Sweden’s elections need in-depth reporting abroad, ICC investigations should affect all countries equally, North Korea reaps benefits of American diplomacy, China sees a steppingstone to Afghanistan through Pakistan, Naomi Osaka shines despite controversy

A roundup of global commentary for the Sept. 24, 2018 weekly magazine.

Julio Cortez/AP
Naomi Osaka, of Japan, returns a shot to Serena Williams during the women's final of the US Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.

The Local / Stockholm

Sweden’s elections need more in-depth reporting abroad

“The rise of the Sweden Democrats – and the obvious parallels to Trump, Le Pen and Brexit – means the attention focused on Sweden is out of all proportion to the country’s size...,” writes James Savage. “[F]ew media companies employ journalists who know anything about Sweden.... [T]he result is dire: simplistic, sensationalist journalism that is frequently just plain wrong.... [S]ome pieces ... are very perceptive.... Yet ... readers are rarely told that Swedes are equally exercised by humdrum issues such as healthcare and schooling.... There’s no doubt that this is an extraordinary election in Sweden.... But foreign media ... are presenting a picture of Sweden that ... misrepresents the facts – and this does their readers a disservice.”

This Is Africa / Nairobi, Kenya

International Criminal Court investigations should affect all countries equally

“The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002, in terms of the Rome Statute,” writes Socrates Mbamalu. “The Rome Statute defined four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.... [T]he ICC has been condemned for its one-sided prosecution of Third World leaders accused of such crimes.... While attempts by African countries ... to withdraw from the ICC [were] heavily condemned, it is noteworthy that the ICC has often come under criticism from African leaders.... Given America’s [recent] flagrant dismissal of the ICC, African leaders seem justified in their distrust of the court.... If the court can’t deal with the powerful, how can its existence be justified?”

The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland

North Korea continues to reap benefits of American diplomatic overture

“Three months after their landmark summit in Singapore, Kim Jong-un continues to play Donald Trump like a violin,” states an editorial. “That meeting was a coup for the dictator in Pyongyang, giving him global credibility.... North Korea is still reaping the dividend.... Chinese president Xi Jinping [recently] sent a senior official to Pyongyang.... It’s better that Trump and Kim are exchanging pleasantries than threats, of course. But there is no evidence that Pyongyang has taken any meaningful steps towards eliminating its nuclear arsenal.... [A]ll [Trump] has signed up for is a vague aspiration for a nuclear-free region – one that would include the removal of the US nuclear umbrella over South Korea.”

Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan

China sees a steppingstone to Afghanistan in diplomacy with Pakistan

“[Pakistani Foreign Minister] Shah Mehmood Qureshi [has been] busy...,” writes Huma Yusuf. “The trip by the US secretary of state was followed by a visit by the Chinese foreign minister. One theme ran through both meetings: Afghanistan.... But there is a related dynamic ... and that’s the evolving China-Afghanistan relationship. A reminder of this came last week with news that China would train Afghan troops.... These developments should remind Pakistan that China only does what it does to serve its own interests.... But as Washington will tell Beijing, there is a point at which Pakistan will not budge from prioritising its security and strategic objectives, no matter how high or sweet the friendship.”

The Japan Times / Tokyo

Naomi Osaka shines despite Women’s Open controversy

“Japanese and women’s tennis fans around the world have a new hero: Naomi Osaka, winner of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open tennis championship...,” states an editorial. “[H]er stunning victory has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the treatment of Serena Williams.... [I]n this case, [Williams] was wronged.... There is no disputing the double standard that exists in the sport.... This controversy has ... deprived Osaka of credit she rightly deserves.... [I]f this match is to be plumbed for its social significance, Japan should ponder the meaning of this exceptional athlete.... Japan needs to better appreciate its diversity.... We hope that Osaka gives us many more opportunities to think about this issue as she continues her outstanding career.”

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