Three months to halt war on the Korean Peninsula?, Will the Republican tax plan really boost the economy?, World powers must stop passing the buck on Syrian refugees, The West isn’t the only culprit in Libya’s slave trade, Don’t forget Yemen’s awful war

A roundup of global commentary for the Dec. 18, 2017 weekly magazine.

South Korea Defense Ministry via AP
US Air Force B-1B bomber (r. top), flies over the Korean Peninsula with South Korean fighter jets and US fighter jets during the combined aerial exercise, South Korea, Dec. 6, 2017. Combined aerial exercises involving hundreds of warplanes, were a clear warning after North Korea tested its biggest and most powerful missile yet Nov. 29.

The Guardian / London

Three months to halt devastating war on the Korean Peninsula?

“The drumbeat for a potentially devastating war on the Korean peninsula ... has grown louder in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test...,” writes Mark Seddon. “[Earlier this month], John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN ... visited London.... His mission [was] to relay that CIA chiefs have told Donald Trump that he has a ‘three-month window’ in which to act to halt the North’s [intercontinental ballistic missile] programme, after which the North Koreans will have the capability to hit US cities ... with a nuclear payload.... Diplomacy may be the only way out of this swiftly developing crisis.... No efforts should now be spared to prevent a slide to war....”

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Will the Republican tax plan really boost the economy long term?

“[I]n coming months, the novelty of Washington actually managing to pass a package of tax cuts and reforms could well prompt markets to bid up US assets, including the US dollar...,” writes Neal Kimberley. “But the lurking reality is that over the next decade it is estimated the proposed tax plan will add another US$1 trillion to the US’ national debt.... [W]ith 2020 in mind President Trump clearly hopes that the emerging Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will enhance both his own and the Republican Party’s electoral prospects. Unfortunately it may also be that the legislation proves unfit for purpose and, down the line, leaves the US economy worse off than before.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

World powers must stop passing the buck on Syrian refugees

“In a no man’s land along the Syria-Jordan border, an estimated 55,000 Syrians escaped the horrors of Syria’s conflict only to languish, abandoned in the desert as one country after another evades responsibility for their safety and wellbeing...,” writes Sara Kayyali. “The Syrians are living in makeshift tents and mud huts in deplorable conditions in an informal camp known as ‘Rukban’ ... near the convergence of the Iraqi, Syrian, and Jordanian borders. They were trapped there when Jordan sealed the border ... in June 2016.... Residents of Rukban need a place where they are safe – where their children do not come under attack or starve to death. The US, Jordan and Russia should stop passing the buck and resolve the serious humanitarian crisis in Rukban camp now.”

Liberian Observer / Monrovia, Liberia

The West isn’t the only culprit in Libya’s West African slave trade

“Haunting and harrowing images of Africans, mainly West Africans, on TV being treated worse than beasts of burden, traded and auctioned off to the highest bidder, have pricked the conscience of well-
meaning people throughout the world...,” states an editorial. “And it is happening in Libya.... While some are quick to condemn and blame the West for the situation in Libya, which is true to a large extent, there is also a need to do critical soul searching.... We ask just what [are] the push and pull factors responsible for driving so many thousands of our youth from the resource-endowed lands of their birth to seek fortunes in Western countries.... [W]e identify poor governance and extreme corruption as the main culprits....”

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Don’t forget Yemen’s awful war

“For the past 33 months, Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen with help from its Western allies...,” states an editorial. “Yemen is now on the brink of ‘the world’s largest famine,’ according to the United Nations.... In recent weeks, the Saudis had reached out to [former President Ali Abdullah] Saleh, whose loyalists were fighting alongside the Houthis, in an apparent bid to break the rebel coalition. But a day after Saleh expressed readiness for talks with Riyadh, Houthis claimed to have killed him on [Dec. 4], escalating the civil war. To break this cycle, all warring parties ... should move towards talks. Till now, the international community has largely looked away. It cannot continue to do so.”

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