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US and Turkey not helping Syria, let the yuan fluctuate, Japan's WWII apology, US not able to handle challenge of climate change

A round-up of global commentary for the Aug. 31, 2015 weekly magazine.

Emrah Gurel/AP
Turkish Air Force fighter planes land at Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Thursday. After months of reluctance, Turkish warplanes last week started striking militant targets in Syria and agreed to allow the U.S. to launch its own strikes from Turkey's strategically located Incirlik Air Base. In a series of cross-border strikes, Turkey has not only targeted the IS group but also Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling IS in Syria and northern Iraq and Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK positions within Turkey.

Fars News Agency / Tehran, Iran
US and Turkey are feeding chaos in Syria
“It is time for the US and Turkey to recognize that the not so hidden agenda of settling for nothing less than regime change in Damascus is dangerous and deadly. It is hard to look at their actions and still believe the decision to calibrate their tactics and brand Syria ‘a hostile state’ is humanitarianism. Simply put, they are feeding chaos and behaving like arsonists,” states an editorial. “Their criminal obsession has absolutely nothing to do with humanitarianism and everything to do with power play and keeping a military footprint in Syria. The professional warmongers will never admit it on the record – but the perverse essence of this messy intervention is completely based on a cynical calculation meant to protect their illicit interests....”

The Age / Melbourne, Australia
Let China’s currency fluctuate like other currencies
“World markets recoiled and US politicians fumed when Beijing [on Aug. 11] allowed China’s currency to fall by 1.9 per cent...,” writes Peter Hartcher, political and international editor for the Sydney Morning Herald. “China appeared to be trying to steal a competitive advantage on the rest of the world by cutting the price of its currency.... China was doing a little of what everyone else had already been doing much more of. More than that, it was actually doing what the Western world had been demanding it do for decades. That is, allow its exchange rate more freedom to move.... It turns out that the West only wants market forces to apply to China if it delivers the result that suits Washington.”

Xinhuanet / Beijing
Japan is a long way from ‘normal’
“Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has never faced up squarely to its wartime history, as most recently demonstrated by the revisionist prime minister’s statement marking the war anniversary, among his other defying words and deeds...,” writes Zhu Junqing. “Instead of teaching the younger Japanese generations to draw lessons from the country’s war past, Abe said in his statement that it was unnecessary for them to keep apologizing in the future.... [I]f Japan continues to act arbitrarily without paying even a little consideration to its Asian neighbors who have suffered immeasurable pains inflicted by Japan’s militarism, it will stand even less of a chance of being the ‘normal country’ that Abe has been envisioning....”

The Korea Times / Seoul, South Korea
US stance toward Japan is questionable
“As a pivot in the trilateral alliance with Korea and Japan, the U.S. was expected to take a neutral position on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s lack of unelaborated remorse about the victims of its imperial rule on the 70th anniversary of its surrender at the end of World War II,” states an editorial. “Instead, it ... welcomed ‘deep remorse’ by Abe for the suffering caused by its imperial ancestors; valued Abe’s promise to promote international peace and called Japan a ‘model’ for other countries to follow.... [The statement] comes to Korea as a slap in the face.... We can only fathom the U.S. wants to use Japan as its key deputy in its hegemonic competition with China, but are wondering whether the U.S. is willing to take the risk of alienating Korea and pushing it closer to China.”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto
US should not cut corners with its neighbors on trade
“For U.S. President Barack Obama, foreign policy is often more about symbolism than substance. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the runup to the Paris conference on Climate Change in November...,” write Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson. “By cutting a side deal with Japan, contrary to NAFTA on auto content, U.S. negotiator Michael Froman showed disdain for both Canada and Mexico, and bungled what had been intended as the final round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. When American presidents fail to manage relations constructively with immediate neighbours, one is left to wonder about the manner in which they can handle global challenges, including climate change.”

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