Will North Korea bring the US and ASEAN together?, Chibok girls freed but concerns remain, What did Erdoğan get out of talks with Putin?, Venezuelan opposition should seek common ground with Chávist loyalists, A bipartisan case for Comey's dismissal
A roundup of global commentary for the May 22, 2017, weekly magazine.
The Nation / Bangkok, Thailand
Will North Korea bring the US and ASEAN together?
"Diplomatic relations between the US and countries in this region have often been hampered by different standards and interpretations of political integrity...," states an editorial. "At least on the black-and-white threat posed by an armed and boisterous North Korea, America and Southeast Asia can sing the same tune. It’s the grey issues that have rendered our ties tenuous.... White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has said Washington wants to be ‘on the same page’ with [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] regarding North Korea, and that takes precedence over allegations of rights abuses hampering democratic progress in the region. The two issues, however, might be connected in terms of what fosters cooperation. After all, friends can agree to disagree, whereas enemies won’t even try to understand one another."
Deutsche Welle / Berlin
Chibok girls freed, but concerns remain
"The release of the 82 Chibok girls ... was a joyous occasion and a great success for the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari...," writes Thomas Mösch. "In securing the release of the girls, Buhari did not want to rely on military might.... Freedom for the girls was evidently so important to him that he was even prepared to negotiate with terrorists to achieve it. He also let Boko Haram claim a victory of their own at the negotiations.... This is the point at which the jubilation at the girls’ release starts to jar. The negotiations and the agreements that were undertaken show that Boko Haram is far from being defeated, despite claims to this effect by the Nigerian military."
Hürriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey
What did Erdoğan get out of talks with Putin?
"The highpoint of [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s visit [with Russian President Vladimir Putin] appears to be the announcement that Turkey, Russia and Iran will be sponsoring four ‘de-escalations zones’ in Syria between the [Bashar] al-Assad regime and opposition fighters...," writes Semih Idiz. "It appears at first glance that Russia has come around to Turkey’s long-expressed desire to see safe zones in Syria, but that is clearly not the case. Those zones were proposed against the al-Assad regime whereas these require cooperation with the regime under Russian and Iranian auspices. Turkey, in other words, remains the weak link in this project, if indeed it can be implemented."
Buenos Aires Herald / Buenos Aires
Venezuelan opposition should seek common ground with Chávist loyalists
"Though recent political developments in Venezuela have confirmed the long decline in that country’s democratic trajectory, President Nicolás Maduro’s decision to convene a constitutional assembly confirms suspicions that the regime is descending into dictatorship...," writes Patricio Navia. "[T]he opposition should seek common ground with those who, for different reasons, want to defend the 1999 Constitution and build a larger coalition that includes Chávist loyalists who have second doubts about Maduro’s recent move.... Now that Maduro has decided to sacrifice Chávez’s Constitution, in an attempt to hold onto power amid growing popular discontent, the opposition can use the growing division within the regime to build a coalition that is strong enough to force Maduro to resign."
The Telegraph / London
Making a bipartisan case for Comey's dismissal
"[T]he implication that [President] Trump is behaving unconstitutionally is inaccurate," writes Tim Stanley. "Not only does the President have the authority to sack an FBI director but it’s been done before.... Given the evidence mounting against [James] Comey, given the need to restore public confidence in an FBI that had become hopelessly over-politicised, one can make a bipartisan case for Comey’s dismissal. One could go further and ask what would it have looked like if Trump kept him on? Wouldn’t he be accused of shielding an incompetent office holder who had allegedly helped him with the White House?"