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China Fears Its Future

FT: Anti-Catholicism reasserts itself during the Pope’s visit. Daily Beast: Obama tries to be an international community organizer. Project Syndicate: Turkish government undermines the rule of law.

Despite growth, China’s leaders fear future troubles

Columnist Doyle McManus writes in the Los Angeles Times that despite China’s rapid economic growth, the Chinese are anxious about the future. He argues that China’s leaders worry that if the government stops creating jobs, the country may face social unrest.

QUOTE: The Chinese know that their economy is inefficient, unbalanced and running on momentum, and that if the momentum flags, they could in real trouble.

US politicians focus on blame rather than solutions

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that part of the reason why the United States is experiencing such a slow recovery is because politicians have not acknowledged how long the financial crisis will affect the country.

QUOTE: A few brave officials are beginning to sound warnings that the jobless rate is likely to “stay high.” But the political debate is more about assigning blame for the recession than about suggesting imaginative ways to give more oomph to the recovery.

Anti-Catholicism reasserts itself during Pope’s visit

Columnist Christopher Caldwell writes in the Financial Times that Britain gave Pope Benedict XVI the most hostile reception he has ever received while traveling as pope. Caldwell argues that this is due to a deep-rooted anti-Catholic sentiment reasserting itself.

QUOTE: Most of the Pope’s detractors will admit that there is an old, embarrassing kind of “bad” anti-Catholicism, based on prejudice, ignorance and nationalism. They claim to represent instead a “good” kind of protest, based on ethics and evidence. The distinction is not always obvious.

Obama tries to be an international community organizer

Michael Fullilove, director of the global issues program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, writes in the Daily Beast that President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is that of a community organizer. He has a willingness to engage others, and a commitment to following the rules and to ensuring others do the same.

QUOTE: Community organizing is a fundamentally progressive enterprise concerned with bringing about change. There is a strong progressive streak in Obama’s foreign policy, seen most powerfully in his signature initiative to reduce global stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

What the lack of a conference says about North Korea

Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the delay or even cancellation of a conference of top leaders in North Korea is worrisome. It could be due to disagreements among the nation’s political elite or a reflection of Kim Jong-il’s growing difficulty making sound judgments.

QUOTE: Something unusual is afoot in Pyongyang. If the conference does not meet in the next few weeks, then we can be sure that the situation is very dire indeed.

Inflation might help the US economy

Neil Irwin writes in the Washington Post that a small dose of inflation might be what the US economy needs to boost its recovery. It would make Americans’ debt more manageable and encourage businesses to invest their cash.

QUOTE: Americans generally view rising prices as something to fear. But right now, a little inflation may be just what the economy needs.

China battles climate change for its future

Columnist Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times that China’s leaders see climate change as connected to the nation’s health and wealth. China has been busy creating clean energy jobs.

QUOTE: By becoming more energy efficient per unit of G.D.P., China saves money, takes the lead in the next great global industry and earns credit with the world for mitigating climate change.

Turkish government undermines the rule of law

Dani Rodrik, professor of political economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, writes on Project Syndicate that the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has undermined the rule of law as it claims to deepen democracy in the country.

QUOTE: Government prosecutors have mounted a series of sham trials, charging hundreds of military officers, academics, and journalists with membership in an armed terrorist organization aiming to topple the Erdoğan government.

New banking rules will reduce risk

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that a new set of international banking rules, called Basel 3, will not punish banks as many people would have liked, but it will reduce banks’ riskiness by ensuring they have the capital necessary during the next crisis.

QUOTE: Bankers circumvented the last lot of Basel rules, and regulators will have to watch out for attempts to do the same this time around. But higher capital requirements should eventually reduce the riskiness of banks, cut into their profit margins and constrain bonuses.

Currency manipulation is not China’s real problem

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that the real problem with China’s monetary policy is not currency manipulation but sterilization. The United States should stop pushing for protectionist measures and work with China to phase our sterilization.

QUOTE: The US should assist the Chinese in facilitating monetary reforms such as increased yuan convertibility by offering technical support and forming a currency swap arrangement to stabilize the yuan in the event of exchange-rate overshooting.