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Turkey's Conflicting Aspirations

NYT: If China wants to continue to prosper, it must open up. WashPost: Putin looks ready to reassert his power. Observer: A crisis in globalization has caused Britain’s economic woes.

If China wants to continue to prosper, it must open up

Columnist Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times that China cannot continue to prosper for much longer without allowing its people political freedoms. The country needs political liberty to go to the next level of its economic structuring and also maintain political stability.

QUOTE: China can’t afford chaos, and China can’t afford not to gradually unleash more bottom-up and less top-down energies. I don’t know how China’s leaders are going to balance these imperatives. Maybe they should ask Liu Xiaobo.

Leave the North Korea ‘problem’ to the region

Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, writes in the Japan Times that North Korea, which suffers from an economy that has practically collapsed, poses no threat to the United States. Therefore, the US should leave the country and it’s problems to the North’s neighbors.

QUOTE: American disengagement would force the Chinese government to confront the North Korean "problem." America can no longer afford to garrison the world. The Korean Peninsula is a good place for the US to again start acting like a republic.

On telecommunications, the US should exercise caution

Michael Wessel and Larry Wortzel, commissioners of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, write in the Wall Street Journal that some Chinese investments in American companies should raise security concerns, such as a Chinese bid to provide telecommunications equipment to Sprint Nextel.

QUOTE: Access to US information and communications technology infrastructure could enable a motivated adversary to commit a range of malicious activities, including espionage, disinformation campaigns and disruption of service.

Turkey must manage its conflicting aspirations

James Traub, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, writes in Foreign Policy that Turkey has become a rising power but now struggles with having many – often conflicting – aspirations. It must learn to balance its competing identities.

QUOTE: The country wants to be a regional power in a region deeply suspicious of the West, of Israel, and of the United States; a Sunni power acting as a broker for Sunnis in Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere; a charter member of the new nexus of emerging powers around the world; and a dependable ally of the West.

The middle class is under assault

Max Hastings writes in the Financial Times that the gap between the wealthy and middle class in the West is as high as it’s been in decades. For the first time, the middle class now watches as the rich stay wealthy, and yet they face even more struggles.

QUOTE: Politicians have good reason to fear a new western world in which a small minority continues to prosper and spend prodigiously, while the living standards of middle earners decline.

What kind of Security Council member will India make?

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar, a former diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, writes in the Asia Times that the international community will be scrutinizing India and the decisions it makes as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. India should not merely become another voice for the United States.

QUOTE: What sort of Security Council member is India going to make? The setting is dramatic - a "post-Cold War" environment of multilateralism dominated by a superpower.

The people factor complicates the science of economics

Journalist David Segal writes in the New York Times that economists often disagree because different people’s values can lead to different answers. Furthermore, a variety of factors can affect any one economic situation.

QUOTE: Economics will forever have to contend with the biggest X factor of all: people. As [Nobel laureate Robert] Solow notes, you feed people poison, and they die. But feed them a subsidy and there is no telling what will happen. Some will use it wisely, others perversely and some a mix of both.

Obama faces difficult road to reelection

Columnist Doyle McManus writes in the Los Angeles Times that President Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012 do not look good as unemployment is likely to remain high for the next two years and younger voters no longer worship him.

QUOTE: No matter how this year's congressional election turns out, Obama faces a steeper road to reelection than many Democrats expected.

Putin looks ready to reassert his power

Leon Aron, director of Russian studies and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in the Washington Post that the large difference in policy matters and political outlook between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev signals that Putin will likely challenge Medvedev for his seat in 2012.

QUOTE: This is not a man who seems inclined to wait patiently until Medvedev's second term ends in 2018 before moving to reverse what he clearly sees as dangerous deviations from Putinism.

A crisis in globalization has caused Britain’s economic woes

An editorial in London’s The Observer argues that Britain should stop focusing entirely on UK budget cuts and remember that the economic problems facing the world are global. Stresses in the global economy cause crises like the 2007 banking one and threaten to cause future problems.

QUOTE: Britain's economic troubles are the consequence of a crisis in globalization. The City of London's function as the hub of international finance made the UK particularly vulnerable. Without a determined effort of global co-ordination, like that brokered by [former Prime Minister Gordon] Brown in 2008, the economic bonds that sustained prosperity during the long boom will continue to dissolve.