Miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2006

By David Ignatius (THE WASHINGTON POST, 06/12/06):

On the eve of the Baker-Hamilton commission's report, a top Iranian official set a tough condition for his country's help in stabilizing Iraq, saying that Tehran isn't interested in such cooperation unless the Bush administration sets a timetable for withdrawing its troops.

Ali Larijani, Iran's national security adviser, said in an interview that a U.S. plan for removing "occupation forces" from Iraq would be considered "a sign of a change in strategy." In that case, he said, "Iran would definitely extend the hand of assistance and would use its influence to help solve the problem."…  Seguir leyendo »

By Gerard Baker, US editor of The Times (THE TIMES, 06/12/06):

No one expected the Iraq Study Group to manufacture out of the air the sword necessary to cut the Gordian Knot America has tied for itself in Iraq.

The tangle produced by escalating civil war, US military overstretch and Iraqi political immobility was always too complex to be resolved even by the reflective deliberations of some of America’s grandest and most seasoned political figures.

But there was a general view in Washington that the report might at least provide some political cover for President George Bush to execute an indelicate U-turn.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Giles Smith (THE TIMES, 06/12/06):

Disney’s proposal for a cartoon update of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories is either “jolly good news” or “awfully bad luck”, depending on your view. It’s either hurrah for Disney, or it’s the queasy prospect of Five Go to Smugglers Top in a Hoody. With lashings of Diet Coke, presumably.

If you were really intent on making the Famous Five chime with the culture in 2006, you would probably need to rebrand them the “Celebrity Five”, but there is no sign that Disney intends to go that far. The company does, however, mean to bring the Five forward a generation and rename them.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Kenneth H. Bacon, president of Refugees International (THE WASHINGTON POST, 06/12/06):

James Baker has never met Alia Al-Naradi, but they both have an interest in seeing the United States engage Syria on Iraq. For Baker, engagement is about stabilizing Iraq to allow the United States to exit gracefully. For Alia, it's about survival.

Alia is an Iraqi refugee who fled to Syria, a country that has absorbed more than 750,000 Iraqis since the beginning of the war. Syria's resources are now stretched thin, and without international help, it may not be able to accept vulnerable Iraqis much longer. Working with Syria through the United Nations to help Iraqi refugees could provide a humanitarian first step for greater engagement.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Mark Moyar, the author of "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965" (THE WASHINGTON POST, 06/12/06):

In moving to swiftly transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi government, the Bush administration appears to be heeding lessons learned during America's closest historical precedent, the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, the United States found that indigenous troops were inherently better suited to local security tasks than Americans. Because they spoke the language, had relatives and friends in their operational areas and belonged to the same ethnic groups, they were better able to get information from civilians. They knew where the enemy was likely to hide, and could identify him by noticing subtle distinctions that escaped American troops.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Army Maj. Gen. Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq (THE WASHINGTON POST, 06/12/06):

I don't see a civil war in Iraq. I don't see a constituency for civil war. The vast majority of the people want hope for their families, not to massacre their neighbors or divide their country. A poll conducted in June by the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan group that promotes democracy, found 89 percent of Iraqis supporting a unity government representing all sects and ethnic communities. No wonder no "rebel army" steps forward to claim credit for vicious car bombs and cowardly executions of civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Oliver Kamm (THE TIMES, 06/12/06):

“Cock your ear to how tentative and apologetic the argument for a new generation of British nuclear missiles is becoming,” wrote Matthew Parris on Saturday. Not so. The tentativeness comes from opponents of a British nuclear deterrent.

Anti-nuclear campaigners were once driven by apocalyptic foreboding. (The Tories, wrote E.P. Thompson in 1983, are “not a party which can be returned to government without risk to our lives”.) These days the rhetoric is tamer. Opponents of replacing Trident even implicitly concede the Cold War argument for an independent deterrent by complaining that there is now no obvious state against whom our weapons would be targeted.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Magnus Linklater (THE TIMES, 06/12/06):

Anyone who is against Tony Blair’s decision on Trident should move briskly north to Scotland, where they can appreciate the incoherence of an anti-nuclear stand. The Scottish National Party, which is leading in the opinion polls, is against giving harbour space to nuclear submarines, and would refuse to allow them to anchor at Faslane on the Clyde. They would, therefore, have to move south to Barrow-in-Furness, depriving Scotland of 11,000 jobs.

