Ann Saphir/Reuters
A pump jack lifts oil out of a well, during a sandstorm in Midland, Texas, April, 2018.

Trump should not complain about oil at $75 a barrel, Why Russia’s anti-European propaganda matters, Is a military coup brewing on Iran’s horizon?, An Indonesian reminder to keep pushing gender parity, Culture is no excuse for unethical behavior

A roundup of global commentary for the May 7, 2018 weekly magazine.

Arab News / Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

Trump should not be complaining about oil at $75 a barrel

“Brent crude [was] back at the $75 a barrel level many analysts regard as the ‘Goldilocks’ price: not too hot for the big consumers in China, India and Europe, but not too cold for the national treasuries of the Gulf countries and Russia...,” writes Frank Kane. “In fact, virtually the only person complaining about oil’s recent high is Donald Trump, who in a [recent] tweet ... said crude at current prices was ‘artificially Very High!’... The oil executives who drill the Permian basin in Texas ... love oil at $75 a barrel. At that price, they can fund ongoing expansion in the shale fields.... At $75 a barrel, the US will become the biggest producer of oil sometime this year....” 

EUobserver / Brussels

Why Russia’s anti-European propaganda matters

“While Europe is arguing whether it is necessary to fight propaganda at the legislative level, Russia hasn’t wasted time, and already created the image of a ‘European enemy’ for the Russian citizen...,” writes Liubov Tsybulska. “The Russian population is vulnerable to propagandistic content due to many factors. According to a Russian social survey, only five percent of Russians can speak a foreign language (usually English), six percent watch/read news from foreign media, and only seven percent sometimes travel farther than the countries of the former USSR.... During 2014-2017, the Russian mainstream channels showed more than 45,000 pieces of negative news about Europe, the US, and Ukraine.... [I]n the long run, this can have very dramatic consequences, as it has happened with Ukraine.” 

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

A military coup could be brewing on Iran’s horizon

“Since the beginning of the year, Iran has witnessed persistent protests...,” writes Saeid Golkar. “Apart from these protests, the Islamic Republic has been facing numerous social-economic and political problems.... It is amid these heightened tensions that the possibility of a coup against the current government ... has arisen. There are already some signs that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) could be moving in that direction if Ayatollah Khamenei orders them to do so. There is a growing consensus among Iranian political elites who believe implementing radical reforms is the only solution to these crises. But reforms seem very unlikely since Iran’s dual political structure is in deadlock.... Any serious reform of the system could undermine the supreme leader’s position of power.” 

Jakarta Post / Jakarta, Indonesia

An Indonesian heroine reminds us to keep pushing gender parity

“For many Indonesian women, Raden Ajeng Kartini is a figure they associate themselves with,” writes Sri Mulyani Indrawati. “A pioneer who fought for women’s rights and girls’ education in the late 1800s, she has become a national heroine.... To continue her fight, every year on Kartini’s birthday on April 21, Indonesians – myself included – reflect on progress toward gender parity. Granted, there has been positive progress.... But the gender gap remains.... The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report found that gender parity is still more than 200 years away. This is all the more reason that we need to keep pressing for progress.... We owe this to Raden Ajeng Kartini.” 

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Culture is never an excuse for unethical behavior

“It would be fair to say something considered distasteful in one culture might not necessarily be so in another...,” writes Luisa Tam. “Unfortunately, there is an increasing tendency to dilute the severity of bad and immoral behaviour with cultural differences and many people use culture to sugar-coat bad behaviour. A case in point is the recent controversy of two men kissing a Hong Kong television reporter while she was doing a live telecast.... It immediately triggered an avalanche of criticism of sexual harassment. But some seemed to think it’s a storm in a teacup.... We should stop those who try to use cultural differences ... as a sword and a shield to do whatever they want....”

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