NEWSWEEK International Editions: Highlights and Exclusives, March 9, 2009 Issue

March 1, 2009

COVER: Radical Islam Is a Fact of Life. How to Live With It. (All overseas editions). Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria argues that in order to prevail, the West must learn to distinguish between those Islamic groups who have nihilistic philosophies and expansionist aims and those looking to apply their values at home. “Anything that emphasizes the variety of groups, movements and motives within that world strengthens the case that this is not a battle between Islam and the West,” Zakaria writes. “[Osama] Bin Laden constantly argues that all these different groups are part of the same global movement. We should not play into his hands, and emphasize instead that many of these forces are local, have specific grievances and don’t have much in common.” Zakaria, however, stresses that this “does not mean we should accept the burning of girls’ schools, or the stoning of criminals. Recognizing the reality of radical Islam is entirely different from accepting its ideas.”


(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090301/NYSU003 )

COVER: Losing Hand. (Japan only). Tokyo Bureau Chief Christian Caryl reports on Japan’s dramatic leadership deficit. Despite the embarrassment caused by Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan’s finance minister who resigned last month, Prime Minister Taro Aso, the man responsible for appointing Nakagawa, is still on the job–despite approval ratings in the single digits and an apparent lack of any coherent plan for rescuing the world’s second-largest economy. Aso’s propensity for gaffes and his failure to find a modus vivendi with the emboldened opposition have condemned Japan to paralysis at just the moment when it’s in dire need of strong leadership. Many blame Aso’s failings on his predecessors and Japanese traditions that value seniority over performance. But pretty much everyone agrees the biggest problem is the LDP itself, which has singlehandedly ruled Japan since the party’s founding in 1955.


Politics Takes a Right Turn in Jerusalem. In his first foreign media interview since being asked by Israeli President Shimon Peres to form Israel’s next government, Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu tells Special Diplomatic Correspondent Lally Weymouth that he believes it is possible to halt Iran’s nuclear program without having to resort to military action, but it shouldn’t be ruled out. “I think this regime is vulnerable to pressure that ought to be intensified. But none of these sanctions and other measures that are contemplated would have much of an effect if the Iranians believe that a military option is off the table,” he says.


Avigdor Lieberman. Weymouth also interviewed Avigdor Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beytenu party was a surprise winner in Israel’s recent election. Last week Lieberman sat down for his first foreign interview and discussed his proposal of a loyalty oath for all Israelis. “The dividing line for Yisrael Beytenu is who supports terror and who fights terror. We cannot accept that there are people in Israel that even during even the war openly supported Hamas,” he says. This proposal, he adds, is not only meant for Israeli Arabs but Jews as well. “[I propose] to outlaw these parties and these political leaders [who supported Hamas],” Lieberman says. “Secondly, there must be some kind of national or military service for all Israelis. We take all our examples from Europe or the United States.”


Anti-Semitism in Araby. Josef Joffe, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Abramowitz fellow at the Hoover Institution, examines Hillary Clinton’s peacemaking trip to Israel and the West Bank this week, another chapter in “the longest-running show in American diplomacy.” The reasons for the slow pace are familiar: the status of Jerusalem, problems with security, Jewish settlements, civil war among the Palestinians, etc. But one other key problem is stubbornly ignored: “the fact that no Arab regime has shown itself willing to truly prepare its people for peace with Israel, which would mean accepting the lasting presence of Jews in their midst.” Anti-Semitism is a very real part of Arab life today. “Whereas this darkest of creeds is no longer tolerated in polite society in the West, in the Arab world, Jew hatred remains culturally endemic.”


Waiting for Barack. Denis MacShane, a Labour M.P. and Britain’s minister for Europe under Tony Blair, writes that “all of Europe looks anxiously to Washington for answers to the world’s intractable problems: a banking freeze-up, a job meltdown, a Middle East with no solution in sight, an Iran racing for nuclear arms, a quagmire in Afghanistan, a Russia that treats the European Union as a playpen for the Kremlin’s divide-and-rule diplomatic games.” Yet Barack Obama is the first president in decades with no experience or knowledge of Europe, and this is a time when Europe is disunited and quarrelsome on economic, security and foreign-policy issues.


What Hillary Didn’t Do in Asia. Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore), writes that Hillary Clinton’s recent trip to Asia provides some early clues on how she’ll manage the task of engaging in long-term strategic thinking on major geopolitical challenges. “There’s no doubt she did a competent job. Clinton followed the advice of her briefing books, making Japan her first stop to reassure this nervous and insecure ally. Then she went to Indonesia, probably at Obama’s instigation, to rebuild America’s image in the world’s most populous Islamic country. South Korea was an essential stop to send the usual tough signals to North Korea. And then came China, her most important destination.” Yet, there’s little evidence Clinton has engaged in any serious strategic thinking about U.S.-China relations. During her trip, she refrained from asking any big questions.


How to End a Genocide Debate. Contributor Grenville Byfordreports on the 1915 massacre of Armenians in what is now Eastern Turkey, and the ongoing debate over whether it was “genocide.” “In all probability, Turkey and Armenia can only resolve the genocide dispute if they recognize that ‘was it a genocide?’ may be the ultimate question, but it is not the most important one today,” he writes. Two questions outrank it: what common facts can Turks and Armenians be brought to accept, and is the common ground sufficient for both sides to start binding up the wounds? As important as the final answer, however, is the development of empathy across the divide.


WORLD VIEW: A Deal With Syria Is Possible. Contributor Richard N. Haass writes that there may be an opportunity now to make peace between Israel and Syria. Damascus is signaling that it’s ready to negotiate a separate peace with Israel and it needs America’s help to do it. “Any accord between Israel and Syria would require a push from the outside. Turkey has been hosting talks between the two countries, but it cannot succeed on its own. The United States needs to become a participant … President Obama correctly views dialogue as a tool, not a reward. It is time to put the tool to use, and to see what can be built.”


THE LAST WORD: Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of energy giant Gazprom. Senior Editor Michael Freedmanmet with Medvedev to discuss the economic crisis, foreign investment in the Russian energy sector and the Ukraine gas dispute. “We value our reputation very highly. That’s why we have done everything possible to prevent the crisis. Unfortunately we became hostages of the political situation in Ukraine and a commercial dispute went out of the commercial terms.”


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