Russians awake to Islamic threat; Indonesia could be a regional leader; Myanmar's emerging democracy; unifying the EU; Ireland and a 'Brexit'
A roundup of global commentary for the Nov. 23, 2015 weekly magazine.
The Moscow Times / Moscow
Russians now awake to threat of Islamic State
“For ordinary Russians, going to war against the Islamic State has not had the same resonance as it has for the United States and Britain, whose citizens have been brutally beheaded by the organization. A terrorist explanation for the Sinai [plane] crash changes that. The tragedy has struck a deep chord in Russian society, which may now be more willing to get behind the bombing campaign...,” writes Yury Barmin. “[President Vladimir] Putin may now feel less constrained by the need to finish the Syria campaign quickly. Initially, the Russian government said that air strikes may continue for up to a year, but now the Russian air force may be allowed to stay in Syria longer – for as long as it takes to avenge the innocent lives lost in Egypt.”
Jakarta Globe / Jakarta, Indonesia
How Indonesia can be a leader in Southeast Asia
“While Indonesia’s economic growth might be slowing somewhat at the moment, the country is politically stable and in many ways far ahead of many other developing nations that have so far failed to install a functioning democracy...,” writes Satya Hangga Yudha Widya Putra. “[T]o make sure that indeed there will be no revolution by the time our demographic dividend comes around, we need to implement ... educational reform and the firm adoption of an economic policy with a clear, international outlook.... [I]f we fail to increase the quality of our education system, many of the almost 200 million Indonesians of productive age ... will not be equipped with the tools they need to succeed.... [W]e do need to make sure our youths never lose faith in their own future. And it is never too soon for the government to start working on that.”
The Hindu / Chennai, India
Myanmar emerges with a working democracy
“Given that this was [Myanmar’s] first truly free general election in 25 years and much of the vast countryside had never voted before this, it is to the credit of the election commission as well as voter awareness groups...,” states an editorial. “The road ahead has many challenges too. Myanmar is amongst Asia’s poorest countries.... It is a country rife with armed ethnic groups [and religious tension].... Finally, Myanmar faces the challenges of development, to ensure that the rush of big corporations it has invited to fuel an economic boom does not deplete its natural resources.... India too must seize the opportunity to launch a new partnership with a much-neglected neighbour, that is also its only link and gateway to the East.”
Deutsche Welle / Berlin
Keeping the European Union glued together
“[Luxembourg Foreign Minister] Jean Asselborn is ringing alarm bells. National egoism is usurping a sense of community, walls are being put up where borders were once open, and nationalism is taking precedence over human values.... A war could even result from this false nationalism.... He praised Germany’s liberal refugee policy, but said some politicians are using the issue to intentionally stir fear...,” writes Christoph Hasselbach. “The danger that Asselborn perceives really does exist, but not in the way he thinks.... European citizens are having to sit by and watch how shockingly powerless their countries are in the face of this crisis.... If we want to save the EU, then we have to ensure that the EU regains control over immigration.”
The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland
What happens to Ireland following a ‘Brexit’?
“[T]he centrifugal force of Euroscepticism and deepening euro zone integration will mean an eventual divorce of Britain from Europe is probable...,” writes David Begg. “So Ireland needs a Plan B. This is likely to require a change of approach to industrial policy and a realisation that our international relations have to take account of our membership of a more deeply integrated euro zone dominated by Germany and in which Britain will no longer be our ally.... We may discover certain advantages to making common cause with some of the small, open economies of Europe and adopting their social and economic models. We have to face up to that possibility now though, and start preparing to engage with it.”