December 21, 2000
New Bush Administration And Foreign Policy: Concerns And Hopes
|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
ssessments regarding the upcoming Bush administration were mixed. In general, President-elect Bush's victory in the U.S. presidential election has not triggered any great alarm or anxiety in the press, but a number of specific concerns could be discerned. A majority of observers was apprehensive that the U.S. national interest will be the overriding consideration shaping America's foreign policy strategy--resulting in lowered commitment to environmental causes, multilateral institutions, assistance to the developing world and peacekeeping missions. Several of these analysts also argued that America will take a more "unilateral" and "isolationist" approach to many issues, which some held could lead to less reliance on the superpower. On the plus side, several in the press were hopeful that the new administration would be both more dedicated and better able to deliver further on trade liberalization measures. Others were optimistic that U.S. foreign policy as guided by General Powell and Dr. Rice would be "pragmatic." Regional themes follow:
EUROPE: Concern Over NMD, Balkans. Pundits warned that deployment of NMD would "sound the death knell for the doctrine of deterrence." Media voices from Zagreb and Skopje were in the forefront of those expressing concern that the U.S. may withdraw its troops from the Balkans. Meanwhile, analysts in Moscow were mixed in their views regarding the new Bush administration. One reformist paper was upbeat, contending that the Bush team will show "restraint" on the international scene, while another warned that America will use Moscow as a "straw man" in order to justify increased military spending.
MIDEAST: Priorities Will Change. Most Arab writers anticipated that a Bush administration, composed of "pragmatists" driven by national interests, would "not be content to dance to the Israeli tunes." Summing up the prevailing view, a center-left Jordanian paper averred that Bush and the Republicans "are more interested in oil fields and iron foundries than in Jewish history." ASIA: U.S. National Interests Are At Stake. Observers were cautious about a new brand of U.S. foreign policy that would be more "inward looking" and based on "narrow national interests." Among the most concerned, writers in Vietnam and South Korea worried that "Republican hawks" favored the "use of force," reminiscent of a "Cold War framework."
AFRICA: Probably Not Of National Interest. While welcoming the nominations of Gen. Powell and Dr. Rice as a sign that Mr. Bush had, in the words of a Nigerian daily, "set the right tone of running a government that will transcend race or color," most writers doubted that Africa would be a priority for the new president whose foreign policy "appears to be isolationist." Warning not to expect much from the U.S., Nairobi's independent Nation said it was time for "home-grown solutions."
W. HEM: U.S. Still Interested In Drugs And Trade. Papers in Argentina, Brazil and Chile welcomed Mr. Bush's espousal of FTAA, but shared a Brazilan center-right daily's skepticism about his "capability to transform his program into reality." Analysts in Panama, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela expected U.S. interests to support U.S. interventionism.
EDITORS: Diana McCaffrey and Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 76 reports from 56 countries December 9-21.
Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most
BRITAIN: "Bush's Bomb Shelter"
The independent Financial Times observed (12/20): "If Mr. Bush does indeed commit the United States to building defenses to protect the country from intercontinental ballistic missile attack, it could, say critics and supporters alike, sound the death knell for the doctrine of deterrence that held the uneasy peace of the Cold War.... Yet now, as the Republicans prepare to move into the White House, fresh doubts are surfacing, not only about the technology involved but also about how aggressively Mr. Bush will implement his campaign pledges. To many outsiders, America's interest in NMD is puzzling, since it comes when the preponderance of American power is greater than ever."
"A Lesson From America"
The mass-circulation conservative tabloid Sun had this lead editorial (12/19): "The confirmation of Colin Powell's appointment as [Bush's] #3 is welcome news. The fact that a black American can in a single generation get within a hair's breadth of the presidency is a tribute to the United States.... How ironic that the Left in Britain has so belittled Mr. Bush--when he has delivered exactly what they never have. There is a very important point here. It is that the United States--and its 213-year-old Constitution--have delivered more equality than the old world nations such as Britain and France. Those who sneer at the new president simply do not understand the American dream."
FRANCE: "Chirac Meets New President"
Luc de Barochez opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (12/20): "The meeting between Chirac and Bush was useful, just when transatlantic tension is mounting--essentially because of Bush's desire to launch the missile shield program once again.... But Chirac had this to say after his meeting: 'I had the feeling that he is a man who wants to have a relationship with the rest of the world that is as positive as possible.'"
"Bush And Europe"
Left-of-center Le Monde's editorial read (12/19): "The first round may already have been fired. It came in the form of an attack in the very Euro-phobic Sunday Times by John Bolton, who may become one of Colin Powell's advisers. In it, Bolton gives in to violent criticism of the European rapid reaction force, and more precisely he criticizes the French idea that such a force should rely on fully European strategic and operational plans.... Such a project is anathema to John Bolton, who calls it 'a sword planted in NATO's heart.' These views are in keeping with the recent remarks made by Defense Secretary Cohen.... Bolton's salvo sounds like a rallying of the troops and a warning.... Powell and Rice...are former members of the George Bush administration, which, under their--as well as Cheney's--influence, never hid its hostility vis-à-vis a European defense.... It is better to know this and to let them know that they cannot support contradictory ideas. On the one hand, they are calling for U.S. forces to leave Bosnia...and on the other they want to keep Europe from mapping out operations in which the United States might not want to involve itself. It should be one or the other."
