Syrians show resilience; Putin's gain from exit; Trump's positive effect; shorting the GOP; North Korean nukes

A roundup of global commentary for the March 28, 2016 weekly magazine.

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrians gather in a street that was hit by shelling, in the predominantly Christian and Armenian neighborhood of Suleimaniyeh, Aleppo, Syria, April 11, 2015. Negotiations concluded for ceasefire in the civil war on Friday.

The Guardian / London
Syrians at home show resilience
“After five years of a civil war which has caused an estimated 300,000 to 470,000 deaths and uprooted over half of the population, the very gesture of [Syrians] coming out on the streets with persistent political claims [during the recent cease-fire] stands out as an admirable act of resilience,” states an editorial. “Syrians have endured a state policy of mass murder on a scale that arguably has no precedent in recent times.... But nothing has diminished the hunger, inside Syria and among its refugee diaspora, for an end to autocracy. The bravery of protesters must be acknowledged. And their message heard.”

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany
What Putin gained from his Syrian ‘pullout’
“The [Bashar al-]Assad government has only survived because Russia’s military came to the aid of the hard-pressed Syrian military forces six months ago. Now, Russia has the regime in Damascus completely under its political control...,” writes Moscow correspondent Christian Trippe. “The political power plays have won Russia a dominant position in the peace negotiations in Geneva. That precisely was the political plan: to intervene in Syria in order to again become a global player on an equal footing with the others. Right now, almost no one is talking about the situation in eastern Ukraine.... This is collateral damage from Russia’s Syria mission that suits [Russian President Vladimir] Putin just fine.”

The National / Abu Dhabi, united Arab Emirates
President Trump could have a positive effect
“ ‘The Donald’ seems set to be the Republican candidate. Combine Hillary Clinton’s many weaknesses with Mr Trump’s appeal to lower- and middle-income Americans who feel ignored and excluded by the Washington establishment, and his winning the presidency itself cannot be ruled out...,” writes Sholto Byrnes. “[Donald] Trump’s regrettable outbursts are bound to continue, and his election would, at least in part, represent a triumph of demagoguery over common sense and civility. But there are causes for optimism, too. It could, just, also lead to a more sensible, less hidebound politics, with benefits for both America and the world. And that would truly be, as Mr Trump is fond of saying, ‘so beautiful.’ ”

Ottawa Citizen / Ottawa
How Trump ‘shorted’ the GOP establishment
“While [Republican presidential candidate Donald] Trump’s campaign has appealed to anti-immigration sentiment ... exit polls have shown a majority of his supporters [are] in favour of amnesty for those same immigrants.... We have to be open to the possibility that Trump’s support is not capable of simple cause-and-effect explanation,” writes Andrew Coyne, who goes on to say he thinks that, as in the movie “The Big Short,” in which a group of traders predicted the collapse of the US housing market and the country’s economic downturn and shorted both, Mr. Trump has essentially bet against the Republican establishment.
“[T]he traditional deference the party base had shown the party leadership – the ‘party decides’ thesis, in which nominations are determined less by grassroots enthusiasm than by donors, endorsements and organization – had been so severely weakened, amid the generalized crisis of institutional authority, that the party was ripe for the taking. In effect, [Trump] shorted the Republican leadership.”

The Chosunilbo / Seoul, South Korea
Dealing with the threat of North Korean nukes
“There is no need to panic at every threat the North utters.... [But if] North Korea is indeed dangerously close to mounting a nuclear warhead on to a missile, Seoul must completely overhaul its security strategy,” states an editorial. “It is not enough to simply strengthen the so-called ‘kill chain’ whereby the military can detect signs of an impending missile launch by North Korea and preemptively destroy. Instead the government must think seriously about preparing preemptive and precision strikes and removing the North Korean leadership altogether. It is time to act decisively.”

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