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BRITAIN



Published: Mon, February 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



BRITAIN

The Financial Times, London, Feb. 5: The spotlight of the Enron investigators is moving to the company's outside help: the lobbyists, consultants and board members who lent the mantle of respectability to what turns out not to have been respectable.

The outcome is likely to be the usual: more laws. But it is not clear that even a mountain of legislation can prevent the sort of failure we see in the Enron case.

Unprofessional behavior: Over-reliance on legal structures and outcomes can have the perverse effect of encouraging unprofessional behavior; if something is not banned, professionals may be tempted to tell themselves it is all right.

Some of those involved in Enron appear to have ended up ignoring what Michael Groom of the British Institute of Chartered Accountants calls "the sniff factor." When something is right by the books, but wrong by the nose, you have to trust the nose.

BRITAIN

The Daily Mail, London, Feb. 6: Exactly half a century ago, in a rough-and-ready Kenyan tree house, the young Princess Elizabeth heard the sad and daunting news that her father George VI had died and that she had become queen.

Affection: The House of Windsor has undergone many vicissitudes in the decades since. The nation has itself changed. But in all the turmoil, her subjects have kept their respect and affection for a head of state who has reigned longer than all but five of her predecessors in the last 800 years.

JAPAN

Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, Feb. 1: President George W. Bush's State of the Union address was couched in the worryingly tough, hard-line rhetoric that hearkened back to the Cold War era. Labeling Iraq, Iran and North Korea as "the world's most dangerous regimes," Bush harshly accused these countries and "their terrorist allies" of constituting "an axis of evil."

His public denouncement has dashed any hope for better U.S. ties with these countries.

Bush was right in insisting that the war against terrorism must go on.

Superpower: The essential mission is to demolish the Al-Qaida terrorism network and its global reach. If the United States, as the only superpower, overestimates the capabilities of its military machine and recklessly expands the battle lines, the delicate international coalition against terrorism will deteriorate rapidly. Bush should take to heart this precarious nature of the situation.

In his speech, Bush was lobbying for a sharp increase in defense spending, which he advocates, saying it would represent the biggest increase in military spending in 20 years. Such remarks represent the world's most powerful leader's alarming belief in military might.

GERMANY

Frankfurter Allgemeine, Frankfurt, Feb. 5: President George W. Bush believes that the world is only at the start of a long fight. We may speculate about where he will next lead the campaign, but it is hardly an impenetrable conundrum.

Mr. Bush's recent reference to the "axis of evil" had more to do with rhetorical flourish than rigorous analysis of history. But these words did sound an alarm for the usual suspects as well as a wake-up call for all who believed that, after the fighting in Afghanistan, international politics would revert to its old course.

This is unlikely to happen.

All-embracing security: The main reason is that the United States will not be satisfied with putting a stop to the activities of one or two bad boys. The United States' opponents must realize that an all-embracing security has become both the Bush presidency's leitmotiv and model. This is something America's partners need to learn as well.

Europeans are certainly correct when they say that security is not exclusively a military matter, and that the fight against terrorism needs to apply many tools. But it is illusory -- albeit an illusion born of history and of political and cultural outlooks -- to believe that the use of force has no role or only a subordinate role to play.

One can use different models of cost-benefit analysis to argue about how best to prevent a tyrant like Saddam Hussein from getting his hands on weapons of mass destruction. But persuasion alone will not suffice.




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