New and revolutionary ideas in US politics; why the US is disengaging from world events; China and N. Korea's nukes; defeating poverty in China

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 29, 2016 weekly magazine.

Jae C. Hong/AP
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont speaks on the day of the Nevada Democratic caucus, Saturday in Henderson, Nev. Feb. 20, 2016. Hillary Clinton captured Nevada's Democratic caucuses, overcoming an unexpectedly strong surge by Sanders.

The Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan
US politics buzzes with new ideas
“Compared to this stuff-as-usual history, this year’s [US] presidential race is exciting – all because of two individuals, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. They’ve brought colour and oomph to this race..., appealing to the general mood prevailing across the United States – the disenchantment with standard politics...,” writes Ayaz Amir. “There’s a lesson in all this for us.... We are still stuck with leaderships we discovered 30-35 years ago. There are no fresh faces here except [professional cricket player-turned-politician] Imran Khan but he doesn’t have the knack of discussing new ideas. He has the Bernie Sanders factor working for him in that the young still root for him. But Bernie has ideas. Imran Khan has for the most part tired faces around him. I wish for his sake that he studied the Trump and Sanders phenomena a bit more carefully.”

The Times of India / Chennai, India
Rational rather than revolutionary politics
“Anger is perhaps the definitive emotion among voters in the US presidential election this time around. Its reasons range from the state of an economy where median incomes are flat or declining to America’s place in a world where it no longer holds pole position. Both Democratic and Republican parties have thrown up candidates answering to and feeding this anger...,” states an editorial. “Hillary Clinton offers the sensible alternative to these angry white men. Whether it’s economic reforms or homeland security or foreign policy, her ideas are realistic rather than revolutionary.... Even from India’s point of view, her sensible, pragmatic and liberal record looks much more appealing than the bizarre to xenophobic broth being stirred by rivals.”

The Age / Melbourne, Australia
Americans are turning inward
“Both [Donald] Trump and [Bernie] Sanders represent the growing conviction that the rest of the world’s problems matter much less to the US than the experts in Washington say, and that the US does not need to try to solve them. Even in Washington, Obama himself has been notably more cautious than his predecessors, and Congress has become more cautious, too...,” writes Hugh White. “Of course, Americans have had doubts about their global role before, but maybe this time is different. This time no one threatens them the way the Soviet Union did back in the Cold War.... So, while the people our ministers meet in Washington might keep talking about the United State[s]’s commitment to its allies in Asia, out there in the real US they are much less sure why they should pay, in blood or money, so other countries can stay safe on the cheap.”

Korea JoongAng Daily / Seoul, South Korea
China’s disinterest in North Korea’s nukes
“There is no reason for China to feel threatened by a few more North Korean nuclear weapons when it already has to live with 8,000 Russian nuclear weapons and hundreds of Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons on its borders,” writes Chung Mong-joon. “China coddles North Korea because the former considers the latter a strategic buffer zone. China still thinks that the U.S. forces in South Korea are a threat to its security. As long as North Korea and China have a joint interest in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea and the breakup of the ROK-U.S. alliance, it is wishful thinking to expect China to provide meaningful assistance in the resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.”

China Daily / Beijing
To defeat poverty, introduce hope
“Poverty alleviation does not mean simply providing migrant workers with permanent residences in cities where they work, or the relocation of poverty-stricken villagers from their geographically disadvantaged villages.... It also means helping those in need to help themselves,” states an editorial. “It is important for the central authorities and their local counterparts to have a clear road map of how poverty-stricken villagers can ... develop their own capacity to improve their lives.” In some villages, the young are more focused on gambling than “lending any thought to how to change fate through their own efforts.”

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