GERMANY: "The Rule Of Continuity"
Washington correspondent Robert von Rimscha judged in centrist Tagesspiegel of Berlin
(12/20): "U.S. foreign policy follows the rule of continuity, which annoys U.S. voters and calms Europeans.... All of this highlights competence and calms NATO Allies. However, it does not really promise a fresh take on the future."
"Eye To Eye With Bush"
Stefan Ulrich observed in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (12/19): "The new leaders in Washington will act even more self-confidently and will underline their superpower status even more openly than their predecessors. This alone will make relations with the Europeans more difficult. In addition, the men and women around Bush--the Powells, Cheneys, and Rices--have been shaped by the Cold War. They gained their foreign policy experience at a time when Western Europe was entirely dependent on Washington and gladly accepted the United States as protector. These times are over.... Nevertheless, it is good for Europe that Bush has won the presidential election. His victory forces EU [member states] to cooperate more closely in the political realm in order to compete [with the United States].... And it will only work if Berlin, Paris, and London prevent Washington from pitching them against each other. The EU's long-term goal should be to become the United States' equal. The goal is not to oppose the United States, but to shape the world order alongside it."
ITALY: "Foreign Policy Dominated Clinton-Bush Talks"
Washington correspondent Andrea di Robilant wrote in centrist, influential La Stampa (12/20): "In addition to its routine aspects, yesterday's summit at the White House enabled Clinton to inform the future president about the dangers that threaten U.S. national security. Foreign policy, in general, dominated their talks.... The most delicate issue, which risks creating the first tensions between the old administration and the new one, is North Korea. Clinton would like to cap the agreement on nonproliferation that he is negotiating with a historic visit to Pyongyang.... That's why Clinton asked for a green light from Bush. But the Republicans would prefer to handle a possible opening to North Korea directly."
RUSSIA: "Powell: Strength And Restraint"
Yekaterina Kudashkina asserted in reformist, business-oriented Vedomosti (12/20): "Powell's authority and weight, both in and outside the country, may contribute to the success of Bush Jr.'s presidency.... Most probably Powell will show a maximum of restraint and will do everything to prevent military interference in the internal affairs of other states.... [According to] the 'Powell Doctrine,' the United States should only use force in extraordinary cases and only when American superiority is absolute."
"Republican Offers Of 'Friendship'
Military news analyst Pavel Felgengauer wrote in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (12/19): "Russia will be invited to become a 'friend of America' by abiding by these minimal conditions: total denial of any assistance to Castro...full termination of any arms trade with Iran; full and immediate support for [U.S.] plans to create a national ABM system.... The Republicans really are pragmatists. If they fail to come to terms with Moscow on America's conditions they will turn Moscow into a scarecrow. Colin Powell has already stated that a strong defense will be one of his main priorities. In order to justify an increase in military spending, he will need enemies stronger than the Cubans and Koreans."
"Tough Times Ahead"
Oleg Odnokolenko judged in reformist Segodnya (12/19): "Until recently the people in the Kremlin saw some positives in the Republican victory: 'They are not obsessed with such an abstract thing as human rights.' But the very first statements made by representatives of the new administration shattered this illusion. After Powell's statements, talk has begun in Moscow...about the inevitability of a new Cold War.... What does Russia have, apart from abstract doctrines, to respond to the American ABM?... Now a revision of the armaments program is unavoidable and this is fraught with additional military spending.... But the Bush administration has already intimated that it does not care if the Russian economy does not survive a new confrontation. Their economy will not even notice the Cold War...unlike the Russian budget, which from now on will have to back up the Russian-U.S. 'tough dialogue.'"
Liliya Shevtsova wrote in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (12/19): "There should be no illusions that under Bush, the United States will stop interfering in world affairs. They will, moreover, they will do that more resolutely than before.... But they will interfere only then when they see a possibility of really gaining from this.... But it is for the better that Washington will stop lisping with Russia. Perhaps this will force the Russian politicians to take a more sober look at their options and act accordingly, both abroad and inside the country. Posturing as a superpower--the more so considering the cards that Russia has in its hand--can only be pitied."
AUSTRIA: "A Political Star From The South Of The U.S."
Liberal Der Standard (12/19) published a portrait of Condoleezza Rice by foreign affairs editor Christoph Winder: "The foreign policy credo of 'Condi,' whose self-assured and winning nature may well make her one of the most prominent political stars of the Bush Jr. era, has given rise to some concern among the European allies. It remains to be seen to what extent her views will shape those of her boss, who is rather inexperienced in foreign policy matters."
BELGIUM: "The U.S. And Belgium"
Mia Doornaert maintained in independent Catholic De Standaard (12/21): "Europe was often irritated by the hypocrisy with which Washington used to present its fight for its own self-interests as a crusade for a better world. With the nomination of Condoleezza Rice as national security Adviser, that era is over. Our policy and our interventions abroad must focus on American interests. If that is also good for the rest of the world, that will be a nice side effect--but that is all, says brilliant 'Condi' straightforwardly."
BULGARIA: "What Turn Should Washington Take"
Largest-circulation Trud commented (12/16): "The neo-isolationist policy of the Republican Party clashes with the strategy, inherited from the Clinton administration, of military and political intervention in flashpoints around the world and of financial intervention in the...global market."
