- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan’s upcoming general

elections

TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pushed ahead with dissolution of the House of Representatives for a snap general election. Now the nation is witnessing the de facto start of the campaign for a new lower house.

At this point, there is no telling what the political scene will look like in the wake of the upcoming election. Will the alliance between the LDP and New Komeito be kept intact? Depending on the outcome of the poll, the situation in the Diet will be subject to major changes.

Should the LDP shed some of its pre-election strength, Mr. Koizumi’s chances of being renominated as prime minister would be in jeopardy.

In the upcoming election, the prime minister intends to herald his postal privatization project as the main point of contention. However, he cannot put aside a set of issues vital to the future of the national economy and society as well as the livelihood of the people. Indeed, Japan is faced with a host of more crucial issues than postal privatization — fiscal rehabilitation, consolidation of social security, national security and relations with China and South Korea, among others. Under such circumstances, it is inadvisable to keep saying the postal privatization issue is the sole point of contention in the poll.

The Guardian

The death of Robin Cook

LONDON — The news that Robin Cook has died is a shock and tragic loss to his family and friends and a cause for dismay to all those who care about the quality of our political life.

In the Cabinet and out of it, he was one of the leading figures of Labor’s years in office. He was an outstanding parliamentarian and it was in the House that his forensic and potent skills in debate shone most clearly. Mr. Cook was one of the keenest and sharpest debaters of his age. …

The man who began his public political career as an Edinburgh councilor was a genuine radical and reformer. He was also an idealist. As foreign secretary in Labor’s first term, he played a key role in the war to prevent ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. His attempt to commit Britain to an ethical foreign policy may have proved overambitious. Nonetheless it has continued to inform the national debate on world issues, particularly on arms sales. …

He was a genuine radical and reformer by intellect and instinct. His death leaves an irreplaceable gap both in Parliament and in public life.

Daily Telegraph

Iranian nuclear armament

LONDON — Iran’s seemingly ineluctable progress toward acquiring nuclear weapons has publicly resumed with the conversion of raw uranium outside Isfahan. According to Alireza Jafarzadeh, an exiled dissident based in Washington, it may never have been suspended, despite an agreement to that effect reached last November with the European Union troika of Britain, France and Germany.

He claimed yesterday that the Iranians had manufactured about 4,000 centrifuges, capable of enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels, at a plant in Natanz, and had hidden this activity from the International Atomic Energy Agency, thus maintaining a well-tried pattern of cheating. …

America has been both percipient in recognizing this reality and forthright in wishing to thwart it. …

Yet the difficulties in deterring Tehran are immense. The acquisition of nuclear weapons as an expression of Iranian hegemony in the Gulf is popular at home, as the recent election as president of the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has demonstrated. Iran would be hurt by economic sanctions imposed by America and the EU, and that would count for something in a country chronically unable to provide jobs for its youthful population. …

Iran’s past mendacity renders wholly unconvincing its claim to be innocently pursuing nuclear production of electricity. But bringing it to book is proving extraordinarily frustrating.

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