- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Guardian
All roads lead to Baghdad
LONDON The diplomatic tug of war over a second U.N. resolution on Iraq is turning into a charade. Three times in the past five days, George Bush has made plain his intention to overthrow the Iraqi regime, whatever the United Nations says. His aim, he said last week, was "a liberated Iraq. … America's interest in security and America's belief in liberty both lead in the same direction."
At the weekend, Mr. Bush again sketched out plans for a bright new future entirely predicated on [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein's downfall. The U.S. president's candid although still very blurry focus on a post-Saddam settlement, rather than on disarmament, makes it clear that nothing less than physical as opposed to behavioral regime change will now suffice. U.S. determination to impose its will by force renders the U.N. debate redundant in terms of practical outcomes. It makes a mockery of the Security Council.

Straits Times
How about winning the peace?
SINGAPORE Unless global sentiment changes suddenly within the next few weeks, Washington will be launching its invasion of Iraq with less support than it has ever had in its entire history. Will it matter?
In a word yes. The problem is not winning the war that the United States can do alone. Turkey's refusal to cooperate will make things difficult for the United States, but not impossible. The problem is winning the peace and that the United States cannot do alone.
For one thing, the cost of Iraqi reconstruction is likely to be prohibitively high. With the 2003-2004 U.S. budget deficit already projected to exceed $300 billion, without factoring in the cost of the Iraqi war, Washington will need all the help it can get to put a post-Saddam Iraq back on its feet.
Having raised the stakes so high nothing less than the transformation of the entire Middle East how is Mr. Bush going to accomplish such a colossal task without the support of his key allies, let alone regional powers like Turkey?
A diplomatic strategy that ignores the doubts of many, that keeps changing the goalposts, that is endlessly flexible in the justification it offers for war disarmament, terrorism, "regime change," regional transformation is not calculated to win the confidence of the global community.

Le Monde
The North Korean challenge
PARIS Iraq masks a second emerging crisis, no less dangerous, perhaps even more: North Korea. The recent interception of an American spy plane in international airspace by four North Korean fighter jets over the Sea of Japan last Sunday … gives the impression that the Korean Peninsula is skidding.
Right or wrong, North Korea feels it is the next target of Washington after Iraq; it intends to show it is not intimidated by the United States. …
Washington insists it does not want war with North Korea and is favorable to negotiating a solution to the crisis started by Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
But the more the Americans delay restarting dialogue with Pyongyang, the more the process of reactivating a [nuclear] reprocessing facility in Yongbyon, capable of producing plutonium, becomes inescapable.

Asahi Shimbun
Pyongyang and Washington
TOKYO North Korea, out of its growing sense of isolation, might well take such outrageous actions as test-launching ballistic missiles and starting nuclear reprocessing facilities. The Bush administration says it has no intention of attacking North Korea. But it also believes North Korea already has nuclear weapons. The United States might not hesitate to use force if it believes North Korea has the capability to conduct a nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland.
North Korea would then retaliate, throwing the Korean Peninsula into chaos. This scenario would be the worst-case nightmare for Japan as well. The danger of brinkmanship is that the perpetrator can go over the brink without even realizing it, and fall into that void itself.
The United States should open direct talks with North Korea before circumstances reach such a stage….
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's administration has placed the highest priority on a policy to advance toward resolution of North Korea's nuclear development. Cooperation between Japan and South Korea has become even more important.

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