Why Europe should boost defense spending, South Sudan’s instability a threat beyond borders, Press freedom vital to democracy, ‘Grexit’ will not get the green light, Iraq’s enemy after Islamic State: corruption

A roundup of global commentary for the March 6, 2017, weekly magazine.

Frank Augstein/AP/File
A NATO AWACS plane takes off from a NATO airbase in Geilenkirchen, Germany.

The Telegraph / London

Why Europe should boost defense spending

“[US] Vice President Mike Pence assured [Europeans at the recent Munich Security Conference] that Washington’s commitment to Nato is strong...,” states an editorial. “He also made a very good point about expenditure: if Europe wants a collective defence then it must pay for it.... Several European countries spend less on defence than the budget of the New York police department.... The stakes are high. In Munich, the Russian foreign minister spoke of a post-West order. The reality of that proposition may sadly be disorder and freedom for tyrants. Only Nato retains the power, and hopefully the will, to stand up for democracy and the rule of law.”

Daily Monitor / Kampala, Uganda

South Sudan’s instability a threat beyond borders

“Over the past six months, at least half a million South Sudanese fleeing insecurity in South Sudan have arrived in ... Uganda...,” states an editorial. “[The Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa, the] African Union and the United Nations may in the end not do enough to stabilise South Sudan. So what is Uganda doing for itself? There is no coherent policy that Uganda has designed to deal with this serious threat to its security and stability.... It is ... surprising that the South Sudan question has not been seriously discussed in Uganda’s policy fora, even in Parliament.... There is urgent need for Uganda to focus its policy on the real and present danger posed by South Sudan.”

The Nassau Guardian / Nassau, Bahamas

Press freedom vital to democracy

“Our neighbor to the north, the United States, is navigating politically dangerous times...,” states an editorial. “[President Trump] calls the media dishonest – though untruths are uttered by his administration nearly every day – and lashes out regularly.... Politicians and the media are supposed to have an adversarial relationship. Our democratic system envisions the free press as a restraint on the power of government and other dominant interests.... When Trump tweeted ... that the news media are ‘the enemy of the American people’ he did something injurious to the 240-year-old republic. His words were an attempt to delegitimize the media as part of the democratic equation. Senator John McCain said accurately that efforts to sideline the media are how dictatorships get started.”

Deutsche Welle / Berlin

‘Grexit’ will not get the green light

“Let the curtains open on the Greek tragedy...,” writes Georg Matthes. “The story’s recipe for success is always the same: a payment deadline gets dangerously close, Athens defaults, and negotiations halt on much-needed reforms.... But the last seven-year rollercoaster ride has taught us something: Yes, it’s going to be tight. But no, the Greek bailout is not really hanging in the balance.... Who would have an interest in knocking everything off balance just because Athens has been dragging out recent negotiations...? Surely no one, especially not during times when Brexiteers and US President Donald Trump, who are just waiting for more EU discord, are dominating the show on other stages. With federal elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany this year, all Grexit debates are being nipped in the bud.”

The National / Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Iraq’s enemy after Islamic State: corruption

“Having liberated parts of eastern Mosul ... Iraqi forces are getting closer to driving [Islamic State] from the city it has occupied since June 2014...,” states an editorial. “But success against [IS] in Mosul will not constitute a death blow to extremism in Iraq. A greater challenge lies deep at the heart of the country’s political and social infrastructure: corruption.... There is no easy solution to the problem of corruption in any country, let alone one that has been ripped apart by conflict.... [But success] in the fight against corruption is one way to ensure the complete destruction of groups such as [IS].”

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