- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

Iran’s nuclear program

TOKYO — Talks between Iran and the European Union have resumed over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. The dialogue hit an impasse in August, and now full-scale negotiations are expected to move forward in the new year.

The primary goal of the talks is to convince Iran’s leaders that uranium enrichment and reprocessing programs are simply not acceptable, and to cancel them.

Iran wants to forge ahead with uranium enrichment, claiming it will be used to fuel a nuclear plant that is under construction with Russia’s assistance. If the plant truly requires enriched fuel, the EU is suggesting that the fuel be processed in Russia.

The EU plans to offer expanded economic assistance in return, and is offering to back Iran in joining an international framework for trade and other issues.

Iran can secure a stable future only if it is accepted as a responsible member of the international community. In turn, it would gain great benefits. We support the EU’s proposals.

[Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and other Iranian leaders must seriously consider the proposals offered by the EU. Iran should make a decision to break the stalemate in negotiations from January.

The bottom line is that Iran would be the one to suffer most from any further breakdown in its international relations.

Financial Times

Salvaging Bush’s 2nd term

LONDON — How fast political stars fall.

A year ago George W. Bush towered over the U.S. political scene, the clear victor of a hard-fought presidential election who had carried his party to increased majorities in both houses of Congress. Twelve months later, he is widely branded a lame-duck president, reduced from grand strategy to crisis management abroad and unable to pass big domestic reforms or set the political agenda at home.

In retrospect, of course, the President Bush of January 2005 was not as invincible as he appeared then, and the President Bush of January 2006 is not as helpless as he looks now. It is still possible for him to bounce back. With three years of his second term to go, events could simply turn in his favor — above all in Iraq, the defining issue of his presidency.

Yet Mr. Bush should not bank on this. Instead, he must revitalize his administration with new blood and a new style of government: less partisan, more realistic; less insistent on executive prerogative, more willing to engage respectfully with critics. …

Mr. Bush prides himself in not governing by opinion poll. Yet without public support and trust, his ability to set the agenda, particularly on domestic affairs, is weak. And the going could get even tougher, with continuing entanglement in Iraq and the possibility of further embarrassment from the investigation into the unmasking of a covert Central Intelligence Agency operative. A fresh start is needed. …

A credible and enduring change in style will require changes in personnel. After five years in power, the administration looks tired and short of ideas. Mr. Bush should consider replacing Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary with a less divisive figure — perhaps a Democrat, such as Joe Lieberman, committed to staying the course in Iraq. The White House staff need reinforcing and there is a strong case for new blood at the Treasury. The most important change would be to bring into the Justice Department respected figures who would advise the president on the proper limits to executive authority.

Mr. Bush needs bipartisan support to ward off calls for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Having lost his ability to cow Congress, he also needs bipartisan support to achieve anything of note at home. If he reaches out to moderate Democrats with their own proposals, tax reform is still possible. Failure to reach out could doom the rest of his presidency to impotence.

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