- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Diena

Third term for Putin?

RIGA, Latvia — Sergei Mironov, chairman of Russia’s upper house of parliament, … proposed an “ingeniously” simple solution to the so-called 2008 problem, or the power change in the Kremlin, when Vladimir Putin’s second term ends. And what should be done? Change the constitution, so that the president can remain in office a third term. …

The Kremlin once again immediately declared that Putin would not stay in office. However, Mironov’s “hysterical weeping,” as Garry Kasparov, one of the remaining opposition leaders, described it, is first of all testimony to the existing power clan’s well-being and influence if changes were to take place in the upper-end of the “power vertical.”

Second, Putin himself willingly maintains a lack of clarity about his “heir” in the Kremlin. … This ambiguity helps him avoid the gradual loss of influence that normally occurs with departing state leaders….

The search for a solution to keep power before the end of term will continue in Moscow, and Mironov’s seemingly simple-minded initiative helps the Kremlin to continue muddying the waters of Russia’s political future.

Winnipeg Free Press

On sanctions

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The government of Iran is outraged that a Hollywood movie about the battle of Thermopylae portrays ancient Persians as brutal, bungling barbarians. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denounced the film, “300,” as a calculated insult and a deliberate attempt to injure Iran by the United States government.

It is doubtful that the film industry is that sophisticated in its knowledge of either history or Iran, but Mr. Ahmadinejad then proceeded to reinforce the slander he saw in the movie by behaving in a brutal, bungling and barbaric way in the seizure of 15 British sailors [and marines] in the Persian Gulf, and then parading them on television. Iran appears to revel in its status as an outcast regime.

So, too, does Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe is outraged that other governments and human rights organizations portray President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF government as brutal, bungling barbarians. Mr. Mugabe condemns his critics as imperialists and colonialists opposed to Africans ruling themselves, but he governs in such a brutal, bungling, barbaric way that Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket and economic engine of southern Africa, now sees thousands of people die each week from starvation and disease, and is economically bankrupt. …

Since direct sanctions against Iran and Zimbabwe are ineffective, it is time to take a second, more serious step that would see sanctions extended to governments and businesses that continue to prop up these odious regimes. Aiding and abetting brutal, bungling barbarism is a crime in itself that should not go unpunished. Secondary sanctions can effect that.

Jordan Times

Pelosi’s Syria trip

AMMAN — Contrary to President George Bush’s opinion, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad and other high-ranking officials can make a dent in Syrian policies on Lebanon and Iraq, and contribute to their solution. …

Aware that solutions to some problems in the region follow the Damascus route, the powerful Democrat dismissed criticism of her visit, expressing her delegation’s “clear intention” to make its stances very clearly to the Syrian leadership. …

There can be no harm in trying to persuade Syria to be more forthcoming and cooperative, and that’s obviously what Mrs. Pelosi and her delegation plan to do during the visit.

The Iraqi conflict has become a major regional and international conflict that calls for bipartisan American efforts to solve it. The initiative of the U.S. House speaker must be regarded, therefore, as an effort that complements those of the U.S. president, in an attempt to deal with the issues of Lebanon and Iraq, rather than a negative interference.

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