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China's Trade Weapon

Foreign Policy: South Korea’s only option is restraint. FT: European leaders want to save the euro but need a plan. NYT: Remembering America’s most seasoned envoy.

Europe chooses to boost financial cooperation

Journalists Brian Carney and Anne Jolis write in the Wall Street Journal that a new bailout fund gives the European Union drastically enhanced powers. The EU will be able to bail out countries as well as get more involved in their financial decision-making.

QUOTE: Economic competition is to be replaced by consultation and cooperation. Whether that is an improvement is doubtful, but it is also, in a sense, beside the point. Europe has chosen its path.

America is likely to intensify its criticism of China in 2011

Benjamin A Shobert, the managing director of Teleos Inc, writes in the Asia Times that China and the United States will face a number of obstacles in 2011 that stem from the fear American lawmakers have of the Asian nation’s rise.

QUOTE: American politicians will likely grow more comfortable using increasingly harsh language to describe China's politics and trade policies.

South Korea’s only option is restraint

Andrei Lankov, professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, writes in Foreign Policy that for the first time in years war between the Koreas is a distinct possibility. But he argues that South Korea must show restraint, for military clashes could be disastrous.

QUOTE: A 21st century war on the Korean peninsula would have disastrous consequences, not only for Korea, but for a world economy that is still emerging from recession.

2011 is likely to see bigger sovereign shocks

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that confidence and hopes for future growth in the United States are pushing bond yields up. It argues that 2011 could see bigger sovereign-debt shocks as yields rise.

QUOTE: The most urgent task is in Europe, where leaders need to blend inconsistencies between today’s rescues and tomorrow’s reform proposals into a coherent plan for managing the euro.

European leaders want to save the euro but need a plan

Former Brussels bureau chief Tony Barber writes in the Financial Times that European leaders have shown they will do whatever is necessary to save the euro from collapsing. Any alternative would be far better than a failed euro.

QUOTE: European governments still lack a convincing answer to the question of what they intend to do when the crisis moves, as it undoubtedly will do, into its next dangerous phase.

China uses its currency as a weapon in its larger war against the US

Journalist Irwin M. Stelzer writes in the Weekly Standard that China is using its trade policy as a weapon in its effort to displace the United States as the world’s greatest economic and military power. China’s fiscal policies will enable the nation to exert more influence over America’s foreign policy and dominate world markets with its goods.

QUOTE: China is becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands, now controlled by Japan, and to territories claimed by Vietnam and others in the South China Sea.

Nations must focus on following through on Cancun agreements

An opinion piece in the Economist argues that the international community breathed a sigh of relief after the Cancun climate-change summit proved more successful that the previous one in Copenhagen. Rather than focus on what wasn’t achieved, nations must now take the commitments that were agreed to and implement them.

QUOTE: Better to use the newly roadworthy process to achieve worthwhile goals—to pay for adaptation, save forests, build up renewable-energy capacity—than to crash it again into a wall.

Bill Clinton boosts Obama’s re-election chances

Columnist Toby Harnden writes in London’s Daily Telegraph that 2010 has been a terrible year for President Obama, but he is now showing signs that he may pull through and win re-election in 2012.  Obama was smart to appear with former President Clinton and thereby show his supporters that he understands how serious his predicament has become.

QUOTE: For once, he put his pride aside and did what was politically clever – even though it was clear that his heart wasn’t quite in what his head had decided to do.

Remembering America’s most seasoned envoy

Journalist John F. Burns writes in the New York Times that Richard Holbrooke, who died this past week, was the most seasoned American envoy. He was rare for his willingness to step outside diplomatic locations and into the communities he was striving to help.

QUOTE:Uncharacteristically for a diplomat of his rank, he relished every opportunity to get out of the palaces and chancelleries and into the outsiders’ world that is the reporter’s habitat.

British treasury chief wins public’s trust

Reporter R.M. Schneiderman writes in the Daily Beast that Britain’s treasury head, George Osborne, has managed to lead the fight on implementing severe austerity measures while also earning the public’s trust. He brings “charm and diplomacy” to his office.

QUOTE: The chancellor also made sure to strike a rhetorical balance between promoting business-friendly policies with conveying a sense of empathy for the hardships that austerity may bring.