Five Best Monday Columns

Susan Crawford on Google and monopoly, Peter Beinart on Republicans and class resentment, Benjamin Soares on turmoil in Mali, Michael Singh on sanctioning Iran, and Hugo Dixon on Barclays

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Susan Crawford in Bloomberg View on Google's monopoly As Google faces European regulators' questions over its search engine's promotion of its own specialty products, Crawford writes that worries over its monopolistic vertical integration will quickly become outdated. "Just as the term 'horseless carriage' was overtaken by 'automobile,' 'search engine' will soon sound primitive to our 21st-century ears. Instead, you will have a digital deputy that travels with you and is simpler to use and tailored to your wants and needs." Crawford details Google's announcements about a Siri-like service that will integrate calendars, maps, and weather to tailor its services. That will create its own problems for consumer choice. "What competition law has to say about the personalized, vertically integrated ecosystems now being built by Apple, Facebook and Google is far from clear."

Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast on Republicans and class warfare Republicans respond to Democratic attacks on Romney that focus on his wealth and lifestyle by saying they won't play well with an "aspirational society that admires rather than resents success." Beinart writes, "Really? If that’s the case, why have Republicans used class resentment so effectively for the last 60 years?" He notes how Republicans from Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush to Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have attacked their opponents as elitist, wealthy, or out of touch with voters, too. "Mitt Romney will be judged by those same rules: Do middle class Americans find him personally appealing? Do they believe his success has benefited the nation as a whole? For much of the last half-century, Republicans have understood these rules better than Democrats. If Mitt Romney doesn't, he has no one to blame but himself."

Benjamin Soares in The New York Times on turmoil in Mali Islamist raids on tombs in Timbuktu this week reveal the increasing turmoil in Mali since military officers seized power from the president in March. "Arms flowing in from postwar Libya have made the situation worse and American and European policy makers have so far been much too timid in responding to the crisis," writes Soares. "Despite considerable investment in counterterrorism in the region, Mali remains relatively marginal to American foreign policy. But it would be a huge mistake for the United States and Europe to let the problems in Mali fester any longer or idly sit by while Islamists become entrenched in the north, attract even more recruits, and possibly threaten the stability of the entire region."

Michael Singh in The Washington Post on sanctioning Iran Singh argues that western sanctions on Iranian oil have been effective but with little progress after last week's talks, the west should look for other ways to pressure the regime. "[T]he historical evidence does not suggest that sanctions' effect on regimes grows over time," he writes. "So while policymakers may hope that oil sanctions will continue to pay dividends, it is likely that the full effect has already taken hold." The sanctions worked because they exposed a vulnerability, so we should look for others, including their lack of international allies and their country's internal dissent. "Western policymakers' assertions that there is time for sanctions to work are a bit like a marathon runner saying he has plenty of time to finish the race."

Hugo Dixon in Reuters on Barclay's leadership Barclay's bank chief Bob Diamond and the chairman Marcus Agius are resigning after the bank admitted to rigging global interest rates. Diamond ran Barclay's Capital during a period of huge expansion, and the board came to see him as indispensable, Dixon writes. Now, the bank is without leaders during a period of European crisis. "And the moral of the story? Boards must always counterbalance strong chief executives with strong chairmen and have good succession plans in place. Most importantly, they should never treat anybody as indispensable – in case that is what they become."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.