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Will US Elections Have Global Impact?

WashPost: Asia is set to embrace Obama and more US involvement. Globe and Mail: The environmental cost of China’s rapid rise. IHT: Europe can no longer neglect its Gypsy population.

Modest Republicans set to win majority in US House

Columnist David Brooks writes in the New York Times that the US Republicans look likely to win back the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s Congressional elections, but they express less a sense of ecstasy than of realism. The leading Republicans caution to be wary of unrealistic expectations.

QUOTE: Two years ago, Democrats waxed romantic. This year, the Republicans seem modest and cautious.

East China Sea dispute damages China’s long-term goals

Northeast Asia energy and security visiting fellow Sun-won Park writes on that China’s strong tactics concerning the East China Sea have secured it victory in the short term. But over the long haul, China’s aggressive behavior concerning its territorial disputes may hurt its own interests.

QUOTE: Domestic politics aside, the perception of a potential threat from China may be stronger in Japan now than it has been in the past.

Election may impact Obama’s foreign policy efforts

Executive editor and co-founder C.M. Sennott writes in GlobalPost that if US Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, President Obama may turn more attention to his foreign policy goals.

QUOTE: The first test of this brave new world for Obama will come just days after the election when he departs for a four-country tour of Asia, which will include back-to-back summits with the Group of 20 and Pacific Rim countries.

When Europe needs help the most, Germany fails to deliver

Joschka Fischer, Germany’s former foreign minister and vice-chancellor, writes in Project Syndicate that tensions have been rising between eurozone nations as they try to recover from the recession. Amidst this, Germany  -- which should be focused on how to help Europe during these difficult times – has been consumed with domestic political imperatives.

QUOTE: Berlin is consumed not with the question of what Europe might need in this historical situation, and what Germany’s role should be, but with fear – of the conservative and tabloid press, of further losses in state elections.

Stop blaming the economy

Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard, writes in the Wall Street Journal that US Democrats blame the economy for their likely losses in Tuesday’s election. But really, he agues, they will lose because of their policies on spending, debt, the deficit and healthcare reform.

QUOTE: Those policies aroused an anti-Democratic alliance of Republicans, independents and tea partiers that emerged in the spring of 2009, spurred by alarm over spending, bailouts and escalating debt.

Asia is set to embrace Obama and more US involvement

Columnist Fareed Zakaria writes in the Washington Post that Asia is likely to warmly welcome President Obama to the region during his upcoming trip. As China’s recent aggressive behavior has concerned its neighbors, Asian countries want to keep the United States engaged in the region.

QUOTE: It was easy to welcome the rise of China when it was an abstraction. Now that it is a reality, the geopolitics of Asia will get interesting.

France and Britain rely on each other to retain global reach

Columnist Philip Stephens writes in the Financial Times that the signing by Britain and France of a new defense treaty shows that the countries want to retain global reach in a quickly changing geopolitical environment. 

QUOTE: Neither can afford any longer to go it alone. The fact of even limited co-operation in an area as acutely sensitive as nuclear deterrence attests to this understanding that if Europe’s two military powers do not hang together they will hang separately.

The environmental cost of China’s rapid rise

Columnist Margaret Wente writes in Toronto’s Globe and Mail that the cost of China’s rapid rise is massive environmental degradation. For example, Chinese officials, who critics claim only care about making money, use land grabs to get rich.

QUOTE: The current regime has now embarked on an even more ambitious project – a mighty effort to reroute the country’s water supply in order to supply the thirsty city of Beijing. Officials compare it to the construction of the Great Wall. Critics call it a monumental folly.

Europe can no longer neglect its Gypsy population

Cristiana Grigore, a Fulbright fellow at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, writes in the International Herald Tribune that Europe should accept Gypsies, like herself, rather than cast them away as outsiders. Gypsies are an ethnic minority group that Europe should try to better understand.

QUOTE: If there was a Gypsy state, it would be the 9th largest in the European Union. You cannot get rid of the Gypsies without destroying the foundation of the EU’s values and principles.

It’s time to end the condescension towards Japan

R Taggart Murphy, professor and vice chair of the MBA Program in International Business, Tsukuba University, writes in the Asia Times that there is now more sympathy for Japan’s difficulties in overcoming economic problems. He writes that policy makers in Japan, just like everywhere else, do not operate in a bubble, free of political pressures.

QUOTE: Americans and Europeans have discovered that it's not as easy as one might think to restructure from the bottom up a financial sector - not when you've got all kinds of pressure groups that are quite comfortable with the way things are, thank you, and are prepared to go to the mat to defend them.