International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 26, 2001


This report provides an analysis of the foreign media's initial impressions of U.S. foreign policy under a Bush administration, with many anticipating a shift toward "unilateralism" and "realism." It spans the time frame from December 14, 2000--the day after President George W. Bush was officially named president-elect, through January 19, 2001--the eve of the inauguration. Editorialists around the globe assessed the implications of a foreign policy based on an "America first" definition of vital national interests and wondered how their own regions would fit into the new U.S. world view. They focused on international security issues--the overwhelming topic of concern; economics and trade; and democracy and human rights. To a lesser degree, some observers considered how a new White House would approach global issues, such as the environment and AIDS, and how its policies might influence or reflect U.S. society and values. Specific regional concerns are discussed in Part I, accompanied by representative quotes in Part II of this report, below.

U.S. Foreign Policy Under Bush Administration:

World Media Expectations and Concerns--A Global Snapshot

Issue-related commentary found in sample of 387 editorials from 67 countries

(Note: Some editorials contained more than one comment per issue.)

EDITORS: Irene Marr, Diana McCaffrey, Katherine Starr, Stephen Thibeault, Gail Hamer Burke

PART I. Media Expectations And Concerns With U.S. Policy: A Regional Overview

Issue-related commentary found in sample of 387 editorials from 67 countries

(Note: Some editorials contained more than one comment per issue.)

EUROPE: With international security foremost on the minds of opinionmakers from London to Moscow, National Missile Defense (NMD) ranked highest on the list of concerns. Many believed this plan is not technologically viable, risks "decoupling" transatlantic ties and could spark a new global arms race. Uncertainty surrounding the future of U.S. engagement in regional matters was also a major security item, with many papers in Balkan and NATO countries worrying that the new administration will withdraw U.S. troops from southeast Europe. Some analysts in key NATO countries, however, said they would welcome a reduced U.S. presence, arguing that it would force Europe to deal with its own security problems. Other observers were concerned that the U.S. would be less inclined to seek multilateral solutions to a variety of global issues. In particular, a sizeable number of observers had reservations about U.S.-EU trade relations, asserting that the Bush administration would prefer to handle disputes bilaterally rather than through WTO arbitration. A much smaller segment worried that a Republican White House would reject multinational frameworks for international justice and environmental protection. Several writers in Belgium, Italy and other countries focused on U.S. society, lamenting that the new administration's advocacy of capital punishment and its anti-abortion stance further distances America from Western European values. A few commentators--many writing for conservative media outlets, and, notably, some Russian dailies--were more upbeat, contending that with an experienced Bush team at the helm, U.S. foreign policy will be more decisive and pragmatic.

MIDDLE EAST: Arab and Israeli commentators predicted that, between the Powell-Cheney Gulf War connection and President Bush's "Texas oil" background, U.S. Mideast policy would be pragmatic and hawkish, with economic and security issues closely intertwined. Most saw domestic oil prices and an "inherited passion" to rid the world of Saddam Hussein as major driving forces in Washington's approach to the region. As such, Iraq's containment would be the number one priority--and, Washington was expected to take a "firm" unilateralist approach in dealing with Baghdad "if it feels that American interests in the Gulf are threatened." Not surprisingly, this approach was approved by Israeli observers as a correct "understanding of some of the dangers of this neighborhood" and rejected by the Arab press which raised the specter of another Gulf War and subsequent regional realignment. Israeli dailies deemed that the mutual distaste for Saddam Hussein would strengthen the U.S.-Israeli strategic alliance but that overall bilateral relations are likely to cool under an adminstration that is "more pro-Arab" than the previous one. Many saw the U.S. relinquishing some of its dominance as Mideast peace process sponsor, perhaps even opting for a more multilateralist approach toward resolving the crisis.

