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Somali Piracy, Cloned Camel, and Democracy in Southeast Asia

April 15, 2009



Effective April 20, CFR.org will no longer produce the Daily Opinion Roundup. We will continue to offer updates on news around the world through the Daily News Brief newsletter. CFR's latest analysis is also available via RSS feed.

Age (Australia)

  • Democracy in Southeast Asia: The paper's Diplomatic Editor Daniel Flitton looks at the challenges to democracy in the countries near Australia: from Fiji to Thailand. The author warns that even Indonesia could suffer in this way, and calls on Australia to play a more active role in supporting democratic rule in the region.

Arab News

  • North Korea: An editorial in Arab News describes North Korea's decision to withdraw from multilateral nuclear talks as blackmail. The paper argues that Russia and China should step up pressure on Pyongyang, and that the West should not give in to this kind of bullying.

Christian Science Monitor

  • Somalia: An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor asks whether the United States can avoid trying to help build more solid institutions in Somalia if it is to solve the piracy problem. The newspaper calls on President Obama to take a lead, and to look beyond beefing up U.S. naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

Dar al Hayat (Lebanon)

  • Netanyahu and Iran: Commentator Mostafa Zein considers the new Israeli government's attitude towards U.S.-Iran relations. He thinks that the United States needs Iran more than Prime Minister Netanyahu realizes, and calls on the Arab countries to do more to promote dialogue.

Dawn (Pakistan)

  • Britain and Pakistani Students: Columnist Irfan Husain looks at the arrest of Pakistani students in Britain. As well as pointing out that there seems to be no evidence that they were involved in any plot, the writer bemoans the fact that young Pakistanis still feel they have to go abroad to seek a better education.

Financial Times

  • Global Car Industry: An editorial in the Financial Times argues that there should be no more government subsidies for carmakers. The newspaper considers that the industry is 'bloated' and that globally it needs to shed some of its excess and consolidate further if it is to survive.
  • Thailand's Unrest: In a further editorial, the Financial Times considers the recent unrest in Thailand. The paper says that what the country needs is to build proper democratic institutions, and it calls for fresh elections to confirm the government's legitimacy.

Globe and Mail (Canada)

  • Indian Democracy: An electoral candidate, Shashi Tharoor, celebrates the fact that India is holding free and fair democratic elections this month. The writer sees the fact that more than 700 million voters can have a real chance to change who holds power in India as an example to the entire developing world.


  • U.S. and Cuba: In an editorial, the Guardian calls on the Obama administration to end the trade embargo with Cuba. The newspaper maintains that the policy has been a failure, and that the United States should attempt to engage in 'critical and constructive' dialogue with Havana.

Houston Chronicle

  • Beating the Pirates: An editorial in the Houston Chronicle argues that following the rescue of Captain Phillips, the United States needs to concentrate on helping to make Somalia achieve a stable government. This will be the only way in the end that piracy can be beaten, says the paper.

Jordan Times

  • Obama's Nuclear Dream: An editorial in the Jordan Times praises U.S. President Barack Obama for daring to dream of a nuclear-free world. The newspaper calls on the UN Security Council to put structures in place that are capable of making a nuclear-free world more than just a dream.

Los Angeles Times

  • Dealing with Cuba: An editorial in the Los Angeles Times welcomes the recent shift in policy over Cuba. Describing the trade embargo as a failure, the newspaper recommends that President Obama should aim to start a dialogue with Cuba in the same way as he has proposed with other 'problem' regimes.

Miami Herald

  • Fujimori's Conviction: An editorial in the Miami Herald looks back at the conviction of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori on charges of human rights abuses. The paper celebrates this as a demonstration of the force of law, not the law of force so often evident in Latin America.

National (UAE)

  • First Cloned Camel: In an editorial, the National hails the creation in Dubai of the world's first cloned camel. But while the UEA celebrates this scientific achievement, the newspaper warns this does not mean the moral debate over cloning has gone away.

New York Times

  • The Age of Pirates: Op-ed Columnist Thomas L. Friedman considers the difficult choices facing President Obama in foreign policy, from Somalia to North Korea. The author is worried that by adopting a 'middle ground' in his dealings with problem countries, the president may not be doing enough to find a solution.


  • North Korea: An editorial in the Telegraph says that North Korea is dangerous, and must be contained. The paper calls on China to use its influence in the region to bring Pyongyang back into the international fold.

Times of India

  • Piracy: An editorial in the Times of India urges the Indian government to adopt the same tough stance as the United States over pirates in the Indian Ocean. The newspaper says the problem cannot be dealt with by half-measures or equivocation. If piracy is not nipped in the bud now, it will only grow to become even more of a menace.

Times of London

  • Music For the World: In an editorial, it celebrates the achievements of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra from Venezuela. The paper compares this to other efforts, such as Daniel Barenboim's Palestinian-Israeli orchestra, and says music can be a great force for change.

Wall Street Journal

  • Cutting Costs: Simon Tilford from the Center for European Reform warns that simply cutting costs is not the answer to get countries out of the current financial crisis. Keeping wages low leads to sluggish domestic demand, he argues, and says that boosting productivity is a much better solution.

Washington Post

  • Obama and the Economy: An editorial in the Washington Post considers President Obama's plans to help the U.S. recover from the current economic crisis. The newspaper warns that promises on renewable energy, health care and education are no substitute for tough, direct action in economic affairs.

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