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US midterms were not a complete rebuke of Trump, Seoul should be wary of Pyongyang in diplomatic efforts, US foreign policy needs to be stable, Greek business still needs reform, Looking back at World War I

A roundup of global commentary for the Nov. 26, 2018 weekly magazine.

Gerald Herbert/AP
Elliot Scharfenberg walks with his dog as he leaves his polling place after voting in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Nov. 6, 2018.

The Independent / London

US midterms were not a complete rebuke of Trump

‘During the campaigning for the US midterm congressional elections, former vice president Joe Biden described them as the most important of his lifetime...,” states an editorial. “If these elections were a referendum on the president, they were not the overwhelming rejection his critics prayed for.... The American people have opted to apply the brakes a little to their freewheeling leader, restraining him rather than handing him his notice.... Aside from party politics, the [116th] Congress of the United States will look and sound more like the nation it governs, with more women, more LGBT+ lawmakers and more from minorities.... The results symbolise the changing demographics of America and, thus the long-term erosion of the Republican political base.”

JoongAng Ilbo / Seoul, South Korea

Seoul should be wary of Pyongyang in diplomatic efforts

“South Korea is shipping 200 tons of tangerines to North Korea by air as a token of appreciation after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent two tons of pine mushrooms for South Korean families...,” states an editorial. “The question is whether the move had to take place now. Tensions are building due to the stalemate in denuclearization negotiations between the United States and North Korea.... The shipment of tangerines amid renewed tensions between Washington and Pyongyang could worsen relations between Seoul and Washington.... Seoul should watch its solo moves on North Korea lest it give the wrong impression to Washington and [the] rest of the world.”

The National / Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

US foreign policy needs to be stable

“To the consternation of allies, from those in Nato to Arab Gulf states, US foreign policy in the 18 months since Donald Trump’s inauguration has been unpredictable,” states an editorial. “But in many ways, it is business as usual. While Mr Trump often appears to be more motivated by the desire to unpick his predecessor’s legacy, similar accusations could be made of Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton.... [T]he problem with this approach is that while policies can change according to who occupies the White House, the world’s problems do not.... America has a responsibility to develop unequivocal foreign policies. The stability of the Middle East and much of the rest of the world depends upon it.”

Kathimerini / Athens

Greek business still needs reform

“We have supposedly understood why we went bankrupt and made some effort to change in the past 10 years, but a crucial step has been missed: For Greece to finally emerge from the crisis completely, the private sector also needs to undergo a radical overhaul...,” writes Alexis Papachelas. “We are under no illusions that German or American companies are free of scandal and operate in an angelic world, but the situation in Greece has just gone too far.... On the upside, there is a part of the private sector that is showing us what can be accomplished.... If more of the private sector operated professionally and unbound by vested interests, there would be a lot more pie to go around.”

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Looking back at World War I

“The historical significance of the Great War derives not only from the sheer number of war dead, but also from the new quality of violence it entailed...,” writes Jörn Leonhard. “[C]ivilians were subjected to a new quality of violence.... Many soldiers were badly wounded in the fighting, obliging the state to provide long-term care for war invalids on their return home.... Only war itself emerged victorious, so to speak.... Remembering the massive destruction and extreme violence of World War I, and reflecting on what harm humans can inflict on each other in modern warfare, must be part of our modern consciousness, to help us understand how we arrived in our complicated present times.”

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