EAST ASIA: Editorialists viewed security issues, notably NMD and TMD deployment, as potential sources of friction between the U.S. and East Asia's military and economic powers. Chinese editorialists led the chorus of NMD critics and warned that the inclusion of Taiwan in a TMD scheme would have a "serious impact" on bilateral ties. Japanese editorials insisted on close U.S.-Japan security cooperation in treating the PRC as a "strategic competitor." South Korean commentators feared that a tougher U.S. line with Beijing and Pyongyang would revive Cold War tensions and hamper Seoul's efforts at North/South reconciliation. On the economic front, analysts emphasized Bush's reputation as a free trader and his disinclination to burden trade relations with environmental or labor standards issues. Japanese writers worried that the U.S. would take unilateral steps to redress its chronic trade deficit with Japan.

SOUTH ASIA: Security issues dominated South Asian commentary on the new administration. Indian and, to a lesser extent, Pakistani editorials saw Bush's opposition to American accession to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a signal that his administration would lift the sanctions imposed on New Delhi and Islamabad after both subcontinent powers detonated nuclear devices in 1998. Indian writers predicted that the cessation of U.S. pressure on India over nuclear arms would be coupled with increased pressure on Pakistan to cooperate with Washington in curbing international terrorism and narcotics trafficking. Commentators in Pakistan urged the new administration to lift sanctions on the Taliban regime and to take other steps to remedy what they perceived to be an anti-Muslim bias in U.S. foreign policy.

AFRICA: Although still adopting a-wait-and-see attitude, the rueful conclusion drawn by Africa's media observers was that Africa would not register very strongly on the new administration's scope. While welcoming the appointments of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as a sign that Mr. Bush had "set the right tone of running a government that will transcend race or color," most doubted that Africa would be a priority for the new president whose foreign policy appears to be "isolationist, protectionist and anti-United Nations." The consensus was that if Africa wants the new administration to take note of the continent's problems, particularly the scourges of AIDS and autocratic leaderships, its leaders will have to work at "sensitizing Bush" and seek "home-grown solutions."

WESTERN HEMISHERE: The Latin American press judged Plan Colombia and the counternarcotics war the top regional security concern that would sustain U.S. interest, but economic issues also ranked high. Most left-leaning papers, notably in Central America and Ecuador, deemed the return of the "Republican hawks" as "ominous" and anticipated more "hard-liners" in charge of U.S. foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Canadian press--like Europe--was primarily interested in NMD, with conservative and right-leaning papers embracing it and liberal papers rejecting the plan. Free trade was a leading theme in South American outlets. Many writers were encouraged by Mr. Bush's commitment to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), but figured that a divided Congress would deny him the necessary fast track authority to deliver. Mexican and Ecuadorean papers were skeptical of U.S. economic policy toward the region, but a Jamaican financial writer suggested that Colin Powell might "be more empathetic to the developing world." A Venezuelan daily speculated that the oil issue would be more important to a Bush presidency. Looking beyond the top regional concerns, writers in Colombia, Mexico and Paraguay wondered what impact a shift in U.S. policy would mean for human rights certification, migration and support to democratic reform. In fleeting commentary on U.S. society and values, a center-left Peruvian daily noted with alarm the "record death penalty sentences in Texas." On the whole, many analysts seemed resigned that Latin America would not yet be a priority for the U.S., and cautioned not to "expect too much" from a Bush administration.

PART II. Media Expectations And Concerns With U.S. Policy:

Major Regional Issues And Representative Quotes



BRITAIN--Independent Financial Times (1/16): "Bush-style unilateralism is not necessarily isolationist.... It can be the opposite. A decisive America can help itself and its allies...better than an accommodating but indecisive U.S."

Independent weekly Economist (1/6): "Bush is not about to withdraw America into isolation, but he has marked himself out by his hostility to such multilateralism as Kyoto and the CTBT; by his belief in a strong defense, including NMD; and by his skepticism about intervention abroad except when based upon a strict definition of vital national interest."

Liberal Guardian (12/18): "Like his boss, Powell seems determined to delimit the U.S. world role, to view international obligations through the prism of narrow, national interest.... He believes the U.S. retains the right to...dictate trade terms, ignore environmental standards, flout treaties, defy international law, and build destabilizing, self-insulating missile systems."

