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Obama vs. Bush on terrorism

WSJ: Hardliners push Beijing closer to Pyongyang. Times of India: China tries to rebrand itself. Daily Telegraph: Tony Blair crucified his party.

Stronger yen unlikely to impact Japan’s exports

Naomi Fink, Japan strategist at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, writes in the Wall Street Journal that a stronger yen will not negatively affect Japanese exporters as much as people fear. Japanese companies are now more dependent on overseas investments than overseas trade.

QUOTE: Instead of focusing offshore in the yen debate, it is time to take a long-awaited comprehensive and critical review of Japan's domestic goods and services sectors.

Obama lands nation in a political trap

Columnist Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times that President Barack Obama’s initial efforts to end the recession and help the American economy were insufficient and therefore left the country in a political trap, similar to during the Great Depression.

QUOTE: More stimulus is desperately needed, but in the public’s eyes the failure of the initial program to deliver a convincing recovery has discredited government action to create jobs.

Hardliners push Beijing closer to Pyongyang columnist Gorden G. Chang writes in the Wall Street Journal that America’s efforts to persuade China to take a tougher stance against North Korea will likely fail. It appears in China’s interests to keep the Kim Jong Il regime alive.

QUOTE: China's younger officials may recognize Beijing's support of Kim is counterproductive in the long run, but there is no consensus at the top to change decades-old policy. Hardline Chinese generals and admirals, whose influence has been rapidly growing since the middle of this decade, are pushing Beijing closer to Pyongyang.

American employers transfer costs onto their workers

Columnist Harold Meyerson writes in the Washington Post that the recession has taken a harder toll on American workers than those in other developed nations partly because productivity has enabled U.S. companies to keep output high with fewer workers. American workers, he argues, have less power than their European counterparts.

QUOTE: American employers -- more than employers in other nations and more than American employers in earlier downturns -- have imposed the costs of the recession and, increasingly, the costs of doing business, on their workers, and kept for themselves damn near all the proceeds from doing business.

China tries to rebrand itself

Rashmee Roshan Lall writes in the Times of India that China has long been perceived as ruthless, and its reputation has helped it secure foreign investments. It now wants to rebrand itself as softer but is facing difficulty changing its image.

QUOTE: Four-fifths of the Chinese economy is made up of investments and exports and this is because the world expected it ruthlessly to deliver cheap labor and cheap land for factories that would flood the planet with big brands at small prices. It did.

Americans fed up with the Democrats

Columnist Clive Crook writes in the Financial Times that the American people are upset with Obama’s Democrats because of the party’s handling of the economy, inability to create more jobs and unpopular policies like health care reform.

QUOTE: Though the recession is doubtless the main reason for Democrats’ dismal prospects in November, it is not the only one. The party has made a habit of supporting unpopular policies, and selling them ineffectually.

Tony Blair crucified his party

Norman Tebbit, former senior cabinet minister and a former ahairman of the Conservative Party, writes in the Daily Telegraph that Tony Blair’s memoir serves only to defend the former prime minister and blame others for faults in his administration. In reality, Tebbit argues, Blair “contaminated all that which he touched.”

QUOTE: Apparently it was not that Blair made a poor decision in going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Blair’s fantasy world, the blame falls on to the Chancellor’s shoulders for not producing the cash to provide the men and the kit to do the job. 

Bold changes are needed to restore the American workforce

Thomas A. Kochan, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, writes in the Los Angeles Times that the United States must reorder a private-sector incentive system in order to improve the economy and bring back jobs. The U.S. should expand job creation tax credits, restore top tax rates and modernize labor law.

QUOTE: To restore work to its rightful place in the economy and society, basic and bold changes are needed in government policy and in the leadership of business and labor.

With China’s growth comes a legacy of power politics

Harold James, professor of history and international affairs at Princeton University, writes on Project Syndicate that China and other emerging markets helped the international community escape another Great Depression. China’s massive stimulus helped its economy grow throughout the recession. However, as China has grown, it has also scared its neighbors.

QUOTE: In contrast to America’s engagement in multilateralism, or Europe’s search for reconciliation through a plethora of common institutions, power politics is much more a part of Asia’s twentieth-century legacy.

How different is Obama?

Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard University, questions in Foreign Policy how different Obama is from former President George W. Bush on terrorism. The Obama administration must deal with difficult national security debates related to holdovers from the previous administration like Guantanamo Bay and new ones like the use of drones.

QUOTE: Obama's team has preserved, whether by necessity or choice, many of the controversial programs that brought criticism to Bush.