Connect to share and comment

China's bubble may burst

IHT: Cambodian court fails to deliver justice for Khmer Rouge victims and families. CSM: New START treat would improve US-Russian ties. Newsweek: Turkey begins to follow an East European model.

The US economy shows signs of recovery

Timothy F. Geithner, secretary of the US Treasury, writes in the New York Times that despite the high unemployment in the United States, the economy is on the path back to recovery. He argues that business investment and consumption are getting stronger, and these are key to increasing private demand.

QUOTE :The combined effect of government actions taken over the past two years — the stimulus package, the stress tests and recapitalization of the banks, the restructuring of the American car industry and the many steps taken by the Federal Reserve — were extremely effective in stopping the freefall and restarting the economy.

Fears grow that China’s real estate bubble may burst

Wieland Wagner writes in Der Spiegel that more economists fear China faces a real estate bubble that may soon burst. Real estate prices declined in June in 70 Chinese cities, and the national economy saw a decline in growth. A real estate crisis would deeply impact local governments, which have borrowed from banks on the belief that land value would always increase.

QUOTE: The imminent bubble is already affecting the rest of the world. The strong demand in China's voracious construction industry has also led to sharp rises in the prices of commodities like aluminum, iron and copper.

Britain must decide its global role before making defense cuts

Columnist Philip Stephens writes in the Financial Times that Britain should decide what threats the nation faces and how it wants to handle them. The government should make strategic decisions concerning its future role in the world before making defense budget cuts.

QUOTE: The defense review might have aligned a rather more modest set of strategic aspirations with the right resources. Instead, the government looks unlikely either to surrender any of Britain’s global pretensions or to be willing to pay for them.

Cambodian war court fails to deliver justice

Kuong Ly, an LLM candidate in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, writes in the International Herald Tribune that many of those who were victims or whose families were personally affected by the Khmer Rouge felt outrage at the verdict in the Cambodian war crimes court last week. The piece argues that the sentence for Kaing Guek Eav was too light and did not deliver justice.

QUOTE: No verdict will heal the pain. But for survivors, victims and their families, this verdict was simply not good enough. We may have to accept that the international community denied us — and those we lost — a sense of closure.          

Obama’s legislative successes fuel the opposition

Robert B. Reich, former US secretary of Labor, writes in the Wall Street Journal that President Obama’s legislative successes have been significant enough to fuel the Republicans and his opposition as they gear up for the November elections, but not big enough to provide support for the Democrats. This happened with the stimulus package, the bailout of Wall Street and health care reform.

QUOTE: The health-care law, too, is big enough to have unleashed fierce attacks about a "takeover" of the health-care sector. But it's not nearly large or bold enough to assure most people truly affordable care in the future. 

China’s floods cause $30 billion in losses but offer new opportunities

Senior reporter Olivia Chung writes in the Asia Times that China’s worst floods in a decade have killed up to 1500 people and caused almost $30 billion in economic losses. However, certain sectors such as cement and reconstruction, food and medicine will create investment opportunities after the flooding.

QUOTE: When the waters recede, benefits from the flooding will flow to the likes of Fujian Cement and Taiwan Cement, which expect demand to surge as reconstruction of houses, bridges, irrigation conduits and other infrastructure gets underway.

New START treat would improve US-Russia ties

An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor argues that if the US Senate ratifies the New START agreement on nuclear arms, the treaty would open up new possibilities for improved relations between the United States and Russia. It could lead to progress on European missile defense and other stalled security issues.

QUOTE: As the US moves closer to elections, this treaty could get sidelined by partisan politics and a full legislative calendar. That must not be allowed. This issue is core to a “reset” in US-Russia relations and to Mr. Obama’s goals on nuclear nonproliferation.

Turkey begins to follow an East European model

Soner Cagaptay and David Pollock, senior fellows at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, write in Newsweek that Turkey is not looking East as many pundits have assumed. Rather, Turkey is looking West and heading toward an East European model of the 1940s. They argue that Turkey will use elections as a means to subvert democracy.

QUOTE: During the eight years of [Islamist Justice and Development (AKP)] rule, the party’s rhetoric has significantly shaped majority opinion. More than 90 percent of Turks read and write only Turkish, and rely on Turkish media sources now either intimidated by or controlled outright by the AKP.

Lower US unemployment with special infrastructure projects

William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes in the New Republic that the United States should reduce its unemployment problem by investing in infrastructure projects. These projects should rely on increased user fees like tolls, have subsidies based on a project’s individual economics, and be chosen on economic rather than political grounds.

QUOTE: Projects selected and funded in the manner I’ve sketched would help build the economy for the long-term at minimum cost to taxpayers while creating large numbers of new jobs that can only be performed here in the United States.

A German should not head the European Central Bank

David Marsh, chairman of SCCO International, writes in the Financial Times that a German should not become the next head of the European Central Bank. He argues that this would increase the north-south divisions in Europe. Instead, the position should be given to a country with a weaker economy.

QUOTE: It would be an act of statesmanship for German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy to announce in the next few weeks that a decision will be made in summer 2011 – and that the new ECB chief will come from neither of the eurozone’s largest two countries.