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A New Order at the G20

WashPost: A Weakened Obama fails to secure US-Korea trade deal. WSJ: China’s aggressive behavior concerns its own analysts. Daily Beast: Europe and Asia are fed up with US lectures.

Failure of US-Korea trade deal shows Obama’s weakened position

Journalists Scott Wilson and Howard Schneider write in the Washington Post that President Obama’s failure to secure a free-trade deal with South Korea highlights his weakened position and the limits to his power.

QUOTE: It demonstrated the limits of Obama's appeal for countries to at times compromise their own agendas in order to advance mutually shared interests - in this case, US-Korean trade expansion. That multilateral approach has been a mantra of Obama's foreign policy philosophy.

Developing countries now steer the global economy

Otaviano Canuto and Marcelo Giugale of the World Bank write in Foreign Policy that we are now experiencing a “major historical inflection point” as the world’s developing countries now steer the global economy, and the developed nations must simply follow.

QUOTE: While advanced economies are in a state of quasi-terminal lethargy, the developing world has been given a shot of adrenaline. But it's an open question what they'll make of it.

Financial systems require adherence to the rules

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, writes in the Financial Times that the eurozone crisis this year should teach the G20 that financial systems require adherence to certain rules in order to be sustainable.

QUOTE: If the G20 is serious in pledging to sustain open multilateral trade and the international financial system that fosters it, it should be willing to forgo an element of sovereignty to achieve net gains for all.

China’s aggressive behavior concerns its own analysts

David Zweig, director of the Center on Environment, Energy and Resource Policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Chinese foreign policy analysts also find Beijing’s recent aggressive behavior to be confusing and even troubling. They believe that Beijing still needs to figure out how to manage the country’s rise.

QUOTE: For the first time in decades, Chinese foreign-policy researchers see most of China's external problems emanating from its own behavior, rather than foreign efforts to contain China's rise.

Europe and Asia are fed up with US lectures

Zachary Karabell, president of River Twice Research and River Twice Capital, writes in the Daily Beast that European and Asian leaders are tired of lectures from the United States on the economy. He argues that China and Germany are particularly angry and are now lecturing the United States to act more responsible.

QUOTE: The hostile reaction to the United States and to Obama is the result of decades of being lectured to about the “right way” to manage economically.

China and Japan see the world through different lenses

Columnist David Pilling writes in the Financial Times that China and Japan come at the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and the September fishing vessel incident from entirely different perspectives. China sees its claim as part of a broader campaign to return the region to how it was before the West interfered. Japan sees China’s aggression as a challenge to recent legal and administrative norms.

QUOTE: For Japan it is a matter of law, for China, one of respect. It is not obvious how these two views can be reconciled.

UN Security Council reform may be complicated, but it’s essential

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that reform of the UN Security Council is long overdue, and President Obama should push for it. The Security Council now lacks legitimacy and influence. While reform may be difficult, it is necessary.

QUOTE: An increasingly unrepresentative, anachronistic Security Council speaks with diminishing authority. It is less able to debate the issues that matter, because important actors may be missing. And it is less able to hand down opinions that count, because they do not bear the seal of all the world’s great powers.

US monetary policy upsets much of the global community

Managing editor Thomas Mucha and deputy editor Emily Lodish write in GlobalPost that the US Federal Reserve’s move last week to pump more money into the American economy, called quantitative easing, has upset and angered countries around the world.

QUOTE: Beijing, which has the most to lose from the QE2 decision, has not been subtle in its condemnation, scolding the United States, in part through official media and economists.

America finally has a strong plan for deficit reduction

An editorial in the New York Times supports the Obama administration’s deficit reduction proposal, which acknowledges that deficit reduction will require “shared sacrifice” on behalf of Americans. The editorial encourages US politicians to act now on the proposal.

QUOTE: It puts everything on the table, including tax reform to raise revenue and cuts in spending on health care and defense. It even dares to mention the need to find significant savings in Social Security, Medicare and other mandatory programs.

Cameron pushes China to make democratic reforms

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that British Prime Minister David Cameron was right to praise China’s economic rise while also critiquing its political system and pushing for more political reform during his visit.

QUOTE: As dissidents the world over will attest, nothing is so encouraging to them, and so embarrassing to their oppressors, than to have Western leaders speak openly and forcefully on behalf of political freedoms and human rights.