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WikiLeaks Exposes Obama's Failures

FT: China’s wealthy can out-spend the West. Economist: Sri Lanka remains a land divided. WSJ: Why North Korea does not sink.

China should look to Japan for lessons on consumption

Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, writes in the Wall Street Journal that China should be able to shift its economy to having higher domestic consumption without causing political instability. It should look to Japan for tips on what not to do.

QUOTE: China must be careful to avoid Japan's practice of muting the effects of restructuring through unsustainable government spending.

Channel savings into infrastructure investments

Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor of economics and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, writes in Project Syndicate that emerging nations dominated the recent G-20 summit. He argues that the G-20 should support a development model that encourages surplus countries to put their savings into investment projects in the developing world.

QUOTE: By channeling the savings of China, Germany, Japan, and other surplus countries into infrastructure investments in the poor countries, the world’s economies truly would be working in harmony.

WikiLeaks damages the global conversation

Columnist David Brooks writes in the New York Times that the recent exposure of classified documents by WikiLeaks damages the global conversation between diplomats and world leaders and may make countries less likely to share information with the United States in the future.

QUOTE: It should be possible to do articles on specific revelations … without unveiling in a wholesale manner the nuts and bolts of the diplomatic enterprise. We depend on those human conversations for the limited order we enjoy every day.

No easy tricks to fix the global economy

Mortimer Zuckerman writes in US News and World Report that it has become clear that there will be no easy fixes to the financial troubles the world faces. Developed countries will have to deal with their debt by using fiscal responsibility and discipline.

QUOTE: The tidal wave of red ink has meant that the leverage-led or debt-led growth model is dead.

Critics attack the US Federal Reserve

Columnist James Surowiecki writes in the New Yorker that there has been a backlash to the US Federal Reserve’s recent monetary policy efforts. This has been due to political reasons and because there is a high degree of anxiety about the state of the American economy.

QUOTE: In these conditions, injecting more money into the economy, and nudging people to take a little more risk, is what the Fed is supposed to do.

China’s wealthy can out-spend the West

Columnist Gideon Rachman writes in the Financial Times that wealthy Chinese have become an important market for luxury goods. They are willing to bid so high they scare off even wealthy Westerners. Hong Kong has become the world’s most lucrative wine market.

QUOTE: With Europe in deep economic trouble, it is difficult to avoid drawing an obvious moral about the transfer of wealth and power from west to east, as intoxicatingly rich Asian buyers snap up the treasures of old Europe – from property, to art, to fine wine.

North Korea’s neighbors push for a diplomatic solution

Justin McCurry writes in GlobalPost that North Korea’s neighbors and the United States are busy working on how to handle the North’s recent behavior. He argues that even some diplomats in China may be getting frustrated with the North and be willing to put pressure on the regime.

QUOTE: With negotiations in the offing — and the only realistic alternative a further display of belligerence by Pyongyang — the coming days should tell us if Washington is willing to ditch its disciplinarian instincts and join Beijing in playing the role of indulgent parent.

WikiLeaks controversy reveals failures of Obama

Columnist Jonah Goldberg writes in the Los Angeles Times that the WikiLeaks incident confirms that President Obama’s foreign policy tactics of using soft diplomacy and rhetoric about international cooperation are failing.

QUOTE: It is certainly true that Obama inherited many of his foreign policy challenges … But Obama insisted that his would be the better way. Engagement, dialogue,kumbaya would all win the day.

Sri Lanka remains a land divided

The Banyan column in the Economist argues that despite last year’s ending of a civil war, Sri Lanka remains a land divided in two. Among the Buddhist Sinhalese majority in the South, the president remains very popular. But Tamil politicians argue the government marginalizes their people.

QUOTE: The mutual distrust is an inevitable legacy of the civil war and the slaughter in which it ended last year. It is made worse by official secrecy. The government rejected an international inquiry into alleged war crimes by both sides.

Why North Korea does not sink

Edward Luttwak, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes in the Wall Street Journal that North Korea’s dictatorial regime survives because China continues to supply it food and aid, South Korea is deferential to China and the United States keeps wanting to use diplomatic channels that don’t work.

QUOTE: If I were a South Korean citizen, I would not be content with an expensive military and a supposedly "hard-line" government that does not even try to retaliate when attacked, not even when innocent civilians are killed.