- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Aftenposten

On Russia’s role in Asia

OSLO — Moscow is back as an importance influence in Asia for the first time since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Russia has established itself as the region’s largest arms trader.

Customers include major powers like China and India, but also such smaller states are Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma, Bangladesh, Laos and South Korea.

On his way to a summit of Asian and Pacific countries, President Vladimir Putin stopped in Indonesia, where he signed agreements for the sale of submarines, jet fighters, helicopters and tanks. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim nation, and is strategically important because of its proximity to the Malacca Strait, where 75 percent of oil for Japan and other Eastern Asian industrialized countries passes.

Indonesia currently has just two submarines, which for long periods have been unable to dive because of technical problems. They will now be replaced by Kilo-class submarines, paid for through a billion-dollar loan from Russia. New oil wealth makes it possible for Russia to offer attractive financing, an irresistible argument when relatively poor countries buy costly military materiel.

Russia is not just interested in selling to others, but also has great ambitions of modernizing its own forces in the East. It will take a long time to correct many years of neglect, but no one should doubt that the plans will be accomplished as along as Russian economic upswing continues.

Daily Telegraph

On the September 11 anniversary

LONDON — The top item on the Downing Street Web site for September 11 was a tribute from the prime minister to the “inspirational” Anita Roddick who died on Monday.

While we have no wish to detract from the memory of Dame Anita, perhaps Gordon Brown should have been directing his tribute elsewhere — to the memory of the 67 British citizens killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, on that gin-clear morning, six years ago.

Mr. Brown’s omission was, regrettably, no aberration.

The anniversary of the worst single terrorist atrocity ever to be visited on this country in terms of casualty numbers simply passed without comment.

There were no official ceremonies, no services, no minute’s silence. It went unremarked, as if it had never happened.

The families and friends of the British victims had to travel to the British Memorial Garden in New York’s Hanover Square if they wished to pay their respects.

The fact that the British death toll formed only a small fraction of the 2,973 victims in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania appears to have erased the event from our consciousness.

Daily Nation

On development projects

NAIROBI, Kenya — Since Kenya gained independence in 1963, donors have sunk millions into so-called development projects. Unfortunately, most of these projects seemed to be more targeted at achieving national objectives of the donor countries than that of improving the lives of Kenyans.

Presumably, top on their agenda was securing employment and contracts for their nationals, behind a facade of philanthropy.

In short, the disparate activities largely failed to make a dent on poverty.

… Donors, in a clear admission of failure, unveiled an attempt at coordinating their efforts to make meaningful impact under the Millennium Development Goals, which aims at halving poverty by 2015. …

We support this initiative as it has the potential of eliminating warped priorities informed by misguided know-it-all attitudes common with foreigners operating on the continent.

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