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30 April 2001

Bush Presidency At 100 Days: 'Conscience-Less' Or 'Decent, Pragmatic'?

ommentators from around the world sized up the Bush presidency as the administration marked its first 100 days in office. Assessments were notable for their disparate--and often contradictory--findings, with opinion tending to fall along ideological lines. In general, liberal-leaning analysts saw President Bush as a "right-wing" conservative, whose "hawkish" policies are something to be feared and rejected. To the extent that such commentators felt compelled to say something positive about the president's record, they gave credit mostly to Secretary Powell, portrayed as the administration's leading "moderate." Conservative outlets described the president as a "decent" and "pragmatic" politician who is pursuing solid domestic and foreign policy agendas--which, they pointed out, may not be to the liking of the international community, but are apparently supported by a majority of Americans. Notably, the instances of positive reaction to U.S. policies have risen recently, but negative commentaries continued to outnumber the positive, with a majority of analysts still inveighing against what they perceived as a "unilateralist," "America first" superpower that shirks its global responsibilities. Themes follow:

MORE POSITIVES...: Notably, in contrast to a previous Issue Focus report on early views regarding U.S. foreign policy--("Portrait Of Bush Foreign Policy: Unilateralist And Adversarial," 4/3)--where the tone was overwhelmingly critical, reaction to a number of recent Bush administration decisions and actions prompted a rise in the number of positive assessments. These included: European media praise for Secretary Powell's message on U.S. commitment in the Balkans; expressions of support among European analysts for the agreement between the U.S. and the EU on bananas; European and Asian press plaudits for U.S. diplomatic efforts that helped bring about an end to the EP-3 standoff; and approval in many Latin American and Canadian dailies for the Bush administration's "serious" effort aimed at a productive dialogue with its Hemispheric neighbors on establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

...BUT NEGATIVES IN MAJORITY: The Bush administration's decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol was the one issue that continued to irk commentators in all regions. It was a touchstone for analysts writing on other issues as well, who saw the Kyoto decision as evidence of a unilateralist U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. plan for missile defense ran a close second behind concerns about the environment in the list of complaints by critics of U.S. foreign policy--again with these commentators fretting that the superpower appears to be acting in a unilateral manner. Another major bone of contention for analysts was the administration's decision to sell Taiwan much of the modern weaponry it wanted. They saw the action as further straining an already tense U.S.-China relationship. Meanwhile, other commentators on the proposed FTAA were very critical, with some media voices in Latin America and elsewhere warning of U.S. plans for the "conquest of the rest of the Americas." Finally, several Arab papers fretted that the last 100 days has confirmed that the U.S. is "washing its hands of sponsoring peace in the region."

EDITOR: Diana McCaffrey

EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 55 reports from 36 countries, April 5-30. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.


BRITAIN: "One Hundred Days"

The conservative Times expressed this view (4/30): "The most striking aspect of the Bush presidency thus far has been its managerial competence. New administrations in the United States are notoriously chaotic. This is especially true when the president himself has scant experience in the ways of Washington. Mr. Bush, by contrast, heads a White House which is a model of discipline and order. This is also a president who is demonstrating a deep respect for the dignity of the post which he occupies."

"Mr. Bush's Bad Dream"

The liberal Guardian opined (4/30): "Mr. Bush portrays himself as a moral man.... What is remotely moral about the systematic rollback of industrial, business, environment and workplace regulations and standards? How does Mr. Bush square his sworn duty to lead the nation as a whole with his regressive tax cuts and his abject surrender to special interests, such as Big Oil, Big Tobacco and what used to be called the military-industrial complex? There can be very little justification for building new generations of treaty-busting missiles, risking a revived Cold War with Russia, unnecessarily antagonizing China over Taiwan, pouring scorn on the Korean peace process, and giving Israel's Ariel Sharon a virtual free run. When he blithely tears up the Kyoto global warming protocol and instructs his treasury secretary to block IMF-World Bank bailouts for developing world economies, little wonder that many ask what ethical universe Mr. Bush inhabits. This is conscience-less conservatism. And it is dangerous to your health."

"One Hundred Days Is Too Early To Be Sure, But So Far, So Good, Mr. Bush"

Rupert Cornwell, columnist in the centrist Independent, offered this view (4/30): "Mr. Bush is proving himself a conservative, but that is no violation of the political trade description act.... First, this president is seeking to banish the notion of illegitimacy. He is not behaving like a man who lost the popular vote in November, and owes his presence in the White House to the vagaries of Florida's electoral procedures and a dubious ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. And the strategy is succeeding. Second, Mr. Bush is obeying a cardinal law of any new incumbent--distinguish yourself from your predecessor. This time, the process is remarkably easy. Dubya's greatest asset is the little that is expected from him. From low expectations is born the tendency to 'misunderestimate.'... Laugh at him by all means. But don't underestimate him."

"On Target, So Far"

London's independent weekly Economist held (4/26): "George Bush is doing better than some Americans--and most foreigners--give him credit for. In the United States, Mr. Bush gets the standard respect accorded new presidents.... But to the European public he is a threat.... Nobody dares ask the Chinese or the French.... To American conservatives, this may be heartening. If Europeans dislike Mr Bush so much, he must be doing something right. But the European view is worth taking seriously, partly because the president is the leader of the Atlantic Alliance, and partly because European views reflect in exaggerated form the criticisms made of Mr. Bush at home.... Mr. Bush is a conservative and has conservative friends. But is he too conservative?...

