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Nigerian president hypocritical about missing girls; plane shot over Russia shows new Putin; Afghanistan still needs US; Civilian deaths in Gaza; America's isolationist policy

This week's round-up of commentary covers Malala Yousafzai's visit to Nigeria, how the plane shot down over Ukraine changed the way the world sees Vladimir Putin, suicide attacks show Afghanistan still needs the US, civilian deaths in Gaza, and America's move towards isolationist policy.

AP/ File
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, left, poses for a photograph with Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, right, at the Presidential villa, in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, July 14, 2014. Yousafzai on Monday won a promise from Nigeria’s leader to meet with the parents of some of the 219 schoolgirls held by Islamic extremists for three months. Malala celebrated her 17th birthday on Monday in Nigeria with promises to work for the release of the girls from the Boko Haram movement.

The Punch / Lagos, Nigeria
Does the Nigerian president really want to help the missing girls?

“In the wake of the abduction [of more than 200 Nigerian girls], the Jonathan administration maintained a disturbing silence...,” said Bayo Olupohunda. “Here is a government that has consistently ... failed to engage with the campaigners of #BringBackOurGirls but laid a red carpet for [a visit from] the 17-year-old [Pakistani education and women rights activist, Malala Yousafzai].... [W]e should condemn the hypocrisy of our President who had refused to ... meet the girls’ parents but has now decided to meet ... [them] for [a] public relations stunt in the wake of Malala’s visit.... [Her] voice will continue to expose the failings of this government to the global community as long as the girls are still with Boko Haram.”

The Japan Times / Tokyo
Plane shot down over Ukraine reveals a new Russia

“The shooting down of [Malaysia Airlines Flight 17] by ... Russian-backed rebels has exposed the situation in eastern Ukraine for what it is: a geostrategic blunder by Russian President Vladimir Putin that will be an indelible blot on history. His casual indifference to the consequences of arming a ... rabble of rebels may prove to be the defining mark of his presidency...,” states an editorial. “Months ago, Putin was being applauded as a geostrategic master tactician, capable of advancing Russian interests and exposing Western weakness without firing a shot.... In this most recent debacle, Putin has been revealed to be utterly indifferent to the suffering caused by the criminal misbehavior of his surrogates....”

The Times of India / Mumbai
Suicide attack shows US is still needed in Afghanistan

“A suicide attack by a suspected Taliban bomber in Kabul [on July 22] ... is a grim portend of the things to come when American troops withdraw from the civil war-torn country later this year...,” writes Chandan Nandy. “Faced with the grim prospects of a Taliban sweep in the [Afghanistan-Pakistan] border region, Islamabad has appealed to the US to urgently re-evaluate its plan to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan. Pakistan has warned that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would destabilise not just that country but also Pakistan.”

The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland
International community must step up calls for cease-fire in Gaza 

“Two weeks into Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza ... [and] more than 500 people, three quarters of them innocent civilians [are dead]...,” states an editorial. “Israeli forces have been responsible for a succession of outrages, starting with the killing of four boys playing football on a Gaza beach and culminating in [an] assault on the densely populated Shejaja that killed more than 60 Palestinians.... [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu claims that Israeli forces target their attacks carefully to avoid civilian casualties.... Such claims are rendered meaningless, however, by the scale of the civilian deaths in Gaza [since the second week in July].... The international community must step up its efforts to secure a swift and enduring ceasefire that will bring to an end the slaughter of the innocents....”

National Post / Toronto
Americans want isolation from world’s problems

“The slow American withdrawal from world affairs has been apparent for a long time, but has never been so glaringly evident ... [amid the current turn of events in] the Middle East. Hamas is at war with Israel, the brutal struggle in Syria frustrates the world, the terrorists of [the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] are making serious progress in Iraq – and now another attempt to deprive Iran of nuclear weapons has, so far, been thwarted. The United States has a position of sorts in each of these arenas, but it’s not powerful in any of them...,” writes Robert Fulford. A December Pew Research poll “determined that more than half of Americans now think the United States should mind its own business and let other countries ‘get along the best they can on their own.’ ”

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