Every day the foreign press devotes loads of attention to American news. But you’re probably missing most of their coverage, unless you live abroad or spend your lunch break scouring the web. Here a few stories you may have not have seen.
- Did you know Russia secretly buys advanced military electronics in the United States, then ships them back home to use in fighter jets and missiles? In a piece in the Moscow Times, military analyst Alexander Golts details the whole sordid affair. He reports that the FBI has arrested 10 Russian nationals in Houston for organizing the illegal export ring. The FBI also claims the criminals are agents of the Russian government, a fact which they did little to hide. One document used by their phony firm made mention of “fishing / anti-submarine boats.” You know, for those times when you can’t decide between reeling in a blue-fin tuna and blowing up a nuclear sub. The real issue, Golts argues, is the inability of Russia to produce the latest military hardware. In the good old days, Stalin’s spies would have stolen the technology and learned to reproduce it domestically, as China does today. Under Putin, Russia has been reduced to an almost comical form of sneak-thievery.
- In South Africa’s Daily Maverick, the consultant Johann Redelinghuys offers a forceful endorsement of red-blooded capitalism. The rich, he argues, deserve every penny they’ve earned, and critics who rail against excessive compensation for CEOs like South Africa’s Ivan Glasenberg are small-minded socialists. Redelinghuys sees a parallel between naysayers in his own country and Mitt Romney detractors in the U.S. “It’s interesting,” he writes “that in America, like here, we want our heroes to do well enough, but not too well. We admire those who create value, but become suspicious when there is too much of it.” Fair enough, but his suggestion that we ignore the wrongdoing of corporate chieftains because the “wealth they build for themselves and for their shareholders is their good and proper due” might not go down so easily.
- The case of a Syrian diplomat who vanished mysteriously last year might find its way into an American court, according to the Daily Star. Shibli Aisamy, 88, had been vice-president of Syria in the late 1960’s but had not been politically active for many years, his daughter told the Lebanese paper, when he disappeared from her home in Lebanon last May. She believes the government of Bashar al-Assad is holding him hostage in Syria, and claims a U.S. court will soon accept an international lawsuit filed by her family against Assad. Lebanese authorities have provided little help in investigating Aisamy’s disappearance.