Editorial voices from elsewhere

May 9, 2014

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

The Wall Street Journal

The battle for Ukraine is entering a dangerous new phase, as the Kiev government is finally making an attempt to regain control over its eastern cities from local thugs and Russian special forces. Is it too much to ask the United States to offer the military means to help Ukraine keep its own territory?

Vladimir Putin’s campaign to destabilize and disrupt his neighbor is escalating as the May 25 date to elect a new Ukrainian government nears. The Russian strongman wants to block the vote, or disrupt it enough so he can call it illegitimate. His Russian-sponsored fighters moved this week from smaller towns in eastern Ukraine to the regional centers of Donetsk and Luhansk, taking key government installations.

Ukraine is desperately seeking Western military help, but so far the United States has refused. Obama is so worried about upsetting Putin that he refused to send even night-vision goggles, offering 300,000 meals-ready-to-eat instead. The Ukrainians are battling to free themselves of Russian domination and build a European democracy. They deserve more than Spam in a can from America.

Williamsport Sun-Gazette

This is a political year, so it’s best to just stick to the numbers when considering Pennsylvania’s unemployment figures.

According to the state Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania’s jobless rate in March was 6 percent. That’s below the national jobless rate of 6.7 percent. The data also marks a drop in the number of unemployed state residents for the eighth consecutive month, falling 8,000 to 390,000 in March.

Pennsylvania’s labor force – the number of people working or searching for work – rose by 12,000 in March.

You will be bombarded by advertisements and political stump speeches in the coming months highlighting how horrible the state’s economic situation is.

While the state’s economy clearly needs to be better, it is not the quagmire it is often made out to be. The numbers don’t support the cries of economic disaster.

The Japan Times

China loomed large in U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent trip through four Asian countries, a trip in which he tried to allay concerns among allies about Washington’s security commitments in the region without antagonizing Beijing.

Obama’s April 23-29 visit to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines came after his administration’s policy of rebalancing U.S. foreign policy to focus on the Asia-Pacific was seen as lacking in substance and as his responses to the Syrian and Ukraine crises were perceived as weak.

In Tokyo, Obama gave assurances to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the Senkaku Islands – the source of a bitter territorial row with China that has severely strained bilateral ties – are covered by U.S. defense obligations under its security treaty with Japan.

Speaking to American troops stationed in South Korea to keep watch over North Korea as the Pyongyang regime continues its missile and nuclear weapons programs, the president said the United States “will not hesitate to use our military might” to defend its allies.

Political dialogue between Japan and China remains stalled since tensions escalated over the Senkakus dispute in 2012. Tokyo reportedly had sought Obama’s commitment on defending the Senkakus under the security pact – the first such statement by a U.S. president – as a key result of the talks to keep China in check.

However, it would obviously be unwise for Japan to count solely on that statement – which Obama himself even appeared to be playing down as he said the position was nothing new and merely repeating what other U.S. officials said earlier – to stabilize its relations with countries in the region. The Abe government needs to take concrete actions of its own to improve Japan’s ties with China, as well as with South Korea.



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