Calling for calm amid North Korea tensions, Trump’s handling of North Korea will signal his approach to Iran, Facebook still not taking full responsibility for Russia ad-buys, The AfD’s unsurprising Bundestag election, UN reform is needed, but difficult

A roundup of global commentary for the Oct. 9, 2017 weekly magazine.

Ahn Young-joon/AP/File
A man watches a TV screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea. Trump's tweets on North Korea, Oct. 2, received a muted response in South Korea, where media focused more on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's acknowledgement that the US is keeping communication channels open with the North.

The Daily Telegraph / Sydney, Australia

Calm heads needed amid escalating North Korea tensions 

“The crisis presented by North Korea’s missile testing cannot and should not be underestimated,” write Penny Wong and Bill Shorten. “Turning this rogue state away from further aggression and restoring stability and security to the region depends on direct engagement with the affected parties.... A breakdown in the security arrangements that have been in place since the end of the Korean War could have devastating consequences.... [I]t is important that we identify considered, deliberate and measured policies.... All in the region, and indeed all in the international community, need to work together to do that. We need cool, sober heads working for de-escalation, not actions that further inflame an already volatile situation.”

Arab News / Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Trump’s handling of North Korea will signal his approach to Iran

“The frail nuclear deal with Iran adopted by the previous US administration is partly responsible for North Korea’s longing to develop its nuclear program,” writes Abdulrahman Al-Rashed. “Iran was rewarded with $150 billion in a deal to restore the money it lost during the Shah’s era ...  and most of the international sanctions were lifted. Besieged North Korea has also chosen to blackmail the world since it turned out to be a good business.... Washington has two choices; sign a deal with North Korean President Kim Jong Un, similar to that of Tehran, or break the deal with the Iranians while coming up with new ideas to undermine the capabilities of the two nuclear countries.”

The Straits Times / Singapore

Facebook still not taking full responsibility for Russia ad-buys

“Political pressure is gradually forcing Facebook executives to take responsibility for the content that appears on the social network, at this point mainly for the advertising...,” writes Leonid Bershidsky. “CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on ... Russian influence operations through Facebook during the 2016 presidential election.... [Mr. Zuckerberg] insisted that Facebook wasn’t going to police content.... Only once Facebook is forced to admit that it’s really a media company ... will that stance have to change.... While it would be fair for Facebook to accept media regulation to level the playing field, it’s a shame Mr Zuckerberg isn’t putting up that fight. It would give the public a chance to find out more about the way Facebook advertising works today.”

Ekathimerini / Athens

The AfD’s election to the Bundestag is not surprising

“Chills and fear. Nothing less. Not only for Greece, but for the entire world,” writes Pantelis Boukalas. “Or at least for those people and politicians whose memory is still intact and who still feel horror at the idea of Nazism. The same people are now appalled at the thought that the racist folk of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the bigots, the migrant-hunters – in short the 21st century Nazis – have entered the Bundestag, the German parliament.... The AfD’s election performance ... only surprised those European politicians who continue to believe that the continent remains a model for democracy and humanism.... [W]e cannot afford to drop our guard....”

The New Times / Kigali, Rwanda

UN reform is needed, but difficult

“[In September], during the ongoing UN General Assembly meeting, many world leaders ... called for the UN reform...,” writes Fred K. Nkusi. “A reform plan is now being championed by the current Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres.... [A]bout 128 countries [signed] on to a US-drafted 10-point political declaration backing efforts by Mr. Guterres.... UN Security Council veto powers – Russia and China – didn’t sign the declaration.... But, does it mean that ... the USA, the UK and France [support] reform?...
[T]he Five Permanent Members ... have consistently ... resisted the amendment of the UN Charter to scupper any attempt to bring on board other members.... UN reform is ... needed more than ever before.”

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