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Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Massacre at HoulaEditorialNew York TimesA United Nations arms embargo and the toughest possible comprehensive economic sanctions are long overdue.

The Massacre at HoulaEditorialNew York TimesA United Nations arms embargo and the toughest possible comprehensive economic sanctions are long overdue. Russia has the most leverage, but, inexcusably, it still sells arms and coal to Syria and uses its Mediterranean port of Tartus. We can see no easy solutions to Syria, despite Mitt Romney’s facile criticism of President Obama. In a campaign statement issued on Tuesday, Mr. Romney called for “more assertive measures to end the Assad regime.” ... [T]here’s not a hint of what it means to “end the regime” and whether that would require American troops. Could he possibly be eager for another war? If Mr. Romney has good ideas, everyone would like to hear them.

How China Flouts Its LawsBy Chen GuangchengNew York TimesChina’s government must confront these crucial differences between the law on the books and the law in practice. This issue of lawlessness may be the greatest challenge facing the new leaders who will be installed this autumn by the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Indeed, China’s political stability may depend on its ability to develop the rule of law in a system where it barely exists. China stands at a critical juncture. I hope its new leaders will use this opportunity wisely. As an ancient Chinese proverb says, “If one is not righteous oneself, how can one rectify others?”

Must-Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A new conspiracy theory: Is Romney a unicorn?By Dana MilbankWashington PostThere actually is a minor controversy surrounding Romney’s birth certificate. Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi, pursuing a theory that the candidate’s middle name is “Milton” rather than “Mitt,” asked Romney’s campaign five years ago for a copy of the birth certificate. The campaign declined. I would prefer it if presidential candidates didn’t need to produce vital records to prove eligibility. But if Romney is going to pal around with birthers — especially a newly reborn birther such as Trump — he shouldn’t be surprised that people want him to play by the same rules.Time for U.S. leadership on SyriaEditorialWashington PostMr. Obama’s apparent faith that Mr. Putin is ready to do business with him is at odds with the strongman’s recent behavior — including his abrupt cancellation of a planned visit to Camp David. The reality is that the killing in Syria will continue, and the threat to vital U.S. interests across the Middle East will grow, until Mr. Obama stops counting on the likes of Kofi Annan and Vladi¬mir Putin to spare him from the responsibility that should be shouldered by a U.S. president. The longer he waits, the greater the cost — in children’s lives, among other things.The Dems’ closing argument against Scott WalkerBy Greg SargentWashington PostThe core question of whether Walker’s reforms represented a good faith effort to solve Wisconsin’s budget problems, or whether Walker has always been committed to an ideological agenda that he concealed from voters, and whether his dishonesty about that agenda is to blame for unleashing the political turmoil that has badly divided the state. That later argument, of course, has become the Dems’ closing argument against Walker.A Fiscal Union Won't Fix the Euro CrisisBy Austan GoolsbeeWall Street JournalThe euro zone will continue to need the weaker countries to stomach decades of high unemployment to grind down wages. Without some significant inflation in the North or mobility from the South, holding the European monetary union together will cost Northern Europe a great deal of money. In other words, if a fiscal union is to save the euro zone, it would need to facilitate subsidies from North to South, not eliminate them. As far as the likelihood of that, I wouldn't be willing to bet a dollar—even if it were backed by the state of Minnesota itself.Rahmbo vs. SpringfieldEditorialWall Street JournalWhile [legislators] want to get credit with voters for doing something about pensions and don't want another credit downgrade, they fear union wrath. Which means they'll likely water down Mr. Quinn's reforms and serve up the resulting gruel to voters as creme brulee. House Speaker Michael Madigan has already taken the retirement age and employee contributions off the table. He also wants to exempt Chicago workers and judges who would hear constitutional challenges on the reforms. Lawmakers are way behind the voters on this one. By a three-to-one margin, voters favor reducing pension benefits over paying higher taxes. Mr. Emanuel is offering good counsel.