Jueves, 28 de diciembre de 2006

By William Shawcross, the author of "Allies -- Why the West Had to Remove Saddam" (THE WASHINGTON POST, 28/12/06):

Kofi Annan deserves a good sendoff. For 10 years he has persevered with unfailing grace in what really is "a job from hell."

I am biased -- I've admired Annan since the early 1990s, some years before he became secretary general of the United Nations. Like the U.S. government, I welcomed his replacing Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1996. Annan had been the one U.N. official brave enough to give Washington the green light to bomb the Serbs to the negotiating table in the summer of 1995.…  Seguir leyendo »

By David S. Broder (THE WASHINGTON POST, 28/12/06):

The standard tribute to Gerald R. Ford is that he served the nation best simply by stepping into the presidency for the disgraced and banished Richard M. Nixon.

But to those who served with the man from Michigan, his achievements did not begin or end with his being available to help "heal our land" from the wounds of the Nixon presidency, as his successor, Jimmy Carter, said on the day he took over from Ford.

The alumni of the Ford administration -- a notable group -- insist that though he had never particularly aimed for the presidency, the "accidental president" developed a considerable mastery of the job and was on his way to building a legacy when the voters sent him into early retirement.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Robert D. Novak (THE WASHINGTON POST, 28/12/06):

Gerald R. Ford was a professional politician who tempered the practice of his trade's deceits with innate decency. That was demonstrated to me on April 1, 1971, in an incident unique in my half-century as a Washington reporter.

I had been tipped that House Republican leader Ford was carrying out a confidential mission at President Richard Nixon's request: to ask Republican members of Congress how they would react to presidential clemency or even a pardon for Lt. William Calley, sentenced a day earlier for the murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians. I called Ford to ask whether Nixon had met with him to pursue that endeavor.…  Seguir leyendo »

By George F. Will (THE WASHINGTON POST, 28/12/06):

Those who believe that a kindly Providence keeps a watchful eye on America's welfare can cite the fact of Gerald Ford. On Aug. 9, 1974, at a moment when the nation was putting aside an unhappy, tormented president, and was aching for serenity in high places, to the center of national life strode an abnormality -- a happy, normal man as president.

Watergate and a presidential resignation were only two of the nation's problems that August. The mid-'70s were years when everyday things could no longer be counted on -- inflation was undermining the currency as a store of value, and lines at gasoline pumps testified to the power of foreigners to get between Americans and their best friends, their automobiles.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Ron Nessen (THE WASHINGTON POST, 28/12/06):

One reason Gerald R. Ford was a good president was because he never wanted to be president.

After 25 years as a congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich., he told his wife, Betty, that he was going to run for one more term in the House and then retire to spend more time with her and their children. Then, suddenly, he was appointed vice president (after Spiro Agnew's resignation) and succeeded to the presidency (after Richard Nixon's resignation).

Unlike politicians who carefully calculate for decades how their every word and deed will sound and look when they eventually run for the White House, Ford moved into the Oval Office without having his persona distorted by lust for the presidency.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Mary Kenny (THE TIMES, 28/12/06):

When the Queen said, in her Christmas address, “I have lived long enough to know that things never remain quite the same for long”, it will have struck a chord among older people. Not only does their experience teach them that life is always in a state of change, and what seems amazing or horrific today will take on a different perspective next week, next month or next year. But there is something else too: events are always in a state of change, but there is also a continual state of renewal, so that age brings that odd feeling of having seen it all before.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Tim Hames (THE TIMES, 28/12/06):

See pictures from the life of Gerald Ford

A word likely to be prominent in many obituaries of Gerald Ford is “accidental”. This is because he is the only man to have served in the Oval Office without ever having been directly elected either as president or vice-president. But this accidental sense was reinforced by the events of his time in office and his bumbling style. The same obituaries will also conclude that his main achievement was restoring the credibility of the White House after the Watergate debacle.