"There has been some undiplomatic abruptness (Kyoto, hurling out dozens of Russians spies, sending Don Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, to be rude about European plans for a rapid-reaction force). But on the big events, the moderates have been in charge--witness the apologies to China over the spy plane, the decision not to sell an Aegis anti-missile system to Taiwan, and the decision announced at the time of the Quebec summit to make getting trade promotion a priority this year. This is orthodox American internationalism of the old school.... In general, though, Mr. Bush's first 100 days look better than many imagined in December.... Indeed, the real doubt about Mr. Bush is that he may be peaking too early. The politics of the issues on the horizon are far harder: national missile defence, reforming Social Security, reforming Medicare. Those are for the next 1,000 days."

"Presidency Of Dunces"

Jonathan Freedland asserted in the liberal Guardian (4/25): "One hundred days in office and what does George Bush have to show for it? It is a sorry record for America.... Not content with reviving the Cold War with Russia and triggering a new one with China (though yesterday's compromise on arms sales to Taiwan may be enough to prevent relations souring further), Bush scuppered the growing reconciliation between the two Koreas. That way he can still cite the 'rogue state' of North Korea as the excuse for his ludicrous Son of Star Wars scheme. Meanwhile, the closest thing we have to a policy crusade is Bush's drive for a $1.6 trillion tax cut--43% of which will go to the richest 1% in America: billionaires who don't need, and don't even want, the cash. It is an appalling record, assembled in less than 14 weeks."

"Bush Wipes The Sneer From The Face Of The Left"

An opinion piece by Michael Grove in the conservative Times held (4/10): "Life would certainly be easier for left-wingers if the Bush administration were nothing more than an alliance of country club oilmen. But the truth is both more sophisticated, and for those of us not ideologically committed to the Left, much more reassuring. The Bush presidency gives the West what it has sorely lacked for the past 11 years--intelligent, adult, conservative leadership.... After eight years of adolescent self-indulgence, the White Hose is once again occupied by a grown-up. What a pity that President Bush's critics haven't learnt to leave the playground, and its insults, behind."

FRANCE: "The Candidate Turned President"

Charles Lambroschini pointed out in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/28): "Bush the candidate has become Bush the president.... In the Hainan incident, he chose negotiations rather than confrontation and managed to get the U.S. crew back without humiliating China.... The same can be said about the Middle East.... When things started to become dangerous, he did not hesitate to get involved.... In so doing, George W. Bush recognized that he was on the wrong path.... In domestic policy, his attitude is just as pragmatic.... But his potential for flexibility also has its negative sides, such as his turnaround on the Kyoto Protocol.... But the results are quite clear: two out of three Americans are satisfied with their president. For a president whose election was highly contested, the assessment of his first 100 days is rather flattering. Europe will have to be realistic when President Bush comes to Europe to explain his missile defense shield and why there is no military solution outside NATO.... The U.S. president is expecting Europe to follow him without comment. To make him change his attitude, Europe will have to show some muscle."

"Colin Powell's Strong Calls"

Jean-Jacques Mevel opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/19): "In the span of a week, Mr. Powell has imposed himself as the dominating figure in U.S. foreign policy, as illustrated by the return of the U.S. crew from China and the Israeli turnaround in Gaza....

"In contrast with the cacophony heard in Washington during the first weeks of the Bush administration, it seems that Secretary Powell will be the spokesperson for U.S. interests whenever those interests are in danger. In times of crisis, Colin Powell will be the man of the hour."

"The Star Spangled Banner Loses Some Of Its Shine"

Jean Daniel held in left-of-center weekly Le Nouvel Observateur (4/5): "How are we going to manage to live with the United States? It is going to become more and more difficult, and we had better prepare for it.... We are back to the worst of the first Reagan years.... The most pessimistic predictions concerning Bush and his policies have become reality.... As a last resort, European foreign ministers are turning to Colin Powell, whom they praise with moderation. This praise...may still be compromising in the eyes of the 'hardliners,' in the administration.... For them, only the United States counts.... It is America first.... In passing, NATO could be useful, Great Britain and Germany also, especially when they forget to speak about Europe and its crazy notion of a joint defense initiative.... As for France, it exists only through ridicule, when it routinely acts as if it can contain America's whims."

GERMANY: "A President Without Balance"

Stefan Kornelius judged in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/30): "In foreign policy, Bush has confirmed the prejudice that he is being guided by prejudices himself and lacks the sensitivity necessary to be the world's most powerful politician, who can put armies on alert or push entire regions into civil war with a few words. But the majority of Americans...share Congress' opinion that the U.S. is too active in the world and is not receiving due recognition for its efforts. This view is growing along with global anti-American sentiments.... These two trends reinforce each other. Europeans should be alert and try to keep this mechanism in check. One doesn't show political maturity by documenting one's distance from Bush's environmental and security policies at every turn. It would be smart to force the U.S. administration into a dialog and move it toward compromise. After all, in the long and complicated history of transatlantic relations, periods of isolation have mostly damaged one side: Europe."

"Neither A Dreamer Nor A Radical"

Leo Wieland noted in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/28): "So far, Bush's weakest spot has been environmental policy. The inept exit from the Kyoto Protocol cost him support in other countries and also triggered harsh criticism from liberal Democrats and commentators at home. With additional decisions in matters of environmental policy and the partial embrace of environmental resolutions made by Clinton, Bush is trying, albeit awkwardly, to turn himself into a 'Green.' In matters of foreign and security policy, an area in which the president has had to rely on his staff a lot, the results are mixed up to this point. The fact that Bush and his still disciplined quadriga of Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, and Rice did not take up their work with a smile offensive vis-à-vis China, Russia, North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba is understandable in light of the regimes in these countries. To view Jiang, Putin, Kim, Saddam, and Castro skeptically and judge them by their actions is likely to do more for peace in the long run than polite consideration. Moreover, who else but the Americans still dares to put his foot down in these matters?"

