- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Le Figaro

The California recall vote

PARIS — Don’t mock Arnold Schwarzenegger — what California invents, America adopts and Europe ends up imitating.

You can laugh at the “Terminator,” running for governor of America’s most populous state, stomping through his speeches with the strongest Teutonic accent since Henry Kissinger. …

You can denounce the populist wave [that backed Mr.] Schwarzenegger’s candidacy as an example of a democracy gone mad. … But this is the same kind of groundswell that made Ronald Reagan the first actor to be elected governor of California, and then president.

Celebrity isn’t Mr. Schwarzenegger’s only asset. He’s in tune with a changing political map … voters from Latin America … represent 30 million Hispanic citizens in the United States. …

Yet California can’t just be reduced to the glitter of Hollywood; for the weak, the poor and blacks, it’s a tough place to live. … Mr. Schwarzenegger must not forget this truth: Like all promised lands, California is also a place of hardship.

Jordan Times

Israel’s attack on Syria

AMMAN — Amidst widespread condemnation of the Israeli air raid on Syria, Israel continues to defend its attack as a form of legitimate self-defense. Israel claims that the camp that it attacked is a training ground for Islamic Jihad.

Israel is therefore once again pinned against the entire international community but hopes to escape condemnation by having Washington veto the Syrian-sponsored resolution condemning the attack and calling on Israel to cease and desist from perpetrating acts of aggression against Syria.

What is needed now is de-escalation and not escalation in the area. The declaration of emergency in the Palestinian territories by President Yasser Arafat could be the start of a more determined Palestinian effort to rein in Palestinian militants, who continue to take the law into their hands and compromise the supreme Palestinian national interests.

The Palestinian militants need to be controlled and brought under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority. It is the only way to give peace a chance. …


The Haifa restaurant bombing

TEL AVIV — A Palestinian training camp in Syrian territory, close to Damascus, was chosen as the target for the Israel Defense Forces’ response. … It appears, however, that its principal purpose was not to bring death and destruction, but rather to steer Syrian President Bashar Assad away from supporting actions against Israel.

Israel has the right to move against the facilities, activists and leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and other organizations anywhere and at any time; but this does not testify to the wisdom of such moves.

The slope on which Syria and Israel could slide down into a conflict between them — whether it be in their own territories, or in Lebanon — is a steep and slippery one. There is a need for tight control to prevent a move planned as minimalist from leading to a major escalation.


The elections in Chechnya

OSLO — The winner is clear: Akhmad Kadyrov. He supposedly got about 85 percent of the votes. His closest challenger got about 6.6 percent. According to Chechen authorities, the voter turnout was over 80 percent. But no independent source could confirm the numbers. Nor were there any Western election observers. The reason was that they did not want to lend legitimacy to the election with their presence.

Among foreign commentators and independent Russian experts, the election was described as a farce. The three candidates who could have threatened Mr. Kadyrov all withdrew in recent months, and the voter turnout and the result bring associations of the “elections” in the Soviet Union, rather than of democracy.

But as always, when it comes to abuses is Chechnya, the West keeps its lips sealed.

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