The Associated Press
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
The New York Times, on reforms for Chinese banking:
In an eerie echo of the financial crisis of 2008, the rates at which Chinese banks lend to each other shot up last week, sending a wave of panic through global stock and bond markets. The sudden jump highlighted systemic problems in the country's financial system that will test the ability of Beijing's new leaders to reform the world's second-largest economy.
On Tuesday, the Chinese central bank tried to soothe markets by saying that it had already injected funds into some financial institutions, which caused overnight interbank rates to fall to 5.7 percent, down from a record high of 13.4 percent on Thursday. But policy makers need to push through more far-reaching reforms to prevent a panic.
Many of the weaknesses of the banking system can be traced back to the government. ...
Analysts say the jump in lending rates was caused by a government attempt to discourage banks from lending to the shadow banking system. It did that by limiting how much money the central bank was lending to banks.
What the government should do now is move to stop controlling the interest rates on savings accounts, which are lower than inflation. Removing controls over those rates would reduce the demand for risky investment plans and reward ordinary savers. Another important reform, but one that would be much harder to implement, would be to reduce the influence that government and Communist Party officials have on loan decisions, freeing bankers to lend to deserving businesses, rather than inefficient state-owned firms.
It will take years to carry out these reforms fully and the government will face significant opposition from provincial leaders, bankers and others who benefit from the current system. But policy makers cannot afford to be complacent in dealing with banking excesses.
The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News on Afghanistan no longer a place we can ignore:
Afghanistan is littered with the bones of soldiers from foreign countries. During the past 12 years, the blood of American soldiers has mingled in Afghanistan's soil with the 19th-century blood of British Redcoats and 20th-century blood from what was then the Soviet's Union's Red Army. Others will likely fight and die there in the future.
That is the history of Afghanistan. Some would say that is its nature. It is hard to know whether peace talks with the Taliban will change anything.
Unfortunately, President Barack Obama tipped his hand and set a deadline for the withdrawal of American troops. Hardened resistance fighters who have battled a better equipped, better trained foe for more than a decade now know that they can simply wait it out. They can buy time with negotiations and cease fires until the Americans, British and other allies leave the Afghans to fend for themselves.
Is the Taliban genuinely interested in a political solution after so many years of war? Or are they simply buying time? We suspect the latter. It's very hard to tell.
Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution said American should approach talks with "low expectations." He believes the Taliban "expect to win the war once NATO is largely gone in 2015."
There was a time when journalism professors cautioned their students against what they then called "Afghanistanism." ...
Americans turned away from the backward distant land once their mortal enemy was gone. Little did they know that in the not too distant future, they would return to fight and, ironically, their enemy would be some of the same people they supported against the Soviets.
In the years between the Soviet departure and the American invasion, the Taliban came to power, running the country like a medieval oligarchy. Our purpose was to strike back at those who attacked us on our own soil and make our homeland safe.
Without a doubt, the blood spilled on Afghan soil helped eliminate a threat to our homeland. While the battle has raged, Americans have lived in relative security. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan. The threat from al-Qaida appears greatly reduced.
But is the job done? That's a question that only the future can answer. For now, we've decided to go home. Hopefully, we'll never need to return.
The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C. on cutting nuclear weapons with care:
During his visit to Germany last week President Barack Obama promised to seek negotiations with Russia for a new round of strategic nuclear weapons cuts and suggested that the time had come to talk with Moscow about tactical nuclear weapons in Europe as well. There is something to be said for both ideas, especially with respect to reductions in Europe, a continent no longer divided by mobilized armies.