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TPP deal not a sure thing; Canada's prison reform; Turkey's balancing act; Russia rise in the Middle East

A round-up of global commentary for the Oct. 19, 2015 weekly magazine.

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    A policewoman removes a man protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (R) testifies before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on "President Obama's 2015 Trade Policy Agenda" on Capitol Hill in Washington January 27, 2015.
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Jakarta Globe / Jakarta, Indonesia
TPP deal not a sure thing yet
“It is important to recognize that the [Trans-Pacific Partnership] remains to be ratified by each of the signatory states...,” writes David Collins, a professor of international economic law at City University in London. “President Barack Obama must still push the agreement through Congress, where Democrats have voiced much opposition to the pact in the past.... In Canada, where an election is looming, one leading challenger has vowed that the TPP will never be ratified if he becomes prime minister.... Meanwhile, top Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has promised that he would renege on the deal if he gets to the Oval Office.... While the TPP may present challenges for some sectors ..., on balance it should be viewed as a major success in international trade negotiations that will bring many economic benefits to all parties.”

The Asahi Shimbun / Tokyo
Starting Asia’s economic engine
“After more than five years of negotiations, 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which together account for 40 percent of global gross domestic product, are poised to embark on a new framework to eliminate or reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade and investment. This landmark trade agreement [Trans-Pacific Partnership] should be used as a foundation for prosperity and stability in the region...,” states an editorial. “The deal will likely give a powerful impetus to negotiations for similar trade pacts by setting new standards for international commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, the engine of global economic growth.”

Toronto Star / Toronto
Canada needs a better answer than ‘tough on crime’
“Over the past decade, the federal correctional system in Canada faced massive infrastructure changes, shifting populations, and new legislative requirements with reductions in resources. Paradoxically, there has been a 17 per cent increase in the federal prison population ... despite year-over-year reductions in crime rates...,” writes Catherine Latimer, a former director general in Canada’s Justice Department. “Innovative approaches, such as work or study programs forming a bridge between the prison population and the society they will enter, have shown great promise. Our prisons are now in crisis but if we surmount ‘tough on crime’ approaches and focus on just, effective and humane responses, Canada can once again be a world leader in corrections.”

Hurriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey’s balancing act with Syria conflict
“Russia is Turkey’s northern neighbor and a serious military confrontation between the two has recently broken out on Turkey’s southern border with Syria...,” writes Murat Yetkin. “Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also issued a strong statement against the Russian violation, reminding of Turkey’s rules of engagement about responding to military airspace advances from Syria.... NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has issued a strong statement giving clear support to Turkey and warning Russia that any violations of Turkish air space would mean violating NATO air space.... The Ukraine crisis, ongoing across the Black Sea to Turkey’s north, has not affected Ankara-Moscow relations so far. But it seems that the Syrian crisis may yet go beyond a Turkey-Russia crisis; it may even embroil NATO if it is not carefully handled.”

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia
Russia’s rise in the Middle East
“The entry of Russia into the war in Syria will ... increase the diplomatic leverage that Russia will be able to wield throughout the Middle East, and could diminish the leadership role previously held by the United States in the region...,” writes Anthony Ricketts. “While the White House continues to ponder the US strategy in the Middle East, it is likely that such deliberation will now include Russia in their equation, and with this, the need to work with President [Bashar al-Assad], who [President Vladimir] Putin has called the only force ‘truly fighting Islamic State.’ This will be a significant blow for the United States....”

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