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Can the West Accept Turkey?

WSJ: Asia welcomes a strong US role in the region. FT: China hides behind “developing nation” label. Der Spiegel: The French protest more than just pensions.

 Asia welcomes a strong US role in the region

John Lee, a foreign-policy fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, writes in the Wall Street Journal that despite China’s best efforts, there is strong support in Asia for a robust American role in the region.

QUOTE: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presence at the East Asia Summit in Hanoi this week—and the anticipated invitation for the US to become a permanent member—represents a boon for America and a significant failure for Chinese foreign policy.

China hides behind “developing nation” label

Columnist Gideon Rachman writes in the Financial Times that China has insisted on being viewed as a poor, developing nation as a way to protect itself from the necessary reforms it must make. He argues that China can no longer hide behind a label of poverty to avoid changing its currency policies or implementing democratic reforms.

QUOTE: The terms of the currency and democracy arguments are oddly similar. In both cases the official line has been that China is not yet ready – it is still a developing nation, you see. But with politics, as with economics, that line of argument gets less persuasive as the country gets richer.

Terrible timing hurts Obama and US Democrats

Hendrik Hertzberg writes in the New Yorker that President Obama is not to blame for America’s Great Recession, but he is in the unfortunate position of being in office just as the worst effects of the economic downturn are hurting the general public. This bad timing is why the Republicans will do well this coming election.

QUOTE: President Obama and the Democrats kept the Great Recession from becoming a second Great Depression. But the presence of pain is more keenly felt than the absence of agony.

The French protest more than just pensions

Ullrich Fichtner writes in Der Spiegel that the French are protesting more than just changes to their pension plans. They are also using this as an opportunity to vent their frustrations with the government, its scandals and the country’s most unpopular president in the past 30 years.

QUOTE: France is currently witnessing a veritable popular uprising against a government which has been shaken by scandals and which is already over the hill after only half of its term in office.

US Democrats refuse responsibility for their election problems

Columnist David Brooks writes in the New York Times that the US Democrats have focused their attention solely on what they want to see, while ignoring their problems or blaming them on the Republicans. This includes the uncomfortable fact that independent moderates who supported President Obama in 2008 now support the Republicans.

QUOTE: It’s hard not to be impressed by the spirit of self-approval that Democrats have managed to maintain this election. I say that knowing it may end as soon as next Wednesday, when, as is their wont, Democrats will flip from complete self-worship to complete self-laceration in the blink of an eye.

China stalls UN action on Burma

Columnist Colum Lynch writes in Foreign Policy that China’s aggressive efforts – a “high-octane, Western-style” offensive – have so far succeeded in preventing the United States from convincing the United Nations to prosecute Myanmar’s top leaders for war crimes.

QUOTE: "What we are seeing is the Chinese practicing American-style diplomacy and the Americans practicing Asian-style diplomacy," [said] Tom Malinowski, the Washington, DC-based director of advocacy for Human Rights Watch.

Can the West accept Turkey for what it is: a Muslim democracy?

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that the more the West misunderstands Turkey and perceives it as embracing Muslim fundamentalism, the more likely the possibility that the country will turn its back on the West.

QUOTE: Much though Western leaders would like to turn the argument into one about Turkey, the real question is for them. Are Americans and Europeans prepared to accept Turkey for what it is: a Muslim democracy, with a different culture and diplomatic posture, but committed to economic and political liberalism?

China’s next president is unlikely to usher in political reforms

China editor Wu Zhong writes in the Asia Times that Chinese President Hu Jintao’s likely successor, Xi Jinping, will probably not implement democratic reforms when he takes power. The party’s newspaper recently carried commentaries insisting that the country’s current political situation works and will continue.

QUOTE: Xi is set to continue the party line regarding political reforms, meaning that democratization and liberalization are unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future.

Australia should not fear foreign investment

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that Australia should not fear foreign investors and should not attempt to block Singapore investment in the Sydney stock exchange.

QUOTE: [Australia’s] economy will only thrive so long as Canberra stays true to the free-market principles that have spurred its growth. One of the most important is openness to foreign investment.

America should not trust China with any more of its debt

Columnist Gordon G. Chang writes in Forbes that the United States should be more careful of China owning its debt. He argues that China’s leaders will use every opportunity possible to score an economic advantage and therefore should not be trusted.

QUOTE: The Chinese say they intend to change the international system, and it’s obvious they want to do so in ways that will disrupt stability and undermine the values free peoples hold dear.