FRANCE--Right-of-center Le Figaro (1/12): "Bush does not want to rule the world...but America does not want the outside world to put any constraints on its policy...[and] will therefore accentuate U.S. unilateralism."

Left-of-center Le Monde (12/19): "On the one hand, [the new Bush team] is calling for U.S. forces to leave Bosnia...and on the other they want to keep Europe from mapping out operations in which the U.S. might not want to involve itself. It should be one or the other."

GERMANY--Centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung (1/16): "Bush's convictions are forcing him onto a collision course with...Europe. [Chief among them] are his missile shield plans...the oft-stated skepticism about military missions...[and] his idea to cut off financial support for...organizations running worldwide birth control programs."

Left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (12/28): "NMD represents not only the U.S.' desire for invulnerability, but also its desire to act according to its own interests on a global scale. The fact that Washington will pay even less attention to its European partners in such a situation is only logical."

Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/14): "Bush will not stand out as an 'humanitarian interventionist.'... He will link deployment of U.S. troops to narrowly defined national interests. Bush...will cause problems in other areas...[i.e.,] international organizations, which he distrusts, and disarmament, with NMD."

ITALY--La Nazione/Il Resto del Carlino/Il Giorno conservative syndicate (1/3): "[The Bush team's] foreign policy will include selective interventions, strategically manageable and justified by national interests.... Europeans should feel reassured."

Centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (12/17): "The Bush administration can do a lot of good for Europe. An American president less concerned with what happens on the other side of the Atlantic will force the Europeans to deal with their own security problems."

RUSSIA--Official Parlamentskaya Gazeta (12/26): "The message is clear from the start that the legacy of the Democrats and their Moscow followers in Russian-American relations will be jettisoned and that Washington will offer Russia something different, something more harsh and pragmatic."

Reformist Vremya-MN (12/22): "The creation of an American anti-missile umbrella in violation of the ABM Treaty would amount to a castration of the Russian nuclear potential, thus removing the chief external obstacle to U.S. dominance in the world."

Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (12/15): "The Republicans' world outlook is clearer and more understandable to today's Moscow, since they, unlike the Democrats, are not inclined to carry their notion of 'common human values' as far as a 'humanitarian intervention.'"

AUSTRIA--Conservative Die Presse (1/5): "The new government team and many of its statements have conveyed a clear message so far: America first."

BULGARIA--Influential weekly Kapital (12/23): "We should not expect a major change in its foreign policy, which is probably better compared to a U.S.A. trying to enforce its opinion and ideas in every corner of the world."

CROATIA--Mass-circulation Vecernji list (12/16): "Will the United States remain in Europe's Southeast after the change in administration? The easiest answer to this is an unambiguous NO, since the new U.S. president so far has not found American interests there."

DENMARK--Center-right Berlingske Tidende (12/20): "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."

GREECE--Pro-government To Vima (12/18): "No matter which party is in power, Washington's policy [in the region] is based on the premise that Turkey's geostrategic position is paramount."

HUNGARY--Left-leaning, influential Magyar Hirlap (1/4): "The most important difference between the foreign policies of the outgoing and incoming administration is that George Bush's team will build up new realism in the relations between the United States and the world."

LATVIA--Latvian-language Diena (12/20): "The make-up of President Bush's foreign policy team...allows us to predict...more 'Realpolitik,' less idealism."

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA--Centrist Dnevnik (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."

THE NETHERLANDS--Calvinist-left Trouw (1/8): "But [the Bush] keynote is one that inclines toward an old-fashioned American isolationism that should worry not only moderate Americans but also their European allies."

POLAND--Leftist Trybuna (1/19): "George Bush may not have profound knowledge of or experience with international issues, but he gathered around himself persons who are competent in this area. He proved that he can learn fast, listen carefully, and delegate power to his trusted aides."

