- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Times

Russia and Uzbekistan

LONDON — Russia is behaving as if nothing outrageous has happened in Uzbekistan, and as if the progress of the past 15 years had not happened. Moscow’s response to the killing of at least 169 and possibly as many as 745 people in the Ferghana Valley in the past week, mostly unarmed civilians, has been worthy of Molotov himself. The violence was provoked by foreign extremists, the Russian foreign minister has said, parroting President [Islam] Karimov of Uzbekistan. These extremists are terrorists: hunting them down is thus a counterterrorism operation, and the responsibility of “any self-respecting state” defending its national security.

All of which is unsurprising but deeply troubling. Translated from diplomatic code, it amounts to a stern warning that whatever may have transpired in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan or Georgia, the Kremlin does not now intend to let Uzbekistan slip from its “sphere of influence.” Such thinking reflects Moscow’s dangerously outdated view of foreign policy as a zero-sum game. It should not pass unchallenged.

Kathimerini

2004 Olympics success

ATHENS — The Athens 2004 Organizing Committee should be distinguished as a model to be imitated by state-run but also private enterprises for its absolute success in organizing last year’s Olympics. The Games were staged without any hiccups despite the extremely demanding nature of the project — especially for a country of Greece’s size — and the committee still succeeded in making a 7-million-euro overall profit. …

The committee undertook the organization of the Games on the basis of a specific budget — which it not only balanced but also made a profit upon — and had no involvement whatsoever in the construction of costly sports venues and other infrastructure works, which were the sole responsibility of the state.

Taipei Times

Taiwan’s WHO application

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Pundits who thought the trips to China by Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong would elicit a more civilized form of behavior from Beijing were fooling themselves. Beijing has once again blocked Taipei’s application to join the World Health Organization (WHO), and thus China’s “united front” strategy and hypocrisy in creating the illusion of “peaceful intentions” for international consumption is plain to see. Equally obvious is Beijing’s lust for Taiwan’s territory at the expense of the health and security of Taiwanese people. …

By demanding that Taiwan become a member of its delegation, China was seeking to belittle Taiwan’s status as a sovereign nation. This underlines the ignorance of the WHO Secretariat in regard to cross-strait politics. Taiwan would never have agreed to such humiliating conditions. …

Activities organized by U.N. organizations should not become arenas in which powerful nations run roughshod over weaker nations and despotic nations make a mockery of democratic ones.

Jerusalem Post

National education reform

JERUSALEM — Teachers must feel like proverbial footballs these days, kicked by two opposing teams. The present dispute over their fate is one of the more cynical we have known, with both sides engaging unabashedly in brinkmanship maneuvers. Caught helplessly in the middle, the teachers are the victims, along with students and their families. …

At its core is the unequivocal union rejection of the Dovrat Commission’s blueprint for reforming our educational system via a long school day and a five-day school week, more authority for principals and scrapping the junior high schools. Dovrat also promises to improve the pay and status of deserving teachers by emphasizing merit rather than tenure. …

Nevertheless, for Dovrat to work, the utmost care must be taken in ridding the system only of those teachers who undermine efforts at improvement, and retaining and encouraging those who embody the highest standards.

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