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The effect of the British elections, racial tolerance in the US, German-Israeli relations, China not a threat, compassion for Putin

A round-up of global commentary for the May 25, 2015, weekly magazine.

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    UK election: An Edinburgh City Council contractor poses with an election polling station sign at a storage warehouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, Wednesday.
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The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland
Effect of British elections on the European Union and beyond
“This Rubicon [British] election ... has itself made ... new dynamics in British politics, dynamics over which even this majority government has precious little control, runaway trains leading potentially to British disengagement from the EU, and even towards the disintegration – or at least the reformulation – of the United Kingdom,” states an editorial. “The UK, as some commentators have it, is ‘self-federalising’.... [Prime Minister David] Cameron can take some comfort, however, from the reality that the internal disarray into which trounced Labour, LibDems and Ukip have all fallen, with the resignations of all their leaders ... will give him a breathing space in which to reshape his government and message....”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto
Have America’s race relations made any progress at all?
“You can’t help thinking that the United States has gone back to 1965. You see it in the fury over racially charged killings by police in Ferguson[, Mo.], Baltimore, Staten Island[, N.Y.], and Charleston[, S.C.] – the latter of which even involved that staple of sixties old-boy racism, the ‘broken tail light’ police stop...,” writes Doug Saunders, a British-Canadian journalist. “You see it in the mass protests provoked by that fury and the riots that often ride the coattails of those protests.... Has America regressed? On one hand, it hasn’t: The past decade has seen the United States move sharply away from that divided era.... Racial intolerance, by almost any measure, is more rare in the United States today than it has ever been.... This is the paradox of the [US] today: A population of voters and leaders who have largely moved beyond racial discrimination continue to produce often grotesquely racist results....”

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany
The miracle of German-Israeli relations
“Although the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany was signed in 1952, it was still barely conceivable that Germans and Israelis would and could try to establish and maintain diplomatic relations...,” writes Deutsche Welle editor in chief Alexander Kudascheff. “Fifty years on, the following is viewed as a political miracle: Germany and Israel maintain close relations.... Germans are often the only EU member that stands by Israel.... Nonetheless, it is quite unusual that Germany ... is Israel’s closest ally today.... The Third Reich’s annihilation of European Jews is enmeshed in the countries’ identities and their perception of each other. It defines the mentality of the two nations.... But 70 years after the million-fold murders, relations between Germans and Israelis are miraculously good.”

China Daily / Beijing
China is not the threat the US fears
“[T]he Pentagon issued its annual report on the state of China’s national defense ... which once again tried to sell the outdated ‘China threat’ theory...,” states an editorial. “The US, as the world’s No 1 military power, is notorious for its hacking and wiretapping, and for keeping military bases worldwide. Uncle Sam owes the world an explanation why, despite playing its self-proclaimed role as global policeman, it is afflicted with ever-growing security concerns?... The biased report is a disservice to the currently good momentum in China-US military-to-military exchanges, which play an important role in building a new type of major-country relations.... The US needs to abandon its Cold War mentality....”

The Moscow Times / Moscow
A compassionate view of President Vladimir Putin
“Anyone analyzing Russia’s politics should understand that they are dealing not with the ‘ruling elite’ or with various ‘interest groups,’ but with a single man – with all of his strengths and limitations,” writes Gleb Kuznetsov, a Moscow-based political commentator. “And when they see aggression, it might, in fact, be an attempt to seek protection. And what they see as the unbending will of a world leader might, in fact, be an attempt to step back from a decision and create a comfort zone for himself.”

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