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Obama Makes a Comeback

LAT: Another North Korean nuclear test might backfire. Japan Times: China’s power enables it to use its diplomacy in shady ways. FT: India's in a sweat over onions.

Japan changes course to address its growing threat

Michael Auslin, director of Japan studies at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Japan now recognizes that its biggest threat comes from China and has shifted its strategic focus. Japan has modestly increased its military capabilities, but some feel the country has not done enough.

QUOTE: There will be general disappointment that Prime Minister Kan, while recognizing the new types of threats to Japan, will not be increasing Japan's defense budget to allow it to respond more credibly to long-term security challenges.

Another North Korean nuclear test might backfire

Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, writes in the Los Angeles Times that North Korea welcomes heightened global concern about its actions, but this time a nuclear test might backfire.

QUOTE: A third nuclear test may have much less impact on the world psyche than he imagines. Indeed, it would most likely simply reinforce US and South Korean resolve to pursue sterner measures against a recalcitrant regime.

Obama must remain humble

Columnist Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post that President Obama must be careful to not become overconfident after a week of legislative successes. He must remember to be humble if he wants to win re-election.

QUOTE: What got Obama in trouble in the first place were the extraordinarily high expectations that the nation had for his administration - and that Obama's campaign had encouraged.

Europe needs fairer tax systems

An editorial in the Financial Times argues that some European countries are acting unfair by allowing gaps in their tax systems and therefore having to force larger spending cuts on the public.

QUOTE: Current practice turns corporate tax largely into a voluntary gesture by the well-run multinational, whose methods of choice for locating income in lower-taxed jurisdictions are intragroup financial links and transfer pricing of intangibles such as intellectual property.

China’s power enables it to use its diplomacy in shady ways

Columnist Frank Ching writes in the Japan Times that the WikiLeaks cables revealed how angry China was with the United States for not sending the Uighur detainees back to China. However, China managed to use its influence to convince Cambodia to return 20 Uighur refugees, who have not been heard from since.

QUOTE: China, it seems, is becoming so powerful that it is in a position to exert pressure on almost all countries to do its bidding.

India's in a sweat over onions

Journalist James Lamont writes in the Financial Times that India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has recently faced significant political challenges, but none have concerned his government as much as the rise in onion prices.

QUOTE: Onions, used in abundance in north Indian cooking, have been known, before now, to topple Indian administrations.

Japan’s cosmetics industry proves the value of deregulation

Kenji Govaers and Hiroshi Makioka, partners in Bain & Company's Tokyo office, write in the Wall Street Journal that Japan’s cosmetics industry has proven to break the nation’s trend and show high levels of productivity and innovation. This is largely due to deregulation.

QUOTE: By spurring new and dynamic competition, deregulation unleashed a refreshing spirit of innovation in an industry that had grown stagnant.

Nations must now address tactical nuclear weapons

Micah Zenko, a fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in Foreign Policy that the new US-Russia arms control treaty will be an improvement, but it does not address tactical nuclear weapons, whose presence remains dangerous.

QUOTE: Limiting tactical nuclear weapons represents the final frontier of arms control.

Europe criticizes Germany for its bossy ways

Columnist Eric Reguly writes in Toronto’s Globe and Mail that Germany has managed to do well
during the euro crisis. Weak European Union countries that don’t agree with its bossy attitude and severe austerity measures have criticized Germany, but they also need the country’s support.

QUOTE: Europe dictated on Germany’s economic and political terms may not be many Europeans’ idea of a “union,” one with shared goals, interests and vision. But what’s the alternative when at least half the euro zone used mountains of debt to sabotage their economies?

Obama’s riding high – for now

Editor-at-large Lloyd Grove writes in the Daily Beast that President Obama has done well this week with numerous policy wins. This reveals that Obama does have the ability to make a significant comeback, but it will still be difficult.

QUOTE: The president might be riding high for the moment, but his exalted position is ephemeral.