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Europe

"Bush vs. the Villains of the World"

Germany's editorialists take aim at the United States and Britain for their "colonial war of correction" and Bush's apparent appetite for conflict with Syria, North Korea and Iran.

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Germany's editorial pages, digested for you daily.

Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung says that Iraq, a creation of the British, is now in limbo, commenting: "Because the British, and their imperialist successors, the Americans neglected the rise of Saddam for too long, they felt forced to straighten out the disastrous developments in a kind of colonial war of correction. A strongly Islam influenced order could follow. But a cynic would say that, in a few years, another 'correction' might be necessary -- because the liberators of 2003 imagined the new Iraqi democracy differently."

The Hamburger Morgenpost still wonders where Iraq is hiding its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction -- they were, after all, the justification for the war. But the paper observes that U.S. President George W. Bush doesn't appear to be too concerned, commenting: "Bush has long had it in his mind to free the world from all the evils that could possibly threaten the US. Syria now tops his list, North Korea is a given, and Iran is also on edge. The US has proved to be none too sissy-like in its global search for the villains of the world."

On the topic of North Korea, Berlin's Die Welt comments that, so far, Washington has assumed that the big red dragon of Beijing would prevent the little dragon of Pyongyang from sparking a nuclear crisis. But every time North Korea stamps its foot, the markets in South Korea and Japan start to shake and shock waves reverberate around the world. And that's why, the paper writes, it's time to do something, adding: "In Beijing, actions count more than words."

The leadership battle between Palestinian President Yassir Arafat and prime minister designate Mahmoud Abbas draws criticism for Arafat from Bonn's General Anzeiger. Since the start of the latest Intifada, there hasn't been a better opportunity than now to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the paper writes, before adding that Arafat, who for decades has fought for his people, is the very person standing in the way of his own goals in this decisive moment.

The Westfälischer Anzeiger agrees, commenting: "Arafat has screwed up again. He wasn't able to give up the armed fight, to pull his PLO and Fatah loyalists out of the cabinet and make way for new negotiations with Israel. Arafat has missed the chance to become the wise father to his people."

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