- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 9, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

State of the Union speech

TOKYO President George W. Bush's State of the Union address was couched in the worryingly tough, hard-line rhetoric that hearkened back to the Cold War era. Labeling Iraq, Iran and North Korea "the world's most dangerous regimes," Bush harshly accused these countries and "their terrorist allies" of constituting "an axis of evil."

His public denouncement has dashed any hope for better U.S. ties with these countries.

Bush was right in insisting that the war against terrorism must go on.

The essential mission is to demolish the al Qaeda terrorism network and its global reach. If the United States, as the only superpower, overestimates the capabilities of its military machine and recklessly expands the battle lines, the delicate international coalition against terrorism will deteriorate rapidly. Bush should take to heart this precarious nature of the situation.

In his speech, Bush was lobbying for a sharp increase in defense spending, which he advocates, saying it would represent the biggest increase in military spending in 20 years. Such remarks represent the world's most powerful leader's alarming belief in military might.

Frankfurter Allgemeine

The campaign against terrorism

FRANKFURT, Germany President George W. Bush believes that the world is only at the start of a long fight.

We may speculate about where he will next lead the campaign, but it is hardly an impenetrable conundrum.

Mr. Bush's recent reference to the "axis of evil" had more to do with rhetorical flourish than rigorous analysis of history. But these words did sound an alarm for the usual suspects as well as a wake-up call for all who believed that, after the fighting in Afghanistan, international politics would revert to its old course.

This is unlikely to happen.

The main reason is that the United States will not be satisfied with putting a stop to the activities of one or two bad boys.

Its opponents must realize that an all-embracing security has become both the Bush presidency's leitmotiv and model. This is something America's partners need to learn as well.

One can use different models of cost-benefit analysis to argue about how best to prevent a tyrant like [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein from getting his hands on weapons of mass destruction. But persuasion alone will not suffice.

Svenska Dagbladet

Upcoming Zimbabwe elections

STOCKHOLM The election campaign in Zimbabwe has started, and with that the escalation of the persecution of everybody who might be in opposition to the regime of [President Robert] Mugabe. With only six weeks to go to Election Day, it is of the utmost importance that the surrounding world reacts against every attempt at distorting the conditions for the election process to Mugabe's advantage. The past years' government-controlled mob rule is reason enough to fear that the election will not be regarded as free in a democratic sense of the word.

Sunday Independent

South Africa's AIDS policy

JOHANNESBURG The refusal by Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, this week to acknowledge, let alone bow to public pressure to change her stance on supplying nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women, defies rationality. If one leaves aside the minister's waste of an opportunity to alter a policy that spreads the misery and disempowerment of AIDS and the virus most agree causes it her disregard for public opinion begs the question of just whose interest her obstinacy serves.

Tshabalala-Msimang may well have the constitution of the hardened politician and she will need it in the months ahead but in a matter of such pressing importance it is hard to imagine she is staying her course without direction, for want of a better word, from the highest offices of her party, namely President Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki's now infamous grasp of the AIDS epidemic, his refusal to embrace the simple truth that HIV causes AIDS, has turned AIDS into the new apartheid: pernicious, genocidal and bureaucratic.

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