Merkel's vision and strength; rising political left; UN's to-do list; Russia and China as global powers; renewable energy in India

A round-up of global commentary for Oct. 12, 2015 weekly magazine.

Axel Schmidt/Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives diplomatic corps in the Chancellery in Berlin, July 13, 2015. Merkel stands in front of portraits of former German chancellors. REUTERS/

Spiegel international online / Berlin
Merkel’s strength and vision
“As the refugee crisis unfolds, [German Chancellor Angela Merkel] ... will inevitably make compromises and alter direction. Among these compromises are the newly instated border controls. Germany cannot take in all the world’s refugees, as Merkel well knows,” writes Rolland Nelles. “But she has now made it obvious that she won’t be deviating from her basic course. She is sending a message against knee-jerk xenophobia.... Ten years in office have clearly changed Merkel. She now has the strength and independence to state her opinion more stridently, even if it earns her the opprobrium of her allies.”

Le Monde / Paris
Economic reality and the rising political left
Jeremy Corbyn’s “rise [as elected leader of Britain’s Labour Party] is part of a new wave of political success for populist, liberal parties, not just in Europe but also in the United States...,” writes Alain Frachon. “They include the New Labour party in Westminster, the Pasok party in Athens, Spain’s Socialist Workers’ Party and the French Socialist Party.... The profile of this new left varies from country to country.... But all offer well-argued criticisms of free trade and opposition to major trade liberalization treaties put forward by President Barack Obama.... The left of the left believes in the mute but very real anger provoked by globalized capitalism, where more than 30 years of growth have only multiplied inequality.... But once it holds power, the radical left must grapple with an economic reality that reveals its true complexity and, often, its autonomy from the state. Promises and muscular demonstrations of political will have their limits.”

The Independent / London
Big to-do list for United Nations
“According to the agenda document [from the United Nations General Assembly], the new [global] targets, which replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), will ‘free the human race from the tyranny of poverty’ and ‘heal and secure our planet for present and future generations’. Quite the task...,” notes columnist Memphis Barker. “If there are doubts as to the success of the MDGs, they pale in comparison to those about the merit of what is to follow.... The UN already faces a tough enough task dealing with the refugee crisis, and a broken Middle East, where its camps are dangerously underfunded.”

Pravda / Moscow
Russia and China as ‘the last responsible powers’
“Vladimir Putin ... has now many allies; including China, India, Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Syria and so on. He is defeating the main ally of the West in Middle East, the vociferous and cruel tool named [Islamic State], created and financed by the US, France, Britain, Turkey, [and] Saudi Arabia...,” writes Nicolas Bonnal. “The Muslim world [has been] crucified by the West since decennials in order to obey various agendas. These last years we had to assist the extermination of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Maghreb under the storytelling of Arab spring. Finally there is a reaction against western activity. And the Muslim victims back Putin and China, the last responsible great powers.”

The Times of India / Mumbai
India as a testing ground for renewable energy
“India already plans to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. It could do even more if the US and other developed nations [fulfill] their responsibilities as historic and current polluters and finance and facilitate clean technology transfers,” states an editorial. “In fact, as solar and wind energy technologies become price competitive with polluting energy from fossil fuels, India can become a low-cost production and design hub for renewable energy. Foreign investments in this sector could neatly dovetail with the Make in India initiative, creating jobs on the ground. For the Paris conference [on climate change in December] to succeed, developing and developed countries must help each other out. India can be the bridge between the two camps and help evolve a broad climate deal.”

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