"Speeding Things Up In The White House"

Washington correspondent Yvonne Esterhazy and Hubert Wetzel commented in business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (4/27): "Election mathematics should force Bush to move to the political middle, at least verbally.

"First signs can already be detected: The campaign to control the PR-damage caused by the exit from the Kyoto Protocol is underway. Secretary of State Powell is trying something similar abroad. In the long run, observers in Washington expect Bush to become more moderate in matters of foreign policy as well--certainly in tone, most likely also in content."

"The Little Sheriff"

Carlos Widman noted in left-of-center weekly Der Spiegel of Hamburg (4/23): "Bush's social policy makes one thing clear: A master of postponing work has taken charge of the White House who refuses to deal with many of the things that his predecessor was eager to be involved in--tasks for the state as well as the details of governing. A happy generalist is in power, who leaves his office at five in the afternoon and presumes the world is still in good hands. Is it any wonder then that many people are asking themselves who is really governing in Washington.... Among European diplomats, as well as among reputable U.S. policy experts in the think tanks along the Potomac, Vice President Cheney is being viewed as a kind of prime minister.... But George W. Bush would not be the first U.S. president who refuses to be overwhelmed by details in order to focus on his spiritual or ideological...leadership role. Even an intellectual lightweight can be capable of leading the United States if he has strong convictions, a strong sense of reality, and a highly qualified staff.... 'The job of president can only be learned inside the White House,' goes an old Washingtonian adage. With private mentors like Cheney and Powell, Rice and Bush Senior, the former sunnyboy Dubya should be able to learn a thing or two.... Meanwhile, Bush keeps making decisions in favor of conservative Republicans, who are already sensing the dawn of a new Reagan era, while disappointing those who had counted on bipartisanship as promised during the campaign. Maybe a bit of patience will help."

ITALY: "An America Without Illusions"

Gianni Riotta commented on the front-page of centrist, influential La Stampa (4/27): "George W. Bush's first 100 days in office show very clearly that the Son learned the Father's lesson. Bill Clinton defeated President George Bush in 1992 because Bush was too absorbed in the Gulf War and neglected domestic commitments.... On the contrary, George W. Bush has put together an agenda that puts the national interest at center-stage, even regarding global issues. The break...with the Europeans on the Kyoto Protocol should not be explained as anti-Atlantic.... On the contrary, it winks at American citizens...who prefer an additional chimney to lay-offs. The tug of war with China, his appeal that 'we will defend Taiwan,' his hard line with Putin's Russia, the equation 'trade is democracy' proposed at the Quebec Summit, do not represent a 'turn towards the right' by the American administration. These are the first steps of an America without illusions.... And the administration has a homogeneous policy line. Clear pacts with Moscow and Beijing...mistrust of the Europeans because they are unreliable partners--from the space shield to interest rates.... Indeed, now the Europeans should realize how far Houston, Texas is from Brussels. George W. Bush is a pragmatic man who makes decisions easily and who sets up effective teams. He is not looking for an ideological twin on the old continent--as Clinton did with Blair, or Reagan with Thatcher.... George W. Bush is sailing towards the end of his honeymoon without any major problems.... He would like to talk with a resolute Europe capable of conversing with Washington with only one voice, without petulance. But until the Europeans experience slow and/or poor economic growth; until they give up on the comforts of the past; until they look west of the Atlantic with diffidence and at the former Soviet East with selfishness, George W. Bush will be able to look to additional months of undisputed leadership after his first 100 days have passed."

"Quick Decision-Maker Who Baffles The Europeans, But Whom The United States Loves"

Alberto Pasolini Zanelli's front-page editorial in leading, center-right opposition Il Giornale held (4/17): "'Time is money' is an old saying, born in America....

"Sometimes, the speed of the as important as its precision. The new tenant of the White House is proving that...he has become an example of decisiveness. A excellent virtue for a statesman.... The way President Bush has solved the crisis in the China Sea prompted almost unanimous praise, even among his traditional critics."

"Bush The Pragmatist Passes His First Foreign Policy Test"

New York correspondent Mario Platero commented in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (4/12): "The crisis with China was the first true foreign policy test for the White House. Now that the test is over, we can say that of the many facets attributed to the U.S. president, the one that has prevailed, from all points of view, has been his pragmatic face. And the WTO is safe. Thanks to a minor language concession (sorrow about the unauthorized landing, but no real apology), George Bush has managed to obtain the release of the U.S. crew before Easter and before the reopening of Congress next Monday, two crucial deadlines.... There will continue to be disputes about the solution found yesterday, but next week most of the story will be old stuff and Republican 'hawks' will be more cautious.... Some people in America are disappointed. They would have preferred a confrontation with China. Bush, instead, has shown during his first 'true' foreign policy test that he possesses self-control and practical sense to a great extent. At the same time, he was able to prove wrong all those who thought that he would have used the first possible occasion to revive a Cold War atmosphere."

RUSSIA: "Bush No Different From Predecessors"

Vitaly Gan said in neo-communist weekly Slovo (# 16-17, 4/27): "The new master of the White House has yet to make his promise good and become 'strong and determined' and say something really new. As he has to engage in perplexing maneuvers at home and abroad, Bush is little different from his predecessors, falling for backstage intrigues in Washington, pressure, and time-serving considerations. He is certainly no 'master' of the party but, rather, looks like a 'prisoner' of the Republican conservatives."

"U.S. Has A Goal? Does Russia?"

