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Time for a Currency War

WSJ: Europe’s demilitarization will impede peace and security. GlobalPost: China represents North Korea’s best hope of stability. Guardian: Italy has bigger problems than Berlusconi.

Time for a currency war with China

Columnist Martin Wolf writes in the Financial Times that the time has come to take real action against China for manipulating its currency. He argues that rather than taking action against trade, though, other nations should pressure China by using intervention methods.

QUOTE: The menu of possible options for the Chinese authorities could include a cap on the intervention, an end to sterilization of the monetary consequences and targets for real domestic demand, household consumption and the current account.

Europe’s demilitarization will impede peace and security

Gary Schmitt, director of the American Enterprise Institute's Program on Advance Strategic Studies, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the defense budgets of NATO allies are rapidly decreasing. He argues that this will be at the cost of peace and security.

QUOTE: If America's allies want a say at the table when it comes to security matters and, more importantly, want to be listened to, they cannot assume that the US will always pick up the check to maintain global order.

China represent’s North Korea’s best hope of stability

Correspondent Justin McCurry writes in GlobalPost that China calculates its every move in regard to North Korea with the goal of preventing the nation’s disintegration and keeping the region stable.

QUOTE: Given the delicate state of Kim’s health, the long interregnum in nuclear talks and lingering regional tensions over the Cheonan, it could be that China, for all the despair its North Korea policy inspires, represents the best hope of stability in a dangerously volatile country.

The Republicans have ‘message, money and momentum’

Mark McKinnon, vice chairman of Public Strategies and president of Maverick Media, writes in the Daily Beast that despite some recent poll numbers, the Republicans are still likely to win big this November. He writes that voter turnout will be key, and Republicans are much more enthusiastic about the election. The Republicans have on their side “message, money, and momentum.”

QUOTE: With support for their healthcare legislation plummeting further, with unemployment figures still hovering around 10 percent, and with the prospect of crippling tax increases come January, Democrats have little positive to campaign on.

North Korean Workers’ Party may provide legitimacy for a smooth transition

Peter M. Beck, an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the Korea Herald that the leadership transition in North Korea is likely to be tricky, and the loyalty of the military will have to be secured. He writes that the Workers’ Party has largely been seen as irrelevant, but it might be able to provide the legitimacy and base of support needed for a smooth transition.

QUOTE: A day after receiving their military titles, Kim Jong-un and his aunt were appointed to key positions within the party. Even though the last party congress was held in 1980 to “approve” Kim Jong-il’s succession, the party is believed to have as many as three million members.

Obama must provide a clear voice for bold, progressive reform

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publish of the Nation, writes in the Washington Post that now is the time for President Obama to reflect on his first two years in office and make a new effort to energize progressives. She argues that the activist base of Democratic Party is worried about Republicans winning so many seats in November they can undo recent reforms.

QUOTE: Ignore the pollsters and aides calling for positioning to the center. Provide a clarion voice to Americans about the need for bold, progressive reform -- and show your own supporters a fighting spirit to push for it.

Italy has bigger problems than Berlusconi

Alberto Toscano writes in the Guardian that it can be easy to focus on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s gaffes and scandals. However, Berlusconi is not the biggest issue, and the media and public should not ignore the country’s deeper social, economic and political problems.

QUOTE: Unemployment among the young and women is rampant, labor precariousness widespread, and Italy has one of the worst records in Europe for deaths at work.

China speaks of human rights but does not take action

Columnist Frank Ching writes in the China Post that as China assumes a bigger role on the world stage, it wants to be seen as a nation respecting human rights. However, Ching writes that despite new regulations, the country continues to torture and oppress its people.

QUOTE: On human rights as in other things, one must of course listen to official accounts. But, even more importantly, one must watch to see what is actually happening on the ground.

Americans hold on tight to consumer debt

Daniel Gross, economics editor and columnist at Yahoo! Finance, writes in the New York Times that despite the widespread belief that the economic crisis caused Americans to reverse their debt-ridden ways, they continue to act as big spenders. However, he writes that this will help the economy.

QUOTE: The economic expansion that has been going along in fits and starts since June 2009 was initially powered by government stimulus and business investment. But for this recovery to mature, broaden and persist, the greatest economic force known to mankind — the American consumer — has to get back in the game.

Easy money won’t decrease deflation in Japan

Tadashi Nakamae, president of Nakamae International Economic Research in Tokyo, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Japan’s return to a near-zero interest-rate policy was not a good policy move. The piece argues that this shows Japan’s “desperation,” and the country should allow long-term interest rates to rise.

QUOTE: Quantitative easing, where the central bank injects money into banks, ensures that lenders get enough liquidity. Yet quantitative easing lowers long-term interest rates significantly, damaging the most important function of commercial banks: lending.