOTE: Some firms with large funding gaps may prove unviable—they will have to shrink, sell out or break themselves up. Europe’s banking system is still built for a bull market that isn’t coming back. The stress tests are just a small step in sorting that out.

The US must agree to spend more as its population ages

Matt Miller, Center for American Progress senior fellow, writes in the Washington Post that the Obama administration’s proposal for government spending is too low and would “bury the American dream.” He argues that the only way the administration could run the country on 21 percent of gross domestic product while 76 million baby boomers are about to need benefits is by cutting virtually all other funding.

QUOTE: Obviously we need a national crusade to make health-care delivery more efficient. But until there's progress on this front, the 21 percent goal would be tantamount to Democrats agreeing that Uncle Sam should handle health care, pensions, defense and little else.