Maroje Mihovilovic commented in Zagreb-based Republika (12/17): "In the future Europeans will be less inclined to expand the continent's integration to the East, especially the Southeast, while the Bush administration will certainly be trying to fulfill its election promise to pull U.S. troops out of Kosovo and Bosnia--which worries those in this region who were basing their policies on the United States."
"When Yankees Go Home"
Nenad Miscevic held in Rijeka-based Novi list (12/17): "Many observers agree that American interventionism is particularly in Croatia's interest. They fear that the European Union is not capable of leading a fair policy toward Croatia.... Should the United States lose interest in this region it could, yet again, become a ground for the competing interests of European countries."
DENMARK: "Do Powell And Rice Guarantee Continuity?"
Center-right Berlingske Tidende editorialized (12/20): "As considerable uncertainty exists regarding Bush's foreign policy, it is comforting to note that two of the most important Cabinet posts have been filled by people of exceptionally high caliber. Both Powell and Rice are very experienced and highly respected in the international arena. Together, they guarantee continuity in U.S. foreign policy. Nonetheless, changes will occur, and there can be little doubt that Europe will face tougher challenges with Bush in the White House than it did with Clinton. This will certainly be the case if he chooses to implement the controversial missile defense project.... How Washington tackles this issue will affect transatlantic relations for years to come.... Another area of conflict could be in the Balkans.... In the long-term, there is very little Europe can do if the United States chooses to withdraw its troops from the region.... Powell has already guaranteed that any alteration in U.S. foreign policy will neither be sudden nor singlehanded. So far so good."
HUNGARY: "G.W. Bush, The Winner"
Pro-government, right-shifting Magyar Nemzet carried a piece by Zoltan Simon (12/20): "However different the new Bush administration is going to be, it will be hard to under-perform the current one.... There are...components of the current administration's foreign and national security policy to be criticized: data about nuclear weapons vanished from the country's research labs, a lap top with key information disappeared from the State Department.... [U.S. policy toward China is to be criticized, as well as ]...Vice President Gore's...secret agreements...that allowed...Russia [to] supply traditional arms and nuclear technologies to Iran. After the eight-year reign of Clinton and Gore, the new Bush administration brings in new hope, even if this hope seems to becoming bleak."
KHAZAKHSTAN: "Humanitarian, Social Programs Will Become Only Memories"
Official Khabar TV Daily News opined (12/17): "As for humanitarian and social assistance programs for developing countries that were carried out and generously paid for by the Democrats from the U.S. government budget, we got accustomed to these programs but most probably they will soon become only memories."
KYRGYZSTAN: "American Democracy Stronger Than Ever"
Opposition Res Publica stated (12/9): "All observers agree without reservation that there is democracy in America, and it is stronger than ever, though the counting system needs to be improved.... One can guess how many years or even decades Kyrgyzstan will require to reach the same fairness in elections."
LATVIA: "Bush's Fortress"
Top-circulation Diena's senior commentator Aivars Ozolins wrote (12/20): "America's self-isolation in a fortress will evidently not happen. However, the composition of Bush's foreign policy team and its main player's vision of his country's role in the world lead us to predict greater reliance on the power of the state and less reliance on international cooperation than was the practice in the previous government. More 'Realpolitik,' less idealism." The commentator added that a continued U.S. military presence in Europe is "vitally important" for the stability of the continent, "and for the Baltic countries it means guarantees that they are not going to become pawns in Russia's game with 'European superpowers' and their often differing interests."
"Law Above Power"
Top-circulation Diena's senior commentator Aivars Ozolins mused (12/15): "At the end of the U.S. elections...Al Gore adopted the stance of a real statesman by announcing his acceptance of the responsibility to honor the newly-elected president, without complaints and promising to do everything possible to help him to unite the American nation.... Understanding that both candidates have clearly expressed that common values are more important to them than party disagreements...we can remain sure that America will benefit from this crisis, no matter how hard a time the new president will have in uniting the country."
FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA: "Americans Still Needed In Balkans"
Independent, centrist Dnevnik editorialized (12/18): "We probably won't see an immediate pull out of American forces from Kosovo, but some of the resources that the United States dedicated to defuse the 'powder keg' will be lost.... Europe will have to take on the bulk of the responsibility now. It can help with finances and with its famous integration, but politically and militarily, it leaves something to be desired. Even if it manages to create a joint military force strong enough to intervene during times of crisis (not expected to happen for at least three years), Europe is not known for being efficient and decisive. So, Americans are still, after all, needed here."
SPAIN: "A Diabolical Alternative For Europe In The Balkans"
Independent El Mundo commented (12/18): "Bush and Powell have stated that they want to withdraw U.S. troops from the Balkans. This leaves Europe with the diabolical alternative of either assuming the total economic and military cost of the intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo or gradually withdrawing, which creates the risk of renewed tension and a new conflict."
TURKEY: "Europe's Hurry"
Sami Kohen opined in mass-appeal Milliyet (12/21): "Judging by the Bush appointees for State Department and National Security Council, Europeans are increasingly concerned that the United States will 'disengage' from Europe gradually.... The Bush team's policy will be 'leaving Europe's work to Europeans,' as evinced by Powell's remarks last weekend that the new administration would 'review' the issue of U.S. troops in Bosnia and Kosovo. This will mean heavier military expenditure for Europe--an alternative which the Europeans do not fancy.... The Bush administration is expected to support Turkey; U.S. disengagement from Europe will strengthen the Turkish hand vis-a-vis the EU."
