Global Briefing, Mar. 9, 2011: Imperialism, ‘Experts’ and Insect Plagues

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Cheer Up, MateForeign Policy responds to Fareed Zakaria’s cover story on American decline with an essay by Joseph Nye (of ‘soft power’ fame).  Nye calls Zakaria’s account “gloomy” and argues that America still has lots to cheer about.

Imperial Expertise — In the National, historian Manan Ahmed argues that an army of overpaid “non-experts” are guiding America’s foreign policy. It is an elegant piece, of particular interest to those who follow Afghanistan.

Winds of Change — Writing in the Guardian, Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai warns Africa’s leaders to heed the call of for freedom that is shaking the Arab world. “A wind is blowing,” she writes. “It is heading south, and won’t be suppressed forever.”

Taking Stock — When it comes to wooing Beijing, Gary Locke, the soon-t0-be ambassador, has two big things going for him: his resume and his race, observes TIME’s Hannah Beech. More on Locke, here.

Debating Drones— In an unusual turn, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s military defended American drone strikes, reports Dawn, an English-language Pakistani newspaper. For more on the use of drones in Pakistan’s borderlands read TIME’s 2009 report on the CIA’s ‘Silent War.’

Burma’s Pain — In an evocative dispatch from Rangoon, the Globe and Mail‘s Mark MacKinnon chronicles the plight of the country’s HIV/AIDS patients. Though the number of cases is still relatively small (compared to, say, sub-Saharan Africa) the rate of access to antiretroviral treatment is the lowest in the world.

Biblical Proportions— Worldmapper renders the world according to insect infestation rates. They’ve got other some other rather nifty maps, too.

Canadian Populism— The Economist reports that Ontario’s politicians have found a novel way to win the hearts, minds and bellies: beer discounts. Pretty smart, eh?