Threats to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, Latin America’s declining left, The shifting role of journalism, What does Trump mean for US role in the world?, Will ‘Scoxit’ follow ‘Brexit’?

A roundup of global commentary for the March 13, 2017, weekly magazine.

Stefan Rousseau/PA/AP
A lone "Yes" campaign supporter walks down a street in Edinburgh, Scotland, after the result of the Scottish independence referendum, in which voters decided to remain in the United Kingdom, Sept. 19, 2014.

Daily News / Cairo

Threats to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative

“Troubled ports in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, envisioned as part of China’s string of pearls linking the Eurasian heartland to the Middle Kingdom, exemplify political pitfalls that threaten Beijing’s ambitious One Belt, One Road project...,” writes James Dorsey. “The problems of [Pakistan’s Gwadar port and Hambantota port in Sri Lanka] serve as pointers to simmering discontent and potential resistance to China’s ploy for dominance through cross-continental infrastructure linkage across a swath of land that is restive and ripe for political change.... [P]rotests in Sri Lanka and Central Asia ... suggest that for China to succeed, it will not only have to engage with local populations, but also become a player rather than position itself as an economic sugar daddy that hides behind the principle of non-interference....”

Buenos Aires Herald / Buenos Aires

Latin America’s declining left

“The election on February 19 in Ecuador was another severe blow for the left in Latin America...,” writes Patricio Navia. “After almost two decades of electoral dominance ... left-wing coalitions are struggling at the polls.... Earlier in this century, the left won almost everywhere, promising to reduce inequality and to better distribute the benefits of economic growth.... All over the region, income inequality decreased and millions were lifted out of poverty. With abundant resources to finance social programmes, left-wing leaders successfully delivered on their promises.... Yet, eventually, the export boom ended and the economic cycle turned against Latin America.... Unless the left can articulate a credible plan for fostering growth – and not just income redistribution – its electoral fortunes will continue to look gloomy in the coming months.”

The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland

The shifting role of journalism

“Donald Trump and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, are winning the media war,” writes Fintan O’Toole. “And they’re winning because those of us who work in traditional journalism don’t understand what they’re after: the feel-bad factor.... Traditionally, governments are good-news merchants. Their default media strategy is to look out for anything positive that might be happening ... and claim credit for it.... Now, if you’re a traditional journalist, part of your job is to counteract this relentless stream of cheeriness.... [President Trump] understands that he has come to power by feeding – and feeding on – fear and despair.... Faced with government by gloom, journalists must steel themselves to accentuate the positive.”

The Straits Times / Singapore

What does Trump mean for US role in the world?

“Is it time to stop worrying about America’s global role under Mr Donald Trump?...” asks Hugh White. “Alas, too much of the evidence points the other way.... First,... there seems little doubt that the most influential figures around the President today are people like Mr Steve Bannon, whose whole aim seems to be to prevent the White House settling down into a routine of stable, predictable and effective government.... [Second,] can America really be counted on to back up its allies in a crisis...? [Finally,] serious people in Washington ... worry that [Trump’s] style of government and politics might come to threaten America’s constitutional order.”

The Economist / London

Will ‘Scoxit’ follow ‘Brexit’?

“[T]here is talk of another referendum in Britain,” states an editorial. “This time the people who could be offered the chance to ‘take back control’ are the Scots.... Yet if Brexit was a political earthquake, Scotland has suffered a less-noticed economic earthquake, too.... The main reason is its reliance on fossil fuels and finance, which are doing badly.... Many of those Scots who voted to stay in the union in 2014 did so for clear economic reasons. Britain’s exit from the EU muddies that case. The alarming result is that Brexit has made Scottish independence more harmful – and more likely.”

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