- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere della Sera

On the situation in Afghanistan:

MILAN, Italy — Once it rapidly completed military operations [in Afghanistan] … the Bush administration, engaged in preparations for the war in Iraq, devoted little attention to the management of the country and its political and economic reconstruction. Then, political responsibilities for the future of Afghanistan were gradually given to the Europeans, while military responsibilities, even more gradually, [were given] to NATO.

Today, the NATO contingent is made up of 300,000 troops. Commanders on the field and NATO’s [top officials] keep asking the members of the organization for a greater commitment. But it does not seem that these requests can be satisfied. … First, because all the major countries already have troops engaged in other areas, from Kosovo to Lebanon. Second, because state budgets have other priorities. Third, because European public opinions oppose the second Afghan war.

Aftenposten

On the United Nations:

OSLO — There should be no doubt about the usefulness of the U.N. as an international meeting place. While the formal debate often follows a well-known and predictable pattern, world leaders use the chance to meet face to face on issues of mutual interest. It is useful to stop by the U.N., quite simply, because “everyone” is there. …

It is very positive that respect for the U.N. has grown in recent years. That is partly because of the organization’s reform efforts, but just as much because efforts outside the U.N. had met little success. The United States’ painful experiences in Iraq show that even a superpower needs the international community to cover its back, After Iraq, it will undoubtedly [be] harder to ignore the U.N.

… The U.N. can never do more than the veto powers in the Security Council permit. … Today, China and Russia combine economic strength with clear authoritarian aspects of rule. That could be the source of serious conflict within the U.N.

Svenska Dagbladet

On dictatorships:

STOCKHOLM — Mass demonstrations have spurred hope that Myanmar will again become Burma. Democratic and flourishing … instead of being the tragic example of dictatorship it is now. …

In Burma, it was a shock increase of fuel prices, by up to 500 percent, that led the Buddhist monks into the streets — while those in power secretly live in extravagance, as they do in Harare [Zimbabwe] and in Pyongyang [North Korea]. …

Iran is among those with the most oppressive ideological machinery. When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lectured at Columbia University, he revealed himself as a living example of how lies and denial of reality can only survive where freedom does not exist. …

The world has become a better place since the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism. … But there are always countries where time has stood still, or developments have gone backward.

Unfortunately, this is the case for [President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia. … And in China, the long march toward political reform has barely been started.

Observer

On sanctions against Zimbabwe:

LONDON — Robert Mugabe is a tyrant who has crippled Zimbabwe. He has oppressed its people, degraded its constitution and vandalized its economy. Millions of Zimbabweans face famine; their basic freedoms are denied; 80 percent are unemployed; life expectancy is 37. Mr. Mugabe’s continued rule over the wreckage of the country is a brake on economic development and an affront to hopes for a democratic renaissance in sub-Saharan Africa. He has committed crimes against his nation and so forfeited his right to represent it on the international stage.

That is why Britain is right to be leading moves to exclude Mr. Mugabe from a European Union-Africa summit in Portugal in December. The prime minister has said he will not attend if the Zimbabwean president is there.

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