- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

New York Times

International arms inspectors told the Security Council yesterday that they had not yet found any "smoking gun" proving Saddam Hussein's continued manufacture of unconventional weapons. That increases pressure on the Bush administration to share more of what it knows about the state of Iraq's biological, chemical, nuclear and missile programs. Less than three weeks remain until Jan. 27, when the inspectors are to provide a more comprehensive report. If Washington hopes to persuade the world and the American people that Baghdad has forfeited its chance for a peaceful solution, it will need compelling evidence to support its case. …

Yet for all the Iraqi maneuvering, America cannot simply declare Baghdad to be in violation of U.N. requirements and then go immediately to war. The political, economic and military implications of combat — not to mention the potential loss of American and Iraqi lives — demand every effort by the United States to resolve this confrontation short of war. That may involve extending the period for inspections, and certainly requires Washington to return to the Security Council for further deliberation before turning to the use of force. The presence of tens of thousands of American troops in the region and the return of uncomfortably hot weather in the spring are not reasons to start fighting before every diplomatic option has been exhausted.

There can be no wavering from the goal of disarming Iraq, but all chances of doing so peacefully should be explored before the world is asked to decide on war. Before that point is reached, Washington should share its evidence with the public.

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Washington Times

In the days after North Korea jumpstarted its nuclear program, the Bush administration outlined a very sensible approach to deal with the hermit kingdom. In a wholesale reversal of the failed Clinton policy of buying peace and security on the Korean peninsula, the United States would now dedicate itself to choking off the steady diet of world aid that maintains Pyongyang. Tidily packaged as "tailored containment," the White House would no longer negotiate with North Korea until it behaved as a responsible member of the international community. As Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "If the North Koreans reached out and started to make sensible statements and stopped taking actions, which frankly are provocative … we would see what might be appropriate at that point."

So far, the provocations have continued. …

On Wednesday, Mr. Powell signaled that the Bush administration may include signed assurances that the United States has no intentions of attacking the North. Such a concession is Pyongyang's most recent precondition for behaving, and that the Bush administration is considering it is nothing short of a quid pro quo.

Of course, non-aggression pacts are a far cry from the Clinton appeasement packages that maintained Pyongyang. Now, the Bush administration, with its striking reversals this week, has sent confusing signals to the international community at a time when consistency and firmness are needed most. The United States cannot isolate Pyongyang by talking to it.

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Los Angeles Times

In 1980, the pathological Maoist-inspired guerrillas who called themselves Shining Path began killing Peruvians for the "crimes" of supporting democracy and capitalism. Entrepreneurial peasants who traded their goods in rural town markets, citizens who voted in elections and union leaders who opposed the armed struggle were shot in cold blood. In 1992, the guerrillas came close to toppling the democratic government.

The government's reaction to the threat was radical, and restrictive of democratic freedoms. With Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso, controlling more than one-third of Peru, then-President Alberto Fujimori dissolved Congress and the judiciary. He also adopted harsh anti-terrorism laws that allowed secret military trials, presided over by hooded judges who freely handed down life sentences. …

Peruvians have vivid memories of the bad years…and polls have shown that most want to keep the anti-terror laws. The chief fear expressed was that without the laws, jailed leaders of the terrorist organization might be released while awaiting new trials.

Responding to these concerns, President Alejandro Toledo asked Peru's Congress to grant him the authority to amend the old laws to keep the terrorists behind bars but otherwise conform to the democratic standards set forth by the Constitutional Court.

Toledo has come up with a plan that calms fears yet preserves democratic rights. The storms of violence that surrounded the Fujimori years are finally dissipating.

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Miami Herald

Cuba's dissident movement has come a long way. Consider prominent opposition leader Oswaldo Pay's visits with Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington, D.C., and Pope John Paul II at the Vatican this week. This after having accepted the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jos Mara Aznar in Madrid. No longer is Cuba's opposition in the shadows.

Mr. Pay has drawn unprecedented international attention to the human-rights abuses of the Cuban regime. He and other increasingly vocal opposition leaders effectively are pushing for democratic change within Cuba and strengthening its civil society in the process. The opposition represents the future hope for Cuba, which is why it has gained legitimacy in the eyes of the international community even as Fidel Castro's repressive regime has lost it.

Now more than ever, Cuba's internal opposition leaders deserve support. Cuba's transition and solutions will come from within. …

The opposition has come far since 1996, when Cuba's regime viciously disabled the coalition of more than 100 dissident groups known as the Concilio Cubano and there was little international consternation. Today the regime is morally and economically corrupt. Opposition leaders like Mr. Pay, who meets with heads of state, have put Cuba's struggle for freedom in the spotlight.

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Washington Post

By the end of today, all men who are temporarily resident in the United States and who hail from 13 countries deemed to be potential sponsors of terrorism or sources of terrorists must register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Natives of the 13 countries — Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen — between the ages of 16 and 45 will be fingerprinted, photographed and told to present their visa documents for inspection. This registration procedure is consistent with rules now applied to new visa applicants from those countries. In the context of the war on terrorism, it is not illegitimate to pay extra attention to citizens of countries that may harbor terrorists.

Nevertheless, both the efficacy of the procedure — what will the INS learn and how will the information be used? — and the wisdom of treating law-abiding and largely pro-American foreigners like criminals are debatable, particularly since the precedents are not good. …

If another fiasco ensues, it might be time to consider whether this registration procedure should be carried out at all, and, if so, whether the INS should be in charge of it.

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(Compiled by United Press International.)




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