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Underestimating IS; Europe's labor shortage; Korea and terrorism; Argentinian politics; democracy in Jamaica

A roundup of global commentary for the Dec. 7,  2015 weekly magazine.

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    Belgian soldiers patrol on the Grand Place of Brussels as police searched the area during a continued high level of security following the recent deadly Paris attacks in Brussels Sunday.
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The Reporter / Ethiopia
Underestimating the enemy
“The Islamic State expects from us a combination of cowardice and overreaction. Its ultimate ambition is to provoke a clash of civilizations between the West and the Muslim world. We must not fall prey to that strategy...,” writes Dominique Moisi, senior adviser at the French Institute for International Relations. “We are at war. It would be wrong – even dangerous – not to admit it. And to win will require clarity, unity, and firmness.... We barely know our enemy, except for the intensity of his hatred and the depth of his cruelty. To understand his strategy, we must recognize him for what he is: an intelligent – and, in his own way, rational – adversary. For too long, we have despised and underestimated him.”

Today’s Zaman / Istanbul, Turkey
Europe’s labor shortage and the migrants
“[C]alls for the reintroduction of border controls and a new ‘Fortress Europe’ risk giving Europe’s demagogues the lead and making it harder than ever to convince people of the need to integrate more newcomers into the European Union’s workforce,” writes Giles Merritt. “The climate of fear that the [Paris] attacks have created threatens to obscure a key statistic: unless EU countries open their doors wider to immigration, the current ratio of four working-age people for every pensioner will fall to 2:1 by mid-century, if not earlier.... [T]he truth is that the European economy badly needs the young people pouring across its frontiers....”

The Chosun Ilbo / Seoul, South Korea
Korea is too ‘nonchalant’ about global terrorism
Korea is “nonchalant ... about the threat of global terrorism,” states an editorial. “A comprehensive anti-terrorism bill has been in limbo in the National Assembly for a staggering 14 years, while [Korean] tourists are jetting off to Europe in droves apparently oblivious to the dangers.... The bill is in limbo because opposition lawmakers feared it would give the [National Intelligence Service] too much power to spy on individual citizens. But it was in fact the brainchild of the left-leaning administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, who had closer experience than most of the authoritarian governments of the past, so it is a mystery why opposition lawmakers are so afraid of it.... Too many Koreans fancy they are somehow immune [from terrorism].”

Clarínx / Buenos Aires
The political change that Argentina needs
The challenge for Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, is twofold, writes Dante Caputo. “Firstly, the new president must stop the economic deterioration bequeathed by President Cristina Kirchner, reduce the spending deficit and inflation rate, ease domestic and external trade, and recreate conditions in which the market will work reasonably well. Secondly, the need to order the economy must consider a chief aspect of the risk society: the fear of ungovernability, which carries more weight in our country than any specific values or ideologies.... His government must create the bases for sustained progress and modernization in Argentina.... Bringing change ... would usher in a whole new era in Argentine democracy.”

Jamaica Observer / Kingston, Jamaica
Why fixed election dates support democracy
“Most Jamaicans, we suspect ... have not bought the spin that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller put on her decision to retreat from calling a general election this year.... But anyone who knows anything about politics in this country is quite aware of the fact that Mrs Simpson Miller’s decision not to announce the election is driven solely by the fact that she is not convinced that her party would be comfortably re-elected at this time...,” states an editorial. “All this gives strength to our advocacy of a fixed election date.... [T]he electoral process should not be held hostage to the party that forms the Government. We reiterate that it is immoral to subject the constitutional rights of the Jamaican people to the raw political opportunism.... [H]aving a fixed date for elections, we maintain, is more conducive to economic and social stability....”

 
 
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