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Obama's West Point speech; Keystone pipeline; Chinese cyberspying

This week's round-up of commentary from around the world addresses President Obama's speech at West Point, the controversial remarks made by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Singapore, and Washington's 'hypocritical' complaints that Canada lacks a strategy to address environmental issues. 

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    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014.
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Beijing / China Daily
US accusations hypocritical and self-deceiving

“China was completely justified in rejecting remarks made by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the 13th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore [in late May],” writes Wang Hui in response to remarks by Secretary Hagel about China’s “unilateral” actions in the South China Sea and cyberspying against the United States. “The US has thrown its weight behind Japan, its regional ally, since September 2012 when the Japanese government unilaterally announced its decision to ‘nationalize’ China’s Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.”

Beirut, Lebanon / The Daily Star
Delusions of a superpower

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In his commencement address to West Point graduates in May, President Obama “stressed that the U.S. would not become isolationist, and that ‘America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.’ This smacks of self-delusion. Once the world’s leading superpower, the U.S. looks increasingly dwarfed by Russia and China,” states an editorial. “Though much of the American public might believe Obama’s interpretation of events, the rest of the world is watching, and it is not so easily deceived. Where Obama sees success in soft diplomacy and stepping back, the international community sees stumbling and inaction.”

Toronto / National Post
New rules on coal underline US hypocrisy

“Washington has spent a good deal of time complaining that Canada lacks an adequate strategy to address the emissions issue. Coal is by far the dirtiest way to produce electricity, and Canada uses far less of it than the U.S. ... yet Washington keeps citing Canadian emissions policies as a significant reason Mr. Obama hasn’t been able to bring himself to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline,” writes Kelly McParland about US emissions regulations proposed in early June. “Now that the U.S. has an actual plan on the table, maybe it will quit beefing about Canada and focus on whether its own efforts are adequate.”

London / The Guardian
US foreign policy: principle and pragmatism

“Mr Obama is striving to steer a middle course between the isolationists and interventionists ... [with] a varied toolbox for dealing with foreign challenges: unilateral military force, if necessary, to defend against direct threats to Americans, US core interests and allies; in all other circumstances, America will not go it alone, and will prefer nonviolent means if possible,” states an editorial. “As sensible as it is to have [an] extensive toolbox, however, the real challenge for a US commander-in-chief is knowing when to use each tool. On that measure, Mr Obama has a reasonable scorecard.”

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