Reformist Vremya Novostei front-paged this by Yevgeny Antonov (4/24): "With the U.S. Republican administration's taking to trading blows, Moscow has readily joined in. Its statements that the Americans support Chechen terrorists match charges by Washington hawks of the type of the Pentagon's Rumsfeld that Russia is the chief proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. The only difference is that the Americans' rhetoric has a clear goal--implementing the NMD project, with the U.S. defense industry getting huge orders and the U.S. economy a mighty impetus. In our case, the economic effect is a direct opposite--we may have difficulty securing badly needed joint projects with the West."

"Chip Off Old Block"

Andrei Baranov filed from New York for reformist youth-oriented Komsomolskaya Pravda (4/14): "No sooner had the crew of the spy plane, released by the Chinese, left Hainan Island than Washington's voice hardened again. Washington's persisting in a tough stand on China is not surprising. The new administration seems to believe that with America's 'indisputable might,' it can dictate to the world. Over the two-and-a-half months in office President Bush has had his country spoil relations with China and Russia, even more so with North Korea, embittered the Palestinians by directly supporting Israel, and made Europe jittery over its NMD plans. Experts attribute all that to the incumbent being totally inexperienced in international affairs and refer to his aides as kingmakers. But as Bush sought candidates for his team he picked mostly 'dinosaurs' from the Cold War age. The way they are doing things now is how they did them under Reagan or George Bush's father.

"Secretary of State Colin Powell tries to cut a figure alternative to the hawks, acting with a lot more delicacy than his civilian colleagues in the administration do. But does he have enough power and will to influence Bush? The one thing that gives you comfort is that the president will hardly ever have the heart to fire the secretary of state. Powell is so popular that dumping him may be disastrous to Bush himself."

AUSTRIA: "Autistics In Action"

U.S. correspondent Sybille Hamann wrote in a 7-page article in the investigative weekly Profil (4/9): "Since George W. Bush took office, U.S. policy has been giving the impression that the Americans want to get into trouble with the entire world: stubborn, arrogant, and insensitive. Bill Clinton did not know much about the world either when he became its most powerful man, but he defined morals as a political category and nation building as a goal. America was to establish itself as the protective power of democratization and world policeman against human rights violations; Clinton himself liked the image of peace mediator in the Middle East and in Northern Ireland. Former enemies as Russia or China were embraced as 'new partners.' The change is reflected in the new vocabulary: unsentimental, realistic--these are the new keywords. Bush no longer wants to hear the term 'partner,' and he uses 'competitor' instead. It is not America's task to make the world better; its own interests come first. And this works best if one hides behind the old and comfortable friend-foe scheme."

BELGIUM: "After 100 Days..."

U.S. affairs writer Evita Neefs wrote in independent Catholic De Standaard (4/28): "After 100 days, it is time for a balance sheet.... To judge Bush after his honeymoon, two questions need to be answered. The first is: has Bush--who has not been elected by a majority of the people--become the president of all Americans?... Bush's slogan during the campaign was 'I am a uniter, not a divider.' But he seems to have forgotten this promise when he formed his administration. The extremely conservative Christians are very largely represented in his party and got the Justice Department.... The second question is: Can a man who stumbles over words lead the world? Bush did not have a bit of foreign policy experience.... But, and the world agrees with this, he had the skill and the experience to surround himself. It is especially in foreign policy that his style is that of a CEO.... Bush's arrival on the world scene was not really a success. The new president caught the world by surprise by announcing that he would not respect Kyoto."

"Bush After The Honeymoon"

New York correspondent Tom Ronse opined in independent De Morgen (4/13): "In the foreign affairs field, Bush is readjusting the U.S. priorities in a rightist direction. What is striking to the rest of the world is the willingness of his administration to take unilateral steps--no matter what other countries think. The American right-wing applauded when Bush turned his back to Kyoto, rejected international objections to the anti-missile shield and used bolder language against the traditional enemies Russia and China. It is true that the administration handled the spy plane incident with China in a diplomatic manner and that it received praise from both parties in the Congress for that, but the question remains whether the incident would have happened if Bush had not alarmed Beijing with his intentions. Some see the clearly rightist course of Bush as a direct consequence of the experience of his father. Bush was considered a traitor by the right wing because he did not honor his promise that he would not increase taxes."

CZECH REPUBLIC: "Window Into Bush's World"

Milan Vodicka wrote in right-of-center MF Dnes (4/28): "His 100 days in office, nevertheless, are enough for us to see that Bush's feeling of the world is completely different from his predecessor's.

"Where Clinton saw a space full of opportunities, Bush sees a bag filled with problems. In Clinton's world, there were partners and cooperation, while Bush's world contains rivals and threats. This could be called a realistic approach. If so, the United States should be realistically expected to pursue its own interests much more than we have been accustomed to. It will do so using pragmatic means and, if necessary, irrespective of its allies' stands. After 100 days we can be sure of one thing: The White House was vacated by an idealist, who has been replaced by a cool manager."

DENMARK: "Europe Should Avoid 'Knee-Jerk' Anti-Americanism"

Center-left Politiken commented (4/9): "Bush's policies do not represent the best interests of the American people and they are miles away from the views of the center-left governments of Europe.... The United States has disappointed on several issues, but Europe should avoid 'knee-jerk' anti-Americanism.... The United States has been better than Europe at highlighting Russia's dirty war in Chechnya."

