Global Briefing: Hollow Rhetoric and Bad Ideas

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Obama’s Cairo II: At 11:45am EST, President Obama will deliver his latest speech on the Mideast from the State Department. TIME and Global Spin’s Tony Karon writes that the Washington venue is important: “Obama’s Mideast ‘reset’ speech is not aimed primarily at the newly empowered Arab public; its primary audience is Washington, where the Administration has taken a beating for its haphazard responses to Arab uprisings.” And, in Cairo, TIME’s Vivienne Walt finds that no one is particularly interested or excited by Obama’s imminent oratory.

An End to This Sort of Thing: California-based Moroccan novelist Laila Lalami takes aim at those who immediately leaped to defend disgraced, now ex- IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and at the institutions of European patriarchy they all happen to represent. TIME and Global Spin’s Bruce Crumley asks why France was so silent about the suave politico’s known proclivities. The New Statesman wonders how Europe’s beleaguered “left” will recover after the political demise of one of its supposed leading lights.

Is This Really Asia’s Century?: Philip Bowring, a veteran Asia hand, writes in the International Herald Tribune: “The 21st century is supposed to be the Asian century. But it is looking increasingly possible that the continent is actually in the last phase of its period of economically outperforming the rest of the world.” Read more here.

The Wrong Way to Expand East: Seyla Benhabib, a preeminent political philosopher at Yale, presents a probing set of arguments for why her employer — one of the U.S.’s (and indeed, the world’s) most hallowed educational institutions — should not go ahead with its plans to set up a campus in the “artificial, boutique-like security” that is the authoritarian city-state of Singapore. Consternation in New Haven over the proposed expansion comes at a time when many U.S. universities are exploring often lucrative tie-ups in far-flung countries, some of whom don’t safeguard or hold much esteem for the liberal, democratic values that have defined the American academy.

What to Do With This Frenemy: A number of heavyweight experts on Pakistan discuss over at the Council on Foreign Relations whether the U.S. should continue to fund the troubled South Asian nation.

Make Graft a Craft: At CNN’s Global Public Square blog, Fareed Zakaria suggests it may be in the world’s interest to legalize corruption. Read why.

Carpet Bombing: Facing the threat of malaria, farmers in Uganda are reintroducing the dangerous U.S.-made insecticide DDT. The New York Times reports.