Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to run for president in 2016 he had better figure out now what to say and do about his considerable extra weight.
Gov. Christie can’t have it both ways. He can’t laugh off the matter of his obesity one day, as he did on David Letterman’s show recently, and snarl about it the next, as he did later when he told a former White House doctor who mentioned his weight to “shut up.”
More than that, here’s hoping Christie actually slims down, as he says he’s trying to do. The doctor who annoyed him, Connie Mariano, was speaking the simple truth when she pointed out that the presidency is a highly stressful job and all those extra pounds could kill him.
Americans presume that a president’s health is their business. They don’t want any big secrets, as there were for FDR and JFK. That’s why later presidents have made public the results of their annual physicals.
Presidents are also, like it or not, role models for good health or bad. President George W. Bush set a good example with is regular jogging; President Barack Obama set a bad example with his covert smoking – let’s hope he’s quit.
About a third of all Americans are obese, carrying an extra 35 pounds or so.
If Christie goes for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, we can expect a primary battle that is far more honest and intelligent than what we saw last year. And Christie would give any Democrat in the general election, even one named Clinton, a real run for the money.
But if the governor is of a mind to run, he would be wise to start now, beginning with a slow jog.
The Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain
The decision by Pope Benedict XVI to retire at the end of this month shocked many Catholics – and even non-Catholics – around the world.
But the pontiff’s decision is entirely in keeping with his beliefs. He laid the groundwork for the decision years ago, saying popes have the obligation to resign if they can’t carry on.
When he was elected the 265th pope on April 19, 2005 at age 78, he was the oldest pope elected in 275 years and the first German one in nearly 1,000 years. As of Feb. 28, he will become the first pope to resign since 1415.
Conservatives cheered his championing of the pre-Vatican II church and his insistence on tradition, even if it cost the church popularity among liberals. Benedict favored Masses heavy in Latin and the brocaded silk vestments of his predecessors.
It has been obvious to all that the pope has slowed down significantly in recent years, cutting back his foreign travel and limiting his audiences. He now goes to and from the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica on a moving platform to spare him the long walk down the aisle. Occasionally, he uses a cane.
The telescope of history likely will determine how important Benedict XVI has been to the direction of the Catholic Church.
London Evening Standard
North Korea’s latest nuclear weapons test was not unexpected, after weeks of bellicose talk, but it is deeply worrying and destabilizing for peace in the region. It highlights not only the risks to peace posed by the isolated Stalinist state but those of nuclear proliferation.
North Korea is already subject to strict sanctions, which have little effect given its commitment to economic autarchy and its regime’s willingness to impose dire conditions on its people. Even previous thaws in relations, where the US bargained food aid for talks, never led to actual disarmament. It is possible more pressure could be brought to bear through the international financial and insurance industries, targeting North Korean ships. But the only real chance for change is if China, its main ally, can be persuaded to take a harder line. Beijing has been outraged by Pyongyang’s provocative behavior and has condemned the latest test but it fears instability if there were a challenge to the regime. Yet having a neighbor this dangerous and unpredictable is hardly in China’s interests: it must try to rein in this rogue state.