PORTUGAL--Top-circulation, centrist weekly Expresso (12/30): "As far as I am concerned, George W. Bush's victory represented a clarification..... Good...for the United States...if America manages to free itself from the foolish ambition of ruling the world by itself."

SLOVENIA--Left-of-center Delo (1/5): "The Democrats acquainted [Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic] with their terms for normalization of relations. However, fulfillment of these terms will be assessed by Republican George Bush, who has demonstrated no interest in the Balkans."

SPAIN--Center-left El Pais: "One of the first questions for Bush and his brand new foreign policy team will be whether to change Washington's attitude toward the military emancipation of its old partners."

TURKEY--Mass-appeal Hurriyet (1/2): "It is expected that the already-established solid base on [U.S.-Turkish] bilateral ties will continue in the same direction."


ITALY--Leading Il Sole-24 Ore (1/18): "[Bush] will have a chance to inaugurate a new era in U.S.-EU relations.... But the risk of continuing trade disputes is just around the corner."

BELGIUM--Catholic Het Belang van Limburg (12/14): "Europe should prepare for serious collisions with the new American administration. As a representative of big business, Bush will have less eye for the European opposition to hormone...treated meat and GMO food."


KAZAKHSTAN--Official Khabar TV Daily News (12/17): "As for the humanitarian and assistance programs for developing countries that were carried out by the U.S. Democrats, we got accustomed to these programs but most probably they will soon become only memories."

THE NETHERLANDS--Liberal-left De Volkskrant (1/4): "Even before Bush has come into office he strains the relationship with Europe, because with this decision on the ICC, he confirms the tendency toward unilateralism, which was already vaguely visible in U.S. policy over the last few years."


BELGIUM--Independent De Morgen (1/13): "In violation of all international treaties, many people are still executed in many American states."


BELGIUM--Conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (12/14): "Planet earth with its fragile eco-system will undoubtedly be a major loser."

DENMARK--Left-wing Information (1/9): "For the rest of us on the planet, Bush's energy initiatives can be interpreted as the first signs that the Republican government and Congress will not be taking global warming seriously."



ISRAEL--Independent Jerusalem Post (12/15): "Bush Jr. may not have inherited a passion for Israel, but he may have inherited a passion against Saddam Hussein, and some understanding of the dangers of this neighborhood."

EGYPT--Pro-government Al-Ahram (1/3): "Powell's statements...expelled doubts about any tendency toward isolation, withdrawal from European alliances, or reducing American troops.... Powell...has many reasons to be eager to get rid of Saddam Hussein.... Interestingly, five years ago, Powell was an adamant opponent of American military intervention to overthrow the Iraqi regime.... Why has he shifted completely to the opposite?"

KUWAIT--Independent Al-Seyassa (12/16): "President-elect Bush will have special interests in the Gulf region since his home state, Texas, being an oil state, has special relations with Gulf countries. It is also expected that Bush will be firm with Iraq if he feels it threatens American interests in the Gulf."

LEBANON--Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal (1/6): "Republicans are known for focusing on superpowers instead of on conflicts in different parts of the world.... The priority for the new American administration will be the Gulf, then it will focus on oil in Iran and Iraq and on any possible Russian role."

Loyalist Al-Bayraq (12/19): "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."

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES--Semi-official Akhbar Al-Arab (12/18): "Powell has not found a better start than calling for intensified sanctions on Iraq to liquidate what remains of its children and to threaten the lives of 25 million Iraqis.... We hoped that the new American administration would open a new page in its Middle East policy, one more realistic and less biased in favor our enemy, but it seems we were mistaken."

Abu Dhabi-based, semi-official Al-Ittihad (12/18): "We expect the new Bush administration to open a new page with the Arabs and Iraq, to recalculate its positions in the Middle East peace process, and not to go too far in its support of Israeli crimes."


EGYPT--Pro-government Al Gomhouriya (12/22): "Bush may be a weak president of a strong country...but he is a man of Texas and oil companies, which may help him understand the Middle East."

