US Canada relations; Pakistan on Hillary Clinton; US in Iraq; US relations with North Korea; politics of Bowe Bergdahl

This week's round-up of commentary from around the world addresses Canada's relations with the US, why Pakistan wants Hillary Clinton to be the next president, the role of the US in Iraq, the relations between the US and China over North Korea, and the politics surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. 

Ahmed Saad/Reuters
Shi'ite volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), march during training in Baghdad, July 9. Islamist militants claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Baghdad, and there were signs the deadlock paralyzing Iraq's parliament might finally be loosening in the face of the threat from the "Islamic State" that has seized much of the country.

The Globe and Mail / Toronto
For the US and Canada, a gentle parting of ways

“Ottawa’s relations with Washington are not good. ‘Frayed’ is the operative adjective,” writes Lawrence Martin, who says the problems are caused by differences in philosophies. “With the end of the Cold War, Canada is no longer as dependent on Washington’s military protection. And with its new-found energy reserves, the United States is no longer as reliant on Canadian resources.... It’s been 5-1/2 years since [President] Obama saw fit to visit to Canada for a bilateral summit.... In the past, this would have been considerable cause for concern. But given the new realities of bilateral relations, it’s not terribly surprising.”

Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan
Why Pakistan respects Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton must be listened to. Not because she could be in the White House but – let there be no mistake about it – she is one of the few American politicians who understands Pakistan. She was secretary of [State] during some of the most crucial years in Pakistan’s relationship with America..., and showed remarkable understanding...,” states an editorial. “Ms Clinton thought successive Pakistani governments had patronised militant groups in the mistaken belief that these could serve Islamabad’s interests ... and she was extremely critical of Pakistan’s use of proxies. Her comments serve to epitomise the world’s view of the militants who, it so turned out, have hurt no country more than they have Pakistan and its people.”

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia
US has little influence reshaping Iraq and the Middle East

“[President Obama] knows that America has interests in Iraq. But he knows too there is nothing America can do to materially affect what happens there, and he has no intention of really trying,” writes Hugh White. “His statement [in June] announcing the despatch of 300 advisers was infused with his disbelief that it will do any good. But he is not willing to fully acknowledge and explain his doubts..., so instead he is going through the motions with a tiny, token intervention that is predestined to fail. That will only make things worse. We would all be better off if he had the courage not to intervene at all, and to explain why.”

China Daily / Beijing
The US, not China, key to Korean reunification

“The US and [North Korea] have been locked in a stalemate for some time: Pyongyang wants a peace treaty first and Washington demands that Pyongyang first abandon its nuclear weapons program. The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] uses the US’ refusal to sign a peace treaty to conduct nuclear tests.... The US, in turn, uses the DPRK’s actions to beef up its missile defense system in Asia...,” writes Zhu Ping. “[B]y refusing to promise that it will not take any military action against the DPRK, the US has provoked it to build nuclear weapons and tried to drive a wedge between Beijing and Pyongyang. The US is playing the DPRK nuclear card also to create a rift between China and [South Korea] and keep the latter deeply entrenched in Washington’s camp, which could prove damaging for Beijing and Seoul....” 

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany
Troubling fissures in American political culture

If Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former captive of the Taliban, had died in captivity, the “[tea] party zealots that are now calling for Obama’s impeachment would have labeled him a coward for letting the letter of the law stand in his way to save Bergdahl.... The same lawmakers that are currently grilling the White House over its failure to inform Congress before the prisoner swap would be clamoring for an investigation into whether the president did everything to free Bergdahl,” writes Michael Knigge in a column about the controversy surrounding the swap of five Taliban prisoners from the US Naval Base at Guantanamo in Cuba for Bergdahl. “When conservative lawmakers who usually can’t be outdone in their support for the military question whether the Pentagon sticks Bergdahl in a German military hospital to avoid sending him back to the US or right wing bloggers compare Obama to Stalin..., it’s clear America’s political culture is in deep trouble.”

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