"Where Are Turkish-American Relations Going With Bush?"
Hasan Cemal opined in mass-appeal Milliyet (12/19): "The George Bush era might enhance Turkey's importance vis-a-vis the Caucasus and Central Asia.... Yet there are negative signs as well; namely Iraq and Armenian issues.... Turkey has already declared its intention to normalize relations with Saddam, while Colin Powell, immediately after he took the State seat, underlined the U.S. intention of toppling Saddam.... On the Armenian resolution, George Bush might not be as flexible and strong as Clinton vis-a-vis the Congress.... In short, unless proper care is given, both issues may harm Turkish-American relations."
ISRAEL: "Who's Afraid Of G. W. Bush?"
Senior analyst Zeev Schiff suggested in independent Haaretz (12/19): "Saudi Arabia's clout in the Middle East will increase in the Bush era.... It would be wrong to infer...that the new
Republican administration will drop the Palestinian issue. What it will do is change the order of priorities. One hint of the new direction could come from Bush's new advisers being prepared to settle for something less than a comprehensive peace agreement and resuscitating a policy of interim agreements."
EGYPT: "What Does Bush Have In Mind For The Deteriorating Situation?'
Atef El-Ghamry wrote in pro-government Al Ahram (12/20): "We...are eager to know what Bush has in mind for dealing with the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.... [T]he real picture will only appear through decisions and positions that will unshackle American policy from insufficient efforts, half-solutions, and the inability to impose its political will in agreement with its principles.... Only action can fix the situation."
"No Change In The American Position Toward Palestine"
Hassan Ragab argued in pro-government Al Akhbar (12/19): "It is naïve to try to predict American policy based on deceitful signs..... An established American policy is that Israel is the main base to secure American interests in the region. Truly, there is a strong Zionist lobby in the United States, but it is not stronger than American interests. In order for Arabs to unite and clear their hearts of their love for the United States...they should not expect any change in its policy."
JORDAN: "Bush's History Is Moral Loss For Israel, But Not A Gain For Arabs"
Columnist Rashad Abou Daoud wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (12/20): "Bush and the Republicans will not be content to dance to the Israeli tunes. They are pragmatists who will not mollycoddle anyone at the expense of American interests. They are more interested in oil fields and iron foundries than in Jewish history. Bush's history is a moral loss for Israel, but it does not amount to a gain for the Arabs. All it amounts to is a lessening of America's willingness to bow before Israel...in the course of which some Arab rights may come to be respected."
LEBANON: "Bush Will Try To Avoid Being Prisoner Of Crisis In Middle East"
Loyalist Al-Bayraq held (12/19): "President-elect Bush believes that even if the Palestinian issue is more important, entering the Middle East should start in the Gulf and Iran because their oil is an important element for the U.S. economy.... The interests of the next American president will focus on oil and the Gulf. This means that he will be looking at the Middle East from an economic angle.... The administration of George W. Bush...will try to avoid being a prisoner of the crisis in the Middle East. However, looking at the region from the angle of the Gulf raises suspicions, because this could mean another war against Iraq."
SYRIA: "What is Required...Is The Correction Of American Policy"
Mohamed Ali Buza commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (12/17): "What is required today from the new U.S. administration is to correct American policy and abandon its negative stand and silence. It should adopt more positive stands on the Arab-Israeli struggle and should defuse the exploding crisis so as to put an end to the cycle of violence and tension in the region. It should also curb Israel's flagrant violations of human values and international laws.... George W. Bush should continue his father's mediation in the peace efforts by rationalizing the American policy and making it more conciliatory toward Arab causes and its alliance with Israel, taking into consideration America's strategic interest."
CHINA: "New Cabinet Features Bush's Style"
An article in the official Beijing Municipal Beijing Daily (Beijing Ribao, 12/19) declared: "Ethnic and racial diversity, stress on diligence rather than family background, and inclusiveness are the three major features of the new cabinet of George W. Bush."
HONG KONG: "China And The U.S. Have Never Been Strategic Partners"
The center-left Hong Kong Globe editorialized (12/21): "[Colin Powell] said, 'China is neither an enemy of the United States, nor a strategic partner.' This statement is very important for it will define U.S.-China policy in the coming four years.... Vice President-designate Cheney has already indicated that future U.S. China policy will focus mainly on human rights issues and that the United States will sing a different tune with China. Cheney believes that Clinton was not stern enough.... In other words, George W. Bush will criticize China's poor human rights record more often. The consequence: Those democratic movement members who are in jail will be able to go to the United States to seek asylum."
"New U.S. Government Should Handle Taiwan Issue Properly"
Pro-PRC Wen Wei Po asserted (12/19): "We hope that the new U.S. administration will abide by its promise to handle the Taiwan issue properly and to support the peaceful reunification of China. This will be critical in ensuring the stability of Sino-U.S. relations and the Taiwan Strait situation."
TAIWAN: "General View Of New U.S. Government's Strategic Plan For East Asia"
Centrist/pro-status quo China Times observed (12/19): "The United States' Asia-Pacific policy will still hinge on solidifying its allies in the region and maintaining a good relationship with Beijing. Therefore, Taiwan should view and treat the new U.S. administration with a clear mind and start a new plan to develop peace across the Taiwan Strait."