GREECE: "Bush Vs. The World"

The lead editorial in independent, respected Kathimerini said (4/5): "George W. Bush's administration is rapidly creating rifts with virtually all states around the world, including countries which are long-time U.S. friends and allies. It clashed with 132 states after torpedoing the Kyoto protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gases, tussled with Europe over plans for NMD, revived a Cold War climate with the mass deportation of 50 Russian diplomats, disrupted the rapprochement between North and South Korea, and now has tense relations with China.... After only two months in power, the new administration has already transformed the climate in international relations. A spirit of antagonism is gradually replacing the efforts of previous years to enhance cooperation.... The new policy is one of aggressive promotion of U.S. national interest regardless of the consequent discontent and polarization.... Europe's desperate efforts to remind the U.S. government that the world's only superpower has political and moral obligations are meeting with no response from Washington."

HUNGARY: "American Bull In The China Shop"

Conservative Magyar Nemzet's Csaba Csontos wrote (4/10): "It could be expected that instead of continuing his predecessor's 'idealist, global peace-maker' mission, the new leader of the United States would--if not turn his back on the world--undertake a more careful role in settling the big international crises. But it was less expected that the very first steps of the new U.S. administration would threaten to unleash the specter of a new Cold War.... The main reason for the current situation seems, most likely, to be President Bush's insufficient geopolitical knowledge. Because it can't be ruled out that arrogance, wrapped in ideological toughness, is meant to hide the lack of carefully considered strategic thinking and indecisiveness, a consequence of inadequate knowledge."

MALTA: "Bush's (Cold War) Foreign Policy"

The English-language, independent weekly Malta Independent editiorialized (4/9): "Although it is clear that the Bush administration is still finding its feet in foreign policy, after two-and-a-half months in office, I believe it is fair to say that a conservative and perhaps unilateralist trend is slowly emerging from the White House. This can change of course--for the better one hopes, especially since President Bush's top foreign policy officials seem divided over policy themselves. However, it is evident that George Bush has modelled himself on the Ronald Reagan mold of foreign policy, which might have been suitable during the Cold War, but 11 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, is perhaps outdated and inappropriate for today's international geo-political situation."

NORWAY: "Don't Underestimate George W. Bush"

Independent VG maintained (4/30): "George W. Bush was able last weekend to celebrate his first 100 days as the world's most powerful politician. He has good reason to be satisfied. Rounds of applause from foreign countries have been indeed far and few between, but among Americans he has solid support. And that is what is the most important for an American politician, regardless of what role he plays in the world.... So far, the 43rd American president has largely done what he earlier said and meant. While we would have gladly seen another

result of the presidential election, it is still dangerous to underestimate George W. Bush."

POLAND: "Bush's Consistency"

Krzysztof Darewicz wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (4/28): "The first 100 days of Bush in office do not validate the forecasts of a weak and submissive presidency. While Bush does show readiness for indispensable compromise in many areas and seeks a pragmatic understanding with the Democrats, he remains consistent regarding his principles. Among them is the protection of [unborn] human life. Bush proves that he will not betray this superior value in the name of short-term political interests."

PORTUGAL: "Uneasiness And Perplexity"

Teresa de Sousa opined in influential, moderate-left Público (4/30): "Bush's America is certainly not more 'humble,' as the president promised. On the contrary, he has managed to give himself an image as an international 'troublemaker' whose main accomplishment has been to launch a wave of uneasiness, perplexity and irritation among allies and adversaries alike. Europe fears that the ham-handed unilateralism with which the new administration wanted to impose its anti-missile defense doctrine or with which it tore up the Kyoto Protocol will become Washington's pattern for international behavior, with disastrous consequences for transatlantic relations."

ROMANIA: "Americans Find In Bush A President Sober And Decent"

Cristina Terenche's editorial in opposition Romania Libera said in part (4/29): "With respect to Americans who are concerned about peace, prosperity and the economy, they have found a president that is sober and decent.... With respect to the foreign policy being pursued to date, it has been stymied through the confrontation between the hawks and the moderates.... Yet, a recent poll shows that 62% of Americans are satisfied with the new president's conduct in international affairs, due in large part to the way the Chinese crisis was handled. The triumphant return of the airplane crew...has helped create a favorable public opinion of President Bush. The fact that the president was not in the forefront of the negotiations, dealing discretely and serenely with the problem, was an important point in capturing that positive image."

SLOVENIA: "Elephant Dance"

Left-of-center, independent Dnevnik opined (4/11): "American President George Bush Jr. proved during the first three months [of his presidency]...that the post-Clinton administration did not have the slightest idea about foreign policy.... The president's initial words and deeds indicate that neither the president nor the foreign policy advising team he selected possesses a single pair of diplomatic gloves.... Having announced a gradual withdrawal of troops from the Balkans...putting North Korea back on the list of countries with which it is not worth talking, not calling Russia a friend and partner, and attacking Saddam Hussein...Bush went on to tackle the large Asian mouthful which might get stuck in his throat. The aircraft issue is so banal would hardly be worth mentioning, were it not for the fact that two elephants participated in this muscle demonstration....

Bush is proving that America did not profit enough from Clinton's policy of carrot and stick; only the stick is left...the language of the military rather than diplomacy."

SPAIN: "One Hundred Days With Bush"

Barcelona's conservative La Vanguardia remarked (4/29): "It has...been said that the presidency of the Republican George W. Bush will be imprudent in its foreign policy and moralistic in its internal politics. Completing 100 days in office today, the verdict cannot yet be

definitive.... In his domestic policies, Bush has taken a conservative turn.... With his foreign policy, he has left behind the moralism of Clinton for a foreign policy based on realism.... Europe misses Clinton, but 100 days is not a long time, and Europeans have faith that the pragmatism Bush demonstrated in forming his government will translate into policies more flexible and less ideological."

