- The Washington Times - Friday, May 21, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:


Britain’s Tony Blair

COPENHAGEN — British prime ministers don’t typically last long.

Not so much because of the voters as the internal struggles, which historically have dominated Britain’s two dominant parties, Labor and Conservative.

Tony Blair is still in 10 Downing Street, but on the back benches of Parliament, members of his Labor Party are raising a ruckus. Mr. Blair’s biggest problem is the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and his support of President George W. Bush.

What started as a strong political and military alliance, which played a major role in Denmark’s decision to join the war against Saddam Hussein, is now a liability from which Mr. Blair cannot distance himself.

The British apparently did not participate in the scandalous treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, but the fallout from the furor has reached Downing Street.

Asahi Shimbun

India’s elections

TOKYO — Power changed hands in India, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party took a drubbing in the latest general election. The rival Congress party will take over after an interval of eight years.

What brought about the upset? There may be a variety of causes, but the most important may have been that voters who could not share in the benefits of economic growth turned against the BJP government.

While many developing countries tended to have dictatorial governments and heavy-handed politics for the sake of economic development, India has seized opportunities for development by building on a free society. … Developing countries that aspire to be rich have much to learn from the Indian way.

Being thrown out of power, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said he would extend a helping hand as long as the new government’s efforts are in the national interests. His words are suggestive of the richness in India’s experience in democracy and his confidence in its future.

Jordan Times

Beheading of American hostage

AMMAN — The beheading of American Nicholas Berg by an Iraqi group chanting “God is great,” shown on a videotape, is a horrific act of the greatest magnitude.

The killing in cold blood was ostensibly committed to retaliate for the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers in the Abu Ghraib prison. But the murder of a civilian cannot and will not avenge the abuse of so many Iraqi prisoners, an act which, when made public, shocked the entire world.

Taking the life of a man who obviously had nothing to do with the prison conditions in Iraq only trivializes the Iraqis’ ordeal. … It is also likely to weaken the case for bringing to justice those responsible for the inhumane treatment of detainees.

Madness must stop. … The perpetrators of crime must be brought to justice. Whoever and wherever they are.

Dagens Nyheter

The U.S. setbacks in Iraq

STOCKHOLM — As the writer Aime Cesaire pointed out almost half a century ago: Colonialism is decivilizing the colonialist and brutalizing him, and raises hidden instincts of violence, racism and moral relativism.

Many American decision-makers seem to believe, however, that American colonialism has an innate benevolence that will make it more successful than its evil predecessor, European colonialism.

But they forget that “the white man’s burden” in Europe often was pushed by lofty ideals of [Christian] morality, in the form of the Enlightenment. …

Maybe something good can come out of the terrible photos from Abu Ghraib. At best, it gives the United States a crash course in the dialectics of colonialism. From this experience, new joint international strategies may be born, strategies with both good intentions and good methods.

There is no “white man’s burden” in Iraq, but there is surely a common global responsibility.

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