Saturday News

Can The US Really Build A Coalition Of The Willing?
Jeremy Shapiro of the Brookings Institution doubts whether the regional partners identified by the Obama administration in their strategy for defeating ISIS can get the job done.

Essentially, Shapiro says the flaw in the Obama administration strategy is that while political and strategic logic for seeking out partners is sound, the question must be asked whether effective allies for these purposes exist in either Iraq or Syria?

“The President’s speech reflected the usual U.S. response to the lack of effective local partners: build them.  If the current Iraqi government is too sectarian, insist on a new one before helping it; if the moderate Syrian opposition is not militarily effective, train and equip it until it is.   Unfortunately, the American record in building effective local partners, from Vietnam to Iraq, is very poor,” he writes.

Are Asian Democracies Losing Their Way?
Shashi Tharoor, a former UN under-secretary general and former Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs, notes several burgeoning democracies in Asia, but laments the decline of democracy in Thailand and Pakistan.

“Democracy in Asia has made impressive gains in recent years. A generation ago, half of Asia’s governments had seized power by force; today, a return to military rule seems inconceivable in South Korea and the Philippines, and unlikely in Bangladesh. Even Myanmar, for all of its problems, has broken definitively with praetorianism. But it will take a lot more progress in Thailand and Pakistan before the continent will truly have turned the democratic corner,” Tharoor concludes.

China’s Gender Gap Needs To Be Addressed
Tian Wei writes on the blog of the World Economic Forum that while China has made some advances, it must do more to address a growing gender gap.

She believes improvements have been made in terms of political empowerment, but says women continue to lag in categories such as health, educational attainment and wage equality.

However, she argues, government may not provide the answer.

“While arguing for more efforts from government to do more on gender equity, I believe it is the example of role models among the current generation of Chinese women that is key to raising awareness, motivating society, closing the gender gap and ensuring that women play their full part in the development of China’s future,” Wei asserts.

Al Jazeera Criticizes Obama ISIS Speech
In a somewhat surprising article, Mark LeVine of Al Jazeera takes issue with assertions made by President Barack Obama in his prime time address on ISIS and the war on terrorism.

He even counters Obama’s claim that ISIS does not represent Islam.

He says that “by extracting the IS from Islam and from its cultural and social context, it can be described as merely a cancer that can be neatly and surgically extracted,” but “”the truth is far messier.”

He continues:

“The IS is certainly Islamic. It is not the only or even the dominant form of Islam. But it is as real a form of expression of Islam as the violent and chauvinist Israeli settler movement is to Judaism or as extreme Hindu nationalism, Rahkine Buddhism and militant Christianity are to their religions in India, Myanmar and the United States.”



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