"Of Power And Melancholy"

Center-left El Pais editorialized (4/20): "While the administration of the jovial Texan has not completed even one 100 days, it is clear that Washington [Bush] has succeeded in generating more ill will toward the United States than anyone else in his position in a century. Some say that it is his tone; others that it is his disposition, while still others say that it is just his nature. But among U.S. allies--including special partner, the United Kingdom--it is difficult to find anyone who speaks well of this administration and who doesn't fear some consequences, predictable or otherwise..... Bush gets into absurd, dangerous face-offs with China, even when he's in the right. He [Bush] generates complicity between Moscow and Beijing, not too bright a move, if it is possible to say so."

TURKEY: "Bedrooms And The Bush Policies"

Hakan Celik argued in mass appeal/sensational Posta (4/11): "It was apparent even during the election campaign that Bush did not favor policies to help the world. Now, apparently, he is seeking adventures, such as the decision to withdraw from the Kyoto agreement; the NMD project; the piracy-style efforts in Asia as well as the ongoing hot war with China; insistence on carrying out death sentences; and declining to increase social assistance.... The trouble Bush causes for his own people, as well as for the whole world, is not limited to the above.... President Bush is now targeting our bedrooms. The spy satellite project which Bush strongly supports will be capable of watching every bit of our daily lives, including our bedrooms."


CHINA: "U.S. Should Stop Unilateral Acts"

Xin Bei commented in the official English-language China Daily (4/17): "The conspicuous absence of U.S. representatives at the international conference (called 'Space without Weapons, a Sphere for Peaceful Cooperation in the 21st Century') held in Moscow last week was more telling evidence of U.S. global unilateralism. Ostensibly uneasy about worldwide opposition to its missile defense plans...the United States has decided to turn a deaf ear to any criticism or possible dialogue.... The United States should stop acting unilaterally, out of tune with the rest of the world's thinking."

HONG KONG: "The First 100 Days"

Independent iMail had this editorial (4/30): "U.S. President George W. Bush has marked his first 100 days in office with precarious U.S.-China relations, with more trouble on the horizon.

"Starting with the April 1 spy plane incident, events have piled up perilously: the biggest U.S. arms package for Taiwan in a decade, the decision to grant a visa to former Taiwan president

Lee Teng-hui, Mr. Bush's blunt remarks on defending Taiwan, and the decision to let its president, Chen Shi-bian, meet congressmen during his stopover in the U.S. next month.... At issue is whether the parties involved want a Cold War-style confrontation or even a hot war. Neither is in anyone's interest, and the upgraded arms sales and strengthened U.S. support for Taiwan can only bring about tension in the Strait. Mr. Bush, President Jiang Zemin and Mr. Chen should take action to put immediate-term conflicts in perspective and get back on the right track towards a wider relationship."

AUSTRALIA: "Living With The American Empire"

An editorial in the liberal Melbourne Age read (4/11): "The new U.S. president has frankly distinguished, in a way that his predecessor did not always do, between acting out of a concern for America's national interest and acting in fulfillment of America's international responsibilities, and has made the former his priority.... The increasing U.S. reluctance to intervene militarily in the region has inevitably meant new responsibilities for Australia. The lesson is that the difference in power between Australia and its ally need not mean that this country is merely a U.S. client; learning that lesson is the key--for both partners--to building a mature relationship."

MAYLASIA: "U.S. Responsibility To The World"

Government-influenced, Malay-language Utusan Malaysia ran the following editorial (4/17): "This daily regrets the attitude of President George W. Bush who disregards the interest of other nations on the assumption that the United States is the largest power in the world. The United States feels it has the right to carry out espionage activities in other countries. There is ample evidence to prove this statement. Surely all countries will give top priority to their own interest in foreign relations. But at the same time, the interests of other countries should be given due consideration. With its political, economic and military power, the United States has a big responsibility in preserving the harmony in the world."

SOUTH KOREA: "Bush's First 100 Days And The World"

Independent Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (4/30): "Criticism of President Bush can be loudly heard outside the United Staets. With his insistence on a U.S. missile defense, President Bush has deepened conflict and confrontation with China and Russia. In addition, he is driving U.S.-China relations into a new Cold War showdown by giving a green light to large-scale sales of U.S. weapons to Taiwan, and by making ultra-harsh remarks that the 'United States would employ any means possible to defend Taiwan against any attacks from China.' President Bush also chilled U.S. relations with its European allies by unilaterally pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. With regard to Korean Peninsula issues, he froze U.S.-North Korea relations and inter-Korean relations by recklessly uttering unsubstantiated, hard-line remarks about North Korea even before his government's comprehensive review of Korean Peninsula policy was completed. Furthermore, President Bush and his foreign and security team are taking the lead in advocating the interests of the U.S. defense industry by seeking confrontational policies of a new Cold War era.... We strongly urge the Bush administration to abandon its unilateralism and confrontational approach and return to the recent trend of peace and arms reduction."

"U.S. And Japan's Growing Rightwing Stances And ROK's Choice"

Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (4/27): "Just three days ahead of his first 100 days in office…President Bush said that the United States would use military force to defend Taiwan against any attacks from China.

"His remarks are drawing special attention in that he indicated U.S. abandonment of 'strategic ambiguity,' which the country has maintained since the passage of a Taiwan-related law in 1979. On the other hand, as if taking his cue from a U.S. Republican policy to place Japan first, newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stressed

the importance of U.S.-Japan solidarity anew. A situation seems to be brewing in which the United States and Japan are threatening the East Asians with their hardline conservative lines forming the united front…. The United States and Japan's simultaneous tilt toward hardline conservatism is bringing a cold wave to the Korean Peninsula. The Bush administration's hardline stance is causing President Kim's engagement policy with North Korea to lose steam, and a lull in inter-Korean relations to be protracted… We are apprehensive that such ominous U.S.-Japan solidarity might damage our national task of achieving peace on the peninsula through inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation."