It’s an odd manifesto pledge: “We guarantee to lose the country 11,000 jobs.” But there is an even odder one to come. Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, mumbles about having diesel-powered submarines instead.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Sam Ryan, a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute, a policy research group (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 06/12/06):

WITH nationalized health care, sky-high unemployment and blissfully short work weeks, you might think that the European Union is rolling backwards on the wheels of socialism. Meanwhile, with Wall Street, Wal-Mart and Viagra booming, the United States powers ahead, driven by capitalism and open markets.

Right? Not necessarily.

On Oct. 17, only one day before a meeting of the European Commission, the chief executives of five major European letter carriers, representing 60 percent of Europe’s mail volume, gathered to express their support for the complete liberalization of Europe’s postal sector.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Ruth Goldway, a commissioner on the Postal Rate Commission (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 06/12/06):

LAST Election Day, voters encountered myriad difficulties, from the unexplained glitch that temporarily halted Montana’s vote count to the 18,300 undervotes in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, to long lines, bad weather, inadequately trained workers, delayed or missing absentee ballots and complicated new identity forms. There was, however, one state where all went well: Oregon, where everyone votes by mail.

Since Oregon adopted Vote by Mail as its sole voting option in 1998, the state’s turnout has increased, concerns about fraud have decreased, a complete paper trail exists for every election, recounts are non-controvertible and both major political parties have gained voters.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 06/12/06):

Vladimir Putin is no touchy-feely politician. He has waged wars, as in Chechnya. He has destroyed opponents, as in the Yukos affair. He has played global statesman, as during Russia's controversial G8 presidency. But the Russian president's KGB training seems to have left him ill-equipped to handle more sensitive political events, such as the alleged poisoning in London of Alexander Litvinenko.The problem is not new. Twenty-four hours after the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, and with the fate of its 118 crew in doubt, Mr Putin was filmed in shirt-sleeves enjoying a barbecue at his Black Sea holiday home.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Zoe Williams (THE GUARDIAN, 06/12/06):

The financial analyst Richard Ratner warned a month ago that the British high street was facing its worst Christmas for a quarter of a century. Some people are immune: John Lewis is up 6% on last year, and M&S, the lumbering velveteen dinosaur of consumerism, is doing surprisingly well. Most other retailers, however, are falling neatly into line with Ratner's prediction. Woolworths has been hit so hard by the slump that it has said that, unless something incredible happens in the next three weeks, this yule will yield profits of under half of last year's.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Tim Pritchard, the author of 'Ambush Alley: the Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War' (THE GUARDIAN, 06/12/06):

One of the most difficult jobs for the US Iraq Study Group, which is due to report today, has perhaps been to pinpoint the moment that Iraq started to go wrong. How did scenes of joyful Iraqis hacking down Saddam's statue so quickly turn into images of car bombs, grieving mothers and burning helicopters? Some experts argued before the panel that it was a mistake to disband the Iraqi security forces. Others said there had not been enough troops on the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Enrique Barón Crespo, eurodiputado y presidente de la Comisión de Comercio Internacional del Parlamento Europeo, y Gert Versnik es diputado belga y vicepresidente de la Unión Interparlamentaria (EL PAÍS, 06/12/06):

La reanudación de las negociaciones de la Ronda de Doha figura en lugar prioritario en las agendas de todos los interlocutores comprometidos en la Ronda. De hecho, parece que tras las elecciones al Congreso en Estados Unidos existe una ventana de oportunidad para reanudar las negociaciones en el calendario definido por el Congreso norteamericano con la Trade Promotion Authority. Compartimos con nuestros colegas congresistas la opinión de que esta ronda multilateral de negociaciones comerciales es demasiado importante para dejársela sólo en manos de los Gobiernos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por José Manuel Sánchez Ron, miembro de la Real Academia Española y catedrático de Historia de la Ciencia en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (EL PAÍS, 06/12/06):

