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Five years after Egypt's Arab Spring; India-US relations; China and Saudi Arabia partnership; Clinton feels 'the Bern'; Russian politics

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 8, 2016 weekly magazine.

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    A child points to a picture of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he poses for picture while people gather to celebrate in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, August 6, 2015.
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Daily News / Cairo
Five years after Egypt’s Arab Spring
“I still do not know who represents Egyptians...,” writes Emad El-Sayed on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Egyptian Arab Spring uprising. “Between each anniversary and the next, the streets of Egypt become the sight of political posturing. It sees attempts of internal and external forces to influence the Egyptian politics and fills the ears of the people and the regime with things to disrupt them from reaching the ultimate goal of the January Revolution: Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice. The truth is that none of those goals have been achieved.... The revolution however did no good but to those working in sovereign authorities.... The regime governing us has no clear vision. The opposition is unable to balance between supporters and opponents. The aspirations of the youth who dreamed of a new Egypt are still nothing but aspirations.”

The Hindu / Mumbai
India-US relations still need work
In an interview with the Press Trust of India, President Obama emphasized “the steady economic and strategic convergence that has occurred between Washington and New Delhi on his watch...,” states an editorial. “Yet, some uncomfortable, unanswered questions remain.... [India remains] outside the framework of the U.S.-driven Trans-Pacific Partnership. Exclusion from this trade framework may result in Indian firms losing market share to TPP signatories. Add to this the spate of mini-squabbles that have broken out over intellectual property rights protection and compulsory licences in India, over visa restrictions in the U.S. and a host of trade disputes that have reached the World Trade Organisation, and Mr. Obama’s comment that the bilateral relationship had ‘absolutely not’ reached its full potential seems perfectly accurate.”

Arab News / Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
New global partners: China and Saudi Arabia
“China now is becoming a major political player that is connected to the world through strategic relations. And Saudi Arabia is one of the major countries that have established economic, agricultural, industrial, educational and political relations with China. Now, Saudi Arabia is the number one trading partner in the Middle East with China...,” writes Abdulateef al-Mulhim. “This expanding cooperation will help Saudi Arabia, China and the area to overcome many of the current obstacles that are slowing the economic growth.... King Salman and President Xi [Jinping] are both respected and experienced leaders with clear visions and dedication to play major roles to further seeing peace, stability and prosperity in the whole world.”

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia
Clinton feels ‘the Bern’
“In 2008, [Hillary] Clinton’s seeming sure-thing ride to the White House was derailed by a smart young African-American senator named Barack Obama. He blindsided her with his populist fundraising tactics, his massive on-the-ground volunteer effort and his strategic smarts...,” writes Anne Summers. “Clinton’s nightmare in 2016 was surely that she might be facing a smart young Hispanic senator named Marco Rubio ... [and] be defeated by demographics and the unstoppable yearning by a disaffected group ... [to occupy] the White House.... Never in a million years could Clinton have thought that she would be fighting primary-to-primary in her own party with a surging male competitor [Bernie Sanders] who is older, more left-wing and more likeable....”

The Moscow Times / Moscow
Russia’s archaic political system doomed to fail
“In 2014-2015, Russia’s domestic policy was pushed abroad – first toward Ukraine, then toward Syria. In 2016 the Russian authorities will have to shift their focus ... toward putting their own house in order. Otherwise, they will not survive...,” writes Nikolai Petrov. “Electoral legitimacy grows from the bottom up, while ‘forced legitimacy’ is imposed from the top down. Those diametrically opposed models are set to collide in 2016.... The Russian political system is archaic. It was created during a historical period when ... there was simply no apparent need for democratic institutions.... Without easy money, the ruling regime will not survive without modernization.”

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