US-Russia relationship recalls cold war, Proof means little in Warren and Khashoggi affairs, Iran’s blacklisting adds to US sanctions stress, Saudi Arabia could stabilize Arab world, Moon administration tried to ease North Korea sanctions too early

A roundup of global commentary for the Nov. 5, 2018 weekly magazine.

Bob Daugherty/AP/File
In this Dec. 8, 1987 photo, US President Reagan, right, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev exchange pens during the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signing ceremony. President Trump announced Oct. 20 that the United States would leave the INF treaty.

The Independent / London

US-Russia relationship of today recalls cold war dynamics

“The United States has declared its intention to rescind unilaterally one of the landmark treaties that helped end the Cold War...,” states an editorial. “ ‘Trust but verify’ was the approach taken by the Americans at the time.... It was necessary because for four decades neither side believed a word the other side said.... We seem to be back there again.... It may be true, as President Trump claims, that the Russians have been cheating, developing new nuclear missiles covertly. However, the correct response should have surely been to call that out.... The American-Russian relationship is not only increasingly confrontational, as it has been slowly growing for many years, but simply impossible to fathom. Who would trust either side?”

The New Zealand Herald / Auckland, New Zealand

Proof means little in Warren and Khashoggi affairs

“These days, in the populist era, politicians ... will make statements they know will be contradicted,” states an editorial. “Take US President Donald Trump’s denial to reporters that he made a US$1 million bet ... that Senator Elizabeth Warren could not prove her native American heritage. Yet he was on tape offering the bet.... Trump made the facts irrelevant by playing on the tribalism of the moment.... [He] was almost certainly channelling his base when he spoke bluntly about not wanting to put US arms sales to Saudi Arabia at risk over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.... Now, any responsibility will be kept away from royalty via an investigation run by the Saudis themselves.... Inconvenient facts won’t get in the way.”

Iran Daily / Tehran, Iran

Consequences of Iran’s blacklisting are compounded by US sanctions

“Over 800 representatives from various countries and international bodies convened [in October] at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris to attend the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary and Working Group meeting...,” writes Mohammad Hadi Mousavi. “FATF Executive Secretary David Lewis described Iran’s fulfilment of the organization’s obligations as inadequate.... [I]t is likely that Iran [will] be put back on the group’s blacklist. Given the implementation of the second round of unilateral US sanctions on Iran ... this would create a great deal of problems for the country in the area of banking transactions.... [Being] back on the international group’s blacklist might be the worst thing to happen to Iran at a time when other countries are making efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal.”

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

Saudi Arabia could stabilize Arab world if it focused on reconciliation

“Over the past decade, we have seen almost all of the larger Arab countries face crises which have significantly weakened their political systems...,” writes Amer Al Sabaileh. “The only strong Arab country that has not faced a serious crisis is Saudi Arabia.... [W]e also have seen a shift to greater involvement from the Saudis in conflicts across the region. However, for a stable settlement to Arab affairs today, the Saudis must play a very different role.... Saudi Arabia needs to show superb diplomatic skills to face the international pressure to obtain explanations regarding the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.... [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] must focus on reconciliation rather than the politics of escalation.”

Korea JoongAng Daily / Seoul, South Korea

Moon administration misjudged the timing on easing North Korea sanctions

“President Moon Jae-in has returned from his seven-day trip to Europe...,” states an editorial. “But Moon’s plea for an easing of sanctions on the North in the European theater suffered a critical setback.... He based his logic on the belief that it is the time for the international community to loosen the sanctions as North Korea has already crossed a point of no return in denuclearization. But his European hosts gave that notion the cold shoulder.... The United States also has decided not to hurry the denuclearization process.... [Moon’s] government will make a grave mistake if it adheres to its ill-conceived belief that the nuclear conundrum will be solved successfully if it takes the initiative on the denuclearization front.”

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