White House negotiation tactics may not pay off, America needs to consider civilian costs of coalition efforts in Yemen, The EU needs financial consumer protections, Why are tech companies in Korea summit?, It’s dangerous to give algorithms control

A roundup of global commentary for the Oct. 1, 2018 weekly magazine.

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
Palestinian employees of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have their hands chained as they wear orange jumpsuits to protest job cuts in Gaza City, September 19, 2018. The agency is now underfunded as a result of the Trump administration's aid cuts.

Haaretz / Tel Aviv

Trump administration’s hardball negotiation tactics may not pay off

“Trump’s [recent] redirection of U.S. policy [toward the Middle East] converges with the ongoing frustration of many Israelis that blind American financial support for the Palestinian Authority has severe repercussions...,” writes Peter Lerner. “But ... it’s an inadequate way of thinking in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.... Palestinians [in the West Bank] are far more engaged by daily life than with violence. This drastic improvement can be attributed to the very international aid distributed by USAID, UNRWA and other international organizations that President Trump intends to slash.... Who stands to gain from the bankruptcy and demise of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank?... [I]t’s Hamas in Gaza and other one-staters – who have no vision of coexistence alongside Israel – who will rush to fill that vacuum....”

Iran Daily / Tehran, Iran

America needs to re-examine the impact on civilians of coalition efforts in Yemen 

“On September 9, forces backed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia launched a new offensive around Yemen’s port of Hodeida...,” states an editorial. “The fighting renews the risk that the hunger and epic cholera epidemic stalking Yemen will spiral out of control.... [T]he Trump administration on [Sept. 11] certified to Congress that the Saudis and their allies are ‘making every effort to reduce the risk of civilian casualties’ and facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries in Yemen.... ‘There is little evidence of any attempt by the parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties,’ the head of the UN investigation team said.... In certifying the coalition’s behavior even as the assault on Hodeida went forward, the administration flouted Congress’s restrictions. Legislators should not let that stand.”

EU Observer / Brussels

The EU needs stronger financial consumer protections

“Ten years ago Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the event which sent stock markets crashing and brought the financial world to its knees,” writes Monique Goyens. “In those 10 years, we have seen a flurry of government activity in Europe to reform our financial system.... But while the system has become more resilient, what of the system’s ‘user’?... [T]he radical changes that are needed for consumers across the financial spectrum ... are blatantly missing.... The link between giving financial advice and mis-selling should be broken.... The EU needs to push for common high levels of financial supervision across Europe.... It is a great shame that ... too little has changed for the European consumer. But it’s never too late.”

The Chosun Ilbo / Seoul, South Korea

Why are cutting-edge tech companies involved in North-South Korea summit?

“Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, SK chairman Chey Tae-won, LG chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Hyundai Motor vice chairman Kim Yong-hwan will accompany President Moon Jae-in to North Korea [Sept. 18]...,” states an editorial. “But what are they supposed to do...? What North Korea really needs and is capable of playing host to is mid-sized manufacturing. The impoverished country needs to use its cheap labor to manufacture low-priced products for export.... Besides, the North is under stringent international sanctions and the U.S. is targeting any company that does business with Pyongyang....”

The Guardian / London

It’s dangerous to cede too much authority to algorithms

“In our urge to automate, in our eagerness to adopt the latest innovations, we appear to have developed a habit of unthinkingly handing over power to machines...,” writes Hannah Fry. “Sure, this technology has the capacity for enormous social good.... [H]owever, it also brings the potential for disruption.... I think it’s time we started treating machines as we would any other source of power. I would like to propose a system of regulation for algorithms.... [W]e can’t just think of algorithms in isolation. We have to think of the failings of the people who design them – and the danger to those they are supposedly designed to serve.”

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