- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Guardian

Iraq weapons inspections

LONDON Ever since the Bush administration first made it clear that it was serious about overthrowing Saddam Hussein, it has seemed obvious that one way the Iraqi dictator could stymie the Americans would be by readmitting U.N. weapons inspectors. If inspectors returned and were not being obstructed, the administration would find it even more difficult to garner international support for an attack on Iraq. That is why Iraq has been feinting in that direction for some time. …

Three possible outcomes can be envisaged. One is a repetition of earlier experiences in which the inspectors are lied to, misled and physically obstructed. If this happened, Iraq would hand a justification for war to the United States, which would dispel the doubts of at least some of the countries now opposed to an attack. The second is that weapons of mass destruction are found, declared or otherwise, a scarcely less dangerous result from the Iraqi point of view. The third is that, in spite of unfettered access, nothing is found, at which point it is surely likely that the United States, very possibly with the support of the United Nations, would declare that the weapons are so well-hidden after the years in which the inspectors have been absent that they cannot be found. Again, that still leaves Saddam as a leader allegedly … hiding horrific war materials.

Taking the inspectors back is thus a very risky course for Iraq, which makes it likely that Baghdad will try to gain time by playing around with the issue, making further half-offers and stopping just short of saying yes to an unalloyed U.N. inspection regime.

Corriere della Sera

Terrorist threats in Europe

MILAN, Italy If religious fanaticism only is guiding al Qaeda's actions, then an attack in Europe is indeed probable. Europeans are Christian and therefore "infidels," and they supported America … against the Taliban.

But religious fanaticism need not prevent al Qaeda's leaders from employing entirely political calculations.

The attacks on the twin towers constrained Europe to align itself with the United States. But the "half-finished job" in Afghanistan and diverging stances on Israel and Iraq have weakened the coalition between Europe and the United States. Furthermore, the lack of attacks so far in Europe has given the impression that Islamic terrorism is, in fact, an "American" problem.

If terrorists decide to withhold attacks against Europe, that would actually enlarge the gulf between the United States and Europe and swiftly disintegrate the anti-terrorism coalition born September 11.

Straits Times

U.S. aversion to the ICC

SINGAPORE It is distressing that the United States has warned countries they could lose military assistance if they became members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) without promising to protect Americans serving in their countries from its reach. Behind the U.S. administration's opposition to the court whose purpose is to prosecute individuals for war crimes and genocide when national governments refuse to act is the concern that it could subject Americans to politically motivated prosecutions.

What the United States is doing, because it has the power to do so, is carving out a special place for itself where the ICC is concerned. Its concern over politically motivated prosecutions is but a diplomatic way out of the possibility that foreign judges might scrutinize the actions of its soldiers and, by extension, its military policy.

Of course, in a unipolar world, the United States has the option to act in the way it wants to, and other countries may well have to fall in line. Superpowers can act like that, but they do not need to.

Le Monde

Pollution in South Asia

PARIS The United Nations Environment Program report casts a harsh light on the pollution situation in southern Asia. A gigantic "brown cloud," generated by human pollution, covers the whole region for part of the year … with negative consequences for rainfall levels and plant growth. There's no doubt that this document will influence discussions at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, being held in Johannesburg from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4.

Ten years after the Rio conference, which marked the starting point of the idea of sustainable development, the world situation has hardly improved. … The problem lies in reconciling the economic interests of developing countries with their consequences for the environment. … The will to fight poverty often results in resort to the cheapest but also the most polluting solutions.

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