Five Best Monday Columns

Bill Keller on sexual predators, Jackson Diehl on Obama and Syria, Paul Krugman on health care, Tim Judah on the EU's Nobel Peace Prize, and Lawrence Summers on the vicious economic cycle. 

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Bill Keller in The New York Times on sexual predators on pedestals America has Jerry Sandusky and Britain has Jimmy Savile, a recently deceased BBC personality who preyed on young girls. Both engaged in charity work and had quirky personalities. "In both cases, the story is not just one of individual villainy but of the failure of a trusted institution, if not a flaw in the wider culture."

Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post on how Obama screwed up in Syria Obama's actions in Syria exemplify his weak foreign policy. He reversed Bush's policy in Syria by reaching out to Assad, a "willful disregard" of the lessons Bush learned. He tried for multilateral solutions for too long. "The result is not a painful but isolated setback, but an emerging strategic disaster."

Paul Krugman in The New York Times on the reality of health care costs The reality is that people die every year because they don't have health insurance, in spite of what Romney says. "A literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income."

Tim Judah in Bloomberg View on why EU deserves the Nobel Peace Prize "For all its faults, and they are many, the EU has institutionalized and tamed the resolution of conflicts and disputes between Europe’s nation states in a way that would have been unimaginable to leaders a century ago." The EU was founded as a peace project, and the prize is a reminder of that.

Lawrence Summers in Financial Times on the vicious economic cycle What was once a financial problem is now a structural one, writes the former US Treasury secretary. Deep differences in opinion on the economy—austerity versus spending—makes for a dangerous cycle of economic beliefs. "Doctors who prescribe antibiotics warn their patients that they must complete the full course even if they feel much better quickly," he says. "So too with economic policy."

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