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Bombing Balochistan, Sri Lanka's Nightmare, and Mohammad Khatami

March 20, 2009

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Age (Australia)

  • Khatami Visit: John Searle of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria writes that he's disappointed at the support offered to the visiting Mohammad Khatami, saying he is part of Iran's strategy of ill intent.

 Boston Globe

  • Bashir Indictment: In an editorial, the Globe says the president of the UN General Assembly insults the suffering millions in Darfur by saying that the indictment of Sudan's strongman Omar al-Bashir is an example of racism.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

  • Lebanese Voting: In an editorial, the paper considers the pros and cons of a recent decision by the Lebanese parliament to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. One community, the Christians, is thus placed at a numerical disadvantage, it says.

Daily Telegraph (UK)

  • Britain's Nukes: Commentator Con Coughlin is dismissive of the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's offer to reduce the size of Britain's nuclear arsenal. He says a deterrent remains vital as leading rogue states strive to acquire weapons of their own.

Daily Times (Pakistan)

  • Balochistan: In an editorial, the paper says no one in Pakistan will support the reported plans in Washington to extend American drone attacks from the tribal areas to the already disturbed province of Balochistan.

 Economist

  • China's Ascendancy: In an editorial on China, the paper says that although in public China's leaders eschew triumphalism, there is a sense in Beijing that the reassertion of the Middle Kingdom's global ascendancy is at hand. 
  • Obama's Leadership: In a further editorial, on the row over AIG bonuses, the Economist notes that Barack Obama was elected to provide leadership, but that in the past few weeks he has shown signs of forgetting that. 
  • Iran's Nuclear Ambition: Also in an editorial, on Iran, the paper says that so far it has shown little sign of flexibility toward President Obama on limiting its nuclear ambition. But he should still have one more try, it believes.

 Financial Times

  • Bold Bernanke: In an editorial, the FT praises the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke for introducing monetary policy designed to stem the economic crisis. But, it adds, the Fed will need help from the rest of the U.S. government, and the current financial and stimulus packages are not yet up to the task.

 Globe and Mail (Canada) 

  • Treasury Bonds: In an editorial, the paper says the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to buy up to $300 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds (and even more in mortgage-backed securities) was probably the right decision in the circumstances, not least because it was unexpected.

Guardian 

  • Climate Change: Columnist Martin Kettle writes that if climate change is to be tackled, or the financial system rebuilt, we need to move beyond the old, dumb, polarizing politics.

Hindu (India) 

  • Pakistan Terror: Commentator Praveen Swami says Pakistan needs to dismantle the infrastructure of terror on its soil, and also confront the ideas that brought about its construction in the first place. 

The Daily Beast

  • Afghan Strategy: CFR's President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb writes Congress needs to wade in now to explore options in Afghanistan beyond the one the White House is fixated on. Otherwise, he says, the blame game will be back very soon.

Hindustan Times 

  • Indian Defense: Thomas Mathew of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in Delhi is concerned about the low level of Indian defense spending. Our repertoire of options will continue to shrink while Pakistan adds to its veritable array of conventional weapons, thanks to a never-ending supply of U.S. military and economic aid, he writes.

Independent (UK)

  • Israel's Military: In an editorial on claims by some Israeli soldiers that they engaged in deliberate destruction of Palestinian homes during the invasion of Gaza, the paper calls on Israel to root out what it calls the canker of brutality and ill-discipline from the military. 

International Herald Tribune 

  • Mexico Trade: In an editorial, the paper warns the United States and Mexico to be careful in its current tit-for-tat trade dispute. It wants President Obama to put some political muscle behind his declared support for open trade.  
  • Sri Lanka Crisis: Lakhdar Brahimi, a former special advisor to the UN secretary general, writes that the already severe humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka is on the brink of catastrophe, and calls for the quick arrival of humanitarian relief and high-level international political muscle to bring the nightmarish situation to an end. 

National (UAE) 

  • Iraq Reforms: In an editorial, the paper says that with the United States due to leave Iraq by 2011, time is running out to make the myriad political reforms that will sow the seeds of a lasting peace in that country. 

New York Times 

  • NATO Drift: In an editorial to mark the sixtieth anniversary of NATO, the paper says that after twenty years of post-Cold War drift, the alliance must succeed in Afghanistan. Right now, it is frighteningly close to failing, it judges. 
  • Afghan Patience: A team from the Brookings Institution and a graphic designer from Connecticut, Amy Unikewicz, offer data on the state of Afghanistan. They say that after more than seven years of an American presence, polls suggest that Afghan patience may be wearing thin. 
  • Global Finance: Op-ed Columnist David Brooks notes a tendency among some policy makers to focus on the long term even in the midst of a crisis. He cites European governments who, he says, want to spend this moment of peril working on a long-term architecture to regulate global finance. 

News (Pakistan) 

  • Drone Attacks: In an editorial, the paper reacts to U.S. news reports that President Obama may be planning drone attacks on Balochistan. It says the Pakistani government must ensure that the United States does not embark on a strategy that adds to the problems already being faced by Pakistan. 

Times of India 

  • Gandhi's Speech: In an editorial, the paper comments on the case against Varun Gandhi, a grandson of the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who is accused of inciting communal violence in a speech. It says his party, the BJP, must ask him to stay out of the election process until he clears his name. 

Wall Street Journal 

  • AIG Row: Ian Bremmer and Sean West of Eurasia Group wonder why the AIG bonus row has blown up given that $170 billion was spent bailing out the company in the first place. They blame political expediency. 
  • Obama's War: Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University writes that it's odd that so articulate a president as Barack Obama has not yet found the language with which to describe the war in Afghanistan, and the American stakes in it. 

Washington Post 

  • Geithner's Survival: Op-ed Columnist Eugene Robinson writes that for U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to survive, let alone succeed, he is going to have to make a more convincing case that he's part of the solution and not part of the problem. 
  • AIG: CFR Senior Fellow Michael Gerson says of the AIG bonus row that the lack of focus, judgment, and competence on the part of Congress and the administration has explanations. But the hollow outrage and blame-shifting from Congress and the administration are inexcusable. 
  • Obama and AIG: In an editorial, the Post accuses President Obama of stoking anger rather than bringing reason to the debate over the AIG bonuses. He might have expressed his sympathy with public anger over irresponsible behavior in the financial sector while also steering the government in a more constructive direction, it judges.