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NYT: Pakistan’s floods could produce a harvest of extremism. Jerusalem Post: Israel tolerates settlers’ violence against Palestinians. Washington Post: Will Thailand let arms dealer Victor Bout go free? The Guardian: Murdoch’s $1 million donnation shows that News Corp. sides with the Republicans.


Stimulus is needed to avoid a new recession in Japan


Kwan Weng Kin writes in the Straits Times that just a week after the Bank of Japan expressed optimism that economic growth was robust, new data showed that growth had nearly ceased in the second quarter.  Kwan urges Japan’s government to introduce new stimulus measures as a rising yen and weak export markets point to continued economic underperformance.

QUOTE: Given Japan's potential, the warning signs and the stakes involved, the pressure is on for its leaders to quickly find robust solutions before the country is pitched into another recession.

Pakistan’s flooded fields could produce a harvest of extremism

Daniyal Mueenuddin, a mango farmer and author, writes in the New York Times of the economic devastation that Pakistan’s flooding has brought to farming communities. Mueenuddin warns that the communities could become radicalized should the government and international donors fail to sufficiently aid rebuilding.

QUOTE: When the water recedes, the people will… sell their cattle and their wives’ ornaments, their dowry gold, to rebuild the watercourses and to level the fields. Some will plant winter wheat, but it will be sown late and will not…cover the costs of reclaiming the land.

Thailand is caught between the U.S. and Russia in arms smuggler affair

Ed Royce, a California member of the U.S. House of Representatives, writes in the Washington Post of the U.S.’s struggle to extradite Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout from Thailand. Although the U.S. and Thailand captured Bout in a joint operation, Thailand faces pressure to return the smuggler to Russia, where he will likely go free.

QUOTE: Charges of Russian bribery have hung over the proceedings. It is understood that Bout would operate freely if returned to Russia. The protracted political crisis in Thailand, with opposition protesters leaving Bangkok in flames this spring, no doubt has given this master of chaos added hope.

 Coming U.S. elections engender lowered expectations

Washington Post columnist David S. Broder writes of his exasperation at the pervasiveness of politicking ahead of fall elections in the United States. An apparent about face on the Ground Zero Mosque from President Obama, and lock-step opposition from Republicans, reveals that few politicians dare cling to their principles as elections loom.

QUOTE: This is my sour August reflection on the two months of travel ahead of me on the campaign trail -- a search for candidates who may lift the gloom and restore some faith in the principled politics so lacking in Washington these days.

 Israel fails to discourage attacks by settlers

Mohamad Alasmar, who works for Palestinian Government Media Center, writes in the Jerusalem Post that Israel applies a double standard when dealing with Jewish settlers who protest the government demolition of West Bank settlements by attacking Palestinians. Israel has often failed to punish the attackers, while the Israeli government has applied severe countermeasures in response to demonstrations by Palestinians.

QUOTE: Tolerating setters’ violence contradicts Israel’s claim that it upholds the rule of law.

U.S. Federal Reserve faces Catch-22 in dealing with mortgage proceeds

Benn Steil and Paul Swartz write in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Federal Reserve risks losing control over interest rates as it looks to reinvest proceeds from the portfolio of mortgage securities it has built over the past two years, and the resulting flood of reserve cash could spark inflation.

QUOTE: Simply put, the Fed must choose between managing the level of reserves and managing rates. It cannot do both.

A struggle emerges over the future of nuclear weapons in Japan

Craig Martin, assistant professor at the University of Baltimore school of Law, argues in the Japan Times that a government proposal to relax prohibitions on the stationing of nuclear weapons in Japan is unconstitutional. The proposal would allow the U.S. to place weapons on Japanese soil to counter growing Chinese power.

QUOTE: Recently discovered evidence confirms that a secret agreement has also existed… permitting American forces to "introduce" nuclear weapons into Japan itself without prior consultation, in clear violation of the third nonnuclear principle.

Murdoch’s big donation brings media partisanship out of the closet

Media industry contributions to U.S. political parties are nothing new, writes Dan Kennedy in the Guardian. Yet Rupert Murdoch’s recent $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association takes the practice into a new realm by clearly associating News Corp with a political party.

QUOTE: With his latest donation…Murdoch appears to be…siding quite frankly with one party over the other, and doing it in a way that lets him ignore the campaign finance limits in effect for individual candidates.

 Co-opting superbugs in the fight against medical tourism

Sanchita Sharma writes in the Hindustan Times that growing concern over the export of superbugs, in particular from India, where medical tourism is growing, may be motivated as much by politics as by health concerns.

QUOTE: India accused the [infectious disease] researchers of being alarmist and motivated by concern that Britain was losing thousands of pounds to hospitals and doctors in India each year.

Even presidents are prone to error

Boston University international relations professor Andrew J. Bacevich writes in the Los Angeles Times that President Obama is misguided in his view that Afghanistan presents the U.S. with a generation-defining existential threat. Bacevich writes that past presidents have squandered considerable political capital by focusing on crises of similar nature.

QUOTE: After all, maintaining an aura of omniscience is necessary to sustain illusions of omnipotence, which in turn justify the vast prerogatives to which the White House lays claim.