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Yen and yuan wars

GlobeandMail: Merkel simply said what others feel. WSJ: Local journalists shed light on North Korea. Telegraph: Spending cuts will devastate Britain.

Washington must revisit lessons from its trade conflict with Japan

Author Clyde V. Prestowitz writes in Foreign Policy that as Washington struggles to deal with China’s currency policy, it must remember that the United States underwent a similar economic struggle with Japan in the 1980s. The United States responded to Japan’s “market-distorting” policies with its own export restraints, tariffs and persuasion that Japan revalue its currency.

QUOTE: It's time to realize that the United States never really beat Japan -- and it's unlikely to win against China without a new strategy. Chanting tired ideological mantras didn't save us in the 1980s. And it won't save us now.

Angela Merkel’s multiculturalism remarks reflect German beliefs

Columnist Margaret Wente writes in Toronto’s Globe and Mail that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks that multiculturalism has failed in Germany reflects a belief widespread across the country and Europe as a whole.

QUOTE: In Germany, a recent survey found that 55 per cent of respondents think Muslims are a burden on the economy. Another study found that nearly a third of Germans agreed that “foreigners come to abuse the welfare state” and that immigrants might “overrun” the country.

Local journalists find new ways to report on North Korea

Melanie Kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, writes in the Wall Street Journal that for the first time new technologies are enabling local journalists in North Korea to report on their country and spread the news beyond their borders.

QUOTE: Armed with easy-to-hide pinhole cameras and flash drives, they are getting videos, photographs and written information out of North Korea.

Look to the streets for clues to the future of Europe’s economy

Columnist Gideon Rachman writes in the Financial Times that the global community should pay attention to the street protests in places like France and Greece because they will likely determine the future of Europe’s economy.

QUOTE: Efforts to rescue Europe from its debt problems through new EU regulations were being fiercely debated in Brussels on Monday. But most of the proposals on the table are unrealistic and likely to fail. Since the EU will not be able to impose fiscal discipline from the centre, it will have to be done country by country.

The US and China must enact political reforms to balance the economy

Nathan Gardels, editor-in-chief of New Perspectives Quarterly and the Global Viewpoint Network, writes in the Christian Science Monitor that both the United States and China must undergo political reforms and a “recalibration of democracy” that will enable their economies to restructure and balance the global economy.

QUOTE: Less censorship and more robust forms of political accountability would aid the reorientation of [China’s] juggernaut from export-led growth toward domestic consumption. Such changes would inevitably make the well-being of the household competitive, as a political priority, with the factory.

America fails in Afghanistan and blames Pakistan

Columnist HDS Greenway writes in GlobalPost that there is a sentiment in Pakistan that the United States uses the country as a scapegoat for all that has gone wrong during the war in Afghanistan. The United States, many believe, also deserves some blame.

QUOTE: The trouble with the Americans was that every problem was treated as a nail, and the only tool was a hammer, [a Pakistani from the Inter–Services Intelligence] said.

NATO and the EU must begin working together in Brussels

Ivo H. Daalder, the US permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, writes in the International Herald Tribune that dialogue between NATO and the European Union is practically non-existent in Brussels.

QUOTE: The price of not engaging strategically is a costly duplication of effort, lack of coordination and a failure to achieve complementary approaches that employ NATO and EU tool kits to their greatest effect.

Spending cuts will devastate Britain

Columnist Mary Riddell writes in the Daily Telegraph that Britain’s upcoming public spending cuts may help the country avoid a double-dip recession, but they will have devastating effects on people’s lives.

QUOTE: [Prime Minister] Cameron, meanwhile, should worry about how much darkness Britain can bear and whether the funeral, in this instance, may be his own.

What will Sri Lanka’s future bring?

Asia-Pacific editor Rowan Callick writes in the Australian that 18 months after Sri Lanka’s civil war ended, questions still remain as to how the country will move forward and what type of political system it will adopt.  He questions if the leadership will work to promote peace and stability or will return to the policies of war and division.

QUOTE: For Sri Lanka to finally feel at peace, there's a lot of work to be done - raising the question, whether the [ruling] Rajapaksas can transform themselves from a clan for war into one for reconciliation and development.

More money does not impact US federal elections

Columnist David Brooks writes in the New York Times that despite the high volume of media attention on the subject, more money spent on US political campaigns does not have a significant impact on federal elections.

QUOTE: In this day and age, money is almost never the difference between victory and defeat. It’s just the primitive mythology of the political class.