- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

Creating an East Asia

Community

TOKYO — The plan to create an East Asia Community, a loosely knit organization of Japan, China, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries, by taking a leaf out of the European Union’s book has begun to falter. The foreign ministers of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations … met in Laos. They decided to invite the leaders of India, Australia and New Zealand to the first summit conference for organizing the community to be held in Malaysia in December. … The main factor behind the expansion is China. … No one expects the creation of such a regional community to be easy. … What is worrying is the fact that Japan’s presence has hardly been felt in the work to create the East Asia Community. … Japan’s odds to become a permanent member of the [United Nations] Security Council will worsen if it does not pay sufficient attention to its home turf among Asian countries.

Corriere della Sera

‘Moderate’ Islam

MILAN, Italy — Today, we are not at risk only for short-term terrorist attacks, but long-term risks by allowing for the uncontrolled growth of Islamic powers that are capable of intimidating the many Muslims who are underrepresented precisely because they are not extremist.

We carefully cultivate the legend according to which there is a “moderate” Islam. Experts say, however, that it doesn’t exist.

There are Muslims that appreciate democracy, civil rights, equality of the law between male and female, and that would prefer not to be governed by Islamic law. Then there are the others, those with whom we struggle to understand what “dialogue” would be based on.

Unfortunately, there are many ways to suffer and to die. The most stupid way is to give up self-defense for fear of being labeled as reactionary.

Daily Telegraph

New era in Saudi Arabia

LONDON — The silky transition of Crown Prince Abdullah to the Saudi throne has been met with grateful relief all round. Nobody expected there to be any real trouble. But these days you never know.

So out goes one bearded, berobed friend of the West, and in comes another. The new man is confidently expected to continue in the anti-terror, pro-oil-for-all traditions of his predecessor. He may go even further and do something serious about bringing a little democracy to the place. …

The current golden economic glow is illusory and actually reinforces one of the kingdom’s structural problems — its dependence on oil revenues for its prosperity and stability. …

Demands for greater democracy, on the other hand, are unlikely to present a major headache for the new monarch. …

The Saudis may not be democrats and are unlikely to become so any time soon. We may not like their apparent profligacy and refusal to endorse modern mores. But strange times make for strange friendships. This is one we would do well to sustain and nurture.

The Standard

John Garang’s death

NAIROBI, Kenya — In a cruel irony of fate, the man who fought for the freedom and justice of southern Sudan for 20 years, Dr. John Garang, is dead. Garang died on Saturday in a helicopter crash, only three weeks after he was sworn in as the Sudanese vice president and the president of southern Sudan.

His death is a big blow to the people of Sudan and to the fragile peace agreement that came into effect beginning this year.

It is usually the fate of great men that they sometimes do not live long enough to see the full realization of what they fought for: Moses did not see Canaan in spite of leading his people there and ascending Mount Horeb to take a glimpse of the country.

Garang had the short-lived benefit of seeing a new Sudan and laying the framework of a new government. It is on his efforts that peace is flourishing in Sudan today.

Africa has surely lost a great warrior and leader.

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