JORDAN--Center-left, influential Al-Dustour (12/20): "Bush and the Republicans will not be contented 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."

LEBANON--Loyalist Al-Bayraq (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."



CHINA--Intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 12/29): "The Bush administration may move up the deployment of the TMD system and include Taiwan in it. This would have a serious impact on the Sino-U.S. relationship."

Pro-PRC Macau Daily News (12/23): "Everyone knows that NMD is a direct violation of the 'anti-missile' agreement. Calls to preserve this amounts to criticizing U.S. NMD.... The U.S. NMD plan has aroused vigorous objections even from major allies in Europe."

Official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiridianxue, 12/22): "The United States' running away from disarmament obligations sets an extremely bad example.... In the coming century, the future of the disarmament process will be decided by the U.S.' willingness to embrace the world's trend of peace and development."

Beijing Morning Post (Beijing Chenbao, 12/15): "Prior to the election, Bush said that he does not want to see Taiwan's independence.... If it is Taiwan that triggers a war with the mainland, the United States will not intervene."

Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post (12/22): "A meaningful peace on the Korean peninsula could spark fresh calls for the removal of America's 40,000 troops there and it will weaken Mr. Bush's argument for the controversial missile defense shield he insists must go ahead."

Hong Kong's Pro-PRC Wen Wei Po (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--Centrist/pro-status quo China Times (12/19): "Should conflicts occur, the new administration wouldn't fear confrontation with Beijing.... NMD and the 'Taiwan Security Enhancement Act' will be emphasized and used as new leverage to restrain and balance Beijing."

Liberal/pro-independence, English-language Taiwan News (12/18): "We...approve of Bush...developing an effective TMD System to ensure that the Taiwan Strait problem is resolved peacefully.... We also welcome President-elect Bush's support for the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act."

JAPAN--Conservative Sankei (1/3): "The task for President Bush is not to move toward isolationism but to continue U.S. engagement in international issues."

Liberal Asahi (12/22): "Japan needs to watch closely whether the new Republican administration will reduce its military involvement in regional conflicts, while asking its allies to deal more proactively with such emergencies.... We are concerned about Bush's relations with Russia and China over NMD deployment."

AUSTRALIA--Leading Sydney Morning Herald (12/16): "The speculation that Mr. Bush's administration will be less put U.S. troops at risk in overseas peacemaking or peacekeeping operations has implications for Australia.... Australia could face awkward decisions too, if Mr. Bush decides to go ahead with missile defense systems."

MALAYSIA--Government-influenced New Straits Times (1/7): "In addition to ratifying the CTBT treaty, the U.S. should take the lead in bringing the nuclear powers to the negotiating table to discuss measures to seriously reduce their arsenals with a view towards eliminating their nuclear weapons entirely."

NEW ZEALAND--Wellington's leading, conservative Dominion (12/15): "Mr. Bush is determined to strengthen the U.S. NMD program, even if it means jettisoning the ABM Treaty. He opposes the CTBT. Any American retreat from those benchmarks would stir international misgiving."

SOUTH KOREA--Conservative Chosun Ilbo (1/8): "No one can rule out of a conflict between the Bush administration and North Korea over the light water reactor issue, which could, in turn, bring back tension on the Korean Peninsula."

Independent Hankyoreh Shinmun (12/20): "We can't afford to overlook the Bush administration's emphasis on 'power diplomacy' and NMD. Concerns are being raised that Republican hawks...might turn the thaw between the North and South back half a century to a Cold War framework."

THAILAND--Top-circulation, moderately conservative Bangkok Post (12/24): "Bush promised to engage India and Pakistan in an effort to reduce and then to eliminate nuclear arms and confrontation.... The Americans and other nuclear powers, including China, must begin to consider seriously across the board reductions of nuclear arsenals."


JAPAN--Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri (1/19): "There is no U.S. guarantee of a 'hands-off' approach toward its trade deficit with Japan. To dispel such concerns, it will be necessary to conclude a free trade agreement with the U.S."

