Sunday Readings

South Korea’s President To Visit US This Week
This week South Korea’s newly-elected president, Park Geun-Hye, will arrive in the US at a particularly crucial time given the instability throughout the Korean peninsula.

She will be bringing an aggressively hopeful agenda that aims not only to strengthen ties with the US, but also to gain support for the long-term goal of Korean unification, reports the Korea Times.

“The new South Korean leader has put forth two “processes” as her
diplomatic keywords. One of them, the “Korean Peninsula trust process” envisions Seoul taking the lead in solving the inter-Korean stalemate.

“The other, her “Seoul process” of promoting peace and cooperation in
Northeast Asia also calls for South Korea to play a more positive role in
turning the competitive nationalism in this part of the world into more
constructive reconciliation.”

Domestic Politics Complicating US-China Cooperation
It is naturally assumed that domestic political concerns would diminish after the campaign season. In fact, many believed that once the US and China moved beyond contentious political campaigns, there would be greater room for bilateral cooperation. But that hope has faded, according to Daniel Twining of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

“But rather than freeing up Washington and Beijing to cooperate more fulsomely, the domestic political frictions produced by the bilateral relationship are, like the structural tensions between the established power and its rising challenger, intensifying,” he asserts.

Does A Decline In Globalization Produce More Poverty
MarketWatch columnist Satyajit Das believes the decline of globalization following the financial crisis has resulted in diminishing returns, particularly for developing and emerging nations.

“For emerging nations, the benefits of participation in the global economic system, which previously assisted improvements in their living standards, are now diminished. They are wary of having to pay for the problems of many developed countries,” he writes.

Das notes that since 2008, an ebb in the flow of capital across borders has resulted in global financial assets increasing by just 1.9% annually — a steep decline from the 7.9% average growth from 1990 to 2007.

Are Israeli Airstrikes On Syria Complicating The Problem?
Blake Hounshell argues recent airstrikes by Israel are a double-edged sword which can be used by the regime of Bashir al-Assad and by his opponents alike.

” The regime will seek to exploit the raids to tie the rebels to the Zionist entity, after spending two years painting them as an undifferentiated mass of “terrorist gangs.” (Syrian television is already testing out this line, according to Reuters: “The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by  our noble army.”)

“But the propaganda can cut both ways. The rebels can point to the Israeli attacks as yet more evidence that Assad’s army is for attacking Syrians, not defending the country. It’s not clear to me which argument will carry the day.”

Democracy After The Arab Spring
The editorial board of the Christian Science Monitor contends the Arab Spring may have lost steam in recent months, but that democracy remains possible in Muslim countries.

“The Arab Spring is really a major example of Islam’s continuing struggle to reconcile its theology and practices with the democratic practices of civil liberties, free and fair elections, and secular rule of law. The spirit of the Arab Spring is just searching for directions. Its grander meaning is being played out in any Muslim country with a history of democracy.”



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