JAPAN: "No More Honeymoon Between Japan And U.S."
Liberal Asahi's senior writer Yoichi Funabashi asserted (12/21): "The government of Japan is placing high expectations on the forthcoming Bush administration's greater emphasis on relations with Japan than with China. Although the Republican Party has become critical of the Clinton administration's 'pro-China' policy, Japanese leaders should be well aware that future U.S.-Japan relations would probably not to return to a 'honeymoon period,' similar to the one enjoyed under the Reagan administration. From now on, the United States, whether under a Republican or Democratic administration, will reduce its commitment to world affairs as much as possible--particularly when U.S. national interests are not at stake. Japan must become self-reliant."
"UN Concerned About Bush Diplomacy"
Liberal Asahi's New York correspondent remarked (12/20): "UN officials are concerned that 'Bush diplomacy' may give priority to furthering U.S. 'nationalist' interests. In fact, UN officials are worried that if the United States, the instigator of globalization, should turn more inward-looking and give top priority to narrow national interests, there would be serious effects on such pressing global issues as UN peacekeeping operations, the environment and poverty."
SOUTH KOREA: "In the End, It's Up To Us"
Editor-in-chief Chong Yeon-joo noted in independent Hankyoreh Shinmun (12/20): "We cannot afford to lightly overlook the Bush administration's emphasis on 'diplomacy of power' and a 'national missile defense system.' Concerns are being raised that Republican hawks...might turn the ongoing thaw between the North and South back half a century into a Cold War framework.... What worries us the most are the indiscriminate attacks from conservative forces amid the looming economic difficulties, and the North's immature narrow-mindedness."
AUSTRALIA: "Bush On Probation"
The leading Sydney Morning Herald editorialized (12/16): "The speculation is that Mr. Bush's administration will be less ready...to put U.S. troops at risk in overseas peacemaking or peacekeeping operations. This has implications for Australia.... Australia could face awkward decisions too, if Mr. Bush decides to go ahead with the proposed missile defense systems."
INDONESIA: "Bush's Foreign Policy Trend"
Golkar Party's Suara Karya stated (12/16): "In line with the stand to eliminate direct international involvement, Bush disagrees with the U.S. playing the world policeman role that has been expensive and taken U.S. lives.... Bush's pragmatic view will have a major impact on the power balance and regional conflicts. Bush's policies offer better prospects for Indonesia. Besides lifting the arms embargo that has caused the Indonesian Navy and Air Force considerable suffering, the annoying U.S. interference in the region will likely drop."
MALAYSIA: "The Bush Restoration"
The pro-government Straits Times said (12/21): "Unfortunately for the world, every time a new U.S. administration comes into office, a period of experimentation ensues.... The Clinton administration, despite all its faults, got a few things right, especially its appreciation of what globalization would require by way of international regimes. Hopefully, Mr. Bush will build on these policies, instead of chasing after fool's gold in a vain attempt to remake America into a fortress, free of its international obligations."
"Will Bush's Foreign Policy Consider Needs Of Developing Nations?"
Government-influenced Berita Harian observed (12/18): "It appears that George W. Bush does not have much experience in foreign affairs and it is hoped that he will be a quick study.... Malaysia would like to see Bush's foreign policy take into consideration the needs of developing nations and allow them their rights in doing whatever is necessary for the benefit of their citizens."
PHILIPPINES: "Bush's Promise Of Diversity"
Hern P. Zeñarosa wrote in largest circulation Manila Bulletin (12/21): "George W. Bush's choice of two black Americans for top foreign policy positions and a Hispanic as chief White House adviser has been viewed in the media as a confirmation of a campaign promise to bring diversity to the new administration. But the choice also reflects his heavy reliance on the circle of people he knows on whom he can depend."
THAILAND: "U.S. Foreign Policy To Get Tougher"
Kiatchai Pongpanit commented in sensational, Thai-language Khao Sot (12/21): "It looks likely that the United States will rely more on multilateralism as a means to protect its economic and security interests. The United States apparently places much stock in its influence over
economic and trade groupings like NAFTA, APEC and WTO."
VIETNAM: "The First Challenges For Bush"
Manh Tuong wrote in Vietnam People's Army Quan Doi Nhan Dan (12/20): "[T]he ambition of the United States has gone beyond limits that even its allies cannot accept. This NMD issue is really very difficult for Mr. Bush to solve. In relations with the EU...will Mr. Bush dare apply bold punitive measures to retaliate against the EU's rejection of the WTO's ruling [on U.S.-EU trade disputes]?"
"Behind The First Appointments"
La Mich Nhu remarked in trade union Lao Dong (12/19): "The appointments [recently made by Mr. Bush] show signs that Bush, Jr.'s policies will favor 'the use of force' like those of Bush, Sr., and he will be likely to compromise in the first stages of his presidency until he is firmly in power."
INDIA: "Bush And The Asian Balance Of Power"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan commented in the centrist Hindu (12/21): "Based on what George Bush and his foreign policy advisers said during the presidential election campaign, it would not be incorrect to expect some movement in the U.S. foreign policy toward Asia in the next four years.... There is some excitement in New Delhi over the Republican promise to treat India as an emerging power in Asia.... But it will be unwise for New Delhi to rush to the judgment that Washington is all set to treat India as a counterweight to China. Instead of looking for a new Cold War in Asia between the United States and China, India should focus on enhancing its own economic weight and deepening its political engagement with all the major powers in Asia."