Business-oriented Nihon Keizai (12/17): "If Japan fails to meet the administration's [trade liberalization] expectations it may be in for an unexpected move or two from the administration in the form of new 'gaiatsu' (external economic pressure)."

CHINA--Ding Gang Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 1/11): If America amends anti-dumping laws, a new trade war may be triggered. The EU and Japan might retaliate and China would not sit idly by."


CHINA--Center-left Hong Kong Globe (12/21): "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."


JAPAN--Business-oriented Nihon Keizai (1/19): "While attention is being focused on what environmental policies this administration will adopt, it has yet to make clear its position on the whaling dispute."



BANGLADESH--Independent Daily Star (12/19): "Bush must guard against becoming isolationist and believing that protecting American interests alone is the key to maintaining international peace."

INDIA--Centrist Times of India (12/30): "The significance of Rumsfeld having headed a committee which concluded that missile and nuclear proliferation is inevitable...can't be overstated.... The CTBT is dead."

Former Indian Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit in centrist Indian Express (12/25): "Bush...would be in favor of lifting sanctions against India. This meshes with his lack of interest in CTBT and his inclination to accept India's nuclear and missile weaponization, though he may not endorse it.... He will be more assertive in pressuring Pakistan to cooperate with the West against international terrorism and narco-terrorism."

Centrist Times of India (12/24): "On terrorism, especially Afghanistan, the 'sky is the limit' for Indo-U.S. cooperation."

Centrist Pioneer (12/18): "Bush seems to be convinced in his skepticism about the CTBT. That means, in effect, that he will not pressure India to sign the treaty."

Also in Pioneer (12/15): "India will be no longer be pressured to sign the CTBT, which Bush rejects."

Centrist Hindustan Times (12/15): "Goodbye CTBT and hello NMD."

PAKISTAN--Pro-Muslim League Pakistan (1/20): "It should be a matter of satisfaction for Pakistan that Bush does not give special attention to the CTBT.... This important shift in policy has created the possibility of the lifting of sanctions that were imposed after the nuclear tests."

Islamabad's popular Ausaf (1/20): "The Bush administration should abandon the unjust attitude towards the Taliban, and if this government cannot lift sanctions, it shall at least impose the same sanctions against the Northern Alliance so that the U.S. is not seen as a party [to the civil war.]"

Centrist, national News (1/9): "The U.S. has been the biggest and most chronic foot dragger in all truly international regimes from nuclear weapons to emission control. It has consistently tried to impose a U.S.-subservient internationalism as a substitute for true globalization."


INDIA--Centrist Pioneer (12/15): "New Delhi would welcome [Bush's] stand against linking environmental and labor standards with trade treaties--often used to restrict Third World exports."

Centrist Hindustan Times (12/15): "Bush is a purer free-trader...but he is more likely to use unilateral trade measures to force open markets if the WTO freezes up."



SOUTH AFRICA--Liberal Business Day (12/15): "There are those who believe Powell and Rice would instinctively seek a closer relationship with Africa because they are black. This is probably incorrect. They are conservative Americans first, and are likely to follow any isolationist, protectionist or anti-United Nations tendencies espoused by the president."

Black, independent Sowetan (12/15): "With Bush's inward-looking policy we must as a continent expect even greater marginalization than under the Democrats. As far as it concerns Africa, for example, the United States has never demonstrated the zeal for peace and prosperity evident in its interventions in Europe. That is certainly not going to change for the better."

NIGERIA--Ibadan-based, independent Nigerian Tribune (1/2): "African-Americans will be occupying two of the most strategic positions in Bush's administration.... There is, however, little to cheer for Africa in this. The fact that about 98 percent of African-Americans voted against Bush...would indicate that the African-Americans who surround him would not be the ones that represent the unique historical conditions of their people.... We wish, above all, that [Bush] pays close attention, not only to global realities, but also specifically to African realities."

