Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in newspapers around the world:
The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada, on the Obama administration response to the Gulf oil disaster:
Neither the executive branch of the U.S. government nor BP can be proud of the way they have handled the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama's escalating tough talk against BP, in particular, is a weak political maneuver that only magnifies his administration's inaction on the big questions that have arisen from the oil spill.
Things are going badly _ oil is still gushing and washing ashore, birds are dying and an entire fishery and way of life is at risk _ so the public is looking for someone to blame. In a television interview, Obama said he wanted to know "whose ass to kick" _ better it be someone else's than his own _ and directed his foot at BP CEO Tony Hayward, saying he "wouldn't be working for me."
Obama's rhetoric is unbecoming and ineffective. His apparent anger is rising in direct proportion to demands that he must appear angry. That Obama has yet to even pick up the phone to speak to Hayward shows the extent to which the comments are damage control, albeit not of an environmental kind. ...
With regard to the conditions that allowed the spill to happen, and what should happen to ensure a spill of such magnitude never happens again, Obama has also deferred: to a commission that will report in six months. A full investigation is welcome, but it does nothing to reduce the risk of further disaster now.
Obama's energy policy has been similarly rudderless. ...
BP deserves little credit _ it has over-promised and under-delivered. But for all of its shortcomings, the U.S. administration has failed to plot a course that shows leadership. ...
Arab Times, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on expelling Israel form the United Nations:
It seems the ruling power in Tel Aviv has been afflicted with a variant of mad cow disease; otherwise, how could it be so cruel to unleash such a beastly raid on the "Mavi Marmara," the Turkish flagship of a flotilla carrying medical and humanitarian supplies to the hapless people of Gaza Strip?
There were no weapons or military equipment on board the flotilla as Israel has claimed to justify the brutal crime it committed on the pretext of self-defense. It was as if the flotilla which was carrying some 500 unarmed activists from 40 countries had sailed with the sole aim of invading Israel! Israel should know that untenable excuses such as these won't wash with the international community. ...
The UN Security Council held an emergency session on June 1 and invited Lebanon for the meeting to discuss the consequences of the Israeli offensive. The UN Council issued a statement expressing regret for the deaths of peace activists due to the use of extreme force by Israel during the raid which took place in international waters. ...
We, the Arabs, demand that the UN Security Council take a serious view of the unjustifiable and unconscionable raid Israel has carried out on the "Freedom Flotilla," impose strict sanctions and push for a resolution to expel the errant and aggression-prone State of Israel from the UN whose laws and conventions are against offensives of all types. ...
We hope that Egypt would ignore the current pact on border crossing regulations in view of Israel's unabashed disrespect for all international pacts and laws the moment it starts to perpetrate crimes against the Palestinians and all those who try to help them. ...
The incident raises a number of questions, chief of which is how could Israel manage to unleash an attack on "Mavi Marmara," the Turkish flagship of a six-boat convoy, flying the flag of Turkey which is a member country of the NATO. The question demands a convincing answer.
China Daily, Beijing, on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit:
President Hu Jintao's participation at the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent testifies to China's long-term commitment toward a sustained, healthy and stable development of the organization.
The summit will pave the way for intensified cooperation among member states in politics, security, economy and culture, and seek to expand the bloc's relations with other countries and groups.
Regional security and closer effort to combat the "three evil forces," the key precepts of the organization ever since its inception in 2001, will top its agenda.
Apart from a joint declaration by leaders attending the summit, two documents, relating to admission of new members and rules of procedure, are also likely to be approved. The regional organization is certainly gaining in both strength and maturity, and the documents will lay the legal groundwork for the bloc's expansion in the foreseeable future.
Several observer members of the grouping _ Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India _ have sought full membership. While new members may not be admitted during the current summit, the bloc's expansion process will certainly be accelerated.
In recent years, the SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has played an indispensable role in safeguarding regional peace and stability. It has become an important regional forum _ with international influence _ for building political trust and cementing cooperation in Eurasia.
The world is undergoing profound changes. It is facing lots of uncertainties and challenges, especially with regard to climate change, food security and energy security. The "three evil forces" continue to plague the people of central Asia. ...
Its member nations' mutual pursuit of peace, security and development will only lead to greater cohesiveness and unity in the years to come.
The Telegraph, London, on possible qualities needed in the British Parliament:
In Thomas Love Peacock's novel "Melincourt," a baronet called Sir Oran Haut-Ton successfully stands for Parliament, having every accomplishment needful in a member. It was unnecessary for the novelist to mention that Sir Oran was born a member of the one of the most attractive tribes of ape.
No wonder, then, that scientists have now found that orangutans take quite as much interest in observing our little ways as we do in watching their skill in propelling themselves through the forest. Orangutans in zoos, a study has found, may find life stressful, but their days are beguiled by examining the humans who have come to look at them. We seem to be more interesting than rope-swings or even discarded orange-peel. Perhaps the main political parties will invest in whole focus groups made up of the cousins of the late Sir Oran Haut-Ton.
Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal on the lack of "change" in the Obama administration:
The more things "change," it seems, the more they stay the same. So it goes with that whole "Change We Can Believe In" mantra of the current occupants of the White House.
