Five Best Thursday Columns

Mitt Romney slams China, Fareed Zakaria talks "zones of immunity," and The New York Times edit board gives a bipartisan round of applause.

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Mitt Romney in The Wall Street Journal on curbing China's power. Just in time for the U.S. visit of China's future leader, Vice President Xi Jinping, the GOP candidate offers a scolding take on the Far East super power, using words like "barbaric" and "oppression." Romney writes: "We must ... forthrightly confront the fact that the Chinese government continues to deny its people basic political freedoms and human rights. If the U.S. fails to support dissidents out of fear of offending the Chinese government, if we fail to speak out against the barbaric practices entailed by China's compulsory one-child policy, we will merely embolden China's leaders at the expense of greater liberty."

Mary Dudziak in The New York Times on actually ending America's wars. The administration plans to withdraw combat troops in Afghanistan in 2013 but detainment policies in Guantanamo Bay persist. The University of Southern California law professor calls for a legal end to the wars as well. "Because the end of a war is traditionally thought to be the moment when a president’s war powers begin to ebb, bringing combat to a close in Afghanistan and Iraq should lead to a reduction in executive power — including the legitimate basis for detaining the enemy."
Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post on rushing to war with Iran. Dissecting the talk around a "zone of immunity," the point at which Iran's nuclear capabilities will advance to a stage that Israel won't be able to bunker bust, Zakaria argues it's a poor metric to use for war-making plans. "It is profoundly shortsighted to base a major decision — to go to war — on narrow technical considerations like windows of vulnerability," he writes. "Many in Washington in March 2003 insisted that we could not wait for nuclear inspectors to keep at their work in Iraq because we faced a closing window — the weather was going to get too hot by June and July to send in U.S. forces. As a result, we rushed into a badly planned military invasion and occupation in which soldiers had to endure combat in Iraq for nine long and very hot years."
The New York Times editorial board on Congress's rare deal. They Grey Lady throws its support behind a compromise brokered by Republicans and Democrats to extend a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits alongside the so-called doc fix. "The agreement is imperfect but sound. It will help struggling Americans and the struggling economy," they write. "This is a refreshing change. Republican leaders deserve credit for agreeing to the deal, as do Democratic leaders for insisting on doing the right thing for the economy."
Timothy Garton Ash in The Los Angeles Times on how to handle China's Xi Jinping. The Stanford University professor scolds those who call for disengagement with China and calls on President Obama to court Jinping in private sessions alongside Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd. "Xi and President Obama should plan a joint summer retreat on the coast of Australia, guided by Rudd. Full-blown, beer-chugging mateship between the Chinese and Americans may be too much to expect, but it is essential for them to open a frank, strategic conversation about global values and the foundations of international order."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.