KENYA--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."


NIGERIA--Lagos-based, independent Post Express (12/19): "The challenge before President-elect Bush is whether he would be able to sustain the Democrats' decade of prosperity and whether the dividends of democracy would not tilt to big businesses at the expense of ordinary citizens..... In this respect, the interest of African-Americans is of great concern to us. Would a Bush presidency lead to a reduction of African-Americans in positions of influence? Can it lead to the uplifting of more of them who are poor?"


BURKINA FASO--Independent Le Pays (12/18): "What can Africans expect from this Republican who advocates 'compassionate conservatism'...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 an African-American general."


CAMEROON--Ruling party's bilingual weekly L'Action (12/19): "The new president's foreign policy appears to be isolationist.... Less experienced in foreign affairs, 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."



CANADA--Conservative National Post (12/21): "Rather than being threatening, NMD seems perfectly sensible. Surely, the U.S. would be lacking if it didn't do all it could to protect North America from attack by some maniacs who had managed to build intercontinental missiles and equip them with nuclear or biological warheads."

Liberal Toronto Star (1/3): "Bush's election makes an American Missile Defense System an inevitability. Inevitable, in turn, is a first-class cross-border diplomatic ruckus."

ARGENTINA--Leading Clarin (1/18): "Regarding the Bush administration's new approach on foreign policy, this seems to consist of lower expectations of the U.S. role in the world."

From the same paper (12/15): "Republican Bush may be more cautious in the use of U.S. military power around the world, but he might succumb to the temptation of imagining new enemies, threats and conflicts because he has to honor his promise of providing the military with more money."

BRAZIL--Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (12/18): "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...about the country's national interests."

COLOMBIA--Leading El Tiempo (1/15): "It's hard to believe the gringos don't know what Plan Colombia is about.... Choosing someone like Bush to run the world's military and economic giant could be an unforgivable collective mistake."

Also in El Tiempo (1/11): "It would be naive to accept as Gospel that the new Bush administration would necessarily continue Clinton's policies without careful examination. Among those nominated for key positions with respect to Western Hemisphere Affairs, there is a preference for [taking] a hard line, as shown by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice."

MEXICO--Nationalist Milenio (12/18): "Powell represents a return to realism: He will not send U.S. troops to remote places for humanitarian reasons.... 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 United States into a confrontation with the guerrillas. How will the diplomatic and military strategist Powell prevent this from happening?"

ECUADOR--Leading, centrist El Comercio (1/14): "Above all, the United States is interested in ending the bad political and social example in this region chronically shaken by social upheaval, poverty, corruption, and hegemonic power groups. These conditions have led, in the Colombian case, to an armed insurgency the rest of the countries may follow.... Drug trafficking may fall to a second place."

Quito's leftist, influential Hoy (12/30): "What is becoming extremely clear, however, is the cynicism with which Washington is assuming the inevitability of (U.S.) hegemony without responsibility--towards its supposed allies as well as towards the 'collateral' victims of its policing operations and obsession with stability."

GUATEMALA--Guatemala City's influential El Periodico (1/3): "U.S. strategists are divided. There are two options: what Washington calls 'benign neglect,' ignoring the provocations and letting the folly collapse under its own weight; or battling on all fronts, assuming that it is a battle against a declared enemy of American society. Bush's instinct would incline him toward the former option."

NICARAGUA--Harking back to the civil wars of 1980s in the Central American region, leftist El Nuevo Diario (1/5): "The hawks are back at the White House.... For Third World countries, especially for us in Central and South America, the shaping of Bush's administration is ominous. It predicts the hardening of the gringo foreign policy, the return of Ronald Reagan times, an unpleasant memory."

PANAMA--Independent tabloid El Universal de Panama (12/20): "Another Bush will assume power in the U.S., accompanied by the protagonists of Panama's invasion.... 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."

PARAGUAY--Conservative, nationalistic La Nacion (12/27): "The change in administrations in the U.S...will generate changes in the foreign policy of this predominant power and, probably, according to U.S. traditions, there will be a less interventionist aspect on the global level."


