Leslie Gelb worries that Syria would fell in the hands of jihadists. “The real dangers in Syria today come less from Assad, or even Iran, and much more from increasingly potent Sunni extremist fighters,” Gelb writes in a commentary for Daily Beast. He notes that a potential radical Sunni regime is even more dangerous than Assad's rule and would menace the Syria's neighbours Turkey, Israel and Lebanon, as much as the secular Sunni in the country now fighting against the regime.
Paul Krugman comments in the New York Times the coming Italian elections and the policy of austerity of the last Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti only to suggest how wrong is the conservative policy of budget cuts and blind deficit reduction. He calls Monti “the proconsul installed by Germany to enforce fiscal austerity,” and notes that, although respected, conservative politics hasn't resolved the economic problems of the European Union. On the contrary, “nations imposing harsh austerity suffered deep economic downturns; the harsher the austerity, the deeper the downturn.” The austerity programs that were expected to bring stability in Greece, Spain and Portugal just raised unemployment, hampered economy additionally and expanded the misery.
This Friday the new Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the White House. Kumi Yokoe writes in a short article for the National Review about the new generation of Japanese politicians, the so-called High Flyers who were born after the Second World War. Mr Yokoe explains that Japan has two distinctive generations today—the one born before 1940s, the Dankai generation which corresponds to the western Baby Boomers, and the second who didn't experience big war, the High Flyers. Often the second generation is depicted as “hawkish”, much more aggressive than Dankai, but Yokoe says that this is not the case. Because they have grown in the post-war economic boom, the new politicians of Japan have just more optimist and expansive global view. “Prime Minister Abe is the voice of this generation,” writes Yokoe. “That is why he so roundly condemned the successful nuclear test by North Korea last week. That is why he insisted that China apologize for locking weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese warship and promise that it would not do so again. Politicians of the Dankai generation would have eschewed such responses as too “hawkish.” But for Abe's generation, confrontation is not synonymous with belligerence. Rather, it is a sign of confidence and realism. ”
There is a new generation of politicians in Washington too. Gregor Peter Schmitz writes in Der Spiegel that President Barack Obama, is “perhaps the first genuine "non-European" in the White House. Unburdened by memories of the Cold War, Obama used Berlin in 2008 as an election stage.” Calling Obama “ultimate-pragmacist” Schmitz notes that America today is more concerned with its economy and her foreign policy is towards the frontiers, the Middle East and Asia, and less to its background, Europe. The recent visit of the new US secretary of state, John Kerry, in Berlin is not a sign that Europe and cross-Atlantic relations are priority for the new Obama administration. The hopes that Europe will be a priority for the United States are "fantasy," Schmitz thinks. The beginning of talks for a new economic free market betwen the U.S. and Europe is not yet a reson to think that America will stay concerned with the problems of Europe. Meanwhile, Doug Bandow comments in The National Interest that Paris was able to receive help from the U.S. since the European Union has lost its own military power.
At the other side of globe again, in Japan, another kind of problems is arising. China is becoming more and more polluted. Japanese are concerned that the winds carry the Chinese pollution to its shores. The Chinese Environment Protection Ministry said that early this month up to a quarter of China was covered with thick fog containing toxic substances and that some 600 million people in 17 provinces, directly controlled cities and autonomous regions were affected.