The centrist Times of India asserted (12/20): "The pronouncements of the leading actors about to enter office and the Republican Party platform suggest that the Bush administration would not be as much a prisoner of arms control theologians as its predecessor was, though some recent pronouncements of Condoleezza Rice give cause for reservations as to how far the new administration will actually move away from the dogmas of nonproliferation.... However, a word of caution is in order. The evolution of the policies of the new Bush administration will have to be watched for some time."
PAKISTAN: "Bush Foreign Policy Agenda"
Islamabad's rightist, English-language Pakistan Observer held (12/19): "While presenting his foreign policy agenda, President-elect Bush said...that it would be based on bipartisanship and close cooperation with allies to promote democracy and peace around the world. Thus far, so good. But the problem is that the United States does not always do what it says. As a matter of fact, its foreign policy varies from region to region and state to state. Being a global power, many of its foreign policy principles are lost in its quest to fulfill its global agenda.... In short, George Bush's foreign policy agenda will bring no respite to the troubled world."
BANGLADESH: "Challenges For George Bush"
The independent, English-language Daily Star noted (12/19): "Bush must ensure that Colin Powell reinforces and builds upon the good work done by Bill Clinton.... Bush must guard
against becoming isolationist and believing that protecting American interests alone is the key to maintaining international peace. Bill Clinton...brought about signs of real peace in the region, especially after both India and Pakistan became nuclear states."
SRI LANKA: "Measured Optimism"
Patrick Ekoue asserted in semi-state controlled Le Soleil (12/18): "As George W. Bush begins to surround himself with people close to his father, one is forced to question his abilities as a leader. Yes, he has proven himself as head of the state of Texas. Nevertheless, it is his independence and his seriousness of mind which is called into question. More than simply escaping the shadow of his father, the new president will have to prove, through his acts and decisions, that he is the leader of the whole country."
BURKINA FASO: "United States/Africa--Will Bush Do Better Than Clinton?"
Independent Le Pays mused (12/18): "What can Africans expect from this Republican who advocates 'a compassionate conservatism,' who declares himself to be a follower of a Republican Party with a human face, but who supports the death penalty and the right to carry arms? And what can we expect of Colin Powell, the new head of foreign affairs, who says he will be looking at 'failed leaders leading failed policies?' In any case, it doesn't seem that Africa will be a priority for the Bush administration's foreign policy, in spite of the fact that Colin Powell is a African-American general."
CAMEROON: "Bush At The White House"
The ruling party's bilingual weekly L'Action claimed (12/19): "The new president's foreign policy appears to be isolationist.... Less experienced on international issues, the new president...will essentially rely on his advisers whose attraction to the non-interventionist arguments of the Republican camp is well known. In that light, Africa will not be a priority. The only interest related to it would come from the fight against AIDS, considered a national security issue in the United States."
KENYA: "Bush Won't Assist Africa"
Dianga J. Abonyo posited in the top-circulation, independent Nation (12/19): "Will Bush assist African countries? The question has been sending chills down the spines of African leaders. Only recently he said Africa was not on his list of priorities. It is now time for African countries to revise their thinking about the United States and seek home-grown solutions."
NAMIBIA: "Theo-Ben Has High Expectations With General At Bush's Side"
Commenting on Namibian Minister of Foreign Affairs Theo-Ben Gurirab's congratulating President-elect Bush on his victory and appointment of Gen. Powell, independent Afrikaans Republikein 2000 informed readers (12/19): "Minister of Foreign Affairs Theo-Ben Gurirab said General Powell's appointment was a step in the right direction to eliminate doubt in the hearts of Americans, as well as people the world over, concerning Mr. Bush's experience and competence in the field of international politics and multilateral negotiations."
NIGERIA: "U.S. Poll: Challenge Before Bush"
The Lagos-based independent Punch held (12/21): "Now that the electoral impasse is over, President-elect Bush has the historical duty of restoring his country's democracy to the path of honor.... Mr. Bush therefore needs to move as fast as possible to reassure his country and,
indeed, the entire democratic world, that the votes might have been sharply divided, but the American agenda remains indivisible.... We urge Mr. Bush to strive particularly to build bipartisan consensus as a deliberate style of governance, so that the wounds left by the polarized vote may have a good chance to heal quickly. We indeed welcome the nomination...of two African-Americans, Gen. Colin Powell and Ms. Condoleezza Rice, for senior positions in the incoming administration..... George W. Bush, Jr., seems to have set the right tone of running a government that will transcend race or color."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Good Luck To Bush's Gurus"
The conservative Citizen held (12/19): "By nominating two blacks to his foreign policy team, Bush is trying to tell the world that the Republican Party is diverse, cares, is smart, and is on top of things. Rice and Powell will face skepticism about their boss's lack of experience and grasp of world affairs.... Only time will tell whether Bush will offer leadership and solutions for Africa's intertwined political and economic problems. We wish him luck."
ZIMBABWE: "Firm Hand In Washington?"
