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The US and Japan must be open to talks with North Korea, Behind Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption drive, Analysts misunderstand Saudi Arabia’s transformation, The Paradise Papers are an opportunity to improve law, Kenyatta must heal Kenya’s wounds

A roundup of global commentary for the Nov. 20, 2017 weekly magazine.

US special representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun (r.) answers questions from reporters following meeting with Japan and South Korea chief nuclear negotiators to talk about North Korean issues at the Iikura guest house in Tokyo, Japan April 25, 2017.
Toru Yamanaka/Pool/Reuters/File
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  • Monitor Editors

The Japan Times / Tokyo

The US and Japan must be open to diplomatic talks with North Korea

“The summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump may have been a success in demonstrating the solid Japan-U.S. alliance in the face of North Korea’s security threat...,” states an editorial. “They confirmed the shared strategy of maximizing international pressures on North Korea.... Abe has thrown his support behind the U.S. policy that all options, including military strikes, are on the table.... True, past dialogues with the North Korean regime have failed to prevent Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development programs.... Meanwhile, an attempt to use a military solution to the crisis – even on a limited scale – risks grave consequences.... [B]oth the U.S. and Japan should explore all avenues for a diplomatic solution....”

The National / Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

What’s really behind Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption drive

“A new [Saudi Arabian] anti-corruption committee was announced in the kingdom and immediately struck, detaining high profile business people and royals...,” writes Faisal Al Yafai. “Given the tendency for outsiders to view the politics of Saudi Arabia as essentially a palace drama, it is no surprise that the arrests were interpreted that way.... But for most Saudis, these extraordinary decisions by ... crown prince [Mohammed bin Salman] seem to fit a context of radical change in a society long resistant to it. These changes are really driven by an economic reality [in which] 70 per cent of Saudis are under the age of 30. They are exposed to the outside world as never before ... and desperately impatient to be part of it....” 

The Telegraph / London

Flippant analysts have misinterpreted Saudi Arabia’s rapid transformation

“ ‘This is the Saudi Arab Spring’ said a well-connected Riyadh socialite to me [recently] in a private Twitter exchange,” writes Muddassar Ahmed. “His message, as well as his chosen medium, speaks volumes about the new Saudi Arabia unleashed by Mohammed bin Salman.... The [recent] events ... show that Saudi Arabia is finally facing up to its deep-rooted economic, social and foreign policy challenges.... The familiar vocabulary being used by outside analysts doesn’t do justice to the complexity and significance of bin Salman’s actions.... [B]eneath the surface, the Saudi Middle Class ... have been squeezed for years. It is those Saudis who are riveted by ... talk of anti-corruption and a return to moderate, open Islam.”

The Gleaner / Kingston, Jamaica

The Paradise Papers present an opportunity to improve a Jamaican reform law

“[T]he people who manage the personal wealth of Queen Elizabeth ... are having to explain why the Queen, through the Duchy of Lancaster, her private estate, invested huge sums of money in complex funds in an offshore tax haven...,” states an editorial. “Around the world, politicians, giant firms, corporate titans and other wealthy individuals are confronting the fallout from the Paradise Papers.... [W]ith Jamaica soon to launch a new integrity law for civil servants and public officials, the Paradise Papers may be a useful backdrop against which it might be reviewed to determine whether it might be in need of minor tweaking....”

The Daily Monitor / Kampala, Uganda

Kenyatta must work to heal Kenya’s postelection wounds

“When Uhuru Kenyatta ... [was] declared ... [the winner] of the Kenya presidential elections of August 8, president Kenyatta was ‘presidential’ while accepting the renewal of his mandate...,” writes William G. Naggaga. “He said politics should not divide Kenyans.... [However, in] the days that followed [the Supreme Court’s annulling of the election result] ... he went ‘native’.... It was a different Kenyatta from the one days before. He attacked Nasa leader [Raila] Odinga at every opportunity.... [O]nly 38 per cent of the people ... voted for him [in the Oct. 26 rerun].... Since Kenyatta and Raila are known to be good friends outside politics, let them fix Kenya’s broken politics before it is too late.”

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