- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere della Sera

French defeat in the World Cup

MILAN, Italy — France, perhaps even more than Italy, needed a victory to brush away the period of depression and mistrust that the country is living. After the dramatic explosion of violence in the suburbs last autumn, the French wanted to revive the dream of 1998 [when they won the World Cup.]

In the outskirts of Paris … which is where half the French team was born, the disappointment is even more burning. The young idols, from Lilian Thuram to Thierry Henry, are symbols of redemption.

There was also the inevitable political bet on the victory for the “Bleues,” in particular for President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

The cup should have been raised to the sky and under the nose of those who foresee the decline of the country.

For Mr. Chirac, close to the end of his term, it would have been his last speech in an atmosphere of glory. He would have raised the cup to raise consensus again, which is now dramatically falling.

Yomiuri Shimbun

Pre-emptive attack

TOKYO — Defense Agency Director-General Fukushiro Nukaga said Japan should consider acquiring the capability to attack enemy missile bases. Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe expressed a similar view.

Their comments were based on the idea that if it became clear Japan was the target of a missile attack, the threat would have to be eliminated by attacking the missiles’ bases.

For Japan, the threat posed by North Korea’s missiles has grown more serious.

In response, the government plans to introduce a missile defense system to defend the nation from ballistic missile attacks. However, if several missiles are launched from separate bases within a short interval of time, the missile defense system cannot deal with them.

Attacking missile bases to counter a missile attack against Japan is an exercise of the right to self-defense allowed in the constitution.

The government should not fail to study which types of weapons Japan should have to provide the nation with the capability to counterattack enemy bases.

There is a difference between possessing the capability and actually using it in an attack. If Japan does not possess the capability we will “self-destructively sit and wait.”

Can the situation in which “we have the right, but we do not have capability” continue any longer? Debates should be deepened to cope with the changing national security environment.

The Hindu

A champion’s greatness

MADRAS, India — As a sporting odyssey, Roger Federer’s much-celebrated journey toward the peaks inhabited by the likes of Bill Tilden, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, and Pete Sampras is rather unique. Unlike a play that is performed to a written script, sport unfolds with utter unpredictability and that is part of its timeless appeal. In the event, it is incontestable evidence of the Swiss maestro’s greatness that he has, with a brand of wizardry that galvanizes the spirit, turned the unknown into the known. Come Wimbledon, the big question is no longer who’s going to win the men’s title. Instead, the debate centers on who Federer will meet in the final and how many sets he would concede on his sublime waltz to yet another title. Then again, this sort of predictability extends way beyond the famous grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis Club where Federer made light of the charismatic Spaniard Rafael Nadal’s challenge to win his fourth straight title on [July 9] to join Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras as the only players to have won four in a row in the Open Era (post-1968). From former greats to commentators, critics, and fellow competitors, everybody seems to agree on one thing. The man who conjures with his creative racquet what Leonardo da Vinci accomplished with a paintbrush — invaluable art and timeless beauty — is the most naturally talented player of all time.

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