The government-controlled Chronicle noted (12/18): "U.S. President-elect George W. Bush...inherits a realm of foreign affairs far more complicated than...many of his Republican predecessors'...including his father in 1989-93. He takes over in an age when the U.S.' superpower status is no longer counterbalanced by a bloc as politically and militarily powerful as was the Stalinist-to-Gorbachev era that his forebears delicately contended with. And thus, he assumes the undisputed rank at the summit of world power, which requires a firm hand--driven by an even mind--on the lever of power in Washington.... It is our hope that Mr. Bush's administration will tackle vexing international issues with a firmer hand than did the outgoing administration."
CANADA: "Canada Should Just Say No, But It Probably Won't"
Columnist Jeffrey Simpson complained in the leading Globe and Mail (12/20): "Anti-ballistic missile defense is one of those nutty ideas that just won't die.... The incoming Republican administration...is hell-bent on deploying a limited anti-missile system for the United States, and for regions where its military interests, and those of its allies, might be threatened.... The Chrétien government was hoping the idea would go away...had the Democrats won the White House. Now they know the Americans will be pressing on, hoping that Canadian participation...will make their selling job easier with other allies and skeptics worldwide."
'What Bush Will Bring"
The mid-market Ottawa Citizen noted (12/18): "In foreign policy... the announcement yesterday of Colin Powell as secretary of state and Condoleeza Rice as national security adviser gives Mr. Bush intelligent, determined people to whom he would listen.... On the domestic side, the future may be more worrisome.... In short, expect a solid foreign policy and a tolerable domestic one--from a man who may have a second-rate mind but likely has a first-rate temperament."
ARGENTINA: "Bush Brings 'Americanization' With Him"
Mariano Grondona, prestigious political analyst, wrote in daily-of-record La Nacion (12/21): "George W. Bush has more personal bonds with Latin America than Gore. He has certain command of the Spanish language and a Mexican sister-in-law. As the governor of Texas...he witnessed the success of NAFTA.... Bush will put his mark on one aspect of U.S. policy: the
commercial integration of Latin America within the FTAA.... Whoever the U.S. president is, the bottom line is: Americanization is coming.... [Latin American] countries do not discuss this Americanization...they only debate how they will access it. Brazil wants to do it from MERCOSUR's 'strong' negotiating position. Mexico and Chile, by themselves."
"Big Brother Won't Be Watching You"
Michael Soltys, the liberal, English-language Buenos Aires Herald's executive editor, wrote (12/19): "Some individual countries can expect variations in their relations with the United States as a result of the change in administration: Thus Bush is expected to be more open to Mexico and harsher toward both Cuba and Colombia. But the one question of interest to all nations in the region is whether or not hemispheric integration will be advanced. In fact, progress toward a FTAA depends far more on a 'fast track' than on who is occupying the White House and 'fast track' is in turn something voted on by the U.S. Congress.... Whatever the pace, the FTAA will take a long time--meanwhile regional integration moves in smaller increments."
BRAZIL: "Obstacles To The FTAA"
An editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo read (12/19): "Apparently there is no doubt about George W. Bush's intention to speed up the FTAA creation process. But there are indeed doubts about the president elect's capability to transform his program into reality. Bush is expected to face the same obstacles that prevented Clinton from accelerating the FTAA negotiations. He will have difficulties in obtaining fast track authority from a divided Congress whose majority is hostile to NAFTA."
"Bush's Foreign Policy"
An editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo argued (12/18): "The new course of American diplomacy will not be a surprise. Not only because the differences of orientation between Republicans and Democrats are already known, but also because of the personal characteristics of the new president. The Republican rejection of the idea that the U.S. should be a kind of gendarme of the globalized world is supported by Bush, given his lack of knowledge with what is going on in the world, in general, and more specifically with international issues. But any change in U.S. diplomacy will depend on forming a consensus among Republicans, not always a simple and automatic task, about the country's national interests."
CHILE: "Chile And George W. Bush"
Leading-circulation, popular, independent La Tercera argued (12/19): "Everything seems to show that the Republican administration is more inclined to hear Chile's wishes in regard to an FTAA than a Democratic administration.... But it is not wise to raise expectations.... An FTAA with Chile is far from being [Bush's] top priority...(and) a Republican majority does not guarantee rapid negotiation."
COLOMBIA: "Analysts Say Nomination Is A Good Signal For Colombia"
Under this sub-heading, Bogota's second-leading El Espectador offered these views of Gen. Colin Powell (12/16): "Colombian political analyst Alvaro Tirado Meja assured that [Powell] 'has a lot of experience on international relations and will encourage Bush to intensify U.S. policy toward Latin America, particularly towards Colombia.' Former Colombian Ambassador to the United States Juan Carlos Esguera said that U.S.-Colombian relations would be important because Powell has deep knowledge of the Colombian situation. Former Colombian Chancellor Rodrigo Pardo said that 'the new U.S. leader views the U.S. role like his father did, especially on U.S. intervention in other countries: when it's in the U.S. national interest. Powell
believes such intervention should be used only when there are concrete and feasible objectives and there is certainty of success.' However...Pardo believes that during the first part of his administration, Bush will need to focus on strengthening his government following the profound crisis created by the presidential outcome."
