America’s Frankenstein’s Monster

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

June 19, 2018

America's Frankenstein's Monster

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy is just the latest reminder that the system "has become a Frankenstein's monster that no one, of any political leaning, applauds," writes T.A. Frank for Vanity Fair. But there are a couple of things the administration can do right now to make it less cruel.
"The simplest quick remedy is to change the policy on detention so that children and families can be held together, even if the parent must face trial. A typical court appearance for illegal entry consists of shuffling in, pleading guilty, and leaving, with no further punishment. There's no reason a child can't be with their parent for the rest of the time. It's true that US parents don't get to stay with their kids in jail, but they also aren't in a foreign land with zero support system," Frank writes.
"The second fix, more difficult, is a drastic increase in hiring of immigration judges and immigration lawyers who can preside over these cases swiftly and come to a decision while ensuring that everyone gets legal representation and a reasonably fair trial. This is expensive…but it's worth it. It keeps the asylum system from becoming yet another way of gaming the law, and it also lets us sleep with a halfway-decent conscience."
  • "For the first time since 2012, the United States of America was the largest recipient of new asylum applications, with 331,700 lodged in 2017," a new report from the UN Refugee Agency finds. "This represents a 27 percent increase from 2016 (262,000) and nearly double the number in 2015 (172,700)."

Why Team Trump Doubled Down on Separations

Condemnation of the Trump administration's policy on separating children from parents crossing illegally into the United States has been widespread among the media and political elites. But that doesn't mean it isn't good politics for the President, writes Freddy Gray in Spectator USA.
"Call it vice-signaling. The President and [Homeland Security Secretary] Kirstjen Nielsen are making clear that, even if it means being seen to be inhuman, they are taking voter concerns about massive immigration seriously. There is a clear political upside to this, despite – or because of – the negative headlines. 'Zero tolerance' on illegal immigration is popular, even if some of the unpleasant consequences are not," Gray writes.

"Time and again, we see that the media consensus on the rights and wrongs of immigration is way out of step with what the public thinks."

"Donald Trump is president largely because he realized that, and he hasn't unlearnt the lesson."

The Populist Wave Probably Isn't Coming from Where You Think

Anyone assuming the populist wave sweeping the West is being generated only by aging populations worried about what their countries are becoming might want to rethink that assumption, suggests Eric Sylvers in The Wall Street Journal. After all, look at what just happened in Italy.
"Western Europe's largest antiestablishment government came to power earlier this month, driven largely by young Italian voters," Sylvers writes. "The result laid bare a stark generation gap, with older Italians, who often have to support their grown children, continuing to vote for mainstream parties.
"The same pattern appears across southern Europe, and the forces behind the divide show few signs of slowing. Almost 30% of Italians age 20 to 34 aren't working, studying or in a training program, according to Eurostat, more than in any other European Union country. Greece is second at 29%, while Spain's rate is 21%."

Actually, Trump Has a Point on Europe

Europeans might bristle at the way President Trump delivers his complaints about free-riding. But he has a point, writes Jochen Bittner in The New York Times. And Europeans would do well to understand what is frustrating so many of his supporters.

"All those German politicians who oppose raising military spending from a meager 1.3 percent of gross domestic product should try to explain to American students why their European peers enjoy free universities and health care, while they leave it up to others to cover for the West's military infrastructure," Bittner writes.

"[S]imply punishing the makers of motorcycles, blue jeans and bourbon whiskey doesn't solve any of the problems festering beneath the skin of the liberal world order."

That Pinch You Might Start Feeling Is a Trade War

The Dow dipped 287 points Tuesday as fears of an outright trade war with China grow. David Fickling argues for Bloomberg that while the Trump administration's first round of tariffs was carefully calibrated to avoid upsetting US consumers, Trump's vow to up the ante means Americans are likely to start feeling the pinch.
"Most of the 1,102 products on the latest tally are intermediate goods such as storage heaters and lubricating oils, whose raised costs are unlikely ever to directly hit consumers' hip pockets," Fickling writes. "What are the next major categories of goods where the US can impose further tariffs? Mobile phones, with $73 billion of imports from China in 2017, would be next on the list, followed by computers and accessories..."
"Such action would smack Middle America between the eyes, and Washington could be expected to do its utmost to avoid it."

Where the Dragon's (Official) Voice Sounds Sweetest

China has spent billions over the past decade trying to boost its non-Chinese language media presence around the globe. It's getting more bang for its buck in the developing world, The Economist writes.

Among other moves, "Xinhua, China's main news agency, which publishes in numerous languages, has set up more foreign bureaus than any rival, boosting its tally to 180 from just over 110," The Economist notes.

"Results have been mixed. In 2009, when China began beefing up its foreign-language news media, Pew Research Centre asked people in 38 countries about their views of China. The median rating was 50%. By 2017 it had dropped slightly, to 47%. But respondents in developing countries were more positive than those in rich ones. A survey in 2016 of youth from 18 African countries found that, of those who had watched CGTN, 63% had liked the channel and only 13% had a negative view."



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