- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere della Sera

Libya rejoins the world

MILAN — The evolution of the White House strategy started with the decision to … ally with the Islamic integralists, who are officially … democratic, but essentially theocratic and authoritarian, thinking that this could thus isolate and defeat the extremist Islamic jihadists and the followers of [Osama] bin Laden.

Therefore, America, with the praise of Europe, is today giving credibility and honorability back to dictatorial and [only] apparently secular regimes. … At this point, a question springs to mind: Why be indulgent with [Moammar] Gadhafi and not with Saddam [Hussein]? …

One can only bitterly acknowledge that the West acts in the pursuit of its egoistic interests, arbitrarily evoking certain “values” if they are useful, and regarding the good of the Arab populations as essentially secondary.

Asahi Shimbun

The yuan also rises

TOKYO — China has allowed its currency to rise against the U.S. dollar, thereby slightly lowering the barrier that shields Chinese markets like the Great Wall to protect domestic industries. The yuan has strengthened to break the level of eight to the dollar in heavily regulated currency trading in China.

Still, the yuan’s appreciation is “too little, too late.”

There are a slew of economic problems China must now wrestle with after years of spectacular economic growth. A foreign-exchange market that faithfully reflects the relevant economic fundamentals is a basic and indispensable infrastructure for fair trade.

It is also important for China to make greater efforts to stimulate domestic demand to trim its towering trade surplus. Instead of trying to ramp up exports by holding down the yuan, it should take steps to ensure that domestic consumers will enjoy the benefits of a stronger yuan, such as higher living standards.

Financial Times

American immigration

LONDON — After his 2004 re-election, George W. Bush promised he would spend some of his political capital in pushing for balanced U.S. immigration reform. To his credit, Mr. Bush is still trying to honor that pledge. But it remains to be seen whether his broadcast calling on lawmakers to combine respect for the law with openness to immigration will shift a debate that has so far gone largely in favor of those emphasizing tougher border enforcement.

The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would effectively criminalize the 12 million undocumented aliens estimated to be in America and drastically step up policing along its 2,000-mile border with Mexico. The Senate has yet to vote on a much better proposal sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy that would give illegal immigrants the possibility of eventual citizenship if they declared themselves and paid a fine. It would also create an annual quota of jobs for unskilled foreign guest workers along the same lines as the existing H1B visas for skilled foreigners.

Jordan Times

The lost art

AMMAN — Iran should take note. After more than 25 years, the United States has restored full diplomatic ties with Libya. Senior U.S. State Department officials hailed the development as the result of years of successful diplomacy.

If true, if credit should rest with skilled diplomats, it would be a welcome change in America’s approach to foreign policy. Too long has the U.S. relied on its supremacy, at the expense of diplomacy, in order to get its way. Not everyone responds well to threats and bribes, but that has seemed to be all the U.S. has in its diplomatic arsenal.

Some in Washington, especially at the State Department, have expressed pleasure that George W. Bush’s second term has been marked by an increase in the use of diplomacy to address issues on the international stage. You would be forgiven for not noticing; not many have.

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