US Democrats rally around... Rick Perry?
- 21 August 2014
A review of the best commentary on and around the world...
Texas Governor Rick Perry went to the Travis County criminal justice centre this week to be processed on abuse of power charges recently brought against him.
Mr Perry is accused of trying to punish a political rival by vetoing the funding of an agency she heads. If convicted, the Republican faces up to 99 years in prison, but some are finding it hard to take the indictment seriously.
"Unfortunately, there has been a sad history of the Travis County District Attorney's Office engaging in politically-motivated prosecutions, and this latest indictment of the governor is extremely questionable," Republican Senator Ted Cruz, also of Texas, posted on his Facebook profile.
It's a sentiment that spans the political spectrum. In New York magazine, liberal blogger Jonathan Chait writes:
The theory behind the indictment is flexible enough that almost any kind of political conflict could be defined as a "misuse" of power or "coercion" of one's opponents. To describe the indictment as "frivolous" gives it far more credence than it deserves.
Even Democratic strategist and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama David Axlerod is sceptical, tweeting that, "Unless he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason, Perry indictment seems pretty sketchy."
But Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro, also from Texas, called on Mr Perry to resign "for the sake of Texas."
And The Economist warns that until the facts are made public, it's too soon to write off the charges.
Yet the seeming flimsiness of the indictment may prove to be the most ominous aspect of the situation for the governor. It raises the possibility that the prosecutor's evidence, which has been presented to the grand jury but not to the general public, was convincing.
Scottish voters will vote in less than a month on whether or not to move forward as an independent state. Some Quebecers might use that as inspiration to revive their own sovereignty movement, last seen in 1995.
But Peter McKenna writes for The Globe and Mail that the type of straightforward question used by the Scots in their referendum would not work in Quebec, where support for independence is waning.
"I wish it was otherwise, but I won't hold my breath waiting for the [Parti Quebecois] or the sovereignty movement to emulate the Scottish model," he writes. "If anything, the separatists are more likely to look upon the September 18 Scottish "McReferendum" as exhibit A in their case for pushing for a move convoluted question the next time around."
The most recent noticeable actions by the Russian government in Asia are military exercises in the Kuril Islands - an area which Japan recognises as its own. But those movements are just part of a much bigger push by Russia into the entire Asian continent, writes Jonathan Eyal for The Straits Times.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, he writes, is trying to find a foothold in the region, even though all evidence points to this being a waste of time that could create more instability across the continent.
"Ultimately, the biggest loser from this game will be Russia itself," he writes. "For although its Asian diplomacy is resourceful and often imaginative, it cannot produce what its wants most - a return to the status of a great power."
Many in India are growing more and more frustrated by the incompetent leadership displayed by Indian National Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Mr Gandhi, the son of National Congress Party President Sonia Ghandi and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, may even be unpopular enough to spell the end for the Gandhi name's reputation.
Rahul Gandhi is widely seen as an amateur politician, writes Sadanand Dhume for Foreign Policy. Beyond being unfit to rule, he is often absent - most notably in 2011 during anti-corruption protests across the country and in 2012 after a 23-year-old was gang raped, spurring another round of protests.
"The end of the Nehru-Gandhis has been predicted many times before," he writes. "But this time it may be true."
BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day
The Turkish press is disenchanted by a German official calling the country an "ally" rather than a "friend" in an aftermath of reports that Germany spied on Turkish officials.
"For years, Germany has been defined as 'a friend and an ally' in Turkey, like many other NATO partners… However, a [German] government official, who was interviewed by the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine' after the 'wiretapping scandal' was exposed, said that Turkey is just an 'ally' but it is not categorised as a 'friend'. Thus, according to that 'logic', Germany wiretapping Turkey is something normal!" - Sami Kohen in Milliyet
"It is a well-known fact that the US and the EU member countries are openly reacting against the [Turkish] government's foreign policy, which speeds up its break up with Western values, alongside its anti-democratic practices inside the country. For that reason, one should not find it odd that Germany did not mention Turkey as a 'friend' country." - Lale Kemal in Zaman
"Germany sees Turkey as a bridge country to the Middle East and the Caucasus… When Turkey is wiretapped, information can be obtained not only on Turkey, but also on the USA's strategies for Iraq, Syria, ISIS and other organisations. In other words, Merkel, who could not wiretap the USA, might have done that through Turkey. - Beril Dedeoglu in Star
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