VIETNAM: "President Bush And Four Diplomatic Troubles "

Nguyen Dai Phuong wrote in mouthpiece of the Communist Youth League Tien Phong (4/7): "After just two months in office, President Bush has to deal with four major diplomatic troublesome issues: the spy row with Russia, the sinking of a Japanese fishing-school vessel by a U.S. submarine, the world's opposition to the U.S. withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, and the U.S.-China aircraft collision, in which the United States had to suffer both political and economic losses. This proves that the Bush administration's foreign policy is not suited to the current situation of the world. All of the above troubles have resulted from U.S. policies which want to return to the Cold War and the arms race, and to intervene into the internal affairs of the other countries. If President Bush doesn't adjust his current foreign policy, we fear that he must suffer more headaches with diplomatic troubles that the United States brings on itself. "


PAKISTAN: "Bush Foreign Policy Antics And Blunders"

An op-ed by Iffat Malik in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn held (4/27): "The NMD is actually just one of a growing number of U.S. policies attracting universal opposition. Another is its tendency to act unilaterally without bothering to consult the UN, the EU or other international bodies. American leaders seem to think that sole superpower status gives them carte blanche to do as they please, when and wherever they like.... None of President Bush's actions to date have been as arrogant, as selfish or as shortsighted in their consequences as on the Kyoto issue.... One could go on and on about the Bush foreign policy gaffes and his cavalier dismissal of the progress made in North-South Korean rapprochement, for example. But by now it should be clear that the first three months of the Bush presidency have, with regard to foreign policy and establishing a new peaceful world order, been extremely disappointing."


EGYPT: "One Hundred Days To Kill Peace"

Ahmed Al Guindi wrote in pro-government Al Akhbar (4/30): "American journalist Peter Sysler (phon) wrote a report on the achievements of the Bush administration in 100 days, describing his domestic policy as effectively conservative.... What is important to us is that those 100 days confirmed President Bush does not favor direct intervention in making peace and ending the Arab-Israeli dispute. This is probably what Sharon heard during his meeting with Bush and was assured of the United States' washing its hands of sponsoring peace in the region.... That is why Sharon planned his 100-day military program to impose Israeli will on Palestinians by force.... One hundred days have confirmed the passivity of U.S. foreign policy in the region. One hundred days have shown an Israeli policy of terrorism, violence and liquidation....

"And we still talk about peace as if it is possible."

ISRAEL: "Taming The Dragon And Silencing His Critics"

The independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (4/15): "For a man whose lack of foreign policy credentials had aroused widespread concern and even derision during the U.S. presidential campaign, George W. Bush's handling of the dispute with China over a downed U.S. surveillance plane should go a long way toward silencing his critics. Shrewdly wielding the tools of diplomacy, Bush succeeded in transforming what appeared initially to be an irreconcilable stalemate into a rapidly concluded and peaceful outcome, one that saw the quick return home of the 24 American servicemen. He walked a fine line between satisfying the Chinese demand for an apology, even though it appears that the Chinese pilot was responsible for the collision over international waters, and preserving America s dignity and self-respect. It was a textbook

case of maintaining fidelity to principles while demonstrating flexibility and good judgment, something that bodes well for whatever future crises bush will inevitably confront during the rest of his term of office."

SYRIA: "The First 100 Days"

Elias Khoury opined in government-owned Al-Ba'th (4/30): "Arab, international and even American evaluations of the first 100 days of President George W. Bush's performance of his tasks in the White House are loaded with skepticism and pessimism. These evaluations are unanimous in noting that the new American administration has made a marked retreat in its foreign policy performance. It has mainly succeeded in creating a wave of international anxiety and caution on one level, while confusion and mayhem grips the mechanism of decision-making on the other level. Disputes between the United States and members of NATO and the EU have erupted over economy, armaments, and methods of involvement in European conflicts. However, the main point of contention was the Kyoto accord.... Bush's decision to withdraw from the accord shocked Europeans, who consider this decision as a foolish act indicating narrow-mindedness and extreme selfishness in dealing with the common concerns and problems of the world. As for the Middle East, things could not have been worse. The American position in this regard is adding oil to fire, and is only serving Sharon's terrorist aggressive program that represents the greatest threat to the peace process in the region."


NIGERIA: "Amateurish Foreign Policy"

The Lagos-based, independent Comet ran a commentary by a former Nigerian ambassador, Prof. Jide Osuntokun (4/26): "We are still waiting to see the deft hand of Colin Powell in the management of American foreign policy. Nothing is gained by living on the diplomatic edge and frittering away hard won peace in the name of demonstrating power, courage and will. America's future is better served when she is at peace with the rest of the world. Mr. Bush has in recent times abandoned the policy of rapprochement towards North Korea and its mercurial dictator. Short of nuking North Korea out of existence which is inconceivable, or launching a conventional attack on it to destroy its nuclear capability, which will be too costly and unacceptable to the American people and their allies, the only wise thing to do to contain North Korea is through friendship with Russia and, particularly China. These are the two powers America has angered recently."


