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North Korea's "Terrifying" Shift

NYT: China pushes back against American demands. Globe and Mail: China gains influence over Africa through its investments. Telegraph: The European Union oversteps its mark.

China pushes back against American demands

Journalist Helene Cooper writes in the New York Times that the United States keeps trying to convince China to act against its national interests. She states that this will be impossible to do particularly because China is no longer reliant on or easily influenced by America.

QUOTE: But in the past three weeks, the United States has seen, in rapid-fire succession, China’s own determination to push back against American demands.

North Korea makes a hardline policy shift

Journalist Jerry Guo writes in Newsweek that North Korea’s aggression is likely to reflect a hardline policy shift within the nation. The piece argues that this should be “terrifying” because even China has little leverage over Kim Jong-il’s regime.

QUOTE: The power dynamic is changing fast: Kim Jong-il looks to be bending to his hawkish generals—rather than the other way around—in order to solidify the rickety succession to his son.

Companies hold onto their cash, fearing the worst

John Authers writes in the Financial Times that corporate leaders are holding onto their cash because of their uncertainty over the future of the global economy.

QUOTE: They have every reason for uncertainty. This week alone brought new ferocity to the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone.

North Korea’s aggression does not weaken the South’s economy

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal states that despite North Korea’s recent aggressive behavior, the markets in South Korea have shown remarkable stability. The piece argues that this is because of strong South Korean economic policies.

QUOTE: This week has shown how important a strong Korean economy can be in standing up to Kim [Jong-il]'s provocations. President Obama and Congress can ill afford to pass up any opportunity to bolster Seoul's defenses, and that includes reinforcing the economic ramparts.

US monetary advantage may soon become a burden

Paul Kennedy, professor of history and director of International Security Studies at Yale University, writes in the International Herald Tribune that many have considered it an advantage for the United States to have a dollar-led international monetary system. But that may soon be realized to be a burden.

QUOTE: Sooner or later there is going to be what economists term a “convergence” between America’s real punching power in the world (that is, its share of total global product) and its artificially high share of international foreign-exchange denominations.

Obama could learn from Bush on communications

Author Richard Wolffe writes in the Los Angeles Times that President Obama’s administration has failed at communications, hurting the White House’s ability to articulate a clear message or push through policies. He argues that Obama could take a lesson from former President George W. Bush on communications.

QUOTE: Bush's self-styled mission was clear from beginning to end, whether or not you agreed with his policies: He wanted to keep America safe and fight the terrorists.

China gains influence over Africa through its investments

Columnist Doug Saunders writes in Toronto’s Globe and Mail that the Chinese have increasingly moved into Africa. Whereas Western aid spending is targeted to specific projects, the Chinese are willing to spend on big infrastructure projects. He argues this will have big political costs.

QUOTE: If we want to do good on the continent, we’re going to have to start doing more business.

British spending cuts threaten to squander nation’s global clout

Columnist Michael Moran writes in GlobalPost that Britain’s steep public spending cuts, including to its defense budget, have led to a debate on whether the cuts will weaken Britain’s role in global affairs.

QUOTE: The British government has taken great pains to insist — both to its domestic critics and to its worried allies in Washington — that it will remain a potent middleweight puncher. But critics see something more like a flyweight wearing trunks two sizes too large.

Myths about the US economy debunked

William G. Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, writes in the Washington Post that contrary to popular opinion, the US is not on the verge of a fiscal crisis, deficit reduction proposals will never be politically viable, and it will be near impossible to balance the budget without raising taxes.

QUOTE: Budget discipline works only when it is imposed on both sides of the ledger.

The European Union oversteps its mark

Columnist Jenny McCartney writes in London’s Daily Telegraph that the European Union is increasingly overstepping its boundaries and dictating rules and orders to member nations. She argues that the EU must respect nations’ sovereignty.

QUOTE: Perhaps it is time for the British to make it unambiguously clear to politicians precisely how far in, or out, of Europe they really want to be.