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Apple and privacy; Supreme Court selection; the Bush dynasty; ending Syria's war; Obama's visit to Cuba

A roundup of global commentary for the March 7, 2016 weekly magazine.

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    A New York City police officer carried a barrier outside the Apple Store on Feb. 23.
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The Korea Times / Seoul, South Korea
Apple could set a precedent for dealing with terrorists
“As the maker of some of the world’s best-selling smartphones used by millions across the globe, it’s laudable for Apple to stage a spirited fight...,” comments an editorial on the request by the FBI for Apple’s cooperation with accessing the smartphone of the perpetrator behind the San Bernardino, Calif., attack that left 14 people dead. “There is a priority between civic duty and liberty. In this case, duty comes first. [Apple chief executive officer Tim] Cook’s duty is to comply with the court order and allow the authorities to take a peek inside [attacker Syed Rizwan Farook’s] phone.... [T]he spirit of cooperation with the U.S. authorities should be put to use in cases of terrorism in other countries.”

Haaretz / Tel Aviv
Judicial selection process needs clearer heads
“[T]he American [judicial] system is ... in danger of self-destructing. The problem is not the selection method itself, but the absence of partisan restraint that is plaguing the entire American system...,” writes Amiel Ungar on the contentious debate surrounding who should replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. “This is not a fight that resembles a budget deadlock that is eventually resolved. What [is] at stake is respect for the judiciary and once that respect is lost it will prove hard to restore it. Perhaps the situation’s gravity will impress saner heads in both parties to step back from a frontal collision and then leverage that success to shed the hyper partisanship that has crippled American leadership at home and abroad.”

The National / Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The Bush dynasty may soon be missed
“[T]he US, and the world, may come to miss the Bush family now that the curtain is falling on their decades in public office,” writes Sholto Byrnes on Jeb Bush’s departure from the 2016 presidential race. “For the focus on the dynasty occasioned by Jeb’s campaign has reminded us of the careers of the two presidents; and in contrast to the current Republican leadership, both deserve to have their reputations considerably revised.... Both of them would now be way too moderate for the Republican nomination. The party that constantly calls on the spirit of Reagan completely ignores how pragmatic and flexible the Gipper was.... For all their failings, the Bushes represented a more inclusive, optimistic and benign Republican Party. Their departure bodes ill for America, and also for a world that would rather tear down walls than build them....”

Spiegel International / Hamburg, Germany
Clarity is missing in ending Syria’s war
“The West, for its part, is now out of cards to play to apply pressure on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and we will instead have to resign ourselves to the fact that Syria will remain a failed state, under [Bashar al-Assad’s] leadership. Ukraine, which enthusiastically turned to the West two years ago, is also on the verge of being lost...,” writes Mathieu von Rohr. “All attempts to move Russia through rapprochement and flattery have failed. The only thing that will impress Putin and move him to cooperate is credible pressure from the West. In Ukraine, he hadn’t expected the harsh sanctions imposed by the West – and it was only through those punitive measures that further Russian aggression could be stopped. Such clarity, however, has been missing when it comes to Syria.”

The Toronto Star / Toronto
Obama’s visit to Cuba
“Few Cubans alive today will recall the last time a serving American president set foot on the island.... In a rare, hopeful turn in Cuban-American relations, President Barack Obama plans to pay his own visit on March 21...,” states an editorial. “Obama is right to make good on his promise [to visit Cuba] before he leaves office. Cuba’s democrats and reformers will be cheered by this visit as they press for credible elections, independent courts and a more open economy. And the government will no longer be able to cite U.S. hostility as a pretext for ‘defending the revolution’ by intimidating critics and suppressing human rights.”

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