- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere della Sera

Europe’s Iran role

MILAN, Italy — The position of the European Union in the new cold war [with Iran] is an open question.

This battlefield will decide who has the central power in the 21st century. It will not be the United Nations, which cannot even agree to stop the genocide in the Sudan or to reform the grotesque human rights commission. … The United States, whose technological power is half a century ahead of Europe’s, remains dominant.

It is therefore crucial to understand whether Europe will be speaking the German of [Chancellor Angela] Merkel, critical of the U.S. but from the point of view of an independent ally, or that of [former Chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder, making deals and agreements with [President Vladimir] Putin. In the first case, the world will be ruled by a democratic coalition and the U.N. will have a significant role again. In the second case, there will emerge an Earth … populated by 2 billion young Muslims with China and Moscow on the brink of war … Europe can tip the balance of war or peace.

Jerusalem Post

The Golden Globes

The Golden Globe award for best foreign film went Monday to “Paradise Now,” an entry from Palestine about two suicide bombers. Though no independent entity called Palestine yet exists, Nazareth-born, Dutch-resident director Hany Abu-Assad’s French-German-Dutch-Israeli co-production has already garnered a plethora of awards, including the Audience Prize and Best Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as the European Oscar last December.

The latter prize was conferred on the day a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself at a Netanya mall, taking six innocent lives and maiming numerous others.

The film details the painstaking preparations of two attractive young friends with whom it is not difficult to sympathize. They feel suffocated in Nablus: Sa’id, the younger, prefers “death to inferiority,” while his love-interest Suha — the foreign-born daughter of “an assassinated Palestinian hero” — tries relentlessly but ultimately fails to dissuade Sa’id from showing the “courage of his convictions.”

The friends set out with explosive charges around their midriffs, are separated at the security barrier when surprised by an IDF patrol, and later reunite. The tearjerker moments revolve not around the presumed fate of the passengers — mostly young soldiers — on the Israeli civilian bus ultimately boarded by Sa’id, but around his friend’s failure, following a last-minute change of heart, to dissuade him from going ahead with the bombing.

We don’t believe that those who decided to honor “Paradise Now” necessarily wished to glorify suicide bombers or justify those who target Israeli civilians. Yet we find it unlikely a film delving into the inner struggles of the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center or who murdered in London, Madrid, Baghdad or Bali will be produced, let alone showered with accolades.

Asahi Shimbun

Geneva disarmament talks

TOKYO — The 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva is the only organization in the world set up on a permanent basis for conducting multilateral negotiations on disarmament.

Yet, discussions at the conference have remained stalled, and it has produced no tangible results for nearly 10 years.

The biggest obstacle is the way business is carried out at the conference. Decisions at its meetings must be unanimous, allowing a single dissenting vote to block any action.

If the Conference on Disarmament cannot put its act together on its own, alternative approaches must be sought.

For instance, why not conduct talks at the General Assembly on a treaty prohibiting all production of weapons-grade nuclear materials?

Such a treaty would work not only to restrain the military buildup of nuclear powers but also hold in check the nuclearization of nonnuclear powers. Since such a treaty would be in the interest of many countries, compromises may be reached depending on the conditions.

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