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North Korea's Future

FT: Germany must recognize the value of the eurozone. China Post: In China, there's all talk and little action. GlobalPost: Urbanization offers opportunities for peril and hope.

Japan’s future can be found in its provinces

Ken Hijino, a postdoctoral fellow in politics at Osaka City University, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Japan’s provinces, where governors are popular and reform-minded, offer the answer to its future.

QUOTE: Rather than appeal to pork-barrel politics of the past, the DPJ [Democratic Party of Japan] leadership should point to the track record, enthusiasm and popular support of their reform-minded governors and mayors as a blueprint for a more prosperous future.

Change is coming to North Korea

Robert Kaplan, a senior fellow, and Abraham Denmark, a fellow, at the Center for a New American Security, write in the Financial Times that the likely transfer of power in North Korea to Kim Jong-il’s son may lead to the end of one-party rule in the nation. The son, Kim Jong-un, will have a difficult time consolidating power.

QUOTE: Dispersion of power at the top could lead to a weak state that acts even more irresponsibly, as officials jockey for power by trying to demonstrate bravado on the world scene.

Australian leader should stick to political center

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard should listen to voters and lean her policies to the political center. It argues that she should not go forward with big spending measures.

QUOTE: Ms. Gillard may find it hard to stay that course now, especially given the increased influence of the far-left Green Party. She will also have to contend with former leader Kevin Rudd, whose support she enlisted to win the election—though she was responsible for his unseating.

Democrats and Republicans lose sight of the bigger picture

Columnist Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post that the Democrats in Washington have acted “furtive and skittish” toward the economic crisis. The Republicans, on the other hand, have growled and snarled their way through the recession. He argues that both behaviors have caused the economy to be left in shambles.

QUOTE: With Democrats cowering and Republicans growling, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went to the podium Tuesday afternoon and refused even to call Obama's proposals a "stimulus" package.

Germany must recognize the value of the eurozone

Columnist Martin Wolf writes in the Financial Times that Germany must recognize that it gains from the eurozone. If Germans acknowledged their interest in the success of the eurozone, they would be more likely to implement reforms to improve and save it.

QUOTE: The challenge is to change the workings of the eurozone and reform its institutions in a way that makes the economy work for everybody. Change is painful. But Germany has no sane alternative.

Japan’s prime minister refuses to focus on growth

Heizo Takenaka, former minister and director of the Global Security Research Institute at Keio University in Tokyo, writes on Project Syndicate that in order for Japan to grow its economy it must reduce government spending and stop deflation. He argues that Prime Minister Naoto Kan is wrong to believe that a larger government will help the economy.

QUOTE: Kan still seems unwilling to focus on growth. Instead, like so many other leaders before him, he proclaims his desire to find a “third way.” But, as history has shown, no third way exists.

In China, all talk and little action

Frank Ching writes in the China Post that there has been renewed talk in China about the need for political reforms to ensure that the country does not loose the gains it has made from its economic reforms. However, little has been done to actually implement these reforms.

QUOTE: The premier's image has taken a battering as year after year has gone by with little concrete to show in terms of political reform.

Urbanization offers peril and hope

A special series in GlobalPost by journalists Erik German and Solana Pyne looks at the new megacities that have grown out of decades of urbanization around the world. It examines both the perils and hopes that these “urban agglomerations” have to offer.

QUOTE: The potential efficiencies of urban living, the access to health care and jobs, along with plummeting urban birth rates have all convinced some environmental theorists the migration to cities may in fact save the planet. But only, these experts hasten to add, if this shift is well managed.

Democracies discriminate against people, too

Olivia Miljanic, a lecturer at the University of Houston, and Robert Zaretsky, a professor of history at the University of Houston, write in the International Herald Tribune that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government have come under attack for the expulsion of hundreds of Roma people. The administration has been compared to France’s Vichy regime, which expelled Jews during World War II. However, the writers argue that even France’s democratic governments have been discriminatory.

QUOTE: The continuities between democratic and authoritarian phases in French history lead to a more general observation, often overlooked: Democracies are as likely as authoritarian states to practice xenophobic or racist politics.

The U.S. must find a way out of Afghanistan

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publish of the Nation, writes in the Washington Post that the war in Afghanistan costs American taxpayers $100 billion a year and must be ended responsibly. She argues that the Obama administration should follow the recommendations of a report by the Afghanistan Study Group on how to end U.S. military operations in the country and encourage political power-sharing and development in the region.

QUOTE: The administration's strategy is flawed and is costing too much in treasure and lives. This report offers a clear alternative that is in our national security interest.