- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Stalin’s corpse is rotting

MUNICH — Moscow’s sway over what goes on in its former sphere of influence is limited, and it will decrease further. Georgia is a good example of this. …

The new strongman, the power-hungry Mikhail Saakashvili, was educated in the United States.

He is a friend of the West, and nothing makes that clearer than the spontaneous call for help to Brussels and Washington, asking that they financially prop up the impoverished country. …

Moscow is doubtless still in a position to exercise economic and military influence in Central Asia as well as the Caucasus.

In a few countries, among them Georgia, Russian troops are still stationed, and economically they are largely dependent on the energy supplies of their large neighbor.

But with no common ideology or basis for identity comparable to that of the European Union, the drift apart is beginning, and the small countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States are forging their own pragmatic paths.

In the struggle over the natural resources of the Caspian Sea, countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia seek their economic salvation in businesses with America and Britain — and thereby stand openly against Russia’s interests.

The former Soviet republics have also opened their doors militarily to the West and disavowed Russia as the guarantor of order.

American soldiers are stationed in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia. …

Moscow has no choice but to more or less put up with this, because it first has to get itself in order — economically as well as militarily.

Berlingske Tidende

Prisoners at Guantanamo

COPENHAGEN — Evidently the United States doesn’t want to take any chances in the war against terrorism, including the part of the war against terrorism that takes place at Guantanamo. The thought of releasing a prisoner for lack of evidence, after which he will fly a plane into another skyscraper, is not thrilling. It is difficult to demand the rule of law for people who went to Afghanistan to fight for murderous regimes and terrorist organizations. They certainly were not in the mountains as tourists.

The official acts of war in Afghanistan, and for that matter in Iraq, are over, and a two-year period to find evidence of criminal acts should be more than sufficient. No matter the kind of terrorism, a state can not simply lock up people without a trial until they die.

Unfortunately, neither can the Danish government or other friends of the United States force the American government to respect the laws of war.

The Daily Telegraph

Homosexual couples

LONDON — The time has come to give homosexual couples some legal recognition. …

The government is expected to propose that homosexuals be allowed to become “registered civil partners” and assume some of the same rights, and responsibilities, as a married couple. The details of the proposed legislation remain vague, but the focus of the changes would be in the areas of inheritance and pensions, and the granting of the right for a civil partner to act as next-of-kin in times of illness.

There is no good reason why a homosexual man or woman, bereaved after decades of faithful union, should face the additional burden of selling a shared home to meet death duties when a partner dies. To state this truth is a simple matter of what is just and practical. It is perverse that existing law should actively discourage any two people in a lifelong relationship from enjoying legal and financial security. … Allowing gay people to affirm their relationship within a civil contract does not undermine the institution of marriage. It might even reinforce it. We will all benefit from greater recognition of stable relationships, of whatever kind.

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