Expect more of the same during President Putin’s next term, Pompeo appointment signals a more extreme US foreign policy, ‘Brexit’ is a colossal waste, Saudi Arabia flags a nuclear arms race, Aung San Suu Kyi stays silent on the Rohingya genocide

A roundup of global commentary for the April 2, 2018 weekly magazine.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool/Photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a live televised speech in Moscow, Russia, March 23, 2018.

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Expect more of the same during President Putin’s next term

“The Kremlin controls every aspect of the political process in Russia...,” writes Ingo Mannteufel. “That makes it very difficult to judge the more than 70 percent of votes [March 18] in favor of Vladimir Putin. Many Russians undoubtedly voted for him.... But he is popular because the Kremlin has for years blocked other politicians from developing their own public profiles.... Where will Putin lead Russia in the next few years?... The poisoning of the former Russian agent ... in the UK with a ... nerve agent made it clear that Putin is prepared to further escalate confrontation with the West. The Kremlin also wants to distract the Russian public from the country’s own plight with an expansionist and aggressive foreign policy.... Putin will not change his course during his next term.”

Tehran Times / Tehran, Iran

Pompeo appointment signals a more extreme US foreign policy

“The removal of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from power and the replacement of CIA chief Mike Pompeo will create new crises at the White House...,” writes Hanif Ghaffari. “Tillerson was considered one of the few symbols of political rationality in the Trump cabinet. However, Pompeo has always been a symbol of extremism in the political and security structures of the United States.... [T]he presence of Pompeo ... represents a more serious confrontation between Trump’s government and the international community.... [Tillerson’s] policy views were about as moderate as they come inside the Trump administration.... Pompeo appears much more willing than Tillerson to toe Trump’s line....”

The Guardian / London

‘Brexit’ is a colossal waste of effort and money

“Imagine a British government deciding to apply all its resources to solving one problem...,” writes Rafael Behr. “Whatever the issue, whatever the question, one thing is certain. The answer would not begin: ‘First, leave the EU.’ Because that would be the most colossal waste of time, effort and money.... There will still be immigration across porous borders. There will not be an immediate bonanza of free-trade agreements with other countries.... Of all the challenges that the country faces, of all the tasks that might have received the same intensity of effort, this is the one we have chosen. And to what end? Only so that when it is done, we can truly say we did it.”

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

Saudi Arabia flags a burgeoning nuclear arms race

“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has warned in no uncertain terms that his country would without a doubt develop and acquire [a] nuclear arsenal should Iran acquire one,” states an editorial. “The Saudi prince sounded this warning [March 15] ... ahead of his visit to Washington for talks with President Donald Trump ostensibly on the alleged growing Iranian ‘menace’ in the Middle East.... Iran is to blame for such an ominous scenario as it is the second nation after Israel that has set this process in motion.... Now, there is no end to this new cycle of nuclear weaponisation of the Middle East, unless the major capitals in the area ... agree on the terms and accommodations necessary to restore regional stability and peace....”

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia

Aung San Suu Kyi stays silent on the Rohingya genocide

“It’s the quiet genocide,” writes Peter Hartcher. “That’s partly because the government of Aung San Suu Kyi bans the media and the UN from any access to the area of Myanmar where the army has been killing and purging the Rohingya minority.... The woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize when she was the victim of the Myanmar army’s repression has become its chief apologist.... Suu Kyi has cancelled public appearances where she would have been unable to avoid the topic.... [S]he cancelled her scheduled [March 19] appearance ... in Sydney.... The Pakistani schoolgirl the Taliban tried to [murder], Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai, has urged Suu Kyi to say something about the horrors she presides over.... She’s keeping quiet.”

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