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AIG Anger, Gorbachev's View, and Australian Diplomacy

March 18, 2009


Age (Australia)

  • Australian Diplomacy: In an editorial, the paper notes a new report on Australia's diplomatic network that concludes that the country's instruments of international policy are a long way from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's goal of being the best in the world.  

Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

  • Third Intifada: Ramzy Baroud of PalestineChronicle.com writes that even though the dust has finally settled in Gaza, and with hopes of some respite and recovery on the horizon, rumors of a third intifada are being heard among politicians and scholars as well as ordinary people.


  • G-20 Challenge: In an editorial, the Australian says that as the Group of twenty grapples with the financial crisis, the challenge is not to stifle wealth-creating capitalism but to ensure markets function efficiently, transparently, and fairly.

Business Day (South Africa)

  • African Union: In an editorial, the paper criticizes the African Union for the undeserved protection it offers to tyrants. It cites the current crisis in Madagascar, where it says the AU sat on its hands while the recently deposed President Ravalomanana misgoverned the country.

Business Standard (India)

  • Pakistan Power: In an editorial, the paper predicts a power tussle in Pakistan, with opposition leader Nawaz Sharif attempting to reduce the powers of the presidency and restore the prime minister as the real head of government.

Daily Telegraph (UK)

  • Obama's Stimulus: Columnist Simon Heffer is pessimistic about the prospects for President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package, and notes that even those who openly supported him for the presidency are now voicing their skepticism openly.

Daily Times (Pakistan)

  • Pakistan Terror: In an editorial, the paper says the victory of the Long March--the restoration of Pakistan's chief justice--has been gained at the cost of ignoring the two-ton gorilla in the drawing-room: terrorism from the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the erstwhile jihadi organizations now on the payroll of al-Qaeda.

Financial Times

  • Paulson's View: Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson calls for an overhaul of the financial regulatory system. A new regulatory architecture, he writes, would inspire the confidence for the financial system to create prosperity in all sectors once again.

Globe and Mail

  • Canada in Afghanistan: J.L. Granatstein of the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute considers the relationship between United States and Canadian forces in Afghanistan in the light of the extra troops being deployed there by President Obama.


  • Israel Lobby: Columnist Jonathan Freedland considers the power of the "Israel Lobby" in the United States in the light of Charles Freeman turning down the offer to chair the U.S. National Intelligence Council.

Independent (UK)

  • Lieberman's Language: Commentator Robert Fisk describes the prospective Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman as one of the most unpleasant politicians in the Middle East. He compares Lieberman's language with that of Slobodan Milosevic in the former Yugoslavia.

International Herald Tribune

  • Gorbachev's View: Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, writes that as the global financial and economic crisis grows deeper and more severe, we must all rethink some key issues, including the role of the state.

Jerusalem Post

  • Livni's Refusal: In an editorial, the paper says Tzipi Livni's refusal to join a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu unhelpfully reinforces the misperception, mostly among foreign critics, that Israel is primarily responsible for blocking the emergence of a Palestinian state.

New York Times

  • Bank Bailout: Op-ed Columnist Thomas Friedman writes that the bank bailout plan makes sense and might even make profits for U.S. taxpayers. But, he says, in this climate of anger, it will take all of President Obama's political capital to sell it to Congress and the public.
  • AIG Bonuses: Lawrence Cunningham of George Washington University Law School writes that if the U.S. government is serious about finding a legitimate basis for abrogating the payments of bonuses to AIG executives, officials must look to basic legal principles.  
  • Electoral Reform: In an editorial, the paper says that Congress must finally deliver on its promise of electoral reform in the United States.

Times of London

  • Free Trade: Jamie Whyte, a writer, says that both Barack Obama and the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, are confused about free trade. He says he is disappointed that President Obama has a tendency to advocate impossible economic combinations.

Toronto Star

  • Fighting Taliban: Columnist Gillian Steward berates the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for expressing the view on American television that the Taliban will never be defeated. Surely he should have told Canadians first, she writes.  

Wall Street Journal

  • Chinese Worries: In an editorial, the paper says Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao created a useful stir late last week when he said he's a "little bit worried" about the safety of U.S. assets. Whatever Wen's political motives, his concerns about the integrity of U.S. sovereign debt are timely and apt, it says.
  • Mexico's Measures: Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the United States, explains why his country has been left with no choice but to impose counter measures after the U.S. Congress killed what he calls a modest and highly successful U.S.-Mexico trucking demonstration program.

Washington Post

  • AIG Bonuses: In an editorial, the Post expresses concern at what it terms the "populist" backlash against the AIG bonuses. It says taking back the bonuses could have the effect of the United States losing more money on AIG than it would otherwise.
  • Tim Geithner: Op-ed Columnist Harold Meyerson writes that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's indulgence of bankers' indulgences is fast becoming the Obama administration's Achilles' heel. The AIG debacle, he says, is the latest in a series of bewildering Geithner decisions.
  • Iran Policy: CFR Senior Fellow Michael Gerson recalls the disagreement over Iran between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during last year's primary campaign, and says so far Clinton's approach has prevailed.

Washington Times

  • AIG Anger: In an editorial, the Washington Times too notes the anger in Washington over the AIG bonuses. Of course, it says, if we had our way, the government wouldn't have bailed out the company to begin with.
  • Afghan Quagmire: In a further editorial, the paper expresses skepticism at the current Saudi-sponsored negotiations to get the United States out of what it calls the Afghan quagmire. The paper describes the term "moderate Taliban" as a comical oxymoron.