MEXICO: "Bush's Challenges"
Gabriela de la Paz wrote in independent El Norte (12/20): "George Bush faces several challenges. The first one is to take advantage of the current circumstances and show that he really was the best option...and that compassionate conservatism is a real social plan and not simply charity. His second challenge is that he needs to attain the status of a prosperous presidency and acknowledge how to take advantage of the privileged position his country has at this moment. The third challenge is to prove that he is not a rerun of his father's administration.... Although the appointments of his father's counselors to very similar positions in his administration, tells us that he is not taking risks.... As his fourth challenge, Bush needs to get prepared for the legislative elections of 2002 to reverse the bipartisan tendency in Congress, obtain a majority that will allow his initiatives to be approved and use that position of strength as his key to the elections of 2004."
Mireya Olivas held in nationalist Milenio (12/18): "Now that [Powell] will be at the helm of U.S. foreign policy, one should not expect a progressive agenda. Powell represents a return to realism: He will not send U.S. troops to remote places for humanitarian reasons. He will impose more sanctions against Saddam Hussein--even though the sanctions are outright useless. The key words during Powell's time will be 'national interest.' It will be interesting that when Bush takes over, the United States will be sending armed helicopters to Colombia in a program aimed at eliminating drug trafficking, but that has all the potential of pulling the U.S. into a confrontation with the guerrillas. How will the diplomatic and military strategist Powell prevent this from happening?"
ECUADOR: "Bush Also Faces Challenges"
Quito's leading El Comercio asserted (12/20): "Bush's first step has generated much controversy.... Not only because he has, for the first time, appointed an African-American, Colin Powell, as secretary of state, but also because the person in charge of the superpower's diplomacy will be a general. Some of Bush's statements caused uncertainty. First he said he would be hard on his enemies, but later said that the 'Powell Doctrine' would be in effect--which seeks to avoid, when possible, the use of arms."
"Peace And Liberty U.S. Style"
In an opinion column, Carlos Jijon opined in Quito's center-left Hoy (12/18): "We have only to remember that when Powell was part of Reagan's National Security Council, Washington spent more than $15 billion on military aid to Central American armies, in a confrontation that caused more than 300,000 deaths during the decade of the 1980s. And that U.S. financing of the Contras in Nicaragua, for example, was denied with the same intensity with which the United States now denies any link between the Colombian army and the paramilitary groups that last week killed almost 50 people.... There is therefore strong evidence that makes us think that the final victory of George W. Bush is another piece of the puzzle of violence we are hurtling toward."
JAMAICA: "Powell...May See World Through Different Prisms"
The business-oriented, centrist Sunday Observer judged (12/17): "In the context of the United States, the most immediately identifiable fact about General Powell is that he is, some would say, paradoxically, black and Republican.... There are those...who will expect General Powell--with Mr. Bush's likely National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice--to be a kind of show-piece set in the cabinet. The upside, however, is that General Powell's Jamaican roots...and his peculiar perspective as a black man in America--albeit a successful one--may cause him to view the world through different prisms than the mainstream of the Republican Party. The possibility...is that General Powell may be more empathetic to the developing world.... If General Powell can get the administration to listen to the Caribbean on wider foreign policy issues, maybe it will be more sensitive to other issues that impact the region's development. The first hurdle, however, is to get the administration to listen."
NICARAGUA: "Finally It's Over!"
Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, Nicaraguan Chancellor and former ambassador to the United States, wrote in center-right La Prensa (12/16): "The wounds of the electoral campaign are still fresh and the resentment of one side for the other is deep. To govern the nation will not be easy, principally with a economic recession appearing on the horizon.... If there is anybody who can handle this delicate situation it is George Bush, a moderate Republican, who skillfully governed the state of Texas. He portrayed himself there as a reconciler."
PANAMA: "Another Bush...Accompanied By Protagonists Of Panama Invasion"
Demetrio Olaciregui asserted in independent tabloid El Universal de Panama (12/20): "Another Bush will assume power in the United States, accompanied by the protagonists of Panama's invasion.... In fact, this could presage fatal wishes in Panama's relationship with Washington. With renewed threats to use force, when will the day come when Washington understands that its neighbors to the South want to build their future on the basis of equality and fair treatment, with respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity."
VENEZUELA: "An American Hero"
Leading, liberal afternoon El Mundo's editor, Rafael del Naranco, noted (12/18): "Since every U.S. administration has its own hero, George Bush--'The Insufficient One'--pulled his out of a pickle jar: Colin Powell, a general appointed secretary of state who, with regard to this backyard called Latin America, has a clear stance: 'An orange tree yields oranges, a banana tree yields bananas, and a banana republic yields dictators and coups.'... Bush named him for a very precise and concrete reason: 90 percent of African-Americans voted for Gore. 'The Insufficient One' hit the nail right on the head.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: "Interesting Times For Bush"
According to the independent Trinidad Express (12/16): "Over the next four years, U.S. President-elect George W. Bush may come to deeply understand the Chinese curse: 'May you live in interesting times.' And, more than any other president in recent history, he is going to fully appreciate the irony of being called 'the most powerful man in the world.'... Things are likely to get harder for him before they get better.... And what does all this mean for the rest of the world? Well, only time will tell. The U.S. economy remains strong and that is good news for us. How politics may affect the stock market is still unknown, however. As far as foreign policy goes, we shouldn't expect too much from Bush, who is both conservative and ignorant of world affairs."