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HKS in the News May 4, 2012

1. Blame China, not Obama or US, for the plight of activist Chen Guangcheng (Burns) The Christian Science Monitor

2. After the Fall: Greece's Former Prime Minister Assesses the State of His Nation (Parker) Time Magazine

3. Conservatism and the policy of building religious harmony (Anwar) The Jakarta Post (Indonesia)

4. Public workers should take pension money and run — now MontanaWatchdog.com


Blame China, not Obama or US, for the plight of activist Chen Guangcheng

The Christian Science Monitor

May 3

Commentary by: Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center

Topic: U.S. – China relations concerning human rights

The dramatic events in Beijing surrounding the brave Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, are confounding and hard to fathom at such a great distance and without all the facts. That has not stopped critics who should know better from rushing to blame the Obama administration for having mishandled negotiations with the Chinese authorities over his fate.

It is irresponsible to second-guess Washington when we don’t know the full story. Instead, the true culprit in this fascinating and increasingly tragic drama is the usual suspect – China’s authoritarian government. China has hounded and mistreated Mr. Chen and his family for years. Beijing is now trying to intimidate him when he is beyond the protection of the American embassy. …

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After the Fall: Greece's Former Prime Minister Assesses the State of His Nation

Time Magazine

May 1

Quoted: Richard Parker, Shorenstein Center

Topic: Greece’s economy

Like his country, George Papandreou, 59, has downsized in the last six months. He stepped down as prime minister of Greece in November, then, in March, as leader of PASOK, the Socialist party his father founded in 1974. Looking back at the unprecedented meddling of European powers in his country's politics amid the Euro crisis — a series of events that led to his fall as well as Greece becoming the first country in the zone to be forced to accept painful austerities in exchange for bailout loans — Papandreou told TIME, "I think it couldn't have been avoided. We were a lab rat, an experiment." …

Richard Parker , an economist at Harvard University who advised Papandreou during his two years in office, said the country had few options but to accept the austerity recipe offered by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. "Like the rest of Europe, Greece had lived on a credit-fueled boom built on relaxed standards of oversight and regulation," Parker says. "Greeks got caught as collateral damage to the meltdown of the American capital markets. It got hit by a tsunami not of its own origin."

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Conservatism and the policy of building religious harmony

The Jakarta Post (Indonesia)

May 4

Commentary by: M. Syafi'i Anwar, Ash Center

Topic: Religion in Indonesia

Having observed the current developments in Indonesia, it seems that the state and religious freedom are now at a crossroads. Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali’s recent statement on the attack on an Ahmadiyah mosque in Tasikmalaya reinforces this suspicion.

This is not the first time he has played down suggestions to protect religious minorities’ rights. His previous remarks on sharia-based bylaws and the attack on Shiite groups in Sampang, Madura, demonstrate his mindset in understanding religious harmony. Fortunately, his deputy, Nasaruddin Umar, holds a dissenting position on Ahmadiyah and has underlined the need to protect the rights of minorities. …

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Public workers should take pension money and run — now

MontanaWatchdog.com

May 4

Cited: Research by The Mossavar-Rahmani Center

Topic: The public pension problem in the U.S.

Public employees should take their pension money now and run to avoid the risk of getting reduced benefits — or nothing — in the future. It’s the best deal for them and for taxpayers.

A growing chorus of credible voices including the Government Accountability Office, a Federal Reserve bank and now the Harvard Kennedy School Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government confirm state and local government finances are “spiraling out of control” and even Draconian reforms make it “more likely” that future benefits will be paid in full.

The just-released Harvard study bluntly states: “Across the United States, state and local government-sponsored pension plans are in trouble. They are dangerously underfunded to the extent that their assets are unable to meet future liabilities without either outsize investment returns or huge cash infusions.” …

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Broadcast Notes

Lawrence Summers, Mossavar-Rahmani Center

C-SPAN , 5/3

Topic: U.S. tax policy


This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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