I take issue with this conventional wisdom.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Robert Drury and Tom Clavin, the authors of the forthcoming “Halsey’s Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm and an Untold Rescue” (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 28/12/06):

FOR Americans under a certain age, Gerald Ford is best remembered for his contribution to Bartlett’s — “Our long national nightmare is over” — or, more likely, for the comedian Chevy Chase’s stumbling, bumbling impersonations of him on “Saturday Night Live.” But there’s a different label we can attach to this former president, one that has been overlooked for 62 years: war hero.

In 1944, Lt. j.g. Jerry Ford — a lawyer from Grand Rapids, Mich.,…  Seguir leyendo »

By Barry Werth, the author of “31 Days: The Crisis that Gave Us the Government We Have Today” (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 28/12/06):

AMERICA got its first real impression of Gerald Ford on the steamy August morning 33 years ago when he took office as president, and most people instantly liked what they saw. Mr. Ford stood in the driveway of his suburban split-level house, hours before assuming a post he never sought and hoped to avoid having to fill. One of the questions he took was about Harry Truman’s comment when he had the office abruptly thrust upon him.…  Seguir leyendo »

By David Hume Kennerly, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in photography, was President Gerald Ford’s personal photographer (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 28/12/06):

I TOOK this photograph of President Gerald Ford in the White House Cabinet Room on May 14, 1975, as he met with his National Security Council about the Mayagüez crisis. The cargo ship Mayagüez had been captured by Khmer Rouge rebels, and it was up to the president to try to get the American crew released safely.

After diplomacy failed, Mr. Ford, who had been president for nine months, waved off one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s recommendations, which involved a B-52 strike on Phnom Penh, and instead ordered a strong but limited military action that ultimately secured the crew’s freedom.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Indra Adnan, co-director of the New Integrity consultancy, is writing a book on soft power (THE GUARDIAN, 28/12/06):

The poignant images of five murdered women that dominated the front pages last week presented me with the usual task of explaining the issues arising from such news to my 12-year-old son. It's never easy to do so, but at least the idea that women are simply immoral for taking to the profession is beginning to lose its grip as statistics show that the majority are drug dependent and vulnerable.However, a matching awareness that men caught in this world may also be vulnerable has not arisen, which still presented me with difficulties in explanation.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Burhan al-Chalabi, a former chairman of the British Iraqi Foundation and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (THE GUARDIAN, 28/12/06):

The imminent execution of Saddam Hussein is nothing but a smokescreen - a diversion in a series of diversions that will do nothing to address the price of the occupation of Iraq. If the Bush administration truly wanted to curb the cycle of bloodshed, it would come clean and share with the US public, the Iraqi people, and the international community the real goals of this disastrous neoconservative adventure.The invasion and occupation of Iraq was an act of US imperialism, marketed as a war of liberation.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Timothy Garton Ash (THE GUARDIAN, 28/12/06):

In world politics, 2007 may be the year of realism. If that means getting rid of dangerous illusions, it's a good thing. If it means abandoning idealism, it's a bad thing. In the way of things, it will probably mean some of both. Back in 2002, a senior adviser to President Bush told the journalist Ron Suskind that people in "the reality-based community" - journalists, for example - had got it seriously wrong. "That's not the way the world really works any more," the adviser said. "We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Monika Zgustova, escritora; su última novela es La mujer silenciosa (EL PAÍS, 28/12/06):

Fue a finales de los ochenta, poco antes de la caída del comunismo. En la Feria del Libro de Frankfurt, con unos editores españoles nos presentamos en el stand de Dilia, la agencia literaria checa, con el objetivo de adquirir derechos de publicación en España de varios autores checos. No tuvimos suerte: resultó que los escritores que nos interesaban estaban políticamente mal vistos por el Estado que la agencia representaba. Antes de despedirnos, uno de los españoles dejó caer el nombre de Kundera, autor que gozaba de gran prestigio mundial.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Javier Rojo, presidente del Senado (EL PAÍS, 28/12/06):

