British conservatives put US GOP to shame


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China’s elite willingly trade freedoms for prosperity

Columnist John Gapper writes in the Financial Times that contrary to recent reports about China’s need to politically liberalize in order to continue growing, there is very little sense of rebellion among China’s elites. He argues that they are willing to give up freedoms for economic opportunities.

QUOTE: Consider what is on offer to this generation. They benefit from extremely good education (far better than most inner-city schools in the US or UK); as the offspring of one-child families they start out with few financial worries; if they want to start their own business there is plenty of capital, and one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing domestic markets to target.

British spending cuts put US Republicans to shame

Senior political writer Peter Beinart writes in the Daily Beast that the public spending cuts in the UK show that British Prime Minister David Cameron knows how to get serious about the deficit. He argues that the US Republicans lack the same kind of courage and conviction.

QUOTE: The contrast with our supposed deficit-haters in the GOP could not be starker. Cameron started attacking his country’s budget problem within weeks of taking office. Republicans held the White House for eight years and did exactly the opposite.

The French announce they’ve had enough

Mark Lilla, professor of the humanities at Columbia University, writes in the New York Review of Books that the strikes in France are unlikely to have an effect on policy-making as the protesters do not have a plan of action. Their purpose, though, is for the French to announce that they have had enough with the government’s inability to address the country’s economic and political problems.

QUOTE: Like Tea Party demonstrations in the US, they are the political equivalent of speech acts, provoked by economic contraction and loss of confidence in the political class.

UK defense spending cuts come under attack

Alistair Burnett, editor of BBC News' The World Tonight, writes in Foreign Policy that Britain has been attacked for cutting its defense budget by 8 percent.  However, he writes that the cuts could have been much worse.

QUOTE: The critics also charge the review has been driven by the Treasury's need to cut the deficit, not the Ministry of Defense's requirements for personnel and equipment.

Multilateral efforts are needed to push China on currency

Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Centre for Global Development, writes in the Financial Times that the United States must mobilize other countries to join its efforts to persuade China to change its currency policy.

QUOTE: Multilateralism could work because China would incur the opprobrium of working against not just rich but poor countries, and hence against the entire financial and trading system.

Startups: The key to making America grow again

Columnist Rich Karlgaard writes in Forbes that the United States will return to its average growth rate of 3.3 percent a year or better when startup companies succeed and get bigger. He argues that the growth of large multinational corporations will not do enough to sufficiently boost the economy.

QUOTE: What really matters is a hundred or so companies, per year, that launch, find a market, execute, scale, learn, adjust and sail over the billion-dollar mark within two decades.

Cuts reflect the decline of Britain’s military greatness

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the deep defense cuts in Britain emphasize the fact that the country’s military powers are slipping away. The cuts will force the United States to take on even more of the burden of defending the West’s security interests around the world.

QUOTE: The Strategic Defense and Security Review released this week by Prime Minister David Cameron is bad news for anyone who believes that a strong Britain is a vital bulwark of liberty.

Chinese fear democracy will bring instability

Columnist David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post that the urban Chinese are wary of change and fear that protests by the nation’s rural peasants would bring about instability.

QUOTE: That's one reason people are nervous about democracy: They don't want to enfranchise those angry peasants.

Why French strikes matter this time

Ben Barnier writes in GlobalPost that the ongoing strikes in France are not the typical expression of protest. This time, the protesters have a clear motive, the masses have been mobilized to strike, there is support across society and the strikes pose a direct challenge to President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Americans’ rage gets them nowhere

Columnist Gail Collins writes in the New York Times that Americans and political candidates have been full of “free-floating rage” not directed at any specific issue or event. She argues that this does not help the country or the candidates’ campaigns.

QUOTE: Really, people, rage never gets you anything but overturned garbage cans and broken windows. If you want to do rage, go to France.