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Green China? Not So Fast

Economist: Don't expect a peaceful transition in North Korea. NYT: Three ways to boost poverty eradication. FT: India’s Commonwealth Games have been a PR disaster.

The US renews its interest in Southeast Asia

Philip Bowring writes in the International Herald Tribune that the United States has shown a renewed interest in its relationship with Southeast Asia as it strives to balance China’s political, military and economic power in the region.

QUOTE: This century is supposed to be the Pacific century. So far the United States has focused its military might on the Middle East but the approaching summit meetings with Asia’s powers will show that Washington is reawakening to this region’s importance.

Transition in North Korea could carry big costs

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that if North Korea goes forward with its leadership succession, it is unlikely that the transition will be calm and peaceful. Power struggles between the party and army would have devastating effects on the region.

QUOTE: A collapse in North Korea could leave South Korea and China, its immediate neighbors, facing a refugee crisis. The entire region’s economic boom could be thrown off course. There is even a risk that China and America would find themselves supporting opposing sides in a conflict that could involve nuclear weapons.

China does not deliver on its green promises

Columnist Doyle McManus writes in the Los Angeles Times that China has made promises to become green and clean. However, it plans on doing this only after it has achieved its economic growth. For now, the country remains a major polluter.

QUOTE: The next time somebody tells you we ought to emulate China's authoritarian approach to energy and the environment, ask them which part they mean: the ambitious rhetoric, or the disappointing performance.

Reform the euro to ensure its survival

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that Europe’s single currency has managed to secure relative price security across the eurozone, yet the recent financial crises have made it clear that reforms must be made.

QUOTE: The Mediterranean countries must carry through reforms to boost productivity and curb unit labor costs… It would be folly to put the burden of adjustment solely on them, for that would create a huge deflationary bias. Germany and other surplus countries must do more to sustain growth.

Tea Partiers must not let the Democrats define them

Columnist Daniel Henninger writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Tea Party candidates in the United States must not allow the Democrats to define them in the upcoming election. They must show that they represent a new political system that stands against big government spending.

QUOTE: What the tea party and independent voters sympathetic to it are about is giving the United States the tools to compete again in the big global game. It starts with Stop-the-Spending. To the Democrats now demonizing the tea party and its candidates, those three words mean Armageddon, the end of their game.

Three ways to boost poverty eradication

Columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times that humanitarians would be more successful at encouraging world leaders to end global poverty by boasting of results, focusing on wealth creation, and rebranding the issue as a security one.

QUOTE: We should note that schools have a better record of fighting terrorism than missiles do and that wobbly governments can be buttressed not just with helicopter gunships but also with school lunch programs (at 25 cents per kid per day). International security is where the money is, but fighting poverty is where the success is.

Germany should abolish or shrink its problem banks

Columnist John Gapper writes in the Financial Times that Germany should completely abolish or at least shrink its problem banks. These banks are backed by states, poorly governed and lack a business model.

QUOTE: They are bloated institutions that rely heavily on wholesale funding (the weakness of which was shown during the 2008 crisis) and cannot earn enough from old-fashioned lending to survive. That has made them prey to the siren call of investment banking, with its high margins and, particularly for the unwary, high risks.

China shows it’s both arrogant and insecure

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and editor of The Journal of Asian Studies, writes in Project Syndicate that China’s recent aggression reveals that its leaders have not only become more arrogant, but also have a high level of insecurity.

QUOTE: Some of China’s most disturbing moves can be chalked up to exaggerated feelings of insecurity. Consider the harsh treatment of the gadfly critic Liu Xiaobao, sentenced to 11 years in prison on trumped-up charges of “subversion” for launching an Internet petition drive championing civil liberties. Would a truly self-confident ruling elite have been so skittish about his activism?

Obama should make the world safe for economic innovations

Columnist Matt Miller writes in the Washington Post that President Obama needs a new approach to the economy that focuses on supporting innovation and finding new ways to do more with less.

QUOTE: A central theme of Obamanomics 2.0 should be "disruptive government" -- making the world safe for such innovations to challenge wasteful establishments in sectors critical to middle class well-being.

India’s Commonwealth Games disaster reflects poor leadership

Journalist James Lamont writes in the Financial Times that India faces international shame for its handling of the Commonwealth Games. Lamont argues that the debacle reflects the nation’s poor leadership.

QUOTE: What baffles Indians is how long it took for the Congress party-led government to step into this crisis. Even though the difficulties were well known, Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, only intervened last month with emergency measures after television channels broadcast details of alleged corruption.