- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

No Security Council seat

TOKYO — Japan’s hopes for gaining a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council have been dashed. Questions must be raised about [Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro] Koizumi’s failed diplomatic policy in the absence of any solid government strategy.

Given the difficulties of this long-standing issue, the government put forward a proposal for permanent membership along with Germany, India and Brazil in what became known as the G-4, or “Group of Four” initiative.

However, there is absolutely no prospect of the G-4 proposal being adopted by the General Assembly.

The government made three miscalculations in submitting this proposal. In the first place, it could not win over the United States. Second, Mr. Koizumi continued to anger China and South Korea by visiting Yasukuni Shrine. Finally, Japan failed to come to terms with the African Union, which has 52 votes at the United Nations.

The government intends to continue seeking permanent membership to the Security Council. But it is not assured of success. Even if the African Union gives its backing to the G-4 proposal, no revisions to the U.N. Charter can take effect unless the United States and China are satisfied.

Daily Telegraph

Germany’s way forward

LONDON — The tempo in the German general election has quickened following the televised debate between the chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, and his conservative challenger, Angela Merkel. He remains personally more popular than she, but he failed to deliver a killer blow during Sunday night’s exchanges, and his party still trails hers by about eleven percentage points in the opinion polls. Nevertheless, the precise outcome of the Sept. 18 ballot is no foregone conclusion.

About a third of the electorate remains undecided. The fortunes of three of the smaller groups, the Free Democrats, the Greens and the newly formed Left Party, each of which might form a coalition with the big two, are hovering between 6 and 8 percent of the vote. Mr. Schroeder may be finished, but his Social Democrats under another leader could join a grand coalition with Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democrats or even team up with the Greens and the Left alliance.

Both of these results would be unsatisfactory, the first promising consensus-induced stagnation, the second threatening a reversal of even the limited economic reforms introduced under Mr. Schroeder. During their seven years in power, the Social Democrats have twice failed to meet their campaign pledge of reducing unemployment. For that, they and their coalition partner, the Greens, deserve to be voted out, opening the way to a Christian Democrat/Free Democrat partnership with a keener appetite for liberalization.

The Star

Hurricane Katrina

JOHANNESBURG — “That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

These stirring words were uttered by Abraham Lincoln, the United States’ 16th president, at Gettysburg in 1863. But is America living up to this ideal?

In the wake of the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina — the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. in recent times — many around the world are asking this question. The devastation is a sight to behold; a “humbling experience,” according to President George W. Bush.

But the symbolism of some of the images is even more stark. Who would have thought that over a million American citizens would become “refugees” in their own country and flay their government for its failure to come to their aid [promptly]? Or that … the badly injured would be left [to die from] lack of assistance?

The mayor of New Orleans was shown on television pleading for help as looters rampaged in his city. Yet Washington, in a bizarre display of uncaring aloofness in their hour of need, appeared unable to respond to the crisis until days later.

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