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Europe: One Currency, One Voice

NYT: Defuse Korean tensions by redrawing the disputed sea boundary. FT: China exploits international institutions to advance its interests. Telegraph: Euro-skeptics deserve an apology.

Defuse Korean tensions by redrawing disputed sea boundary

Selig S. Harrison, the director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy, and John H. Cushman, a retired Army lieutenant general, write in the New York Times that North Korea’s recent shelling of an island in the Yellow Sea is hardly surprisingly given the long-simmering tensions between the North and South over the area. The naval clashes are a result of a disputed boundary and can therefore be addressed.

QUOTE: The United States should redraw the disputed sea boundary, called the Northern Limit Line, moving it slightly to the south.

Special interest groups prohibit Japan from making better trade deals

Richard Katz, editor of the semi-weekly Oriental Economist Alert, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Japan is falling behind South Korea in terms of new trade deals because of Japan’s powerful agricultural lobby.

QUOTE: Compared to Korea, Japan's political system allows special interests such as farmers to exercise far too great a veto power over the majority.

China exploits international institutions to advance its interests

Jonathan Holslag, a research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary China Studies in Brussels, writes in the Financial Times that last week’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony demonstrated China’s growing ability to influence other nations and convince them to support its objectives in international institutions.

QUOTE: China’s efforts to influence international norms go well beyond the issue of human rights. The climate summit in Cancún, which concluded this weekend, was also substantially shaped by the People’s Republic.

It’s never a good time to make tough economic decisions

Columnist Fareed Zakaria writes in the Washington Post that American lawmakers and pundits always insist that it’s not a good time to raise taxes or make public spending cuts.

QUOTE: So when will we get serious about our fiscal mess? In 2020 or 2030, when the needed spending cuts and tax hikes get much larger?

A bottom-up approach will help fight climate change

George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management and of the Open Society Institute, writes in Project Syndicate that a “bottom-up approach” to fighting climate change is emerging that will have a better chance of making an impact on the environment than top-down attempts.

QUOTE: Instead of a single price for carbon, this bottom-up approach is likely to produce a multiplicity of prices for carbon emissions. This is more appropriate to the task of reducing carbon emissions than a single price.

The next steps for Myanmar’s democracy movement

Aung Din, co-founder and executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, writes in Foreign Policy that despite the recent sham election, there is still hope for political change to come to Myanmar. He argues that the release of Aung San Suu Kyi has energized activists inside and outside the country.

QUOTE: In the following months and years, Burma will witness the growth of a new civil society movement that exists in parallel with the ruling government and aggressively challenges it for popular support and legitimacy.

The American economy needs sustained government spending

Columnist Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times that the US economy needs serious, well-designed policies that support long-term growth. The government should be spending more and offering more assistance to boost employment.

QUOTE: And this government spending needs to be sustained: we’re not talking about a brief burst of aid; we’re talking about spending that lasts long enough for households to get their debts back under control.

Europe should promote a single foreign policy

Romano Prodi, former Italian prime minister, writes in the Financial Times that despite the financial crisis, the European Union continues to be a unified body and source of strength. Europe should extend this to its foreign policy objectives and speak with one voice on the global stage.

QUOTE: The present EU leadership should follow the same path by promoting a single European foreign policy, especially at a time when national ones are being rapidly downsized.

The West must be more critical of Russia

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that the West should use its influence over Russia to push the Kremlin to make political reforms and crack down on the nation’s corruption, human rights violations and lawlessness.

QUOTE: The West should be more honest—and more critical. And ultimately that would be good for Russia too.

Euro-skeptics deserve an apology

Boris Johnson writes in London’s Daily Telegraph that the Europeans like him who were attacked for their opposition to a single currency deserve an apology as their fears proved accurate.

QUOTE: We have been vindicated, and the least they can do is admit it.