ARGENTINA--Leading Clarin (1/4): "The fact that the White House and the two chambers of the U.S. Congress are now in Republican hands does not mean that the approval of trade agreements will be easier than it used to be."

BRAZIL--Independent Jornal da Tarde (1/18): "Robert Zoellick's designation as USTR is a sign that the creation of the FTAA will be indeed a Bush administration priority. Contrary to his predecessor, Charlene Barshefsky, Zoellick believes that it will only be possible to speed up the FTAA negotiations with the Congress' support through Fast Track. If this occurs, the negotiations will indeed gain a faster rhythm."

Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (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."

MEXICO--Independent El Norte (1/9): "Will George Bush keep his commitment toward Mexico or will he inaugurate another term of the same old thing?... If Bush makes free trade with the rest of the continent a top priority, the rebalance of the Mexican relationship will probably be left on a secondary level. He will have to deal with isolationist Republicans and divided Democrats.... And if the U.S. economy suffers a bad landing, the proposal of relaxing the migration laws toward Mexico will become a thorny theme."

CHILE--Leading-circulation, popular, independent La Tercera (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."

ECUADOR--Guayaquil's conservative El Telegrafo (12/19): "Another factor that should make the new president worry about Latin America is that our economies are more interdependent all the time. It has gotten to the point that a bad situation in one region has repercussions in the other. It is thus in America's interest that Latin American economies not deteriorate."

VENEZUELA--Leading, liberal El Nacional (12/30): "But contrary to what respected U.S. newspapers have said...George W. Bush is going to get along very well with Hugo Chavez. First there is the petroleum issue, an activity that the Bush family manages well because it is part of the economic dynamic of their state. Texas oil wells have become profitable again thanks to the higher world prices, and no one is going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs."

JAMAICA--Business-oriented, centrist Sunday Observer (12/17): "The that General Powell may be more empathetic to the developing world."


MEXICO--Nationalist Excelsior (1/19): "With regards to migration, traditionally the Republicans are more reluctant to accept immigrants. The Democrats have held a more flexible attitude and a more open policy."

PARAGUAY--Conservative, nationalistic La Nacion (12/27): "Paraguayans can hope, according to Republican [Party] tradition, that the United States will support democracy in Paraguay, but the authentic kind, the kind born through free elections.... This is the premise on which it is probable the new State Department will work, along the lines of the formula announced by Colin Powell of 'supporting governments elected by the people.'"


ARGENTINA--Leading Clarin (1/13): "The death one of the thorniest chapters of Bush's political agenda."

PERU--Center-left La Republica (1/8): "The record death penalty sentences in Texas during [Bush's] administration show very clearly that we are facing someone who proudly stands as an extreme-rightist in the political spectrum.... Regarding Latin America, his ideas don't go farther than to keeping the backyard in order. Could anyone be enthused?"


CANADA--Liberal Toronto Star (1/10): "Oil exploration--and eventually its production--in the Far North will raise important crossborder issues of environmental protection and, as urgently, of Canadian sovereignty, since the United States has never accepted Canada's claim to 'own' the waters between the Arctic islands."

PART III. Methodology

This analysis is based on 387 editorials from overseas media--primarily newspapers and a few broadcast outlets--in 67 countries, published between December 14, 2000 and January 19, 2001. U.S. embassies abroad surveyed major media, submitting editorials and op-ed pieces to INR/R's Media Reaction Branch.

Regional Distribution of Source Material

Source material is broken down by region as follows:

editorials countries

EUROPE 176 23






Characterization of Media

This survey covers a broad cross-section of the world's media, with views from newspapers and broadcast media of all political persuasions--conservative, centrist and liberal--represented. Independent as well as government-run and owned media are included. Some editorials contained more than comment. For example, one editorial may have offered opinions on both international security and human rights issues.


Europe Middle East East Asia South Asia Africa Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

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