What ‘Brexit’ means for Europe, The US should not ignore climate change, New UN chief faces a challenging future, If the US retreats, China will lead, Missile defense needs to move ahead

A roundup of global commentary for the Jan. 30, 2017 weekly magazine.

Reuters/US Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/File
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test.

Deutsche Welle / Berlin

What 'Brexit' means for Europe

“The wait is over,” writes Christoph Hasselbach. “Britons and continental Europeans can now finally see how Britain’s departure from the European Union will look. That in itself is progress.... Many statements coming from Brussels still carry a tinge of maliciousness.... Now the British see themselves as being forced to take a new path – and they are going on the offensive.... [Prime Minister Theresa] May’s speech was defiant and proud. The [United Kingdom] does not want to come begging to Brussels; instead it wants to open itself up to do business with the world.... The vote for Brexit passed. And that should give pause for reflection in Berlin and Brussels.... The European idea is a fantastic concept. But that idea cannot be maintained with pressure and punishment; it must convince people through its own appeal.”

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

The US should not ignore climate change

“Climate change is the single biggest challenge facing humankind,” writes Vinod Thomas. “Yet, the [new] president of the United States – the world’s second-largest greenhouse-gas emitter and a critical actor in climate policy – does not believe it is happening, or at least that humans have a role in driving it.... [I]n the longer term, burning more fossil fuels will drive up healthcare costs and impede worker productivity. Then there are the economic and human costs of increasingly frequent and severe climate-related disasters – including floods, droughts, storms and heatwaves, all of which are already on the rise worldwide.... [President] Trump already wants to invest in energy and infrastructure. If he does so in a climate-friendly way, the US will reap enormous benefits – and so will the rest of the world.”

The East African / Nairobi, Kenya

New UN chief faces a challenging future

“Antonio Guterres became United Nations Secretary General January 1, 2017 at a time of unprecedented global challenges...,” writes Ngila Mwase. “[F]or various reasons, the new UN Secretary General’s post is now a trying assignment.... Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of the US as the sole superpower, Washington had great leverage on global decisions, especially at the UN. This eased the work of the Secretary General. However, the world is now composed of various dominant powers.... Even more worrying is [President] Trump’s intention to turn against agreements endorsed by previous US administrations, which could have a domino effect, turning international relations upside down.”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto

If the US retreats, China will lead

“President Xi Jinping of China has found a way to portray himself as the new leader of the world...,” states an editorial. “In his [World Economic Forum speech in Davos, Switzerland], the Chinese President tried to pose as the champion of international liberalism and globalization. It’s a bit rich, but it’s no longer entirely unbelievable.... Mr. Xi pronounced such edifying words as ‘Those who push for protectionism are shutting themselves inside in a dark room. They have escaped the rain and clouds outside, but also missed the light and air.’ [President] Trump’s rhetoric is pushing countries, including Canada, to consider looking beyond Washington. That includes opening their ears and arms to Mr. Xi, leader of the world’s second superpower.”

Korea JoongAng Daily / Seoul, South Korea

Missile defense needs to move ahead

“The government’s plan to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system ... has hit a snag,” states an editorial. “Lotte Group, owner of the [proposed site], agreed with the Ministry of National Defense last year to exchange [it] with a plot of land ... owned by the military. But the fifth largest conglomerate in Korea is dragging its feet on signing the deal because of China’s pressure and political reasons.... Thaad is a crucial tool to protect not only U.S. forces here but also our people.... We urge our defense ministry and Lotte to resolve the conflict over the site as soon as possible.”

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