Sunday Headlines

Yes, The European Parliamentary Elections Do Matter
Despite the scant attention given to the upcoming European elections, Tom Clougherty of Reason magazine says they actually do matter. Even among Europeans, the elections historically have failed to capture the electorate’s interest.

Noting that the European Parliament veers toward the protectionist side in terms of economic policy, Clougherty says with Europe at a crossroads, the direction it takes is all the more important.

“[The economic policy] matters because the E.U. is at an important crossroads in policy terms. The eurozone crisis may have abated for now, but growth remains sluggish, unemployment is shockingly high, and a Japanese-style “lost decade” looms on the horizon. And that’s to say nothing of renewed geopolitical instability in the E.U.’s own backyard. Europe desperately needs to liberalize its labor and consumer markets, strengthen its trade links with other economies (not least the U.S.), and develop an energy policy that doesn’t leave it reliant on the Kremlin to keep the lights on. For better or worse, the European election results will go some way to determining whether any of this is possible,” he writes.

US Economic, Security Interests Require It To Remain Engaged
In a guest editorial in The Christian Science Monitor, Dambisa Moyo contends the reaction of the US to the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria exposes its lack of direction on foreign policy.

Moyo, an author and CEO and founder of the Mildstorm Group, concedes the kidnappings may not have reached the moral bar for intervention, but that US economic and security interests should compel it remained involved, particularly in Africa.

“After all, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy by GDP, and among the top 10 largest oil exporters to the US. With more than 150 million citizens, it is sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation and, in the interest of economic development, children’s access to education should be protected.

“Moreover, the fact that Boko Haram, a well-known terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, has proudly claimed responsibility for the abductions should have raised serious security concerns for the US. Clearly, destabilizing Nigeria has direct and dire economic and political consequences for American living standards and way of life,” he argues.

New York Times columnist Russ Douthat also weighs in on the Obama foreign policy arguing that an absence of a monumental foreign policy blunder does not equate to success.

“But most presidents do win some clear victories. Not everyone gets to end the Cold War, but there’s usually some diplomatic initiative that leaves a positive legacy (even Jimmy Carter had the Camp David accords), some military or humanitarian intervention (even George W. Bush had his AIDS-in-Africa initiative) that looks like a success.Yet except for the killing of Osama bin Laden — an “except” that has to be qualified by Islamist terrorism’s resurgence — if Obama’s presidency ended today I have no idea what major foreign policy achievements his defenders could reasonably cite,” states Douthat.

Memories Of Tiananmen Square
Louisa Lim, a correspondent with National Public Radio, reflects on the importance of those events in 1989 – and today.

“This year the pre-anniversary crackdown has come early, revealing how relevant the events of June 4, 1989, remain to China’s Communist Party 25 years later,” she says because “remembering the demands of 1989 — the cries for greater democracy and the calls to tackle official corruption, official profiteering and the concentration of power in the hands of a few — is to recognize how they remain unmet.”

 

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