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Turkish divisions

WSJ: China and Japan clash over the East China Sea. Asia Times: Japan's debt will soon be unsustainable. LATimes: Australia must address its identity crisis.

Policymakers continue to over-emphasize the short term

Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush and dean of Columbia Business School, writes in the Financial Times that the collapse of Lehman Brothers two years ago should have demonstrated that the U.S. and global economy have deep structural problems. Policymakers must stop focusing on short-term solutions and address these long-term problems.

QUOTE: Our collective over-emphasis on policy for the short term over long term in the era before Lehman’s fall has returned to haunt us.

China and Japan clash over the East China Sea

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that islands in the East China Sea may prove to be a flashpoint as tensions between China and Japan increase. It argues that it could be dangerous for Japan to be too assertive regarding the Senkaku Islands.

QUOTE: The collision of a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese coast guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands last week brought a long-simmering quarrel between the two nations back on the boil.

Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ status must be revisited

Hong Kong-based writer Frank Ching writes in Toronto’s Globe and Mail that the recent hostage crisis in Manila highlights that Hong Kong does not have the kind of autonomy necessary to protect and represent its people. He argues that the Hong Kong chief executive should have been allowed to talk directly to the Philippine president during the hostage crisis.

QUOTE: The chief executive must be the one who is seen as the representative of Hong Kong’s residents. He can work through the Foreign Ministry, but, ultimately, he is responsible for taking care of the people. This must be what “one country, two systems” means in practice.

The US and UK are divided over austerity measures

Columnist Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post that the depth of the Anglo-American divide can be seen by looking at how Britain has embraced tough austerity measures. She argues that as the British prepare to make cuts in government spending, the Republicans in the United States are advocating tax cuts and the Democrats are pushing for more spending.

QUOTE: Nostalgic Brits, longing to re-create their country's finest hour, remember postwar scrimping and saving. Nostalgic Americans in search of their own country's finest hour remember postwar abundance, the long consumer boom.

Japan’s debt will soon be unsustainable

Kunal Kumar Kundu, a senior practice lead at Infosys Technologies Ltd., writes in the Asia Times that Japan has managed to stay afloat despite its high level of debt because of high domestic savings and low interest rates. However, public debt will soon be unsustainable as Japan’s population is quickly aging and savings will have to be spent on an elderly population.

QUOTE: It is, therefore, high time that the Japanese government start taking concrete steps to increase revenue, reduce expenditure and address problems of the rapidly graying society.

Main Street deserves part of the blame

Editor John Yemma writes in the Christian Science Monitor that despite their caricatures, “Wall Street isn’t evil. Main Street isn’t innocent.” He argues that uncontrolled spending on Main Streets across the United States helped fuel the financial crisis.

QUOTE: Real income has stagnated for more than a quarter of a century and that the spending that powered the economy in recent years came from debt. Think about it. We were buying – and that was creating jobs – but it all depended on debt.

Referendum reveals deep divisions within Turkey

An analysis by Simon Hooper on argues that Sunday’s referendum in Turkey exposed deep divisions within the society. Voters ultimately sided with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, but a strong opposition used the referendum to attack Erdogan and accuse him of trying to establish “one-man rule.”

QUOTE: Sunday's vote showed that Turkey remains a polarized society, with [Justice and Development Party] AKP dominating the country's Anatolian heartland but failing to win support along the wealthier and more industrialized southern and western coasts and in mainland Europe. 

Income disparity in the US prevents an economic recovery

Columnist Bob Herbert writes in the New York Times that income disparity has become so extreme in the United States that the economy will be unable to fully recover. He argues that the middle class does not have enough spending power to sustain a recovery.

QUOTE: With so much of the middle class and the rest of working America tapped out, there is not enough consumer demand for the goods and services that the US economy is capable of producing. Without that demand, there are precious few prospects for a robust recovery.

The eurozone’s banking crisis is far from over

Columnist Wolfgang Münchau writes in the Financial Times that the banking crisis in the eurozone has still not been solved. He argues that given the lack of long-term planning, a sustained economic slowdown is possible.

QUOTE: In the absence of strong growth, the European banking sector will not be able to generate the excess profits needed to write off the bad assets.

Australia must address its identity crisis

Columnist Gregory Rodriguez writes in the Los Angeles Times that Australia faces an identity crisis that it must resolve. He argues that as new groups of immigrants move to the country, Australia needs a “national story” for all to embrace.

QUOTE: The answer, it seems, is to engage (or reengage) in the boisterous, even confrontational identity politics that is hackneyed in the U.S. Finally, Australia must forge consensus out of difference.