No existe peor crimen que negar oportunidades a aquellos que, en principio, tienen toda la vida por delante, una biografía por construir. De hecho, algunos de los logros más nobles de los humanos surgieron de intentar derribar barreras que obstaculizaban el libre desarrollo de las personas, para conseguir que el largo camino que conduce de la cuna a la tumba sea independiente del origen social, el sexo o la raza. Muchas, aunque no todas ni en todas partes, de esas barreras han sido o están siendo abolidas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Julián Casanova, Hans Speier Visiting Professor en la New School for Social Research de Nueva York (EL PAÍS, 06/12/06):

Leídas desde la distancia, hay noticias que parecen auténticas bromas. Éstas, por ejemplo. Los obispos critican la decisión de un colegio público de Zaragoza de suprimir el festival de Navidad. La Conferencia Episcopal acusa al Gobierno de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero de abrir "viejas heridas de la Guerra Civil". Y el cardenal arzobispo de Toledo, Antonio Cañizares, es nombrado por mayoría absoluta académico numerario de la Real Academia de la Historia.

No tiene mucha importancia, la verdad, que un colegio público suprima el festival de Navidad, como tampoco debería tenerla el hecho de que en otros colegios públicos se celebren todo tipo de fiestas religiosas en homenaje a los patronos y vírgenes de la localidad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Salvador Pániker, filósofo y escritor (EL PAÍS, 06/12/06):

Beethoven y Bach entre las novedades discográficas de un folleto de promoción. ¿Qué se puede ya decir, a estas alturas de la historia, sobre tamañas reliquias permanentemente renovadas? Ortega y Gasset, pensador osado capaz de pontificar sobre cualquier tema, escribió sin el menor rubor que "entre Bach y Beethoven existe toda la distancia que media entre una música de ideas y una música de sentimientos". A continuación, y ya para rematar, el filósofo precisaba que, en el caso de Beethoven, se trataba de "los sentimientos primarios que acometen al buen burgués".…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Esther Tusquets, escritora y editora (LA VANGUARDIA, 06/12/06):

Este es un artículo que la más elemental prudencia debería impedirme escribir. ¡Se necesitan ganas de meterse en camisa de once varas, de buscarse enemigos, de que, deliberadamente o no, se te interprete mal!

Pero a veces hay cosas que me siento obligada a decir, aunque sólo sea para apoyar a las personas que manifiestan lo mismo, o más aún, a las que lo piensan y no disponen de medios para manifestarlo.

No soy dada a los sentimientos nacionalistas. A ninguno. No me emocionan las banderas, ni los himnos nacionales, ni los desfiles militares ni las manifestaciones patrióticas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Prudencio García, investigador y consultor internacional. Profesor del Instituto Universitario Gutiérrez Mellado de la UNED (LA VANGUARDIA, 06/12/06):

El final que veníamos anunciando desde hace años se precipita ya, lamentablemente, a pasos imparables: el general Pinochet, víctima de una crisis cardiaca, va a morir sin haber sido juzgado y condenado. Pocas semanas atrás el ex dictador era privado, una vez más, de su inmunidad por otro de sus múltiples delitos, esta vez por los horrores de Villa Grimaldi. Anteriormente había sido repetidamente desaforado y procesado por secuestros, torturas, asesinatos, malversación, falsificación de documentos, evasión de impuestos, y otras serie de patrióticas actividades civiles y militares, por las que había sido objeto de muy diversas causas penales acumuladas por los tribunales chilenos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Eduardo Zaplana, portavoz del Partido Popular en el Congreso de los Diputados (EL MUNDO, 06/12/06):

Los golpes de pico que derribaron el Muro de Berlín en aquella feliz noche de noviembre de 1989 no representaron sólo el fin de la era de los bloques: trajeron también consigo el desplome de muchos de los referentes del discurso ideológico de la izquierda. Desde ese momento, ante el espejo de la Historia, la izquierda tradicional se presenta como el rey desnudo del cuento de Andersen.

Si el socialismo real demostró algo fue que los postulados de la izquierda no resistieron ni resisten el mínimo contraste con la realidad.…  Seguir leyendo »