Global Newsstand: Focusing on Brexit distracts from Russia-Ukraine tensions, and more

A roundup of global commentary for the Dec. 10, 2018 weekly magazine.

Alla Dmitrieva/Reuters
Ukrainian naval ships, which were recently seized by Russia's FSB security service, are anchored in a port in Kerch, Crimea, Nov. 28, 2018.

The Guardian / London

Focusing on Brexit distracts from Russia-Ukraine tensions

“While [Britain’s] parliament fiddles, Europe burns, or at least sputters into flame,” writes Simon Jenkins. “History could not be clearer. The diversion of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict into the Sea of Azov is precisely the kind of escalation that has preceded Europe’s past cataclysms. A great power treats a little one with contempt. A little one responds with violence, expecting friends to come to its aid, diplomatically, economically, then militarily.... Eastern Europe is now a tinderbox of competing populisms.... There is no leader, no overseer, no plausible guarantor of peace. The only promise is of anarchy. And do you know what Britain’s parliament was discussing all this time...?”

The Manila Times / Manila

US-China trade war affects smaller countries as well 

“There is an African proverb that says, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” states an editorial. “That is what we see today with the United States and China clashing over trade practices and freedom of navigation in disputed territories.... And the particular blades of grass in peril may be APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the Philippine interests attached to it. The clash was on display at the recent APEC leaders’ summit.... As a result, APEC member economies are pulled toward opposing sides.... As the diplomatic and trade row worsens between China and the US, APEC may not survive. That would be unfortunate for the Philippines, which needs every bit of help to boost its exports.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

An Assange trial in the US could endanger freedom of the press

“[WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange] has been charged in a criminal case in the United States...,” writes Srecko Horvat. “This news hardly came as a surprise to those of us who have been following his case.... There are some in the West who are fully convinced that Assange deserves to be tried and thrown in jail.... Whatever Assange’s political leanings or views, his case is not about whether you like him or not, but about freedom of the press.... So far this year, 45 journalists have been killed across the world.... Feeding this hostile environment instead of standing up to it could be dangerous not only for journalists and whistle-blowers but also for all of us.”

Asahi Shimbun / Osaka, Japan

Japan must take a stronger stand against nuclear armament

“Japan has been trying to be a ‘bridge’ between the group of countries calling for a ban on nuclear weapons and the bloc of nations that remain dependent on nuclear deterrence...,” states an editorial. “In reality, however, Japan is not just failing in its self-appointed role but also acting in a way that could further undermine the credibility of its unique position as the only country that has suffered nuclear attacks.... With both the United States and Russia moving toward placing greater importance on nuclear arms and enhancing their nuclear arsenals, Japan should be keenly aware of the heavy weight of its responsibility and role for the international movement toward a future free from nuclear weapons.”

The Guardian Nigeria / Lagos, Nigeria

Africa needs to make changes to become investor-friendly

“A report that African political leaders and their business counterparts rose from a meeting recently in Johannesburg and resolved to dismantle all disincentives to sustainable investment in the continent has raised a glimmer of hope...,” states an editorial. “Nevertheless ... Africa is replete with uncountable unrealised intentions.... It is regrettable that in many African countries ... loans and even internally generated revenue are wasted on white-elephant projects and frivolous expenditure.... More action and less talk is needed, now. In the main, African leaders should also not discount the expediency of robust investment in quality tertiary education, which can produce the needed manpower to sustain investment in the continent that the world has come to know as ‘the next frontier.’ ”

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