The tragedy of an alternative truth, Can 'Brexit' birth a global Britain?, Understanding the different strands of populism, Gambia gains its freedom, Negotiation, not confrontation

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 06, 2017 weekly magazine.

Jerome Delay/AP
Gambians celebrate as President Adama Barrow rides his motorcade through crowds of hundreds of thousands after arriving at Banjul airport in Gambia, Jan. 26, 2017, having flown in from Dakar, Senegal.

Financial Times / London

The tragedy of an alternative truth

“The man from the BBC was laughing as he reported the White House’s false claims about the size of the crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration,” writes Gideon Rachman. “He should have been crying.... This spectacle of obvious lies being peddled by the White House is a tragedy for US democracy. But the rest of the world – and, in particular, America’s allies – should also be frightened. A Trump administration that is addicted to the ‘big lie’ has very dangerous implications for global security.... [T]he biggest role in protecting the truth – and therefore democracy itself – will fall to Americans.... American institutions from the media to Congress and the courts have demonstrated their independence from the White House in the past. They are about to be tested as never before.”

The New Zealand Herald / Auckland, New Zealand

Can 'Brexit' birth a global Britain?

“Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May gave an important speech ... just three days before the inauguration of Donald Trump,” states an editorial. “Her main purpose was to put paid to any suggestion her Government might want to negotiate a ‘soft’ Brexit.... But she also made a more important point, and especially timely given the transfer of power in Washington. ‘The result of [Britain’s] referendum was not a decision to turn inward and retreat from the world,’ she said.... ‘It was the moment we chose to build a truly global Britain.’ ... [S]he wanted Britain to be, ‘a great global trading nation and one of the firmest advocates for free trade anywhere in the world.’ This has been Britain’s heritage, though it owes more to the 19th century’s Liberals than the Tories. But, thankfully, Theresa May is no Trump.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

Understanding the different strands of populism

“We will remember 2016 not only for the return of populism throughout the West, but also for the blindness of those who could not see the difference between right-wing and leftist populism...,” writes Santiago Zabala. “The rise of both kinds of populism is the result of the long-term failure of neo-liberal policies.... The problem today goes deeper than the victory of the right-wing populism of [President] Trump and [the United Kingdom Independence Party’s former leader Nigel] Farage, though the xenophobic nature of their regimes are profoundly troubling.... The left-wing populism of [US Sen. Bernie] Sanders and [Spain’s Podemos party leader Pablo] Iglesias represents the only chance that the parties of the framed democracies have to defeat the populist monster they have unleashed.”

This Day / Lagos, Nigeria

Gambia gains its freedom

“After an initial resistance, the defeated dictator of 22 years, Mr Yahya Jammeh, finally accepted that the game was up...,” states an editorial. “It is indeed gratifying that the political crisis which had the potential for violence was brought to an end without any bloodshed. For this feat, we must salute ... the laudable initiative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) without which [this] outcome might not have been possible.... [R]ebuilding the critical institutions that will help restore rule of law and good governance in The Gambia has [now] become mandatory.... The new president has been saying all the right things even as we hope his actions will match his rhetoric.”

The News / Mexico City

Negotiation, not confrontation

“[Mexican President Enrique] Peña Nieto stated during his speech [that Mexico] must seek to pull itself commercially away as much as possible from the United States and ‘seek new partners in other regions of the world...,’ ” writes Ricardo Castillo. “He made it ... clear that the relationship with the Trump administration will be one of negotiation, not confrontation.... [H]e has ordered all participating negotiators to keep in mind that these are times of change, and in all this they must keep only one thing in mind: Mexico first!”

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