“Although he has been plagued with questions about whether he has
the ticker for taking hard decisions and disciplining
recalcitrants,” with Labor in its current state Beazley can’t
afford to spit the dummy, says Louise Dodson in The Sydney
Morning Herald
– and his “equanimity” actually may have some advantages
when dealing with an unruly party. “His unflappability means he is more likely to rise above the
in-fighting around him rather than become consumed by it.” He is – at the moment – the least worst choice.

None of the survivors from the Bosnian war will mourn Milosevic’s
passing, “but many will believe that it should have happened with a
guilty verdict ringing in his ears,” says Martin Bell in The Times
(UK). And if nothing else, the death of an un-convicted Slobodan
Milosevic should teach the world one thing: that the “war crimes
process should not be allowed a future like its past”. The two major military and political leaders – Ratko Mladic and Radovan
Karadzic – are still at large. And when (if) captured they must face
the charges against them in a “trial that is not a
courtroom farce like Milosevic’s, but a fair, serious and time-limited
legal process”.

Slobodan
Milosevic was that most dangerous of people: “the mediocre and
conformist official who bides his time and masks his grievances”, says
Christopher Hitchens in Slate. He didn’t have the “psychopathic power”
of Saddam or Osama, but both “in office and in the dock, he embodied
the banality of evil”. And although Milosevic “probably suffered his
last spasm feeling sorry only for himself”, we will have the “final
sordid task of preventing others from
feeling a misplaced sympathy for him also”.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union 15 years ago “the United States
has not been able to successfully transform its hard power into soft
power in its relations with Russia”. And any indication that this will
change when the US reviews its policy towards Russia is fanciful unless
the US takes a backwards step when trying to force Russia towards
democracy, say Igor Zevelev and Kirill Glebov in the
International Herald Tribune
.
“Russia is a difficult place to promote democracy, however, because it
considers itself an independent centre of power and would hate to be
treated like a student.” And “excessive US pressure could cause the Russian public to shift toward
seeing the universal values of democracy and human rights as merely
instruments of foreign political influence”.

Worth reading Highly recommended

Peter Fray

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