Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post on Obama's delay tactics "Wherever war rages, crisis looms, or a truculent strongman glowers, the message from the White House has been the same: 'Give me space,'" writes Diehl. Obama said those words to President Medvedev of Russia, explaining that his ability to negotiate in an election year is hampered. And Diehl says the sentiment is similar elsewhere, describing Obama's stalling tactics in a range of conflicts, from Syria to Israel to North Korea. But Diehl says events in North Korea have already shown delay can be "disastrous" because it hands power over to leaders like Kim Jong Un. "That's the problem with asking for 'space': It tends to get filled by others."
Mohamed Keita in The New York Times on journalism in Africa Recent years have seen a rise in persecution for independent journalists operating across the African continent. "In the West, cynicism about African democracy has led governments to narrow their development priorities to poverty reduction and stability; individual liberties like press freedom have dropped off the agenda, making it easier for authoritarian rulers to go after journalists more aggressively," writes Keita. The rising influence of China as a trading partner also gives African governments a model of the press that doesn't prize freedom. Keita uses Ethiopia as an example where investigative reporting has changed the country for the better but new policies have clamped down on it. "[S]upport for the press ... must be integrated into a wider strategy of political and media reforms."