Where next for Putin and Trump?, China: storming the seas by stealth, Nigeria's forgotten violence, The world must take a stand, Peace can prevail in Cyprus

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 20, 2017 weekly magazine.

Bullit Marquez/AP
A US Navy amphibious assault vehicle with Philippine and US troops on board storms a beach facing one of the contested islands in the South China Sea during a training exercise, April, 2015.

The Moscow Times / Moscow

Where next for Putin and Trump?

“The latest flare-up of violence in Eastern Ukraine ... is not about changing the status-quo or a warming-up for ... another major escalation,” writes Vladimir Frolov. “It is an inescapable result of the fog of war, which the Minsk peace agreements [have] failed to completely stop.... [T]he Kremlin was quick to use the episode to remind the Trump administration that the Ukraine crisis demands the urgent attention of the superpowers.... It isn’t clear whether Moscow is interested in making the concessions that Trump seems to be expecting.... But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview ... that Russia was prepared to ‘walk her part of the road’ towards better relations with the US. We have yet to see where that road will lead.”

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

China: storming the seas by stealth

“[A] research team from King’s College London, supported by the Financial Times, declared last month that China now ‘rules the waves,’ becoming a world maritime superpower...,” writes David Dodwell. “[The] King’s College research ... suggest[s] that China is pursuing a global quest to dominate the world’s sea lanes, and to parlay its huge commercial maritime infrastructure into global military power.... The King’s College researchers begin to hyperventilate when they discover how many of the new China-built or invested ports now provide sanctuary to Chinese naval vessels, or have dual-use potential.... [T]he pace of growth of China’s maritime power is striking.... At present, evidence of malevolent intent is weak, but the balance of maritime power now needs to be monitored with care.”

The Spectator / London

Nigeria's forgotten violence

“Another day in northern Nigeria, another Christian village reeling from an attack by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen who used to be their neighbours – and who are now cleansing them from the area...,” writes Douglas Murray. “For the outside world, what is happening to the Christians of northern Nigeria is both beyond our imagination and beneath our interest.... If the international community meant anything by its promises such as the UN’s ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine, then what is happening could not go on.... The Christians of Nigeria are alone. Even if we do not care about this, we ought to know.”

Spiegel Online / Hamburg, Germany

The world must take a stand

“There are times in life that really do count,” writes Klaus Brinkbäumer. “Times when a person’s character is revealed.... That’s the kind of situation now approaching.... Germany must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States and his government.... [T]he president of the United States ... is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power.... This is not a threat that will somehow resolve itself.... [E]ven here, in the middle of Germany, right-wing extremists are trying to give him a helping hand. It is high time that we stand up for what is important: democracy, freedom, the West and its alliances.”

Hurriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey

Peace can prevail in Cyprus

“The talks between the Greek and Turkish sides in Cyprus have come to such a stage that it is time for the United Nations to resume shuttle diplomacy, according to Mustafa Akıncı, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” writes Murat Yetkin. “ ‘Too much effort has been spent so far. It shouldn’t be wasted,’ Akıncı told the Hürriyet Daily News.... The talks under the auspices of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have been able to bring the five parties together around the same table for the first time in many years.... Peace in Cyprus could ... help solve many other issues in the region.... [C]ontinuation of the Cyprus problem blocks many positive opportunities in the East Mediterranean and the Middle East....”

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