- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:


Politiken

Democracy in the Middle East

COPENHAGEN Syria is suppressed by a cold-hearted dictator. It is occupying and suppressing neighboring Lebanon. It has for many years harbored international terrorists.

But shouldn't the United States have a nice, long talk with Syrian authorities instead of threatening them with fire and brimstone?

If the American threats are supposed to be part of the superpower's sudden wish for democratizing [the Middle East], Washington better think again. There are a number of good reasons for a change of rule in Syria, but not one of them justifies a war.

Power games are a bad starting point for a democratization.

If the United States really wishes to democratize the Arab world, thereby changing its previous policy of stability through alliances with dictators, it would do itself and the Arab populations a favor by presenting this is as clear strategic policy.

Doing so wouldn't require fighting, but it would mean that the United States should make clear to its friends and foes not just in Syria, but also Saudi Arabia and Egypt that it wants, supports and works for democratic reform.

Even though that means that the governments in those countries will have to be accountable in free elections.


Aftonbladet

Put pressure on Israel

STOCKHOLM If the peace process is to get started in the Middle East, the international pressure on Israel must become much stronger.

Britain and the European Union have tried to put the issue on the agenda. [Swedish Prime Minister] Goeran Persson could exert pressure when he visits the region next month.

But the key to success is to be found in Washington.

The Americans could force Israel to make concessions. But if so, President Bush will have to realize that the Israeli occupation is a decisive engine behind both political instability and terrorism.


Il Messaggero

Italy's humanitarian role

ROME The "postwar" in Iraq may cause more deaths than the 25 days of "war" due to disease, epidemics, malnutrition, not to mention violence of all forms: protests, terrorist attacks, and guerrilla warfare. Because the conflict will conclude without an armistice or a peace treaty, the hostilities may continue indefinitely in an endless stream of episodes. It will be difficult to determine whether the war is over and when Italy's humanitarian role as a technically neutral country can begin. What remains to be seen is how Italy will greet the Iraqi people and in the name of which international institution.

The best way to conduct a humanitarian campaign would be under the auspices of either the United Nations or NATO. France and Germany appear to be helpful, and this would be the best option for the campaign aims and for trans-Atlantic diplomacy. But American intransigence toward France raises doubts as to whether Washington will consider these options. Without them, America and its "coalition of the willing" would be alone to carry out the humanitarian campaign. This would be the worst option; it would increase the distance between "old" and "new" Europe, making it impossible to achieve a common foreign policy, and bolster French, German and Belgian plans to create a European army.


Asahi Shimbun

American world dominance

TOKYO The war in Iraq will enhance the dominance of the United States over the rest of the world. Within the United States, discussions have already been held on what country might be the next target. This is an even more compelling reason why European nations and Japan must make an effort.

We have opposed this war from the outset. Our opposition has been driven by our belief that nations needed not initiate war a last resort as long as U.N. weapons inspectors were at work. We opposed a war based on the doctrine of "pre-emptive strike" as being disruptive to the world order under international law. We believed the war would increase the prospects for terrorism.

The problems we have raised have not been resolved, even as the war winds down. …

The White House is in a triumphant mood. … The final evaluation of a war that took such a heavy toll on the people of Iraq will be determined by how they fare in the days ahead.

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