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Western Press Review: The World Depends On Coordinated Deliberations

  • Don Hill



Prague, 3 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Since the end of World War II, the nations of the Earth have turned more and more to collaboration through international organizations, both worldwide and regional. Recent press commentary examines the workings of such groups.

WASHINGTON POST: Advocates of tightfisted national budgets are shifting their views

In today's edition, Paul Blustein comments: "For decades, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have served as guardians of economic orthodoxy. They have insisted on strict fiscal controls when lending money to developing countries, requiring countries to balance their budgets and repay their debts in a timely manner.

"But some important changes in the old orthodoxy have been emerging from the fund and the bank over the past week at their annual meeting, which ends (today). For the first time, these advocates of tightfisted budgets are publicly exhorting Third World countries to make sure they spend enough in areas such as education and health that boost human development."

Blustein says: "These shifts reflect a recognition that the traditional economic medicine prescribed by the two institutions needs to be reformulated."

WASHINGTON POST: More equal distribution of land and credit is helpful

The same newspaper editorialized yesterday: "Why do some developing countries prosper while others languish? Shedding light on that mystery is, in theory, a key task for thousands of finance ministers, central bank chairmen and other money wizards who have descended on Washington this week for annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund."

The editorial said: "Development economics used to teach that inequality was essential, because you needed rich people at the top to invest money. Now economists believe the reverse -- that more equal distribution of land and credit is helpful. In the old days, too, the orthodoxy was that democracy was bad for growth; now World Bank experts say they see no correlation, one way or the other.

"If Western-style parliamentary democracy isn't essential, though, it now seems that good governance -- the rule of law -- is. In East Asia, where once-poor economies have taken off, governments acted broadly in the people's interest: They invested heavily in basic education and primary health care, and they provided a stable, predictable climate for long-term private investment."

SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG: Washington has been waiting for the OSCE to certify Bosnian elections

UN sanctions in the former Yugoslavia came under scrutiny this week in an editorial signed by Bernd Kueppers. He wrote: "U.S. President Bill Clinton is not the only one hoping to be reelected in November. Belgrade's ruler Slobodan Milosevic has to defend his governing majority in the remainder of Yugoslavia against a Serbian opposition alliance. Reports of success in the Balkans are crucial to both of them.

"After forcing through the elections in Bosnia, Clinton needed a visible sign that would confirm the success of America's efforts. He has received it with the constitution of multi-ethnic state institutions.

"In return Milosevic can expect the promised final lifting of sanctions by the UN Security Council 'on the tenth day after the first free and fair elections.' Washington had only been waiting for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to certify the elections and has now signaled its agreement."

LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH: Milosevic broke with his former allies to pursue a policy of peace

Writing today from Sarajevo, Julius Strauss says in a news analysis: "The United Nations has formally lifted sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro more than four years after they were imposed as punishment for helping the Bosnian Serb war effort. But the UN Security Council stopped short of welcoming rump Yugoslavia back into the international community."

Strauss writes: "The permanent lifting of sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro was made possible by (Serbian President Slobodan) Milosevic, who broke with his former allies in Serb-held Bosnia in 1993 and has since pursued a policy of peace."

FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU: The United Nations is in urgent need of rejuvenation

An editorial signed by Pierre Simonitsch in today's edition contends: "Everyone agrees that the United Nations is in urgent need of rejuvenation. Since the UN was set up in 1945 the world has changed drastically. But the structures and charter of the UN have remained the same for half a century."

Simonitsch writes: "No one asked during the Cold War whether the global organization was needed in the first place. The system rested on the bipolarity of the United States and Soviet Union and functioned predictably. All the states knew what they had to conform to."

The editorial says: "The current UN General Assembly session demonstrates just what heavy weather the governments are making of proposals for reforming the world organization. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel managed to fill 18 pages of manuscript with truisms."

LOS ANGELES TIMES: A nuclear weapon-free zone is a crucial part of any NATO expansion

Two scholars with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey (California) Institute of International studies urge a nuclear free zone as part of any NATO expansion plan. William C. Potter, head of the center, and David Fischer, a senior fellow, write in a commentary in today's edition: "One of the few areas where the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates (in the United States) agree is the need for rapid NATO expansion. Although the idea of shifting NATO's boundaries eastward may have appeal in terms of ethnic electoral politics, it makes for poor foreign policy. Especially onerous and misconceived is the plan to extend NATO's nuclear umbrella to cover new members."

They write: "If an expansion of NATO cannot be avoided, it is crucial to mitigate its negative consequences. One promising approach that has attracted little attention is the creation of a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe."

The authors say: "It is doubtful, moreover, that Poland or the other Central European states really want to see nuclear weapons deployed on their territories."

And conclude: "The proposal to create a nuclear weapon-free zone in (an expanded NATO) has the potential to enhance regional stability and to further the post-Cold War security interests of both the NATO states and Russia."

FINANCIAL TIMES: The West is prepared to expand the alliance without Moscow's consent

In a news analysis in today's edition of the British newspaper, Bruce Clark says there are limits on the West's willingness to accommodate Russian objections to NATO enlargement. He writes: "The U.S. administration's enthusiasm for a closer NATO-Russian relationship is tempered by a qualification -- While the West will do everything it can to improve security cooperation with Russia, it is prepared if necessary to expand the alliance without Moscow's assent. Britain, which was cautious when the idea of NATO enlargement first was aired, has swung round to the U.S. position."

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