- The Washington Times - Friday, December 17, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Buenos Aires Herald

The climate conference

BUENOS AIRES — The weather here over the last week has been doing its best to vindicate the message of the … international congress on climate change unfolding here with downpours of various intensity causing mild inconvenience … and outright disaster in Chaco [a plains region in northern Argentina]. At the time this editorial was written, about 10,000 people there had been displaced with more than [1.3 million acres] under floodwaters. …

As far as the direct subject of this conference goes — greenhouse gas emission — Argentina is neither better nor worse than the next country, emitting about 0.6 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases with around 0.6 percent of the global population. … But if Argentina is not a prime culprit for climate change, it is especially vulnerable to its effects in the form of rising waters, both coastally and inland. …

The supreme paradox is that with all the extra water from climate change causing so much damage, fresh water will be the 21st century’s oil more than ever. The floods of Chaco should not be seen as the only environmental blight facing us — think of the increasing dangers of skin cancer in a country lying so close to the main hole in the ozone layer. …

Environmental problems could use some cost/benefit analysis as much as other dilemmas — which will cost the world more, the cure or the disease? So far all the evidence is that climate change will cause the world a damage far worse than any terrorism, but let us keep an open mind.

Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s defense policy

TOKYO — Japan’s defense policy has undergone radical change, as was graphically demonstrated by the new National Defense Program Outline adopted by the Cabinet on Friday [Dec. 10]. The new policy statement follows a decision to extend the term for stationing Self-Defense Forces in Iraq.

… Its emphasis is on having Japan’s defense policy fit into Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s “Japan-U.S. alliance in the context of the world.” The key point concerns how Japan will cooperate with U.S. troops in their global realignment to cope with new threats like proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. …

But should Japan blindly follow the United States as illustrated by the new defense program outline? Even though Japan and the United States are allies, it does not necessarily follow that it is in Japan’s interest to accept U.S. military strategy without qualification. Nor should it simply cooperate with the American viewpoint on everything that happens — from the way of seeing external threats to concrete steps to be taken in response to them. Looking at present-day realities concerning the United States and the world, it would be simplistic to say everything will be all right if only the alliance between the two countries is strengthened… .

Getting international cooperation back on track will not be achieved by simply following the United States.

Daily Nation

Presbyterian iconoclasts

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Presbyterian Church of East Africa is embroiled in a dispute that threatens to split it right down the middle.

The controversy came to light last week following media reports that some church leaders had removed priceless historic fittings at St. Andrews Church, Nairobi, claiming they bore symbols linked to Freemasonry, which is anathema to many Protestant churches.

One thing is clear. The demolition will be counterproductive. On Sunday, church leaders and worshippers at the Kikuyu Parish said they would not allow anybody to destroy the symbols and artifacts.

Many Christians feel the PCEA leaders are playing directly into the hands of the very “devil” they claim to be fighting. What use will it be if the church splits simply because its leaders have failed to agree on a symbol? …

It would be a good idea for the leaders to … start honest consultations among themselves to try to reach a consensus. Anything short of this is bound to fail.

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