Saturday Ideas

“German Reunification: 25 Years Later
Twenty five years after East and West officially united under one flag, Germany operates politically as one nation and, in many respects, share common goals. However, important differences remain.

Dalibor Rohac of the American Enterprise Institute notes that more than two decades after East and West Germany were brought together, differences between the two sides in terms of economic success are apparent. The Economist magazine also provides several charts that demonstrate the divergent paths the onetime foes have taken.

Another area where East has not met West pertains to the attitudes toward immigration.

Partly a consequence of high unemployment and poor local economies, many in the East remain opposed to immigration, particularly with regard to the current mass migration occurring in Europe today.

In western Germany, according to a recent poll, 44 percent support and 46 percent oppose Merkel’s policy of welcoming asylum seekers from the Middle East, while in the east, only 31 percent approve of Merkel’s actions and 56 percent oppose them,” notes a recent editorial in Bloomberg.

Does Syria Provide A Chance To Improve US, Russia Relations?
The global power structure is no longer as easily defined as it was during the Cold War or in the decade after the fall of the Soviet Union when the U.S. embraced its leadership role. Today, America is reluctant to use its power, while Russia is desperate to demonstrate it still has some power. That is most evident in Syria. But, Michael O’Hanlon argues, despite holding differing views of Syrian President Bashir al Assad, there may be an opportunity to cooperate.

“Surely, the Russian intervention in this war was not well-motivated. In the short term, moreover, it has made things much more complicated. But if we use the occasion to recognize that current western strategy is inexorably failing in Syria, we may be able to find a better path forward that eventually finds more points of accord than disagreement between Moscow and Washington,” he suggests.

Rising Tensions Increase Odds Of Third Intifada
The murder of an Israeli settler couple in front of their children by a Palestinian gunman is raising the temperature in the West Bank. While violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers is commonplace, analysts fear that it could be a spark that sets off another intifada.

With high unemployment, dissatisfaction with Palestinian leadership, and a lack of progress in the Middle East peace talks, Dartmouth University scholar Steven Simon believes the next uprising could be potentially explosive.

“Violence could be ignited in various ways and escalate rapidly, further shrinking the space for a two-state solution and complicating U.S. efforts on other regional challenges. It would also necessitate humanitarian and reconstruction assistance from already burdened allies. Moreover, a West Bank crisis could elicit punitive responses from Europe, possibly driving a wedge between the United States and its European allies, and enable unhelpful regional states, particularly Qatar and Turkey, to meddle,” notes Simon in an analysis for The Council on Foreign Relations.



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