America the “Temporarily Impaired”


Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

May 25, 2017

America the “Temporarily Impaired

For too long, other nations have been free riders, letting the United States take the lead in keeping the Western alliance together, suggests John Ibbitson in the Globe and Mail. But with the election of Donald Trump, that “protection is now temporarily impaired. Others must step up.” Including Canada.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rightly placed considerable emphasis on cultivating relations with the Trump White House to contain any possible damage to the Canadian economy from renegotiating NAFTA,” Ibbitson writes. “But he too is a leader in the Western alliance. He could commit Canada to ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership, increase defense spending and defense commitments to NATO and deepen this country’s economic and security commitments to Japan and South Korea.”
 
“…One way or another, Mr. Trump will eventually leave the White House. America will be back. Mr. Trudeau and other Western leaders must hold things together until it returns.”

  • President Trump handed Russian President Vladimir Putin a win at the NATO summit, when he refused to “reaffirm the value of NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause,” writes Robbie Gramer for Foreign Policy.

“His refusal to explicitly endorse the principle may rattle U.S. allies who were already nervous that Washington won’t come to their defense in the event of an attack,” Gramer says.

He added: “Baltic countries, in particular, are worried about massing Russian military forces that could overwhelm them, and were hoping for the typical, ironclad U.S. commitment, but left disappointed.
 
“Optics-wise, things didn’t fare much better, with passive aggressiveness out in full force. French President Emmanuel Macron went out of his way to leave Trump hanging for a handshake as he greeted the phalanx of NATO member leaders.”
 

Britain Must Ignore “the Drama Queens”

Britain should be wary of the “drama queens” who have been quick to propose radical responses in the wake of the Manchester attack, argues Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post.
 
“Look back through history, and it’s clear that the only solutions to terrorism are less dramatic, less immediate, more long-term,” Applebaum writes. “They involve things such as better policing and more international cooperation, as well as the forthright teaching of British values in British schools. They require community solidarity, things like the mass vigil that took place in Manchester on Tuesday night, or the offers of tea, blankets and bedrooms extended to people stranded by the attack.
 
“These are policies and actions that work: They keep communities united, increase solidarity, discourage future bombers.”
 

ISIS to Followers: Go Unconventional

As it is pushed out of the territory it had seized, ISIS is encouraging followers to try new ways of striking back in the West – including calling on followers to use sites such as Craigslist and eBay to lure victims to meetings where they can be seized as hostages,” writes Robin Wright in the New Yorker.
 
Wright notes that in the latest issue of its multi-language online magazine, Rumiyah, ISIS suggests:

“[A]dvertising jobs, property to rent, or online sales as a way to set up meetings in controlled spaces. The goal is not the traditional use of captives to demand ransom or prisoner swaps but, instead, to execute the hostages and taunt the enemy. It instructs, ‘In order for the operation to gain wide publicity and more effectively plant terror into the hearts of the disbelievers, one can keep some of his victims alive and restrained, making for a more lengthy and drawn out hostage scenario.'”

Give Russia a Chance on Terrorism: Galeotti

Moscow wasted little time in trying to appropriate “the Manchester bomb attack to restart calls for counter-terrorism cooperation,” argues Mark Galeotti in the Moscow Times. Still, the West should probably see what Russia can bring to the table.
 
“On one level, the Kremlin’s evident eagerness to engage in counter-terrorism cooperation is reason enough to be wary. It is hardly known for its altruism,” Galeotti says. “Although Moscow was prompt and helpful after 9/11, there was an implicit quid pro quo that not least saw some of their more brutal tactics in Chechnya overlooked. Greater cooperation today, especially in any ‘framework of broader international efforts,’ would inevitably be used to excuse atrocities in Syria and as a lever to open wider cracks in any walls being built around Moscow.”
 
Yet, “[a]t the same time, the West can be looking ahead — to a Russia after Putin. Through this initiative, it could open channels with today’s rising FSB officers, who may be tomorrow’s power brokers.”
 

Time to Confront the Dragon in the Room

In downgrading China’s sovereign credit rating for the first time in almost three decades, Moody’s “is acknowledging the dragon in the room: China will have to pay the price for its epic debt binge, whatever policymakers do from here,” writes Michael Schuman for Bloomberg.
 
“The burning question in China these days is whether the government is serious about tackling the debt pile that’s exploded since the global financial crisis. Total outstanding credit grew to around 260 percent of GDP at the end of last year, from 160 percent in 2008 — one of the biggest and fastest expansions ever.”
 

Southeast Asia Gets Tough on Social Media

Major Western social media companies “are under siege in Southeast Asia, where Thailand’s new king, Vietnam’s communist government and religious tensions in Indonesia are feeding a clampdown on content,” the Financial Times reports.
 
“The countries have hit Facebook, YouTube and others with a barrage of censorship demands and threats, turning the region into a strategic test for businesses bruised by their experiences in China. The multinationals face a dilemma over balancing their proclaimed commitment to free speech against legal, political and commercial realities in the populous region arcing from Myanmar to the Philippines. Governments in the region have wide leeway to declare content illegal now and in the future.”

 

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