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The G-20 Summit, NATO at Sixty, and Af-Pak Policy

April 3, 2009

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Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

  • Af-Pak: Commentator Aijaz Zaka Syed is unimpressed by President Obama's approach to Afghanistan, writing that the very fact that Obama now has to talk of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the same breath is a testament to the total failure of the U.S.-Western policy in the region.

Boston Globe

  • European Allies: Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. undersecretary of state, considers the difficulties President Obama faces with his European allies. He says Europeans need to shoulder more of the burden internationally, and begin to think more globally.

Business Daily (Kenya)

  • G-20 Failure: In an editorial on the G-20 meeting, the paper says when such a small number of leaders sit to decide for so many millions, then something is quite wrong with both the agenda and the wisdom. The neoliberal global governance system is clearly in doubt, it judges.

Chosun Ilbo (South Korea)

  • Korean Sanctions: In an editorial, the paper comments on the meeting between Presidents Obama and Lee in London on Thursday and their agreement that North Korea's possession of nuclear materials was unacceptable. To make North Korea realize that the situation is grave, sanctions must be imposed, it says.

Christian Science Monitor

  • Russian Reset: An editorial†on this week's meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents comments that the direction they set is very much twenty-first century. It's hard to imagine a better way to "reset" this troubled relationship than to hit the weapons-negotiation button, says the paper.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

  • Talk to Hamas: Chris Toensing of Middle East Report writes that President Obama needs to engage with Hamas. There is no peace on the Israeli-Palestinian track without them, he says.

Daily Telegraph (UK)

  • G-20: In an editorial, the paper comments that the G-20 in London produced no grand plan for recovery. But if the jamboree has a legacy, it may be that the optimistic tenor of the leaders' exchanges goes some way to restoring battered global confidence, it says.
  • NATO Celebrates: Commentator John Keegan, previewing NATO's sixtieth anniversary celebrations, says the alliance has become the victim of its own success. To resolve this, it needs to change: not to shrink back to its original role, but to embrace a wider peacekeeping mission, he says.

Daily Times (Pakistan)

  • Drone Attacks: In an editorial on local reaction to a recent U.S. drone attack in a tribal agency of Pakistan, the paper quotes research done by a Peshawar-based institute that indicates people in several of the tribal regions are not opposed to such attacks.

Economist

  • G-20 Meeting: In an editorial on the G-20 summit in London, it says that despite unprecedented stimulus, the biggest risk is still that governments overall do too little.
  • Mideast Challenge: In a further editorial, it considers President Obama's challenge in the Middle East. It says if the new government in Israel doesn't change course, he should reduce aid, and he should also try to draw Hamas into negotiations.
  • Indonesia: Also in an editorial, the Economist praises the state of democracy in Indonesia: like India it has shown that democracy can work in huge, diverse, and poor countries, it says; and like Brazil, Taiwan, and South Korea, it has shown it does not need generations to strike roots.

Financial Times

  • NATO Bargain: George Robertson, a former secretary-general of NATO, writes that President Obama, at the NATO summit, should ask the Europeans to do more in terms of security in return for a grand bargain - the United States will remain connected to Europe's security and prosperity.
  • French Lessons: Dominique Moisi, a visiting professor at Harvard, believes that President Obama can learn from the French Revolution and the French king's failure to manage dissent. He must not fall prey to populism, he advises; his goal is to save the economy, not punish the bankers.

Guardian (UK)

  • No More G-7: In an editorial, the Guardian says one crucial outcome of this week is that the G-20 is now the world's number-one decision-making forum, the place where serious horse trading can happen and lead to results. It has, it adds, superseded the mainly white rich nations' club of the G-7.

Independent (UK)

  • China Emerges: In an editorial, the paper says the G-20 summit in London may well go down as the moment when China finally emerged from its shell to assert its own interests in the economic world of which it has become a central part.

Middle East Times

  • Gorbachev's Strategy: Neri Zilber, a writer on international politics, compares President Obama's strategy in Afghanistan to that of Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. Only time will tell whether this is a true 'victory' strategy, or whether, like Gorbachev, it is merely designed to prepare the ground for an exit which has already been decided upon, he says.

Moscow Times

  • U.S. Relations: Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, sees the promise for rapid progress in relations between Moscow and Washington in the near future. The first meeting between Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in London offers hope that now common sense and cooler heads will prevail than in previous years, he writes.

New York Times

  • G-20 Leaders: In an editorial, the paper says with the global economy imploding, leaders at Thursday's meeting of the world's top†twenty economic powers fell short of the urgent responsibility to come up with concrete policies to fix the global financial system and restore growth.
  • NATO's Job:†NATO's Secretary General†Jaap de† Hoop Scheffer writes that the alliance is alive and kicking because it still has a unique job to do: to be the place where Europe and North America stand together, consult together, and act together to ensure their common security.
  • China's Dollars: Op-ed Columnist Paul Krugman says China now owns so many dollars that it can't sell them off without driving the dollar down and triggering the very capital loss its leaders fear.

Times of London

  • Iran: The paper's foreign editor, Richard Beeston, believes that Barack Obama is the only serious obstacle to war between Israel and Iran. Washington, he says, needs to persuade Tehran that it is in its own best interests to shelve its nuclear program, rejoin the community of nations, and cooperate with America.

Wall Street Journal

  • Summit Conclusion: In an editorial, the Journal says that the G-20 summit ended as a reality check. What emerged from London suggests these leaders recognize that the real work of economic recovery will have to resume when their planes touch down back home, it concludes.

Washington Post

  • Useful Summit: In an editorial, the paper says the G-20 meeting in London produced a number of pledges of useful action to cope with the global recession, but it would have benefited from a greater focus on the U.S. priority of fixing the crisis we are in before moving on to protecting against the next one.
  • Ben Bernanke: Simon Johnson and James Kwak of BaselineScenario.com consider the challenges facing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. If he succeeds in restarting growth while avoiding high inflation, Bernanke may well become the most revered economist in modern history. But for the moment, he is operating in uncharted territory, they say.

Washington Times

  • Guantanamo: Republican Senator Orrin Hatch calls on President Obama to rethink his deadline of closing Guantanamo in less than†twelve months. This is a usable facility that has merit and operational worthiness, he says.