China's deflation; women in Pakistan; drawbacks of Trans-Pacific Partnership; invest in Syria's women; Turkey and Iran as regional partners

A roundup of global commentary for the March 21, 2016 weekly magazine

Andy Wong/AP
A shadow of a man is reflected on a glass as he reads a newspaper reporting China's central bank or People's Bank of China announced the 2015 edition of the 100 renminbi notes will be issued starting from November 12, at a stand in Beijing Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. China devalued its tightly controlled currency on Tuesday following a slump in trade, triggering the yuan's biggest one-day decline in a decade.

China Daily / Beijing
Will other nations help while China fights deflation?
“Experience has taught China’s real [financial] engineers that the only way to escape deflation is through painful structural reforms – not easy money and competitive devaluation,” write Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng. “The question is whether the US and other reserve-currency countries will share the burden of maintaining global currency stability, through an agreement resembling the 1985 Plaza Accord, in which five major economies agreed to depreciate the US dollar against the Japanese yen and the German Deutsche Mark. If not, why would Asia’s net lenders, especially China, continue funding speculation against themselves?”

The Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan
Pakistan could be more welcoming to women
“The hostility directed at what should be Pakistani icons – Mukhtar Mai, Malala [Yousafzai], among them – is telling. The weight of gender-based historical prejudices and culturally ingrained values remains intact in Pakistan, even as increasing numbers of women find the courage to defy them,” states an editorial marking International Women’s Day. “This social conditioning ... can be found in the home, in the classroom, at the workplace and on the street. It is this mindset that regards anything much more than basic education for women a luxury; denies women the right to have a career, exercise agency in their choice of a life partner and become a mother at a time of their choosing.... Society – even educated segments – needs to examine its closely held biases, and be more proactive in making Pakistan a less hostile place to be a woman.”

The Age / Melbourne, Australia
Drawbacks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
“Back in 2010 the Productivity Commission found little evidence that Australia’s trade agreements ... had ‘provided substantial commercial benefits.’ It recommended the government first work out what it wanted to achieve, review its goals annually, and enter into trade negotiations only if they were likely to meet those goals...,” writes economics editor Peter Martin. “None of those things have happened with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the biggest trade deal in Australia’s history. Set to take in nearly 40 per cent of the world’s economy including Australia, Canada, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, the United States, Japan Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam, it will encourage us to buy and sell from each other rather than the rest of the world, and it will tie us to common (largely US-driven) standards....”

Hurriyet daily News / Istanbul, Turkey
Invest in Syrian women for a better future
“In February, for the first time ever the majority of Syrians trying to cross to Greece was made up of women and children...,” writes Barçin Yinanç. “Fleeing is actually the last resort for many women, as the journey they take is full of danger and they are much more vulnerable than male refugees on the move. In Syria the war has taken such cruel proportions that it is currently believed that the majority of Syrians living in Turkey are women and children.... [O]ne hopes that the eventual [integration] strategy will prioritize education, as well as women’s empowerment.... If peace ever comes to Syria, so many Syrian men have lost their lives that it will perhaps be Syrian women who end up reconstructing their country.”

The Daily Star / Beirut, Lebanon
Turkey and Iran must lead as regional partners
“It’s a known fact that Turkey and Iran have been locking horns over Syria. But ... Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have made it plain that they can change neither history nor geography,” states an editorial. “In fact, very wisely and for several reasons, rather than sweep their differences under the carpet, the two countries have not only managed those differences but are also working to build on common, mutual interests.... [T]his should be a lesson to other regional countries that also share geography and the history to seek that kind of relationship, and through its ensuing success forge a path certain to defuse tensions.... However, in order to reach such a lofty goal, regimes should look within and introduce the needed good governance, reform and social justice.”

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