- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Hindu

Bush’s 9/11 threats

MADRAS, India — Is it any surprise that the Bush administration issued crude threats to Pakistan immediately after 9/11? In his 368-page memoir, “In The Line of Fire,” launched this week, President Pervez Musharraf narrates how, on Sept. 12, 2001, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had him virtually summoned to the telephone from an “important meeting” in Karachi and said: “You are either with us or against us,” which the general [Musharraf] naturally construed as “a blatant ultimatum.” Then it got worse. On Sept. 13, the director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence telephoned from Washington to say that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had warned him that “not only had we to decide whether we were with America or with the terrorists, but if we chose the terrorists” meaning, chose not to ally with the United States in the coming war against the Taliban-al Qaeda combine, “we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.”

While President George Bush claims to have been “taken aback” by the story, the burly Mr. Armitage, who is no longer in public service, has disputed, not very convincingly, the language attributed to him, but has basically confirmed the authenticity of Gen. Musharraf’s revelation by admitting that he had delivered a “strong message.” …

The Bush administration has made a habit of deploying bellicosity as its primary tool of international diplomacy and politics. When it encounters a country, be it Iran or North Korea or Syria, unwilling to do its bidding, its first reaction is to brandish the stick. No lessons whatever seem to have been learnt from the catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq, or the steadily deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. … There will certainly be relief round the world if, in November 2006, the American people vote in a Congress that can restrain an autocratic president.

Kristeligt Dagblad

Blockade on Hamas

COPENHAGEN — The countries maintaining the current blockade against the Hamas government [in the Palestinian territories] must not be persuaded to lift the ban until Hamas recognizes Israel and existing agreements between Israel and the [Palestinian] Authority.

Anything less would be a diplomatic disaster for Israel and, not in the least, for the Palestinian people, who brought Hamas to power in frustration over the Fatah movement’s corruption, rather than because of elation over Hamas’ fanatic Islamic ideology.

It is Hamas, and not the international community, that bears the main responsibility for the Palestinian population’s well-being.

So far, the movement’s dogmatic stand has neither created more jobs nor given Palestinians more bread on the table. … Hamas should listen to the Palestinian people and admit that it’s time to move in a moderate direction.

Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan’s new government

TOKYO — Newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the first Japanese prime minister born after the end of World War II, appointed his inaugural Cabinet on Tuesday after assuming power.

As a whole, the Cabinet appointments were the result of post-hunting by LDP [Liberal Democratic Party] lawmakers. Is it the best team that Abe could have formed? We worry whether the new Cabinet is capable of achieving the policies Abe wants to realize. …

Abe has shown a willingness to meet with the Chinese leader, and a Japan-China summit meeting may be realized on the sideline of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Hanoi in November. However there is no sign the two leaders are planning to visit each other’s countries.

What soured diplomatic ties with China was [Junichiro] Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, and Abe has been vague about whether he will visit the shrine. He has said he will seek to enhance relations with Australia and India, which share similar values with Japan — such as liberty and democracy.

Implementing a broad strategic Asian diplomacy is a key task for the Abe government.

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