- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Guardian

Blair's message to America

LONDON Tony Blair yesterday addressed himself to what he sees as the biggest political danger in the modern world. The danger does not come from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, on which the prime minister also had plenty of important things to say. It comes from George Bush's America. Plenty of people who do not normally see eye-to-eye with Mr. Blair would agree with that. But they and the prime minister would draw radically different conclusions about the nature of the American threat. While the left critics fear an overactive America, what Mr. Blair fears is its opposite. He didn't himself put it quite like that yesterday, of course. But a reading of the speech that Mr. Blair delivered at College Station leaves little room for doubt that it is what he means. The prime minister's greatest fear is of a U.S. that pulls up the drawbridge and retreats into a Fortress America policy of isolationism and non-engagement. …


Defiance from Israel

PARIS Without a doubt, the American president believed he had built up trust with the leader of the Israeli government, and thought that if he so much as spoke, actions would follow.

That shows little understanding of a man who thinks he has nothing left to lose, and whose tactic is always to go further than imagined at the outset.

So now [George] Bush Jr. has been defied, forced to dryly repeat what he made clear last Thursday: The Israeli army must withdraw from the Palestinian territories "without delay" and not try to buy time. …

[Ariel] Sharon hasn't yet said it openly, but clearly he dreams of mini cease-fires, town by town, zone by zone. … It's a way to control the West Bank in the short term, to deny national Palestinian sentiment despite all proof to the contrary, and to indefinitely postpone political negotiations with an adversary who has been weakened considerably.

It's this plan, which would settle strictly nothing in the medium-term, that constitutes Sharon's biggest challenge to Bush.

Egyptian Gazette

The U.S. in the Mideast

CAIRO Until a few days ago, Washington adopted a hands-off approach to the escalating situation in the Middle East. President Bush added insult to injury when more than once he backed what he called "Israel's right to self-defense." This slanted vision has outraged Arabs who see it as a nod at [Ariel] Sharon to push ahead with his campaign of terror against the Palestinians. Last Thursday Bush and his administration departed from this line to demand Israel pull out from the Palestinian self-ruled enclaves. Secretary of State Colin Powell, now on a new mission in the volatile region, has urged Israel to withdraw "without delay."

These calls have drawn disdain from Israeli leaders. With studied contempt for world opinion and the demand from Washington, Israel's bloody invasion of the Palestinian territories goes on with no signs of abating.

The U.S., whose credibility is increasingly dented in this part of the world, must match words with actions …

Dagens Nyheter

Afghanistan's best chance

STOCKHOLM Noticeable changes have taken place in Afghanistan lately and it is hardly an exaggeration to say that the country never before has had a better chance to build a solid future. But peace is far from secured. The war still goes on. Besides, the security situation is far from good. It is security it is primarily about without security, there is a risk that every success is fragile, every aid dollar wasted and every attempt at rebuilding useless. …

Asahi Shimbun

Japan's political scandals

TOKYO The most recent scandals have demonstrated that the climate of political corruption is basically unchanged in a decade. Even if politics may seem like a green field on the surface, the same old roots are still thriving beneath the surface.

The problem is complex because the opposition cannot be as forthright as it should. … The Liberal Democratic Party is snarled in big scandals and the opposition parties are discredited by petty ignominy. And the opposition is held back from going on the offensive, just as it was in the 1955-era political order. …

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