- The Washington Times - Friday, July 4, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:


A very fragile truce

STOCKHOLM — The Islamic militants Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Sunday declared a three-month truce. At the same time, Israel began to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

But as usual, the setbacks are waiting just around the corner.

The risk that the Sharon regime will bump off a high Hamas activist, and thus undermine the cease-fire, is immediate. It is also unclear how the stubbornly Islamic groups will uphold the demand that Palestinian prisoners held by Israel be released.

In other words, its business as usual, but the fact that the United States is more engaged than anyone would have predicted even a month ago conveys hope.

La Repubblica

U.S. policy in Iraq

ROME — If the pace of Anglo-American losses continues, the postwar period could cost more in human lives than the war itself. Yet it is useless to draw parallels with Vietnam, which often gets inappropriately cited in comparison. That conflict should be remembered only insofar as it proved military superiority is not enough to impose a durable political model.

In Iraq, the Americans have not begun to build the promised democracy. To a large extent, the country the Americans have freed has proven itself hostile.

What’s amazing is that beyond the military invasion, a technical success, a plan intended to deal with the most urgent problems has not been prepared. What amazes us is the gap between military efficiency and political intelligence. What do we make of the decision to print banknotes still portraying the former dictator’s face? Can one imagine the Italian lira or the German mark with Mussolini’s and Hitler’s faces printed on them? How should we read the inability of the freeing superpower to deliver water and light to inhabitants of the capital?

Marines can defeat a dictator, but it’s more difficult to install a Pax Americana.

Sunday Telegraph

The queen’s anxiety

LONDON — As we report today, the queen has expressed profound anxiety over the storm engulfing the Church of England as a result of the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John, an open homosexual, as bishop of Reading. …

If, as seems possible, the queen was not informed of the potential for controversy before she formally approved Dr. John’s appointment, then that would indeed be remiss. Yet a sense of proportion must also be brought to bear on this matter. Dr. John is, by all accounts, a talented cleric. His appointment has been to the lowest rung of the bishopric. He is not the first bishop to be a homosexual, nor will he be the last.

The compromise which the church has decreed is that homosexual clerics should remain celibate. Dr. John, by his own account, has adhered to this stricture since the early 1990s. This is not therefore a fundamental doctrinal issue, as was the ordination of women priests, but a question over the behavior of a single individual.

The various factions so passionately involved in this argument might do better to pause and consider its damaging effect on the Church they profess to love. We have had the earthquake, wind and fire. It is time instead for the still, small voice of calm.

Asahi Shimbun

Nuclear plants for North Korea

TOKYO — Effort to dissuade North Korea from its nuclear development has assumed new urgency.

North Korea reacted angrily to the U.S. request that the president of the United Nations Security Council issue a statement denouncing North Korea. There is still a wide gap between the United States and North Korea over how to discuss the issue, with the United States pressing for multilateral talks and North Korea insisting on one-to-one negotiations with the United States.

At the same time, a U.S. official said there is no longer any way to complete construction of two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, suggesting that KEDO’s work could even be dissolved.

The questions is whether it is best to proceed straight to abolish the KEDO program right now because it has lost its shine. Suspending or freezing construction of the light-water reactors would be a significant message to North Korea, whose economy is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Exertion of such pressure is indispensable in negotiations with the North. But if KEDO is buried once and for all, the only mechanism for the rest of the world to talk to North Korea about its nuclear program would be lost.

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