The world has a lot to say about the U.S. Here are today’s top picks for foreign angles on American stories.
Reading the tea leaves in Obama’s Israeli itinerary
One week ahead of President Obama’s visit to Israel, The Jerusalem Post is trying to read the symbolism behind all the stops on Obama’s itinerary. Stop by stop, Herb Keinon examines where the president will spend his time, and how much time he will spend there.
A tour of the Iron Dome anti-missile battery, partly funded by the U.S.? Deeper meaning: “deep partnership, ironclad cooperation.” A museum exhibit featuring Israeli technology? Symbolism: to “see Israel not only as a land of the Bible and conflict, but also as a country at the cutting edge of computer technology.” Most symbolic is Obama’s five-hour meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. For Keinon, this is very different from a long meeting at the White House:
Here Obama is Netanyahu’s guest, and he doesn’t have to run off – either in the middle of the meeting or immediately afterward – for a meeting with the visiting Romanian president, or a congressional leader. It is at this meeting where the main issues on the agenda – Iran, Syria, the Palestinians – will be discussed, with each leader trying to provide the other with an understanding of what he can, and cannot, do.
Calm down on Keystone—U.S.-Canada environmental work has never been stronger
American environmentalists have been putting a lot of pressure on Canada lately. The creation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, pending approval by the U.S. Department of State and scheduled to bring a heavy form of crude oil down from Canada’s tar sands, has been called “game over for climate change” by prominent activists. Writing for Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Colin Robertson says this is a false choice: “In reality, the American emissions challenge is not so much Canadian production as American consumption.”
Robertson goes on to point out a number of climate-change-fighting initiatives in Canadian provinces and environmental partnerships between the U.S. and Canada, generally stating that environmental cooperation between the two neighbors has never been stronger. And he seems to bristle at the idea that Americans are trying to boss Canada around when it comes to the environment:
Usually, we are the ones making ‘asks’ of the United States on environmental issues such as Acid Rain, the Devil’s Lake water diversion, Great Lakes clean-up, and preserving the sanctity of the Arctic. Brian Mulroney artfully demonstrated that on Acid Rain, when we clean up our own act, we can ‘shame’ the United States into action.
The perception that we are on the wrong side of the environmental fence doesn’t jibe with where Canadians tell pollsters they want their government to be.
Kim Jong-un’s slush fund found in Shanghai
Authorities from South Korea and the U.S. believe they have located a slush fund for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to a report in The Chosun Ilbo, a major newspaper from South Korea. The money had been stashed in several different banks in Shanghai. South Korea and U.S. authorities investigated the accounts, suspecting they belonged to the leader of North Korea’s totalitarian government.
A recent UN Security Council resolution established financial sanctions against North Korea for testing nuclear weapons, but made no mention of these accounts. The Chosun Ilbo wrote that China’s government, which somewhat grudgingly voted for the sanctions, refused to include new the accounts.
The news also drew some Chinese netizens’ attention. A user of Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) shared the news and said, “Well, the rich people in our country save their money in America’s banks!” Another added, “Kim places his self-interest beyond the interests of the nation. It’s dictatorship!”