Commentary Week In Review
The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week's notable op-eds.
Asian Economies Boom, Democracy Waits
In a June 29 Bloomberg News column, William Pesek noted how 10 years on since Asia's financial crisis, the "region is certainly back," with many saying the "crisis made Asia more resilient."
As a result, Pesek, who homed in on China's "rising global stature," wrote that "it's doubtful many officials in Beijing regret ignoring the U.S.'s democracy-is-best message."
"What may be surprising, though, is how China's un-American views on democracy are gaining favor in Asia," he wrote, adding that one reason "democracy isn't thriving in many parts of Asia is disillusionment with the process, coupled with the example offered by China."
Brown Must Break With Bush
Of all the ink being devoted to asserting how British Prime Minister Gordon Brown should open his tenure as Tony Blair's successor, Jonathan Steele's column in the June 29 Guardian was probably the most direct, carrying the headline: "Brown must seize the day -- and break with Bush now."
Specifically, according to Steele, this means getting British troops out of Iraq. "Blair did not want to appear to be letting Bush down by ending Britain's part in the occupation," he claimed. "Brown now has an opportunity to change that."
However, "Brown's recent utterances are not encouraging," wrote Steele, who explained:
'Chemical Ali' Didn't Act Alone
Since we're on Iraq, Peter W. Galbraith's June 28 Los Angeles Times piece exhaustively argued for why the swift sentencing to death this week in Baghdad of Ali Hassan Majid, a.k.a. "Chemical Ali," has done anything but deliver justice to Kurds targeted by the Iraqi government during the late-1980s.
Galbraith offered this synopsis of events that surrounded the use of Chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds:
Galbraith goes on to assert that when the Kurdish genocide trial began last year in Baghdad, Hussein was originally on the docket alongside Ali, but Prime Minister Nouri Maliki changed that by "rushing Hussein to the gallows after his conviction in a case associated with his own Shiite Arab-based Dawa Party."
"Without Hussein present, Majid insisted that he, not Hussein, was responsible for what happened in the north," wrote Galbraith, adding that "the Kurds now fear that Arab revisionists will claim that there was no organized, government-sponsored genocide -- only the unfortunate acts of a few individuals undertaken during a war. Cheated of justice by a country that committed genocide against them, it is not surprising that most Kurds want nothing to do with Iraq."
Europe's Second Muslim State
No matter how politically, ethnically, religiously and geographically complicated it may seem, Michael Djorjevich put the issue of Kosovo's independence bid into notably simple terms in the June 29 Washington Times, writing that "currently in Kosovo, America is aggressively forcing the establishment of the second Muslim state in Europe." -- (The first being Bosnia, according to Djorjevich).
"This is in contravention of international law and despite serious misgivings in Europe and resolute resistance by Russia," wrote Djorjevich, who claimed "an independent Kosovo would be a failed state, ethnically and religiously cleansed of Serbs and other minorities."
Don't Privatize U.S. Spies
Patrick Radden Keefe's op-ed in the June 25 New York Times focused on the "huge espionage-industrial complex" that has developed during the first decade of the 21st Century, as government spymasters "outsourced everything from designing surveillance technology to managing case officers overseas."
His piece was packed with sobering claims:
"There is nothing inherently wrong with all this," wrote Keefe. "We want our spies to have access to the best technology and expertise, and if that means they have to look outside the building -- and pay top dollar -- then so be it. The problem is that the "symbiotic relationship" has turned decidedly dysfunctional, if not downright exploitative.
The Commentary Week In Review draws from links aggregated every weekday morning in WPR's Media Roundup, which you can receive by email for free by registering now.