Supporting peace in Afghanistan, better checks on drones, US cycle of poverty and racism, helping boys in South Africa, repairing Iraq

A round-up of global commentary for the May 18, 2015 weekly magazine.

Allauddin Khan/AP
Afghan police stand guard outside Park Palace guesthouse Thursday, May 14, 2015 after it was attacked by gunmen in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The news / Karachi, Pakistan
Supporting the quest for peace in Afghanistan
“[T]he two days of [recent] talks between Taliban representatives and Afghan politicians in Doha, Qatar ... produced no outcome...,” states an editorial. “The talks came as increased fighting after the withdrawal of most Nato troops from the country led to the Taliban launching a new offensive in northern Afghanistan.... For now, the major stumbling block appears to be foreign troops in Afghanistan. But the Afghan government appears caught between a rock and a hard place. What guarantee is there that the Taliban will be as amenable once US troops are out? Foreign troops remain the only trump card Afghan President [Ashraf] Ghani appears to possess. A compromise will need to be found soon if the ... Afghan peace process is to go ahead.”

The Japan Times / Tokyo
Better checks on drone use needed
“The accidental deaths of two hostages held by al-Qaida in a U.S. drone strike has reignited debate about the use of that tool in the fight against terrorist groups,” states an editorial. “Drones have become the instrument of first choice in the Obama administration’s efforts to combat terrorist organizations, raising important questions about the legality and utility of that weapon. While the [US] is grappling most intensely with this issue, the proliferation of drone technology means that Washington’s problems and concerns will soon become those of other governments.... [W]e need better ways to ensure that drones are used legally, morally, and in ways that do not undercut their intended purpose by recruiting more terrorists than they kill.”

The Hindu / Chennai, India
America’s cycle of poverty and racism
“[D]espite being an economic superpower the United States has severe domestic issues tied to poverty, marginalisation and crime [, which] was made even more evident in the recent protests that turned into riots in Baltimore...,” states an editorial. “[These riots] were just the latest in a series of convulsions that has rocked American cities owing to what is perceived as racist policing and targeting of ‘black’ youth by law enforcement officials.... These ... incidents suggest a disturbing picture of law enforcement in which African-Americans – especially young males – are unfairly targeted, stereotyped and subject to brutal methods of policing. With dwindling employment opportunities due to insufficient education and poverty, the community suffers from high rates of criminal incidence, stereotyping the young African-American....”

Business Day / Johannesburg, South Africa
A plea to help boys and men in post-apartheid South Africa
Mbuyiselo Botha and Kopano Ratele, who work with the human rights organization Sonke Gender Justice, write, “[South African President Jacob Zuma] said: ‘Apartheid was a violent system and it produced violent countermeasures to it.... We need to be helped as a society....’ Apartheid was not merely benign segregation; it was horrible disfiguring violence that reduced some to subhumans.... The remains of apartheid run deep in SA today.... There seems to have been little recognition of the connection between men’s violence against women, children and other men, and the historical violence of apartheid and the anti-apartheid struggle. It is not too late to recognise that we come from a violent history and we are in need of help.... We need to work with boys at an early age, as well as men, if we are going to prevent and reduce violence....”

The Daily Star / Beirut, Lebanon
Repair the damage the US did in Anbar, Iraq
“Iraq’s Anbar province in the last dozen years has provided a textbook case of bad policy, both by local authorities and supposedly well-meaning outsiders,” states an editorial. “The 2003 U.S. invasion allowed a small group of U.S. officials to unleash a wave of destruction and fragmentation, mistakenly believing themselves to be experts in a radical type of state-building in a country that already had fairly strong state institutions.... These days, Iraqi authorities are asking Washington for weapons and airstrikes to defeat [Islamic State], as the U.S. largely ignores the rising influence of the pro-Iranian militias....”

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