First there were the Cabinet nominees who failed to pay back taxes. Then the tough new lobbying rules promptly set aside so a defense contractor and an anti-tobacco lobbyist could get federal gigs with the Pentagon and Health and Human Services.
Then the quiet signing of a spending bill with 8,570 earmarks worth $7.7 billion sans lights, cameras and souvenir pens. Then the promise to negotiate health care reform in public until the details proved to be too unsightly.
Then the blog request to forward any "fishy" anti-health-reform e-mails.
And now at least two attempts at back-room deals to keep politics as usual firmly in place. What a difference a day and a little power make.
Perhaps the American public should simply take comfort in the constancy of this ends-justify-the-means approach.
Cynics would say it's a story as old as politics.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration got elected on its promise to change this cynical, hackneyed script. But it has yet to call for a rewrite. ...
At the end of the day, White House officials say this is politics and that's how it works. Can anybody spell "Blagojevich?"
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, on Gulf Coast needs less talking and more doing from BP:
BP's containment cap, which the company said captured 11,100 barrels of oil June 6, is the company's first substantial progress in reducing the amount of oil escaping into the Gulf of Mexico.
That's an important development, and Louisianians are hopeful that the strategy may further control the massive spill while relief wells are completed. After all, thousands of barrels of oil still are flowing into the Gulf of Mexico every day.
In any case, BP CEO Tony Hayward and other BP officials need to stop their chest-bumping. Hayward said the cap was catching "probably the vast majority" of the oil, even though estimates of the total amount spilling from BP's well are as high as 25,000 barrels a day.
As Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said, the emergency is far from over and no one "should be pleased as long as there's oil in the water." He warned against creating "any undo encouragement," and said BP "needs to under-promise and over-deliver."
Hayward and his BP brethren should heed those words.
Even with less oil flowing into the water, the oil-affected area in the Gulf and on the coast continues to expand. In a gloomy assessment, Allen warned of the difficulties of collecting what's essentially "hundreds of thousands of patches of oil" over a vast region. He said the "breadth and complexity" of the situation means the cleanup will go on for months after the oil well is finally capped. And our region will live with the catastrophe's effects, he said, for years. ...
Hayward said his company would "make good on our promises." He vowed: "We're going to clean up the oil. We're going to remediate any environmental damage. And we are going to return the Gulf Coast to the position it was in prior to this event."
What Louisianians want from BP, Mr. Hayward, is less talking and more doing.
The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle on the D-Day anniversary and fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan.
It was 66 years ago on June 6 that Allied forces, 160,000 troops strong and supplemented by 15,000 air sorties, invaded Normandy to reclaim mainland Europe. The rest is literally history.
As a result of the beach landings, which took years to plan and coordinate, D-Day became pivotal in World War II and the fight for freedom.
Nearly seven decades later, America finds itself juggling two wars for freedom _ in both cases, against terrorists. In Iraq, there have been welcome signs of noteworthy progress. Unfortunately, little on that score can be said about American involvement in Afghanistan.
Because that's so, the war in Afghanistan rightly has millions of Americans nervous, though its profile has been lowered considerably.
With Afghanistan slipping off the radar screen, it was laudable that veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas spoke out at a recent White House news conference. She was the only member of the nation's elite press corps to inquire about getting out of Afghanistan. After all, President Barack Obama campaigned on an exit strategy platform.
Obama was hard to pin down in his response to Thomas. But there are hopeful signs that he has a multi-prong strategy in the war on terrorism that extends beyond Afghanistan and Iraq.
Recently, it was disclosed that the administration is conducting a 'secret war' against terrorists. There could be pre-emptive or retaliatory strikes around the world. This kind of activity, if successful, could certainly quicken the pace for exiting both Iraq and Afghanistan. ...
Los Angeles Times on White House correspondent Helen Thomas:
Blunt, irascible, argumentative. Those words have long been used to describe Helen Thomas, the grande dame of the White House press corps, particularly in recent years as her questions became less and less coherent. Now, a career spanning 10 presidencies and nearly half a century has come to an end over her own terrible answer to a question about Israeli-Palestinian relations.
After decades as a reporter for United Press International, Thomas had become a columnist for Hearst Corp. She was known as a liberal and as a critic of Israel, and certainly could have contributed to a healthy debate about Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories or U.S. policy in the Mideast. But that's not what she did in a short videotaped interview in which she said that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany. Whatever her intentions, the remarks were deeply offensive to Jews, who heard her to be saying they should return to countries that exterminated their families. On June 7, Thomas issued an apology and resigned. ...
UPI assigned Thomas to John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign _ to cover his beautiful wife. When Kennedy won, Thomas went to the White House and reportedly dared her bosses to remove her from the job. They didn't. She joined a Washington press establishment that, even during appearances of presidents and foreign heads of state, confined women reporters to the balcony of the National Press Club, until the old boy's network finally agreed to accept women members in 1971. She was the first woman to serve as White House bureau chief for a wire service, the only woman journalist to accompany President Richard Nixon on his historic trip to China, and the first female officer of not only the National Press Club but the White House Correspondents' Association. ...
It would be unfortunate if Thomas were remembered only for her offensive remark on Israel and not for her decades shattering glass ceilings.
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in newspapers around the world: