The Obama doctrine; How the media failed in the US election; Canada does immigration better; Hope for future of Syrian immigrants

A roundup of global commentary for the April 4, 2016 weekly magazine.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

The Japan Times / Tokyo

‘The Obama doctrine’

“One of the most important components of the Obama doctrine is his rejection of the ‘Washington playbook’ on foreign policy. He is ready to challenge fundamental assumptions about U.S. foreign policy – who its best partners are, how to use U.S. strength – to play the ‘long game’ to protect U.S. interests. He is ready to make deals with Cuba and Iran, two governments long assumed hostile to U.S. interests and thus beyond the pale for diplomatic engagement...,” states an editorial. “The president looks long and hard at the world ... and tries to maximize U.S. influence with a minimum of resources. That makes him a real realist, one who believes in the economy of power. It is a break from the recent practice of American presidents, although the U.S. presidential debates suggest this cool thoughtful analysis may only prove to be a temporary respite.”

The Straits Times / Singapore

Message from American primaries: Leave us alone, world

“[T]he whole primary contest for the major parties’ nominations as it has unfolded over the past six months has thrown a whole new light on the views of the American people about their country and where it is going. The message is that they will no longer buy what the political and policy establishment in Washington has been selling them for decades,” writes Hugh White. “Mrs Clinton has a far better chance than either [Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders] of ending up in the White House, and she is a classic insider of the Washington elite. Her instincts may well be to follow the [Washington] playbook closely. But she will now know, after this year’s primaries, that the America she might lead will be much less willing to follow her into foreign adventures in defence of US credibility than almost everyone in Washington has long assumed.”

Spiegel Online International / Hamburg, Germany

How the media failed in the US election

“With Twitter and Facebook, the traditional media have partly lost their function as gatekeepers. Social networks allow direct communication between politicians and the people...,” writes Holger Stark. “Investigative reporting is one of the fundamental elements of democracy. It exists to bring to light the kind of information the powerful would often prefer to hide. In no other country is this tradition as strong as it is in the US, the home of the Watergate investigation. But when it comes to [presidential candidate Donald] Trump, investigative journalism has failed. In contrast to, for example, Hillary Clinton in this election, there have been no big, groundbreaking pieces of reporting dealing with his past, his serious financial mistakes and bankruptcies that cost the state and society dearly.”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto  

Canada does immigration better

“There’s a long list of things Canada does better than the United States, and one of them is immigration. Both think of themselves as countries built by immigrants – and the similarities end there,” states an editorial. “In Canada, immigration is smooth, legal, economically beneficial and designed to welcome newcomers as future citizens. South of the 49th parallel, in contrast, legal immigration is actually quite low, and far below Canadian levels. But millions of non-legal, non-citizens labour in the U.S. underground economy, unable to fully join American society, vote or become citizens.... Canada should be studying the U.S. experience – and doing the opposite.”

Hurriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey

Hope for future of Syrian migrants

“The framework deal agreed to between the Turkish government and the European Union on March 18 in Brussels might have dramatic consequences, not only for European politics but also Middle Eastern politics,” writes Murat Yetkin. “Following the cease-fire agreement in Geneva sponsored by the U.S. and Russia, the Turkey-EU deal provided the second solid step towards healing the wounds of the ongoing Syrian civil war. Now, for the first time, a step has been taken about the future of Syrian immigrants if and when the civil war ever ends.”

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