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A faulty antidote

NYT: A floating Yuan will not cure U.S. trade woes. WSJ: Wind power won’t stop global warming. Washington Post: Optimism emerges ahead of Mideast peace talks.


A floating Yuan will not cure U.S. trade woes

Joseph A. Massey and Lee M. Sands write in the New York Times that U.S. pressure on China to delink the Yuan from the dollar will do little to reduce Chinese imports or the U.S. trade deficit. The U.S. would do better to promote its own exports.

QUOTE: …the United States’ 40-year history of pressuring Japan to let the yen appreciate against the dollar is instructive. It indicates that de-linking the yuan would make barely a dent in America’s trade deficit.

The specter of press restrictions challenges South African democracy

Celia W. Dugger writes in The Hindu that proposed South African government restrictions on the freedom of the press hearken back to limits imposed during apartheid. The proposal includes punishment of 25 years in prison for journalists revealing information the government deems sensitive.

QUOTE: The clash between the press and the party of South Africa's liberation has helped fuel anxieties that the country — a regional powerhouse that plays a critical stabilising role in Africa — could be going the way of Zimbabwe…

Wind power won’t stop global warming

Robert Bryce, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, argues in the Wall Street Journal that wind power will do little to counteract global warming. Thus, the targeting of public money to wind projects in the U.S. is misguided.

QUOTE: …if regulators are truly concerned about reducing carbon emission and air pollution, they should be encouraging gas-fired generation at the expense of coal.

Russia’s visa requirement hurts business

Ian Pryde and Suzanne Stafford write in the Moscow Times that Russia’s refusal to eliminate its entry visa requirement stifles the flow of ideas into the country and hurts economic growth. Russia retains the visa requirement for outdated political reasons, say the authors.


QUOTE: The Russian elite is coming to realize that Russia’s development lag cannot be overcome without outside help. The right policy response would be to declare Russia “open for business”…

Islamic cultural group’s name recalls conflict

Ashok Malik writes in The Hindustan Times that the name of the group behind New York’s proposed Islamic cultural center, the Cordoba Initiative, refers to a contentious period in the relationship between Islam and neighbor religions.

QUOTE: Cordoba’s history has multiple narratives. At its height, it dazzled visitors. In the 13th century it was recaptured by Christians and its Moorish past was denounced as repression.

Optimism emerges ahead of Mideast peace talks

David Makovsky, a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writes in the Washington Post that improved security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank create reason for guarded optimism ahead of September’s Mideast peace talks.  

QUOTE: There are two issues that are not about quiet policy shifts but will require conditioning of the populations: Jerusalem and refugees…The difficulties surrounding these issues have led some to question Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call to complete the talks in one year.

France’s expulsion of Roma sidesteps problems of inequality

Financier George Soros writes in Project Syndicate that France’s recent move to expel Roma without French citizenship runs counter to European principles of inclusion and democracy. The ethnic group, which historically has been tied to crime, has been the target of racist sentiment.

QUOTE: The greatest divide between the Roma and majority populations is not one of culture or lifestyle – as is so often portrayed by the media – but poverty and inequality.

China meets steep resistance to private investment in the West

Orville Schell, Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society, writes in Project Syndicate that China’s efforts to purchase foreign companies has meet with steep resistance in the U.S. and Europe. Yet such foreign investment would be helpful in revitalizing waning manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in the West.

QUOTE: While we have become familiar with China’s ardent interest in natural resources such as oil, coal, steel, copper, and soybeans, we are far less acquainted with other kinds of Chinese investments, including outright acquisitions of foreign companies.

WikiLeaks reveals the depth of U.S. troubles in Afghanistan

Jaswant Singh, a former Indian government minister, writes in the Japan Times that recently published raw U.S. intelligence information reveals that the U.S. failure to understand Afghanistan has lead to its failure to route the Taliban.

QUOTE: …the WikiLeaks disclosure has proved so devastating, as the revelations strike at the very foundation of both the "moral" basis of the war and the ambiguous motives that are now used to justify it.

U.K. right to continue foreign aid funding

In the Japan Times Hugh Cortazzi, a former British diplomat, defends Britain’s decision to maintain its level of foreign aid funding at a time of austerity at home. Britain’s decision is right both morally and economically, since foreign aid builds overseas markets and benefits international trade.

QUOTE: There is also a significant national interest in maintaining overseas development assistance (ODA). Many of the poorest countries are unstable and provide a breeding ground for international terrorism.