- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

Death of Boris Yeltsin

TOKYO — Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president, has died. He was 76. He led the Soviet Union to its breakup, and as a result, upset the apple cart of international politics. The role he played in the last 10 years of the 20th century has ensured him a place in the annals of world history.

The Cold War, which formed the framework of international politics for several decades, was declared over in 1989 by then U.S. President George Bush and his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev. But the real end of East-West confrontation came when the Soviet Union collapsed with the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, led by Yeltsin.

Without Yeltsin’s determination, reconstruction of the post-Cold War world order would have taken a different turn. Russian President Vladimir Putin, handpicked by Yeltsin as his successor, has expressed admiration for the role played by his predecessor in the disbandment of the Soviet Union.

But how can the fruits of the collapse of the Soviet Union be used to enhance stability in the international community? It is a disturbing fact that the direction in which Russia — a country enjoying high economic growth — is heading is a mystery.

Jerusalem Post

Israel at age 59

… Since 1860, the year that the first Jewish settlers left the secure walls of Jerusalem to build new neighborhoods, 22,305 men and women have died in the establishment and defense of the Jewish state.

This is a staggering toll. It is hardly consolation that during the Holocaust, more Jews were slaughtered over a few days than in this entire struggle, or that more Israelis have died on our roads than have lost their lives to war or terrorism. …

It is this thread, from sacrifice to its objective — a country that is free, secure, and striving to be a light unto itself and the nations — that connects today’s commemorations with the celebrations that begin tonight.

This year, as our 59th Independence Day begins, it is more difficult than usual to contemplate such lofty aspirations. We are in a strange and debilitating situation in which the government enjoys a large parliamentary majority and yet seems to have lost its popular mandate.

The combination of a drumbeat of police investigations of senior politicians, the perception of a failed war, and the sense that our leadership is defying the popular will by tightly gripping on to power is shaking confidence in our political system and the direction of our country.

Khaleej Times

Nigeria’s next president

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — As democracy faced one of its bitter tests in Africa this week, the outcome predictably hasn’t been impressive. It’s not only that violence marred the parliamentary and presidential elections in Nigeria, killing over 200 people, but also that complaints of malpractices, including rigging, were widespread.

… Under the circumstances, how effective will be the new dispensation, led by Umaru Yar’Adua, who will step into the shoes of President Olusegun Obasanjo? His vow to fight corruption, and his record of financial prudence as governor of one of Nigeria’s northern states, are good signs indeed, but his will not be an easy task. This, considering the overall scenario, in which the leading elite have ganged up to loot as high as 212 billion pounds in oil revenues from the exchequer.

The Obasanjo era, that heralded the end of the four decades of army rule, has had its positive impacts on the 130 million population, as the economy grew 8 percent and systems began taking some shape. Yet the job remains largely undone. While Nigeria is the world’s sixth-largest oil exporter, most of its people live in poverty, a situation leading to public upheavals and anarchy in some oil-producing states. The new leadership will have its hands full; and perform it must, despite the odds.

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