- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2003

New York Times

Over the past two years France has been the site of hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents — synagogues defaced, sacred texts burned, individuals menaced — nearly all of them perpetrated by disaffected North African youths. The official reaction consisted of a Gallic shrug, as if to ask, What can you expect from poor Arabs when they watch brutal scenes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on television? As accusatory reminders of France's Nazi collaboration flowed in from the United States and Israel, the French establishment went from dismissive to defensive. President Jacques Chirac asserted indignantly, after his re-election last May, that France was not an anti-Semitic country. …

It remains sadly common for French intellectuals and officials to discount Jewish anxiety and to suggest that if only Israel would do right by the Palestinians, the problems of France's Jews would disappear. While a solution in the Middle East would help calm things down, this is a cynical argument. At the same time, Americans and Israelis are too quick to link violence by young North African delinquents to France's Vichy past. The two have little to do with each other. What remains clear is that the French government has a responsibility to treat acts of hatred as what they are and to protect all its citizens.

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Washington Times

The cloning conundrum comes down to a moment — a split second that separates non-life from life, critical experimentation from cruel exploitation. Yet, given the consequences of choosing wrongly, Congress should take its time to consider the ethical and social implications among the continuum of reproductive cloning, therapeutic cloning and adult stem-cell research.

At the outset, the terminology and technology must be separated, since therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning start at the same point, but end at rather different ones, with wildly different consequences for the individuals involved. Meanwhile, therapeutic cloning and adult stem cell research start with somewhat different materials, but use similar end products for essentially the same purposes. …

Regardless of where Congress decides to stop along the cloning continuum, the cloning conundrum is not likely to go away any time soon. And, as the technology advances and is applied by scientists and corporations in Europe and Asia, the ethical principles of therapeutic cloning opponents will be put to the stiffest tests of pragmatism.

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Washington Post

The Security Council's Resolution 1441 on Iraq, passed unanimously two months ago, was unambiguous in its purpose: to "afford Iraq … a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and to "set up an enhanced inspection regime" to verify whether a voluntary disarmament takes place. Iraq has so far refused to comply: In fact, it has already violated the resolution by submitting a declaration to the council denying that it has any weapons to dismantle. Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, a Swedish diplomat, can see that his mission is failing. But rather than report that to the Security Council, as required by 1441, he is attempting to redefine both his mission and the resolution. In a series of interviews in recent days, Mr. Blix has said that the report he is required to make to the council on Jan. 27 will mark only "the beginning of the inspection and monitoring process, not the end of it," even though any extension must be the council's decision. …

His motive is obvious: He would like to head off U.S. military action at any cost, even though such action clearly has been justified by Iraq's failure to comply. "We can all be anxious and worried" about the current U.S. buildup, the diplomat said. "I represent disarmament through inspections, and we do our best to move on that line." Mr. Blix is entitled to his opinion; but his job is to implement, not reformulate, the Security Council's decisions. The Bush administration should insist that his freelancing end, and so should Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

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Los Angeles Times

As United Nations inspectors search Iraq for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, barns in the Siberian town of Shchuchye store thousands of tons of VX, sarin and other nerve agents, along with 2 million chemical artillery shells small enough to fit in a suitcase, each containing enough poison to kill a stadium full of people.

Ridding the world of such weapons — wherever they are — must be a top priority for the United States. Fortunately, after considerable prodding, Congress has authorized millions to destroy the gases in Shchuchye and other weapons across Russia before terrorists get them. …

Keeping weapons out of terrorists' hands is vitally important to U.S. national security. …Congress and Russia (and, for that matter, any nation loath to see its people killed en masse) need to come up with billions more to rid the world of this deadly arsenal.

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Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Persistent violence both in Moscow and in Russian government buildings in Chechnya belies President Vladimir Putin's claims that the rebel movement in the breakaway province is under control. The rebels may be the terrorists that Putin claims, but after three years of war, it is becoming increasingly apparent that they will not be tamed by military means and that a political solution is essential. There is reason to believe the United States can help produce one, and every reason for the U.S. to try. …

Putin has said often enough that both his country and ours are menaced by terrorism. If that is the case, he ought to be ready to work with the U.S. on a solution to the war in Chechnya, a three-year disaster that shows no sign of ending.

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San Antonio Express-News

Texas visitors to their western neighbor know that New Mexico's green chilis often are hot enough to clear the sinuses, perhaps even the mind itself.

Who knows whether the spicy-hot green chili that newly elected New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, served his North Korean guests last weekend helped, ironically, to cool the confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington.

But something in recent days conspired to ease the standoff. Most likely, it was the dour prospect of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.

Richardson, emphasizing that he was speaking in an unofficial capacity, said he expected low-level talks at the United Nations to begin shortly. …

A nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable.

Yet, clearly, engagement with Pyongyang, rather than isolation, is the wiser course, however distasteful engagement with this rogue nation may be.

It's also clear that engagement must be in conjunction with America's regional allies — South Korea, to be sure, but also China, Japan and Russia.

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(Compiled by United Press International.)





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