Populism's effect on mainstream parties, Government must take action to save coral reefs, The influence of 'Brexit' in Asia, Combating famine in Somalia, Canadian attitudes toward illegal immigration

A roundup of global commentary for the April 3, 2017, weekly magazine.

David Gray/Reuters/File
A tourist boat floats above an area called the 'Coral Gardens,' located off Lady Elliot Island and northeast of the town of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia, on June 11, 2015.

EUObserver / Brussels

Populism's effect on mainstream parties 

"[T]he biggest risk to Europe today is arguably not the prospect of radical right populists in power ... but their outsize influence on mainstream policymakers," writes Benjamin Ward. "Instead of courageously confronting the flawed arguments of insurgent populist parties and defending policies based on rights, mainstream parties have aped their agenda for fear of losing votes.... This attitude and position from mainstream political leaders represents as much of a challenge and threat to human rights values as do the populists themselves. It legitimises and normalises the hateful agenda of the xenophobic, anti-Islam, anti-refugee populists.... It means that even if the populists lose at the ballot box they still win." 

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia 

Government must take action to save coral reefs 

"Port Douglas, the once thriving Queensland tourist mecca, is facing a slow decline as the Great Barrier Reef, formerly its big attraction, quietly dies beneath the waters to its east and north...," states an editorial. "As sea temperatures are now regularly breaking heat records, it is clear time has almost run out.... As a nation we appear to be accepting, without any conscious decision, the death of the reef.... Will no government, will no politician from our political mainstream, stand up effectively for the interest of future generations, protect and heal our heritage and oppose any more subsidised, smash-and-grab mining development?" 

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

The influence of 'Brexit' in Asia 

"While Brexit may seem like a small pebble thrown into the far-away pond that is Europe, its significance for [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] – and by extension the East Asian Summit of 16 nations – should not be underestimated...," writes Phar Kim Beng. "Contrary to what the founding fathers of Asean claim, the 10-member body for regional cooperation is remarkably similar to the EU and it is built on the same principle – eliminating regional tensions. If the European project fails, or seriously falters, why should Asean succeed?… Regardless of what ultimately happens with [Scottish First Minister Nicola] Sturgeon’s moves for a Scottish referendum, the message is clear. Confidence in regionalist projects is disappearing." 

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

Combating famine in Somalia 

"[T]he Somali people are in need of both an organised, short-term as well as a long-term response to ensure that this [famine] is contained...," writes Afyare Abdi Elmi. "The model the Turkish government employed in 2011 and 2012 offers an innovative perspective.... First, the Turkish model combined aid and development.... Second, Turkey provided direct and often unconditional assistance to the Somali government.... Third, the Turkish model focused on high-impact infrastructure development projects.... Fourth, since the capacity of the Somali institutions are low, Ankara has used public-private partnerships to deliver most of the capital projects.... Finally, being on the ground was perhaps the most important factor that has helped Turkey to receive widespread support from the Somalis. Turkish diplomats and aid workers stayed in the country, which helped them understand the Somali people and their needs better." 

Maclean's / Toronto 

Canadian attitudes toward illegal immigration 

"Across Canada, border towns are already experiencing an influx of asylum seekers fleeing the United States – on foot," writes Christine Sismondo. "In America, white nationalism has re-emerged.... [I]n Canada, too, hate crimes – including mosque shootings, anti-Muslim rallies, swastikas on prayer houses, sidewalks and in universities – appear to be on the rise. Although there’s an important historical connection between our immigration policies and those in the United States ... white supremacy isn’t something we need to import." 

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