- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 28, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:
South Korea's election
COPENHAGEN In a few weeks, President Kim [Dae-jung] will leave the presidential palace and pass it on to another detente politician, Roh Moo-hyun, who won the recent presidential elections.
Kim bids farewell after a 40-year political career that has seen his glory fade of late. What's needed now is extensive reforms of the country's business life and its dominating influence on local and central government.
But when said, it is important to remember that South Korea is still a nation divided and operates under extremely difficult geopolitical conditions.
The dialogue with the unpredictable and undoubtedly desperate North Korea must be kept going, and the alliance with the United States must be reconsidered in a way that will maintain the indisputable results that South Korea has achieved, first under authoritarian and later democratic presidents.

Dagens Nyheter
Reform in Iran
STOCKHOLM Two-thirds of Iran's population is under age 30, and that generation is not satisfied with the state of things. They are not satisfied with the reforms of the current system. They want democracy. They want freedom of speech and openness.
The real optimists even draw a parallel with Poland, where national protests began to drive the first nails into what later became the coffin of the Soviet Union.
Naive? Probably. The bitter truth is the conservative forces in Iran still can crush nearly any expression of discontent whenever they want. But so could the Warsaw Pact's security services.
There is definitely something new in what we see in Iran. [The students] believe that the problem can be found with the country's own regime, not with the "Great Satan."
The solution is democracy at home, not aggression against the rest of the world. This is a mental change that will be hard to withstand in the long run.

The Independent
The Iraq crisis
LONDON Tony Blair has told British troops to prepare for war. President Bush has declared that he is doubling the number of U.S. troops in the Gulf. The carefully orchestrated announcements in Washington and London heighten a growing sense that war against Iraq is inevitable. This is precisely what we need to guard against over the next few weeks: being dragged into a conflict on the grounds of inevitability, all previous concerns brushed aside by the momentum of the military buildup. …
This debate must not end just because Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair are preparing for war. The war has not begun. There is no discernible trigger for such a conflict. A breach of the U.N. resolution requires that Saddam Hussein conceals information on weapons and fails to cooperate with the U.N. inspectors. … Nothing is fully resolved.
There is still time to reflect on the appalling dangers of the war before we find ourselves fighting it. Most immediately, the dangers are to the Iraqi civilians who have already suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of Saddam. Under the guise of coming to their rescue, the United States threatens to kill some of them. Of course, that is not the intention of a military attack, but it is the inevitable consequence.

The Egyptian Gazette
Bush's peacemaking
CAIRO President Bush's renewed commitment to Mideast peacemaking, which he made during a meeting of mediators in Washington [on Dec. 20], is bound to make little, if any impact on the ground. The focus of the meeting of the quartet of mediators was to mull a long-touted plan for defusing more than two years of Palestinian-Israeli tensions and revitalizing peace talks.
The blueprint, marketed by its authors as a "road map to Mideast peace," was set to be declared during the Washington gathering. But for no good reason, the United States chose to shelve it, much to the dislike of the other partners. Washington is widely believed to have opted for postponement under Israeli pressure. The Jewish state is primed to go to the polls Jan. 28. So, the incumbent government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is unwilling to have its agenda put to the test before the world. The United States, it seems, has succumbed to Sharon's wish, despite the mounting turbulence in the region.

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