New START Gets Some Love

Reagan administration Secretary of State George P. Shultz is bully about the New START arms control pact between Washington and Moscow. Shultz writes in the Wall Street Journal that the recently signed—but not yet ratified—treaty is an improvement over the original 1991 deal that includes better transparency and verification methods. Shultz also hopes the agreement can be “a building block” for future arms control negotiations.

Commentators continue to discuss the Middle East peace process in the wake of last week’s opening round of talks in Washington. Journal columnist Bret Stephens calls Time magazine’s most recent cover story (“Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace”) “a prejudiced hypothesis” and a cheap shot against Israel. (But Jacob Heilbrunn says everyone can settle down.)

In the Washington Post, former Princeton professor Daoud Kuttab writes that the Palestinians “have good reason to be skeptical about Israel’s sincerity,” but are trying nevertheless to convince the Israeli public that there are “peace partners” on the Palestinian side of the table. If the negotiations fail, Kuttab says, the Palestinians “have no choice but to declare their state unilaterally and hope the world will recognize it.”

Also in the Post, Anne Applebaum has a column about the “new dividing line” in Europe. She claims the recent economic difficulties have shifted the continental dynamic from one of East (the former Soviet bloc) versus West to North (budget hawks like Germany) versus South (states with an aversion to fiscal austerity like Greece). Although she admits the geographical distinction isn't perfect.

And the New York Times is worried about Japan ahead of its interparty elections on September 14. The world’s third-largest economy has been going through “dizzying and increasingly counterproductive” leadership changes that threaten “successful governance.” The Times says both current Prime Minister Naoto Kan and challenger and longtime political operator Ichiro Ozawa “have their flaws”—Kan’s economic plans and Ozawa’s stance on the U.S.-Japan alliance—but it’s important that the next leader “is around long enough to enact coherent economic and diplomatic policies.”