Canada’s frustrating year dealing with the Trump administration, Why the West is culpable for untold suffering in Yemen, The new year calls for a pivot in anti-Islamic State strategy, President Trump’s National Security Strategy is devoid of direction

A roundup of global commentary for the Jan. 1, 2018-Jan. 8, 2018 weekly magazine.

Esteban Felix/AP
Former President Sebastian Pinera addresses supporters after winning the presidential elections runoff in Santiago, Chile on Dec. 17, 2017.

The Globe and Mail / Toronto

Canada’s frustrating year dealing with the Trump administration

“In dealing with the Trump administration, it’s been a year of frustration for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cast. Try as they might ... they haven’t been heard...,” writes Lawrence Martin. “Where Ottawa’s exasperation lies is in trying to locate where, on any given day of the week, Mr. Trump’s head is situated. The North American free-trade agreement zigzags offer an example.... Frustration anyone? How is the Prime Minister supposed to deal with a President whose modus operandi is the hairpin turn?... It’s not all bad. The Keystone XL pipeline favoured by Mr. Trudeau was given the go ahead.... A big plus for Canada is the high-flying economy over which Mr. Trump presides, making American markets for the northern neighbour more bounteous....”

The Guardian / London

Why the West is culpable for untold suffering in Yemen

“[Saudi Arabia’s] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is on quite the shopping spree: a $500m yacht here, a $450m Leonardo da Vinci painting here,” writes Owen Jones. “As this despot showers himself in decadent luxury, the children of Yemen are starving as Saudi bombs ... destroy the country. It is one of the greatest crimes on earth, so it is welcome that [on Dec. 19] 350 high-profile figures – Nobel peace prize laureates and celebrities among them – have signed a letter demanding the leaders of France, the US and the UK stop ‘stoking the flames of war’. The barbarous Saudi regime is being armed and supported by the west as it pummels Yemen.”

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

The new year calls for a pivot in anti-Islamic State strategy

“The year 2017 will be looked upon as setting a crucial milestone in the long and costly war against jihadists and in particular the self-proclaimed ‘caliphate’ of [Islamic State],” writes Osama Al Sharif. “In the past few weeks there has been a number of celebratory events – all marking the defeat of this brutal cult.... But is it too early to sign the death certificate of one of the most enigmatic and radical takfiri groups in recent history?... [W]hile the so-called ‘caliphate’ no longer exists, the brand continues to linger.... 2018 should be the year that sees the beginning of the defeat of the dogma that continues to appeal to disenfranchised young men and women.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

President Trump’s National Security Strategy is devoid of direction

“[President] Trump’s assertions [in his speech about the National Security Strategy Dec. 18] about renewed US respectability and influence around the world seem laughable...,” writes Marwan Bishara. “Trump’s doctrine reveals a zero-sum vision that leads to a zero-sum strategy: Us vs them. It is a vision of an alien world that’s hostile to US interests, a vision that led the US to pull out of the Paris Climate accords, from UNESCO, and from the Trans-Pacific partnership, among others.... President Trump has advanced a three-tier strategy to protect the homeland, promote American prosperity, and preserve peace through strength. But his logic is populist, his style antagonistic, and his policy is belligerent.... In sum, Trump has embraced a hyperrealist foreign policy and sees no real value in universal values.”

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Chile’s new president faces a balancing act 

“The election of the centre-right Sebastián Piñera as Chile’s President in a run-off [Dec. 17] comes at a critical juncture, with the country’s political boundaries in the post-Pinochet era being redrawn...,” states an editorial. “Mr. Piñera’s victory raises expectations of the country’s return to the robust economic performance of his previous term during 2010-14.... Economic consolidation is a critical priority in Latin America, still reeling under the effects of the plummeting commodities markets in recent years. But governments may not be able to ignore demands that the fruits of growth be distributed evenly.” 

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