- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

New York Times

The shift of the Senate to Republican control has brought one of the G.O.P.'s most seasoned and sensible foreign policy hands, Richard Lugar of Indiana, to the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee. With an unusually challenging array of international crises now commanding the nation's attention, Senator Lugar has an opportunity to restore some of the prominence and influence that committee once had.

Mr. Lugar enjoys cordial relations with President Bush, his fellow Republican. But his thoughtful views on issues from arms control to building democracy abroad are very much his own. With his solidly internationalist outlook, he could help leaven some of the administration's more go-it-alone tendencies. That will require speaking out more forcefully and with greater flair than has been Mr. Lugar's custom. One of his biggest challenges will be standing up to Republican hawks in the Pentagon and in Congress who fail to grasp the importance of nuclear arms control agreements to American security. …

Mr. Lugar's bipartisan legislative style will be an important asset in a closely divided Senate, particularly if he can use it to rally moderate committee members from both parties into a coherent centrist majority. The Bush administration has done a very uneven job of explaining its foreign policies to the country. Mr. Lugar and his committee must now see to it that these policies are more adequately thought through and debated.

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Los Angeles Times

The Khmer Rouge fanatics who presided over the deaths of as many as 2 million Cambodians remain free in their land nearly 24 years after their government was toppled. None have been brought to trial. Villagers walk past onetime killing fields each day and the country tries to move forward, but the refusal to impose justice festers.

Last week, the United Nations resumed talks with Cambodia about possible trials. The U.N. needs to remain firm and not let the current ruler, Prime Minister Hun Sen, tailor a trial of his liking, one in which he makes his enemies scapegoats and shields himself and his friends from scrutiny. …

Hun Sen was a Khmer Rouge commander who fled when Pol Pot turned against him. Backed by Vietnam, he returned to take control after the Khmer Rouge defeat and has refused to yield power since, even after losing elections. His courts are not strong enough or sufficiently free from corruption to hold a legitimate trial on their own.

The U.N. must be careful not to be a pawn in a sham legal proceeding that tarnishes its reputation and does nothing for Cambodians. Only a fair and credible trial will let Cambodians understand their past and demonstrate that individuals and governments can be held accountable.

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A lengthy and violent anti-government strike in Venezuela may seem a safely remote event to Americans, but it is not. The walkout is exerting strong pressure on the price of gasoline at pumps in Milwaukee and around the country, and it is complicating President Bush's campaign to overthrow Iraq's Saddam Hussein. That's why it makes sense for the Bush administration to help broker a prompt and peaceful end to the work stoppage, which is what the White House is now trying to do.

The strike was instigated on Dec. 2 by an increasing number of Venezuelans who seek the ouster of President Hugo Chavez. …

Scrambling for a solution, the administration lately has joined five other hemispheric countries and the Organization of American States to mediate the dispute between Chavez and a coalition of his many critics. Whether Chavez will cooperate with this effort is an open question, but there is no doubt that he should. Continued intransigence will only perpetuate the strike, deepen the economic woes that plague Venezuela and further isolate an already beleaguered president. That's the message Chavez's neighbors ought to be sending him.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The problem of North Korea and its nuclear weapons program and militarism has by no means been solved. But it does seem that the possibility of war in the Korean peninsula has been more or less taken off the board for the moment.

This is due in no small part to quick and adroit diplomatic action on the part of neighboring China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, in which the United States also has taken part. It is very clear that those nations, all within relatively easy range of North Korea's weapons, don't want North Korea and the United States — or North Korea and anyone else — to move to hot conflict, and that they are prepared to invest considerable effort in preventing that from happening. …

It should be remembered that German reunification took place while the United States had diplomatic relations with both East and West Germany and thousands of troops stationed in West Germany. Whether the 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea should be drawn down now is another question, but a political path toward solution of the North Korean problem is clearly the indicated course and the only one North Korea's neighbors will abide.

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(Compiled by United Press International)





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