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Crisis of Confidence

FT: China should focus on its long-term growth. Japan Times: East Asia sees a 'tipping point.' Forbes: Invest more in North Korea.

Over-dependence on the US hurts Japan’s democratic development

Ian Buruma, professor of democracy and human rights at Bard College in New York, writes for Project Syndicate that Japan’s democratic development has been adversely affected by its over-dependence on its relationship with the United States. In the past, the Japanese focused on earning money while the United States provided security and foreign policy. President Obama must support Japan’s efforts to strengthen its democracy.

QUOTE: But there was a steep political price to pay. A democracy that is over-dependent on an outside power, and monopolized by one party whose main role is to broker deals between big business and the bureaucracy, will become stunted and corrupt.

Democrats must focus on the present to win November elections

Columnist Frank Rich writes in the New York Times that Democrats in the United States should stop focusing on former President Bush and the past and instead tell voters about the present. The Democrats should explain just how far right the Republicans have moved since Bush.

QUOTE: Obama and the Democrats are, if anything, flattering the current G.O.P. by accusing it of being a carbon copy of Bush. But even if the Democrats sharpen their attack, they are doomed to fall short if they don’t address the cancer in the American heart — joblessness.

China should focus on its long-term growth

Yu Yongding, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a former member of the monetary policy committee of the Chinese central bank, writes in the Financial Times that China should stop focusing on short-term policies such as a potential property bubble and instead focus on its long-term growth.

QUOTE: China has concentrated obsessively on GDP growth for far too long. But growth is not a good excuse for postponing much-needed structural adjustment. This readjustment, when it comes, will inevitably lead to a slowdown. But it is the only way to lay a solid foundation for sustainable growth in the long run. And the longer the delay, the more painful the adjustment will be.

Crisis of confidence hurts economic growth

Thomas F. Siems, a senior economist and director of economic outreach to financial institutions at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, writes in the Wall Street Journal that uncertainty over the future of the American economy among consumers and investors is slowing spending and investment. He argues that this “crisis of confidence” is leading to reduced growth.

QUOTE: It is plain that the government must now take much more seriously the effects of its actions on the general uncertainty and lack of confidence pervading the economy. Congress and other policy makers need to recognize that incentives matter, and that the potential for unintended consequences from interventionist strategies is not insignificant.

East Asia at a ‘tipping point’

Columnist Tom Plate writes in the Japan Times that East Asia is at a “tipping point,” and the United States should be careful to not provoke China but provide a balance to its power.

QUOTE: In recent years China's naval buildup has been extraordinary and muscles are being flexed. The American balancing on both fronts is an effort to remind the Chinese that they are not the only muscle man on the block.

The ‘clean rich’ come of age in America

David Callahan, a senior fellow at the nonprofit public policy group Demos, writes in the Washington Post that there is a major rift in the US economy between those who make money from resource extraction and energy-intensive manufacturing and those who generate little pollution running knowledge or service companies. He argues that the latter group, the so-called clean rich, are coming of age.

QUOTE: America is witnessing the twilight of the dirty rich and the inexorable move of economic power to the clean rich. What's more, environmental values are spreading fast through affluent America, with more super-wealthy individuals putting their money behind green causes and more upscale voters expecting government action to protect the planet.

Invest more in North Korea

Shaun Rein, the founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, a strategic market intelligence firm, writes in Forbes that the new sanctions against North Korea will only empower the regime and impoverish the people. He argues that the United States should invest more in North Korea to affect change there.

QUOTE: Economic interdependence would lessen risk, improve the quality of life for normal North Koreans and disperse power within the country. It is natural to want to punish cruel regimes, but excessive punishment can not only breed resentment but also strengthen those it is meant to weaken.

Businesses in America bounce back first

Columnist Ezra Klein writes in the Washington Post that despite the attacks on President Obama for being so-called anti-business, his recovery efforts have greatly benefited the corporate world. Yet as businesses do better, the rest of the country continues to suffer as the economic recovery takes places slowly.

QUOTE: Businesses are watching consumers, consumers are watching businesses, and everyone is pointing at Washington. But given the history of financial crises -- and in the absence of further government intervention -- there's not much left to watch but the clock.

China forces its minorities to assimilate

Rebiya Kadeer, the president of the World Uighur Congress and the Uighur American Association, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Chinese government severely punishes any Uighur writers, journalists or others who attempt to challenge the party line. She argues that the government is attempting to forcefully assimilate its ethnic minorities.

QUOTE: China's policies toward its ethnic minorities are clearly failing to resolve local tensions. In East Turkestan, the Chinese government has not only ignored the voices of the Uighur people crying out for change, it has also actively moved to silence them. Unless international pressure is brought to bear, the Uighur people will quietly slip into the history books.

David Cameron has radical ideas about Britain’s future

Bruce Anderson writes in the Daily Telegraph that British Prime Minister David Cameron has radical ideas and wants to dramatically change the nation’s politics and economic order.

QUOTE: It helps that Mr Cameron has the temperament of a cavalry commander. When he meets no obstacle, he pushes forward. When he does meet an obstacle, he pushes forward a bit harder – and he does not lead by looking round. His troops should be able to see where he is going, and they should be following.