- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

La Stampa

U.S. policy in Mideast

MILAN, Italy — When President Bush decided to start two wars as a reaction to the 9/11 attack, many in America were thinking [that this was a chance] to quickly reshape the Middle East and the surrounding area. … They imagined to be able to make it a democratic, peaceful area in the long term. They imagined a wide area made of countries that were friends of America and living in peace with Israel.

Not only have Americans never fully understood what happened afterward, but they never accepted it.

They did not understand, they did not even foresee the rising of Islamic integralism … and they have not been able to build a policy for the new Middle East and the Gulf regions.

What is happening today in Lebanon clearly shows that the U.S. [policy] has failed while becoming a source of damnation for Israel. …

The outcome is catastrophic for Israel. The world war against terrorism fortified Israel’s enemies, increased their extremism, strengthened their words and provocations. Whoever accuses Israel’s reaction of being disproportionate is right, but fails to properly consider what occurred in the last few years: a state that is surrounded by enemies does not have many alternatives when even its more reasonable actions — such as the withdrawal from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip — have failed to calm down its opponents and only succeeded in stimulating their destructive triumphalism.

Asahi Shimbun

The G-8 summit

TOKYO — The agenda for the latest summit meeting of the Group of Eight major industrial countries was laden with some of the heaviest issues seen in recent years. The leaders of the powerful nations who gathered in St. Petersburg, Russia’s old capital, are facing severe challenges.

Just one week ago, world powers were bickering over how to deal with the tricky issues related to North Korea and Iran. We welcome the united front the G-8 leaders have presented on these important issues.

Concerted action and cooperation by key international players are crucial to solving these challenges. The St. Petersburg summit again highlighted the importance of the esprit de corps this forum aims to create among the world’s powers. The leaders of China, India and other emerging economies also joined discussions on the final day of the three-day summit, adding vital perspectives to the forum.

Overshadowing this summit was worry over the surging violence in the Middle East amid Israel’s escalating military operations in Lebanon. The G-8 leaders called on the Israeli government to exercise self-restraint — but things appear only to be getting worse.

North Korea, Iran and the Middle East are all dangerous tinderboxes ready to flare up into a global firestorm if mishandled.

The unity among the G-8 powers displayed at the summit will be severely tested in their ongoing efforts to deal with these incendiary issues.

Sydsvenska Dagbladet

The Mideast crisis

MALMO, Sweden — Criticism of Israel’s attacks in Lebanon has been severe during the past days. Very rightly.

The Israeli attacks not only strike Hezbollah but also hit Lebanese civilians hard. Too many innocent people have lost their lives during the past days.

It is also hard to believe that Israel’s own security will improve if neighboring Lebanon is again thrown into political chaos. Israel has everything to win from listening to the international community, which appeals for restraint and negotiations. …

There is a risk, however, that the criticism of Israel’s actions can be transformed into an indirect support for Israel’s enemies. That the position of the extremists is strengthened. This would be the worst thinkable scenario. …

Israel’s right to exist and to defend its borders and the security of its citizens is not in question. Or rather: Should not be in question. The reality is that Israel exists in environs where many wish its obliteration. This is the condition for Israel’s security policy.

Real friends dare to criticize. But support is unchanged.

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