- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2002

The Guardian

On the single European currency:

LONDON People may not be dancing in the streets today but the birth of the euro in notes and coins, after an interminable pregnancy, is a monumentally important event in the history of Europe. What is transcending is the decision of 12 nations, many with highly nationalistic histories, to bury the most potent physical symbol of their identities in a common currency The project is of its nature a very, very long-term one and if it can survive such vicissitudes at birth it may be blessed enough to have longevity on its side. Tony Blair is hoping that the euro creeps into Britain (through tourism) by the back door. But whatever lies in store for Britain can take nothing away from the transcending nature of events today. Euroskeptics and enthusiasts alike should bury their differences, raise their glasses and wish the euro a long and prosperous life.

Asahi Shimbun

On giving substance to goals:

TOKYO In uncertain times, many people prefer the projection of power, tending to choose governmental controls over freedom, and military might over international cooperation.

A number of prominent polemicists in the international community argue, for example, that while the nations of the world now try to conform to a common standard with the United States for the sake of "globalization," it is the United States that needs to toe the mark, rather than being the model.

In the battle against the terrorism since September 11, the United States has tried to build its own form of a framework for international cooperation. But the world cannot move forward unless there is a change in the behavior of the superpower, which regards international organizations and other nations simply as instruments for achieving its own aims. The stalemate in resolving issues for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on limits of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and the status of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear weapons are obvious proofs of that.

Jordan Times

On the Pakistani-Indian tension:

AMMAN, Jordan Clouds of war hover over the Indian-Pakistani skies. The December 13 attack on India's parliament has moved the two nuclear rivals a step closer to military confrontation that could lead to catastrophic consequences.

Most observers believe that military action is not imminent because both countries are facing a host of external and internal challenges that were further complicated by the September 11 attacks against Washington and New York.

But the current tensions cannot be taken lightly considering that the two neighbors have, in barely half a century, fought three wars over disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The international community, spearheaded by the United States, needs to apply diplomatic and legal pressure to ease bilateral tensions as any conflict would only hurt the two neighbors and push the entire South Asia region into further turmoil following the September attacks that turned the regions' political chessboard upside down.

The U.S. needs to do more to prod the Indian and Pakistani leaders to contain the developing crisis against backdrop of daily exchanges of fire across the Line of Control. Face-to-face talks are needed as dialogue and diplomacy, not military might, offers the only viable solution to the festering problem.

Egyptian Gazette

On Sharon's cosmetic tactic:

CAIRO Although he has dismissed Palestinian President Yasser Arafat as irrelevant, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has consented to talks between his foreign minister, Shimon Peres, and chief of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmed Qureia. This approval might have created the false impression that Sharon, a.k.a. the Butcher, has had a change of heart. But there is more to the situation than meets the eye.

Since taking over as Israel's prime minister earlier this year, Sharon has stepped up a brutal Israeli crackdown, which he later termed as a war against terror on the Palestinians.

Sharon calculates that allowing his minister to meet a Palestinian official will whitewash the image of the Israeli premier, who is generally perceived as a ruthless tactician and anti-peace strategist.

In addition, the collapse of the talks would play into his hands. With the U.S. squarely on his side, Sharon would heap blame on the Palestinians of perpetuating the cycle of violence. In turn, he would go ahead with his genocidal war against the Palestinian self-rule zones.

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