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Question of the Day
Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:
On G-8 global warming talks
TOKYO — The principal topic at the recent Group of Eight (G-8) summit held in Heiligendamm, Germany, was neither currencies nor conflict. Instead, the leaders of the world’s richest industrial nations focused on global warming, which threatens all of mankind. They recognized the seriousness of the threat and agreed to take urgent, concerted actions to deal with it.
The United States had turned its back on the Kyoto treaty and was reluctant before the meeting in Heiligendamm to embrace any numerical target. The fact that the United States was eventually persuaded into accepting a reference to the emissions target in the G-8 joint statement has great significance.
On missile defense
MADRAS, India — Russia’s proposal to the United States that it relocate the “early warning” infrastructure of the planned missile interceptors from Poland and the Czech Republic to Azerbaijan has underscored two things: the hollowness of Washington’s strategic rationale for missile defense as well as the deep divisions within the G-8’s ranks on fundamental issues of security. On the sidelines of the Heiligendamm summit, President Vladimir Putin told President George Bush that if the idea behind placing radars and interceptor batteries on the Russian border was really to protect Europe from Iranian missiles, the powerful Russian-operated Qabala radar station in Azerbaijan would do the job much better. … Mr. Bush and his advisers were taken aback by this dramatic proposal and promised to mull over it and come back to the Russian leader as soon as possible. But judging from the chorus of “expert” opinion on the subject, it is already evident that Washington is looking for ways to reject the Russian offer as unsuitable on grounds of the “geometry of intercept.”
Whether in Europe or Asia, the Bush administration’s missile defense program has nothing to do with a threat from Iran, North Korea, or any other state. The idea is to convert the strategic superiority the United States sees itself enjoying over Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union into a superiority that is overwhelming, and to neutralize China’s deterrent vis-a-vis the continental United States. But missile defense is self-defeating, like the arms races that preceded it.
On U.S. politics
But what are his other foreign policies? How would a Barack Obama-led United States act on the world stage?
Some answers are in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, where the Illinois senator outlined his vision.
And after too many years with George W. Bush in the White House, and too many years of American attempts to break down the world order it helped to build, Mr. Obama’s article lends hope of a new, sensitive and decisive United States.
He wants to see a “responsible” end to the American presence in Iraq and to direct focus on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. … The whole article breathes a clear dissociation from the Bush administration’s worldview.
But imagine a United States, in less than two years, with a president who actually believes in cooperation, whose first instinct is not to act on his own and who is not met by massive protests as soon as he lands in an allied country.
It would be a needed change, not the least for a world that, good or bad, still depends on American leadership.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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