CANADA: "So Far, So Good"

Under the sub-heading, "In his first 100 days in office, George Bush has played it safe, and it's starting to look like he will have a successful presidency," foreign editor Drew Fagan observed in the leading Globe and Mail (4/27): "There have, of course, been miscues. Controversial

environmental decisions such as the renunciation of the Kyoto accord to reduce greenhouse gases angered even GOP voters (suburban Republicans care about clean air and water) and forced the administration to change its direction on other environmental issues in recent days. Democrats and independents have also found plenty of evidence that Mr. Bush is a conservative's conservative and no compassionate conservative, as he describes himself--whether it be his plan to allow religious charities to help provide some government programs.... But such controversial positions haven't hurt him in the polls. More than 60 per cent of Americans think he's doing a good job as president. Mr. Bush remains something of a blank slate. He hasn't really been tested during a policy crisis, although the growing tensions with China may yet spin out of control. Nor has he faced the kind of disaster that requires soothing rhetoric from the nation's leader. After all, 100 days, does not a presidency make."

"Fat Cat"

The conservative Ottawa Sun observed (4/9): "When George W. Bush's dad was president he talked about the development of a co-operative 'new world order' to replace the old superpower rivalries of the Cold War. It was a nice, warm and fuzzy image typical of George Sr., but in the real world it didn't help him rid us of Saddam Hussein, and it's not likely to help George W. deal with Slobodan Milosevic. When the United States believes it has a clear economic interest, it has no trouble being forceful. But if there's no clear economic interest? Well, in that case the United States often behaves more like Switzerland than the most powerful country in the world. Take Milosevic (please). At the 11th hour the new Yugoslav government finally arrested him and--wait for it--threatened to charge him with embezzlement! Now, there's no doubt that Milosevic, his family and cronies have stripped Yugoslavia of hundreds of millions of dollars to line their own pockets. But the king of ethnic cleansing isn't wanted by the international court for cooking the books. He's wanted for the systematic slaughter of thousands of people, and the United States has used its alleged political and economic muscle to try and get him into the dock. The fact he isn't there suggests the Yugoslav government is more concerned about Serbian public opinion than about Washington. Enough already! Is the most powerful nation the leading force for democracy and law and order in the world? Or is it a fat cat without claws?"

ARGENTINA: "A Dangerous Idea"

Claudio Uriarte wrote in leftist Pagina 12 (4/16): "With the arrival of George W. Bush, we could have expected a correction, a re-adjustment determined by less activism in the international scene. But this was not the case: If Clinton's people were naively trying to turn their adversaries into strategic allies, Bush's men decided to proclaim them their enemies. Resulting from this strategy (one of its first practical verifications was an intensification of air patrols) we had the incident of the U.S. spy aircraft in China, as well as the resumption of air raids on Iraq. The bottom line of these actions is the new confirmation of the monopoly of power by the United States in a unipolar world, and in the utopia of absolute security. In appearance, it is a conservative strategy, but in reality, it is dangerously revolutionary and destabilizing, because it has to do with re-doing the world. And the world is going to resist."

BRAZIL: "A Message From Mr. Powell"

Former Brazilian President Jose Sarney's weekly byliner in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo commented in part on Secretary Powell's 4/19 NYT op-ed piece on FTAA (4/27): "I do not know how to interpret General Powell's statement. We are stuck between arrogance and intimidation, and the certainty that the FTAA is the conquest of the rest of the Americas.... What is revolting is that the U.S. ideals of freedom, human rights and democracy have been perverted by the materialistic and dominating objectives of its savage and exploitative economy."

"Quebec: Better Than Expected"

An editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo asserted (4/24): "The [summit] was more productive than was expected regarding trade negotiations. Once again U.S. negotiators accused Brazil of hampering the process, as if Brazil intended to hold back free trade in the Americas.... At the same time, President Bush seemed to be doing more than Clinton to develop a productive dialogue with the Brazilian government.... Negotiators from both sides demonstrated on Sunday their willingness to take their interlocutors' positions seriously. This is a especially positive."

COLOMBIA: "The World Of George W. Bush"

Jose Luis Ramirez commented in El Espectador (4/11): "The first foreign policy steps taken by George W. Bush suggest a complex scenario which allies and enemies alike view as full of problematic changes in course. Bush's decisions on the Kyoto Protocol...North Korea's nuclear disarmament...Iraq, even harder lines against Cuba and Russia including the controversial antimissile shield proposal...and Europe's role in the Balkans...remind us of a return to something similar to the Cold War."


Columnist Julio Ligorría Carballido wrote in influential El Periodico (4/23): "A few months into his term, George Walker Bush has begun to show signs of what we can expect from him as president of the most powerful nation in the world. His character and firm decisiveness in confronting politically complicated problems will be the norms that govern his actions, as has been the case throughout his political career, and he will not falter from taking radical positions when it is necessary to move forward his government's agenda.... I believe that his administration is called to confront successfully the extremely complex political and economic scenarios of the day, now that the bonanza is over and recession is looming. Bush must lead a worldwide effort to maintain a stable economy, a peaceful world, and an age of respect among countries. If his character were less decisive and strong, the results would be uncertain.... His compassion will permit him to give the human touch that Republican politicians always have lacked. George W. Bush has in his hands a complicated task: to govern with firmness the most influential nation in the world, so that that power can be used to create well-being and freedom at the global level."

NICARAGUA: "Imperialistic Rise"

Leftist El Nuevo Diario published an opinion article by Francisco Bravo Lacayo (4/9): "Since George W. Bush took charge of the U.S. presidency...the ultra right-wing in the United States and in the world are recovering...territory lost during the Clinton administration.... In these days [Bush] seriously provoked the People's Republic of China by sending a spy aircraft...with all the consequences this brought. Bush's reaction was typical of imperialist statesmen.... Barbara Streisand sent a note to Democratic members of Congress warning 'against the awakening of the extremist right wing.'... Hopefully her fellow citizens will listen to her." ##

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