- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 20, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:
Involving the world
PARIS Because the United States is an indispensable ally to [Israel], [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon has made a gesture: He would withdraw from the West Bank and be prepared to participate in a great international conference on the Middle East but without [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat.
The latter is undoubtedly prepared to do the same thing, but without Sharon. …
How can one imagine discussing the future of the Palestinians without the Palestinians themselves?
Sharon's offer of negotiations in this landscape nonetheless marks his acceptance of the internationalization of an eventual settlement. This way of speaking to Arab nations over Arafat and [U.S. Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell's head is condemned to failure. … Sharon is also excluding the Europeans, being too pro-Palestinian, from the negotiating table. …
There isn't a sadder diplomacy than that which doesn't distinguish facts from propaganda, even in a region where this blending is a sort of rule.

O Estado de Sao Paulo
Chavez's second chance
SAO PAULO, Brazil President Hugo Chavez has found the past two days that he is not as powerful as he thought. His messianic style appeals to the poor but alienates the middle class and repels investors. Without them he cannot fulfill his promises. Now he has a second opportunity to reconstruct his poverty-stricken, politically divided country.
He will not succeed if he continues persisting with his plans to rule Venezuela for 20 years, shaping institutions to his own ambition of dictatorial power and thwarting the emergence of new leaders and political parties. Before anything, Chavez should respect individual rights, especially of those who disagree with his so-called Bolivarian project and are ready to practice a democratic opposition.

Straits Times
After the Taliban
SINGAPORE The Taliban is gone (one trusts). The Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network have been crippled (or so the American authorities claim). Stage one of America's war on terrorism is more or less over, say United States military planners, and it is time to move on to stages two and three. Well, perhaps but hold on just a second. What the Department of Defense refers to as "stage one" took place on a "live" stage Afghanistan. There are people there, about 24 million of them. Not all of them are Taliban or al Qaeda. They have suffered unspeakable horrors over the past quarter-century.
The terrorists have been defeated, sort of, but the sand is still sand, and it is an open question if the U.S. will stick around long enough to help water the soil, let alone till the land and turn it into a garden. The Bush administration must realize that its credibility will be at stake if it weasels its way out of the promises it made to the Afghan people six months ago, when it was trying to win their hearts and minds in the battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan's aid to China
TOKYO China has grown into a new economic power that has attracted direct investment from Japanese and other foreign corporations in excess of $40 billion annually. Given this, Japan has no reason to continue giving China as much aid as in the past.
It should be noted that China is stepping up its military preparedness while receiving massive aid from Japan. China's fiscal 2002 defense budget has grown 19.4 percent from its initial defense budget for fiscal 2001. The figure signifies a double-digit increase for the 14th consecutive year and sets a record for recent years.
The government's framework for Japan's ODA (Official Development Assistance) programs stipulates that full attention be paid to the military expenditures of recipient nations, as well as the recipient's attempt to develop and build weapons of mass destruction and missiles. Japan would undermine efforts to maintain peace and stability, not only at home but in the rest of the world, if it violates its own principles through ODA to China a policy that could encourage that country's nuclear arms buildup.
Japan should not hesitate to stop all its aid to China if Beijing refuses to take appropriate action despite this nation's strong warning on its nuclear buildup.

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