Imran Khan’s priority will be fixing Pakistan’s economy, A plan for Greece after major wildfires, As the Syrian war draws to a close, a glimmer of hope, ‘Arab NATO’ should not limit its focus to Iran, Geraint Thomas’s controversial Tour de France win

A roundup of global commentary for the Aug. 13, 2018 weekly magazine.

Anjum Naveed/AP
A Pakistani takes selfie with Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, as he leaves a party meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 6, 2018. The party won the most parliament seats in general elections in July.

The Daily Star / Dhaka, Bangladesh

Imran Khan’s primary priority will be fixing Pakistan’s economy

“[Pakistani Prime Minister-elect Imran] Khan cannot be faulted for any absence of zeal during the preparatory process, leading up to the polls, to go about [the] task [of fixing the economy],” writes Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury. “In his election manifesto issued early July, he entitled his aspirations as the ‘Road to New Pakistan’.... To his ... contemporary constituency, he explained the model as being similar to the politico-economic culture prevalent in Scandinavia.... Alas, the road to a ‘New Pakistan’ appears to be extremely uneven, unusually steep, and full of potholes. That is because he has unfortunately inherited an economy that is, by all accounts, in shambles.... To lift Pakistan up from the economic morass, trade would be key. Mr Khan has emphasised this aspect while mentioning his relations with India....” 

Ekathimerini / Athens

A practical plan for Greece after major wildfires

“In the aftermath of the devastating wildfires that decimated communities in eastern Attica, [Greece,] there will be much to be learned in the days, weeks and months ahead...,” writes Andrew Tzembelicos. “[Recently], I spent four months as part of a team writing an independent 148-page report commissioned by the government of British Columbia.... Its purpose was to assess the government’s response to devastating floods and wildfires.... Among the report’s ... findings was that the level of emergency preparedness varied greatly between and among affected communities.... Another discovery was that cooperation was essential.... [M]oving forward together is the best way to honor the lives lost and plan for the future.” 

The Hindu / Chennai, India

As the Syrian war draws to a close, a glimmer of hope in peace talks

“Talks between representatives of Syria’s Kurdish rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus bring a ray of hope to hundreds of thousands living in the country’s north and east,” states an editorial. “After the talks [recently], leaders of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said they were ready to work with the regime towards creating ‘a democratic, decentralised Syria....’ This was the first time since the outbreak of war that a delegation was sent by Kurdish rebels to Damascus.... Their political leaders have also made it clear they are not seeking independence from Syria, and only want to protect their autonomy. A recapture of the Kurdish areas by force is not a feasible option for the regime.” 

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

Trump’s proposed ‘Arab NATO’ should not limit its focus to Iran

“It has been reported that US President Donald Trump is pushing for a security and political alliance, involving six Arab Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan ... nicknamed as the Arab NATO – a new bulwark against Iranian threats in the region...,” states an editorial. “The ‘idea’ is scheduled to be discussed and formally adopted ... October 12-13 in Washington. Without belittling the Iranian expansionist moves in the region ... one wonders whether an Arab-based military alliance should ... concentrate only on Iran, when there are many other enemies to the Arab order, on the top which is, of course, Israel.... ‘Arab NATO’ ... should be multifaceted in its goals.... The proposed ‘Arab NATO’ should [also help with] ... the promotion and protection of human rights through viable and pluralistic democratic institutions....” 

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Why Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France win is so controversial

“As three exciting weeks drew to a close on the Champs-Elysees in Paris ... Geraint Thomas celebrated his first Tour de France title...,” writes Joscha Weber. “[Mr. Thomas was] booed, spat at ... and even [faced] a physical attack by a fan that almost pulled him off his bike.... The 32-year-old ... is a very unpopular winner of the Tour de France. But why is that? For many French cycling fans the answer is simple: [He’s] a teammate of Chris Froome.... The fact that Froome was allowed to take part in the Tour despite [failing an anti-doping test last year]​​ is a scandal.... Sure, Thomas is a close friend of Froome.... But in cycling, as elsewhere, one should not be found guilty by association.” 

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