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China's Transition Uncertainties

Foreign Policy: Germany’s multicultural plan failed long ago. LAT: China courts the eastern Islamic world. WSJ: Myanmar’s election will only consolidate the military’s power.

China’s power transition is likely to cause problems

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that the international community should be worried about the upcoming transition of power in China. This is because the character of the likely new leader is relatively unknown, and the regime faces a significant amount of uncertainty.

QUOTE: It is the immensity of the task, not the obscurity of the man, that should make the world nervous. For all their outward expressions of unity, there are signs of disagreement among Chinese leaders over what the country’s priorities should be—both on the economy and on political reform.

The US Federal Reserve’s plan threatens the global economy

Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia professor and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the US Federal Reserve’s plan for large-scaling purchasing of US Treasuries threatens to hurt the economy even more. It could cause “global volatility, a currency war, and a global financial market that is increasingly fragmented and distorted.”

QUOTE: The problem is that, with interest rates already near zero, there is little the Fed can do to restart the economy—and doing the wrong thing can do considerable damage.

China courts the eastern Islamic world

Robert D. Kaplan, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a correspondent for the Atlantic, writes in the Los Angeles Times that while the West focuses on Muslim communities in the Middle East, China has been busy courting the eastern Islamic world.

QUOTE: The Chinese government considers the South China Sea a "core interest" (much to the consternation of the United States and its allies) partly because it is the gateway to this tropical Muslim cosmopolis that the Chinese know well from the medieval trading networks of the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties.

Germany’s multicultural plan failed long ago

Roger Boyes, the Germany and East Europe correspondent for the Times of London, writes in Foreign Policy that Germany has never been a welcoming place for immigrants. The country’s attempt at multiculturalism, in which it allowed immigrants the option to keep their own culture and traditions while not bestowing upon them the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, has failed.

QUOTE:  Merkel may have pronounced multiculturalism dead on Oct. 16, but in truth the spirit has not registered a pulse for most of the last two decades.

Troubled market economies grow weary of the G20

Journalist Alan Beattie writes in the Financial Times that there is a sense of disillusionment among the G20 nations about how well the body can address global economic problems.

QUOTE:If the G20 was supposed to fix an uncertain and lopsided global economic recovery, it is not doing very well.

Myanmar’s election will only consolidate the military’s power

Bertil Lintner, a Thailand-based correspondent for the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the upcoming election in Myanmar will fail to bring about democratic reforms and only further consolidate the junta’s grip on power. He argues that the army does not have a younger, revolutionary wing waiting to make changes.

QUOTE: The military has already won the "election." Rather than close their eyes to this reality, the best way forward for democratic nations would be to back a United Nations' enquiry into the junta's alleged crimes of humanity.

Predicting America’s next economic crisis

Greg Ip, US economics editor of the Economist, writes in the Washington Post that the next economic crisis is lately to hit the United States in 2012, just as Americans go to the polls to vote for president. Electoral politics tend to hurt the economy in the United States and around the world.

QUOTE: Economic crises have a habit of erupting just when politicians face the voters. The reason is simple: They are born of long-festering problems such as lax lending, excessive deficits or an overvalued currency, and these are precisely the sort of problems that politicians try to ignore, hide or even double down on during campaign season.

Britain must do more to redesign its state as it makes spending cuts

An opinion piece in the Economist supports Britain’s deep public spending cuts but argues that the government should do more to dramatically redesign the state and its responsibilities.

QUOTE: Despite occasional attempts to devolve power in line with [Prime Minister David] Cameron’s “Big Society”, the state will still fundamentally be the same shape, trying to do virtually all the same things.

North Korea flexes its muscles with a threat of military growth

Peter Brookes, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defense and Heritage Foundation senior fellow, writes in the China Post that North Korea has announced that it will increase its military strength by 1,000 times because the regime wants to show that Kim Jong-il’s successor, Kim Jong-un, will be a strong power.

QUOTE: Another reason for the up-tick in bomb work is to start the new leader off well in another growing Kim family enterprise, designed for anti-US fun as well as profit: nuclear-weapons proliferation.

What the US election has missed

Columnist Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times that the upcoming elections in the United States have failed to address the nation’s biggest issue: how to create jobs that can support the middle class and pay for infrastructure development.

QUOTE: We’re in the age of “extra,” and everyone has to figure out what extra they can add to their work to justify being paid more than a computer, a Chinese worker or a day laborer.