- The Washington Times - Friday, February 18, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Jordan Times

Hariri’s assassination

AMMAN, Jordan ” Lebanon was seeking hard over the last decade to come out of the ashes of 15 years of civil war. But [Monday], a man who was devoted to rebuilding Lebanon was blown to bits in Beirut.

The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is a savage blow to a country that was just beginning to enjoy relative, admittedly fragile, peace, particularly as its parliamentary system sought to be representative of the complex ethnic and religious groups that make up Lebanon.

Monday’s carnage was reminiscent of the devastating conflict that crippled Lebanon from 1975 to 1990. …

The European Union’s condemnation of the assassination and French President Jacques Chirac’s call for an international investigation into the attack were indicative of their outrage at the brutality of the incident and their concern for Lebanon. In contrast, the United States wasted no time in implying that Syria was culpable, and Iran pointed its finger at Israel.

While no one really knows for certain who was behind the assassination, the Arab world is plummeted further into mourning for its dead, grieving for its wounded aspirations.


A curious twist

MELBOURNE, Australia ” In a curious twist, the United States has shrugged off the first outright declaration by North Korea that it has nuclear weapons. Here is a nation with one of the most erratic leaderships in the world declaring that it has weapons of mass destruction and the U.S. response ” at least that of new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ” is glib dismissal. Saddam Hussein must be wondering where he went wrong. …

After several years of famine, a crumbling economy and increasing isolation, this failed Stalinist state is running out of survival strategies. The Pyongyang regime staves off collapse largely due to the good will of its neighbor China, which, having spent years trying to mediate between the United States and North Korea, now finds itself uncomfortably wedged between the two. China has already impressed upon Kim Jong-il the need for economic and political reforms. It has also said the six-nation talks, which it hosts, should continue. North Korea should heed that counsel, while the United States might learn a little from the quieter diplomacy of the Chinese.

Having declared North Korea an “outpost of tyranny” last month, Dr. Rice has made her position clear enough.

Asahi Shimbun

The Kyoto Protocol

TOKYO ” While much hope is being pinned on the Kyoto Protocol, much remains undone. Although the target of reducing greenhouse gases has already been set for the first phase of five years starting in 2008, the countries concerned have many matters to discuss for the long-range plan.

Moreover, the United States bolted from the protocol and President George W. Bush said his country would not return to it. The United States, the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, decries the protocol for its failure to oblige China and India. China, the second-largest producer of the gases, retorts that the United States and other developed countries should perform their duty first. Such mutual recrimination is not productive.

One estimate forecasts that the United States and China will produce 37 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide in 2010. Incidentally, Japan produces just under 4 percent of the world total. It is essential that the greenhouse gases produced by China and other countries as well as the United States be regulated in one way or another in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

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