Global Newsstand: Trump may find unlikely ally in Chinese business sector, and more

A roundup of global commentary for the Jan. 28, 2019 weekly magazine.

Damir Sagolj/Reuters/File
President Trump and President Xi shake hands after making joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 9, 2017.

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia

Trump may find unlikely ally in Chinese business sector 

“In his tariff war with China, US President Donald Trump has some hidden allies,” writes Andrew Browne. “Just about every complaint US trade negotiators raised in Beijing [in January] – not to mention their doubts about the sincerity of China’s concessions – are shared by Chinese entrepreneurs.... This reality underscores how tough it will be for the Trump administration to roll back a set of statist industrial policies that are rooted more in politics and ideology than economics. At the same time, it presents Trump with an opportunity – to leverage internal Chinese pressure to open doors both for international investors and a domestic Chinese constituency with a vital stake in playing by global trading rules.”

The Jamaica Observer / Kingston, Jamaica

Rising sea levels will have pronounced effect on island nations

“News from scientists [on Jan. 10] that the world’s oceans are heating up at an accelerating pace is cause for even greater focus on the need for small island developing states to craft and implement resilience-building instruments...,” states an editorial. “Global warming’s threat to marine life, which is a major source of food for the world, is of particular concern to us here in the Caribbean.... Add to that the effect that an increase in sea levels will have on our coastal communities, as well as the impact of extreme weather events on the region, and you get an idea of the urgency with which we must all act....”

Prospect / London

Social media can be used for good, too

“While it is true that the internet, and social media in particular, have unleashed new ways for the criminal and the nasty to operate, the narrative that paints online space as nothing more than a fetid pit ignores, and potentially risks undermining, its benefits,” writes Jodie Ginsberg. “The story [in early January] of Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who tweeted her demands for asylum after barricading herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room, is a case in point.... Platforms like Twitter can unleash mass pile-ons that result in vile abuse being directed at individuals.... But that same mechanism is what helps appeals for help or support spread at lightning speed and offer vital solidarity and positive action.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

Iran-Israel rivalry will soon play out in South America

“Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies since 1979 when Iranian revolutionaries toppled the Pahlavi regime and established the Islamic Republic in its stead,” writes Maysam Behravesh. “The hostility has since spilled over into regions beyond the Middle East.... While Tehran continues to hold sway in parts of South America, the rise of a new staunch Israel supporter in the region might significantly curb its influence in the coming years. Far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly expressed his sympathies for Israel, was recently inaugurated as the president of Brazil.... With Brazil about to turn into a bastion of pro-Israeli politics under Bolsonaro, Iran’s main ally in the region, Venezuela, will likely experience increased political and economic pressure from its southern neighbour.”

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Could a universal basic income become politically feasible?

“In 2010-2013, I was principal designer of three basic income pilots in West Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, in which over 6,000 men, women and children were provided with modest basic incomes, paid in cash, monthly, without conditions,” writes Guy Standing. “The money was not much, coming to about a third of subsistence. But it was paid individually.... The outcomes exceeded expectations, partly because everybody in the community, and not just select people, received their own individual transfer.... Above all, the basic incomes improved the community spirit and were emancipatory.... The beauty of moving towards a modest basic income would be that all groups would gain.... Will the politicians show the will to implement it? We need to see.”

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