Global Briefing, May 30, 2011: Control Freaks and Calls to Arms

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Last Legs— Panicking over the demonstrations, Assad has backtracked on economic liberalization, reports our correspondent in Syria. Will economic collapse end his rule?

Control Freaks — America’s response to the ‘Arab Spring’ is an attempt to re-assert its control over the region, argues Soumaya Ghannoushi at AJE. “After watching the pitch helplessly, it is now determined to force its way back in to dictate its course and outcome.” Unfortunately, she says, that outcome does not include “liberation” for Palestine.

On ‘Otherness’ — On the New York Review of Books‘ blog, Paul Theroux meditates on the idea of ‘the stranger’ across cultures. It’s an interesting read (and the accompanying picture is a classic).

A Call to Arms  — In the Guardian, Peter Preston, draws on the horrors of Srebrenica to make the case for intervention in Libya. “The past is a heavy place, to be sure: but it’s heaviest of all when hindsight told you what had to be done, and you did nothing,” he says.

Egypt’s Fate — “As other Arab revolutions founder or lapse into civil wars, Egypt has achieved far more than its young rebels ever hoped for,” writes Robert Worth in a nicely reported feature for the New York TimesSunday Magazine. But, he cautions, “the struggle is far from over.”

Weighty IssuesObesity is good for business, finds the Financial Times. “As the rate of obesity in emerging markets like Brazil and China rises faster than in developed markets, so too does the opportunity for companies like Tate& Lyle to boost margins.” Tate&Lyle sell sweet, sweet, sweetener, by the way.

Sound Effects — TIME  profiles Masood Farivar, an Afghan journalist who built a radio network to reach out to his compatriots.

In Pictures — Light Box previews ‘Sleeping Soldiers’ by slain photojournalist Tim Hetherington. More on Hetherington’s life and work, here.