La reforma de los Estatutos de Autonomía ha alcanzado una velocidad de crucero que permitirá que, a lo largo del próximo año, buena parte de las Comunidades Autónomas dispongan de unos nuevos textos estatutarios modernos, adaptados a las nuevas circunstancias políticas y sociales, con más y mejor autogobierno. Con ellos, deberán afrontar nuevos horizontes y metas para sus ciudadanos. Al tiempo, se habrá dado un paso decisivo, quizás definitivo, en la consolidación de la estructura territorial de España, profundamente descentralizada como corresponde a su realidad diversa y plural, pero también unida y sólida.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Joseph S. Nye, profesor en la Universidad de Harvard y autor de Understanding International Conflicts. Traducción de Jesús Cuéllar Menezo (EL PAÍS, 28/12/06):

Cuando la Unión Soviética se vino abajo, muchos pronosticaron el fin de la Organización del Tratado de la Alianza Atlántica (OTAN). Sin embargo, hace pocas semanas, la OTAN celebró su cumbre en Riga, capital de Letonia, antigua integrante de la URSS.

La OTAN se fundó en 1949 para contener el poder soviético. Su eje estaba en Europa Occidental y, según decía un chiste, pretendía dejar fuera a los rusos, someter a los alemanes e integrar a los estadounidenses.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Rosa Díez González, diputada socialista en el Parlamento Europeo (EL MUNDO, 28/12/06):

Hay signos evidentes de que la democracia española vive un proceso de degradación. Sé que esta afirmación resulta «políticamente incorrecta»; lo que se lleva es dar buenas noticias. Pero no corren buenos tiempos desde la perspectiva de nuestra salud democrática. Nos invade el relativismo, el positivismo a ultranza, el optimismo ciego y patológico, el afán de cerrar los ojos ante aquella parte de la realidad que nos resulta difícil de aceptar. Ninguna sociedad avanza cerrando los ojos a la realidad. Ninguna sociedad moderna, evolucionada, con cuajo democrático, rica en sus matices y en su pluralidad puede prescindir del pensamiento crítico y del análisis científico y objetivo de los acontecimientos sin arriesgarse a empobrecer su tejido social y a devaluar sus propias instituciones democráticas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Alberto Dorrego de Carlos, Letrado de las Cortes y abogado (ABC, 28/12/06):

UNO de los tópicos más ampliamente extendidos entre los juristas contemporáneos es el reproche a la agobiante proliferación normativa del Estado, cuyos (evidentes) excesos tienden a vincularse con la pérdida generalizada de calidad técnica de la legislación, y, en último extremo, con una seria amenaza al derecho constitucional de los ciudadanos a la seguridad jurídica.
Las pruebas del supuesto desbocamiento legislativo en que nos hallamos son numerosas y crecientemente alarmantes. Solo en el Congreso de los Diputados se tramitan en la actualidad 41 proyectos de ley del Gobierno (unidos a los 71 que han sido ya tramitados durante la presente Legislatura) y nada menos que 147 proposiciones de ley de los Grupos Parlamentarios.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Enrique Battaner Arias (ABC, 28/12/06):

LA Institución Universitaria ha cumplido ya casi mil años de existencia. Mil años en los que, desde su misma fundación, ha estado sometida a una revisión constante, a una crítica casi consustancial a sí misma, a una continua censura social. Veamos lo que se dice entre nosotros: Torre de marfil; ajena al mundo real; de espaldas al sector productivo; refugio de funcionarios indolentes; apartada de las grandes corrientes del conocimiento y de su génesis; dotada de una autonomía que utilizan como patente de corso; gobernada por un dudoso sistema autogestionario de origen sesentayochesco, endogámica y replegada sobre sí misma.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Pablo González y Marc Navarro, departamento de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (LA VANGUARDIA, 28/12/06):

Mañana hace diez años que Guatemala apostó por la paz y por la democracia. La noche del 29 de diciembre de 1996, los guatemaltecos asistieron a la firma del último de los acuerdos de paz, poniendo fin así a 36 años de conflicto armado interno. Los acuerdos establecían la hoja de ruta esencial que llevaría a Guatemala progresivamente a la modernidad y profundizaría la apertura democrática iniciada pocos años antes.

Aunque la transición democrática y el silencio de las armas parecieran ser caminos paralelos, desde este foro queremos insistir en que se trata de procesos diferenciados y, por consiguiente, cada uno requiere de su análisis particular.…  Seguir leyendo »