An editorial and op-ed round-up from the world's English language newspapers.
SAUDI ARABIA—“[I]nternational markets are becoming increasingly nervous about the fate of the dollar, the world’s only reserve currency and in times past a haven for anxious investors,” says an editorial in the Jeddah-based Arab News.
“Saudi Arabia is paid in dollars for its oil. Our currency is tied to the dollar. The Kingdom has approximately 2 trillion invested abroad, the greater part of it in the United States. The value of those investments, the value of our oil earnings and the value of our currency are all under threat as politicians in Washington grandstand for their constituents and argue bitterly from two utterly polarized positions.” FULL POST
Germany - “While Europe's chaos is obvious to the Europeans and the rest of the world, there are few signs of self-doubt or self-awareness in the U.S.," says an editorial in Germany’s Die Welt.
"In the middle of the poker game between the two political parties to prevent a national default on Aug. 2, polls show that 77 percent of Americans believe that they live in the world's greatest system of government. Just as many are convinced that life is only worth living as an American.”
Saudi Arabia—“Science diplomacy” is a key to strengthening U.S.-Saudi relations writes the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the Arab News. “The exchange of ideas and expansion of collaboration between peoples and countries break down barriers to the spread of knowledge and correct misconceptions. Science diplomacy provides a practical avenue for forming partnerships and forging the international cooperation that facilitates exchanges of ideas.”
Is it time to reset the reset with Russia?
Russia - U.S.-Russian relations, which have undergone something of a restart recently, seem to be "caught in a holding pattern", writes Andrei Tsygankov in the Moscow Times.
"It seems that both sides are increasingly frustrated with each other's policies. The West has never hidden what it wants from the relationship: more favors from Moscow — from allowing transit routes to Afghanistan to pressuring Iran into nuclear compliance and negotiating a political exit for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi."
"But Moscow rightfully wants something in exchange, and when the Kremlin repeatedly gets the cold shoulder to its initiatives, this impedes the reset."
On Wednesday night, President Obama announced plans to bring home 33,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by fall 2012. In a prime-time speech, President Obama outlined a plan for what is being called the 'beginning of the end' of the longest war in U.S. history.
Much of the world was also watching and listening to the speech. Here is some of what they had to say in response:
Pakistan - A prime-time speech by the president outlining a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is “just a misnomer, a clever attempt at sophistry,” writes and editorial in Pakistan’s Nation. Reducing levels by 33,000 troops by fall 2012 will still leave the lion’s share of the 100,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. Obama’s announcement, in summary, says the editorial, “does not give much of a solace to the beleaguered Pakistanis who have been the victim of persistent militant backlash of the war on terror.”
China - “[Obama] has in effect acknowledged that the U.S. has forfeited the ambitions it had when it waged the war in Afghanistan almost 10 years ago,” China Daily says of the president’s drawdown plans. The editorial goes on to say, “the U.S. still has a long way to go before it can shrug off its responsibilities in Afghanistan. Even after it completes scheduled troop cuts next summer, two-thirds of its armed forces will remain, along with dozens of military bases, because Afghanistan's geopolitical position is too important for the U.S. to ignore.”
From China: America, keep your Internet in a box
“These new networks will allow opposition forces to circumvent government control of electronic communications in countries such as Iran and Libya."
"As usual, freedom of speech and democracy are the high-sounding rhetoric the U.S. uses when selling its suitcase project or ‘shadow Internet’."
"The U.S. State Department has carefully framed its support of such projects as promoting free speech and human rights, but it is clear that the policy is aimed at destabilizing national governments." FULL POST
Every week, the Global Public Square brings you some must-read editorials from around the world addressed to America and Americans.
An Arab lamenting how the West is covering the “Arab Spring”
In U.A.E.’s National, Alan Philps writes that Arab identity is lost on the Western journalists and commentators, even with the attention to the Arab Spring. Taking to task New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Philps says a “false narrative took hold in the western media in which the whole Arab world was born again. Bearded believers in political Islam were replaced by student blogger types, and the Arab-Israeli conflict was forgotten.”
This narrative “could not last,” writes Philps, and instead is collapsing in the reality of “armed conflict in Libya and Yemen, ferocious crackdown in Syria, and what looks like political drift in Egypt leading to financial crisis.”
Lamenting the current cooling toward the Arab Spring by Western commentators after the initial enthusiasm – neither of which captures the reality on the ground – the message from Western media is becoming that Arabs “are back where we were, now with added bankruptcy.” FULL POST