Editorial voices from the U.S., elsewhere

May 10, 2013

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:

Decatur (Ala.) Daily

Populist politicians are much too eager to jump on the bogeyman bandwagon.

They seem not to care or notice that the bumps and jolts under their wheels are the facts being run over beneath them. Consider the popularly held belief that China “owns” the United States because it holds the majority of our debt.

Despite what many politicians and fringe groups would scare us into believing, China is not the United States’ biggest creditor. That title goes to America itself.

China holds slightly more than 7 percent of the total U.S. debt, according to the Associated Press. And despite what you might hear, China has been cutting its holdings, down from about 10 percent a few years ago.

Yes, the United States has a huge debt problem. But Americans hold the bulk of the debt through the Federal Reserve, Social Security system, pension plans for civil service workers and so on.

It is one matter for U.S. politicians to zero in on real concerns, such as human rights, currency manipulation or computer hacking. It is quite another matter for them to demonize China for controlling our destiny by owning the majority of our debt, when it is not true.

Chicago Tribune

When he ran for president, Barack Obama laid out the case against the detention of inmates at Guantanamo Bay: “It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing ... It needs to be closed.”

Oh, wait. That wasn’t Candidate Obama in 2008. It was President Obama, last week. In seeking the White House, he vowed to close the camp. More than five years after taking office, it is still in business – with no end in sight.

Obama laments the idea that “we’re going to keep 100 individuals in no man’s land in perpetuity.” But it would be hard to reduce that number to zero. Some 46 prisoners are deemed too dangerous to let go, but the administration has deemed them unsuitable for prosecution because of insufficient evidence.

As for the others deemed to pose no danger, the president needs to be negotiating with other countries to find a safe destination. He could start by appointing someone to work with foreign governments on the issue – a job that has been vacant for months and was given little attention before.

While steps like these wouldn’t solve the problem of Guantanamo, they would shrink it. That’s not quite what Candidate Obama had in mind five years ago. But an incomplete solution is better than none at all.

The Khaleej Times, Dubai

It’s the biggest country in Latin America and has great potential to be a superpower in the future, but the rampant street crime in Brazil’s major cities are a big security challenge for the government.

Recent cases of sexual crimes in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil’s commercial hub – have especially generated a big hullabaloo in the international media, raising concerns about the security of scores of tourists who are expected to visit the country for 2016 Summer Olympics.

The latest case of rape on a moving bus in Rio de Janeiro has shocked the country, and triggered a vibrant discussion on social media. An armed assailant, who was under the influence of drugs, according to witnesses, got on a bus and hit a 30-year-old woman before raping her. Apparently, the man had forced the driver to keep on driving, while he committed the heinous crime.

The high incidence of sexual crimes in cities like Rio de Janeiro show the difficulty of curbing crime in overpopulated places. Soaring migration especially makes it difficult for the authorities to enforce law in sprawling cities where posh neighborhoods exist alongside shantytowns. But if countries like Brazil aspire to become superpowers one day, they have to ensure that their women are protected.



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