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Myanmar’s astute foreign policy, the challenge of Egyptian democracy, resurgence of the far-right, war in Niger Delta would serve nobody, Guyana’s oil bonanza

A roundup of global commentary for the Sept. 26, 2016 weekly magazine.

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    Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen meets with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the United Nations.
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The Hindu / Chennai, India

Myanmar’s astute foreign policy

“The National League for Democracy government in Myanmar, which has been in office for less than half a year, has carefully charted out a balanced and astute foreign policy under the Foreign Minister, Aung San Suu Kyi...,” writes Rajiv Bhatia, a former ambassador to Myanmar (Burma). “On all substantial matters, the nation and the international community look to Ms. Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the government, to articulate Myanmar’s goals and plans.... Diplomacy teaches leaders how to accommodate other people’s problems. ‘A foreign policy that is based on getting our own way is not much of a foreign policy,’ said [Aung San Suu Kyi], indicating that her Myanmar would follow a pragmatic foreign policy, imbued with an enlightened vision of her nation’s place in the region.”

Daily News / Cairo

The challenge of Egyptian democracy

“The only authentic attempt to establish democracy in Egypt – the revolt against [former President Hosni] Mubarak in 2011 – was a complete failure...,” writes Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician in Egypt. “Egyptians, by nature, have an authoritarian mind-set. Living in an authoritarian country for a good few decades has led a large portion of society to believe that authoritarianism is the only functioning ruling mechanism.... Even assuming that the demands of political activists are authentic, after over half a century of authoritarian rule, Egypt could not realistically, in a few short months, become a genuinely democratic nation.... In conclusion, democracy is not a switch that can be turned on by revolts, thereby converting the entire nation from an authoritarian mechanism to a democratic one. It is a technical political process, entailing art and science.”

Kathimerini / Athens

Resurgence of the far-right

“It appears that the people of the German Province of Pomerania have revolted by voting for the far-right Alternative for Germany party...,” states an editorial. “The fact is that the Pomeranians carry special weight in the local German political scene and their behavior in [the recent] elections is being attributed to [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel’s migration policy.... There has been a lot of talk in the wake of the Pomeranian elections about a resurgence of the far-right and xenophobia, but the fact is that this phenomenon started to grow with the first signs that the European system as a whole was struggling.”

The Guardian / Lagos, Nigeria

War in Niger Delta would serve nobody

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is amassing troops, arms and ammunitions in the oil-rich Niger Delta region in readiness for war with the militants who have been destroying oil infrastructure...,” writes Ray Ekpu, a columnist. “Most people in the Niger Delta have condemned the activities of these militant groups which are now sprouting like mushrooms and making both sensible and senseless demands.... Since President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is interested in a negotiated settlement of the matter I think the soldiers who are in the creeks of Sapele itching for action should tarry a while. Before hostilities begin, let me warn that this is an unwinnable war. No one will win.”

The Gleaner / Kingston, Jamaica

Guyana’s oil bonanza

“ExxonMobil [has disclosed] that an oil find off the coast of Guyana was perhaps twice as large, up to 1.4 billion barrels, as the size previously announced by the Guyanese government...,” states an editorial. “The discovery of oil is potentially transformative.... The issue for Guyana, however, is what it is able to extract from its oil resources, and how well it manages and leverages what it earns. First, though, it has to ensure that these resources can be exploited and that investors/partners are not frightened away by the muscle-flexing of Venezuela, which claims large swathes of the country, including the offshore areas where oil was found.”

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