|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Overseas commentators continued to weigh in on President Bush's State of the Union address, voicing growing concern that the U.S.--basking in "patriotic pride" after its success in Afghanistan--was "unilaterally" justifying an expanded and "pre-emptive" war. Critics worried that President Bush's "self-righteous" zeal and "Manichean view" of the world would "alienate" allies, increase international tensions and undercut support for the war against terrorism. European and other allied outlets were especially irked that the Bush administration, now setting its sights on the "axis of evil," was using the war against terrorism "to fit all occasions" without consulting its coalition partners. Many lamented the "triumph of hard-liners in Washington" and the possible "loss of influence" of Secretary Powell within the Oval Office. Regional highlights follow:
EUROPE: 'White House holy warrior' issues 'ultimatums' in all directions. Editorialists saw Bush's address, in which he "announced with rare brutality his self-promotion to the rank of judge and policeman of the universe," as one more tear in the growing "rift" in transatlantic relations. Many found "no plausible justification" for linking Iran, Iraq and North Korea "in some sort of spurious alliance." Some attributed Washington's "dangerously simplistic" view of the world and "unilateralist tendency" to the ascendancy of administration hawks and a possible loss of influence by Secretary Powell. London's independent Financial Times led many others in determining that Powell's losing "the struggle for the president's ear" would "spell bad news for any lingering hopes of multilateralism in the U.S. capital." Most called on Europe's leaders to step forward as the voice of "restraint" in the next phase of the war on terrorism.
MIDEAST: Arabs ask why is U.S. at war with Islam? Israeli press wants Syria on 'evil' list: Arab writers fumed that the president's "war address" openly declared what many had secretly feared--that the war against terrorism is directed against the Arab and Muslim world. Most were incredulous that the U.S. does not appear to get "the message" that people do not hate America itself, but, rather, its policy of supporting Israel. Some agreed with their European counterparts that what they see as Secretary Powell's moderating influence appears to be declining. Among them, a Saudi daily called on world leaders to confront and "contain" "the wild imagination" of Pentagon and NSC "hawks." In Israel, Zeev Schiff wrote in independent Ha'aretz that Bush's omission of Syrian involvement in terrorism had tainted an otherwise "excellent speech."
EAST/SOUTH ASIA: 'Evil axis' designation is 'hardly reasssuring' to coalition partners. President Bush's warning to Iran, Iraq and North Korea stuck in the craw of East Asian editorialists. Australian writers questioned the "U.S. respect for allies whose interests might not always coincide with U.S. domestic political interests." A Seoul editorial fretted over the administration's uncompromising rhetoric: "For Mr. Bush, ensuring peace on the [Korean] Peninsula may be an unimportant issue...but it is a matter of death and life to us." South Asian columns saw the U.S. as intent on settling old scores and pursuing pet projects under the rubric of fighting terrorism. An Indian daily asserted that the administration was reviving the rogue state rationale to drum up support for missile defense. Pakistani observers sounded the familiar refrain that the U.S. is targeting Islamic nations.
WEST. HEMISPHERE: 'Intimidation' and isolationism' widen 'abyss' between U.S. and allies. Writers in Canada, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador conceded that Mr. Bush had successfully displayed the "determination and leadership" required for a country at war, but were largely taken aback by his perceived "bellicosity" and "combative, go-it-alone attitude." For most, the speech signalled a resurgence of "traditional" U.S. isolationism and reflected U.S. society's own "indifference" toward the rest of the world, including those who shared the conviction to fight terrorism. Many were chagrined that, rather than using his "immense...popularity to move toward true international leadership," Bush has, in the words of a conservative Santiago paper, "chosen the path of the autonomous superpower." Taking exception, Ottawa's conservative National Post praised Bush for not settling merely for a "pushover win in Afghanistan" and for his temerity in applying "U.S. military might."
AFRICA: Speech is a prelude to attacking Baghdad. A South African daily predicted that a "unilateral" U.S. attack against Iraq was imminent.
EDITORS: Irene Marr, Gail Hamer Burke, Stephen Thibeault
EDITORS' NOTE: This survey is based on 41 reports from 28 countries, January 31-February 4. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Spreading Alarm Among Friends"
From an analysis by Quentin Peel in the independent Financial Times (2/4): "To lump them (Iran, Iraq and North Korea) together in some sort of spurious alliance, to link them to global terrorism, and to imply that they are next on the list of targets for pre-emptive military action, was dangerously simplistic. His speech reads like a blueprint for U.S. policy designed by Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister. If Mr. Powell were losing influence in Mr. Bush's inner circle, that would certainly alarm America's European allies. They see him as an essential moderating influence on the unilateralist tendency in Washington. Indeed, in the weeks after September 11 he was hailed in Europe as the hero. If Mr. Powell has also lost out in the struggle for the president's ear that certainly spells bad news for any lingering hopes of multilateralism in the U.S. capital. So if anyone is going to urge restraint in the next phase of the war on terrorism, it must be the Europeans. So let him (UK Prime Minister Tony Blair) warn against those who would see the world as an axis of evil fighting an alliance for good. He knows that things are never that black and white."
FRANCE: "The Break"
Jacques Amalric wrote in left-of-center Liberation (2/2): "Even if President Bush's address was essentially meant for domestic use, it would be a mistake to ignore the break it signals in America's behavior worldwide. I speak of behavior rather than diplomacy because the presidential remarks are out of tune with the word diplomacy. George Bush has indeed announced with rare brutality his self-promotion to the rank of judge and police of the universe.... He is endowing himself with the privilege of acting unilaterally and preventively. He has even disinterred a phrase dating back to the Second World War, the 'axis of evil.' While those to whom he attributes this phrase are in no way apostles of democracy...and are suspected of wanting to acquire weapons of mass destruction, one wonders why Bush does not raise the question of Russia's and China's responsibility. If indeed we are talking about proliferation. It is much easier and more effective, electorally-speaking, to widen the concept of terrorism and brandish it at will, while shirking one's responsibilities, as Bush is doing in the Middle East. Using the war against terrorism to fit all occasions, without consultations with his allies, who are at best treated as water carriers, does not bode well for the future.... The legitimate war against al-Qaida and its tentacles makes sense only if it goes hand in hand with an opening of the U.S. towards the rest of the world, not with an acute case of autism."
Luc de Barochez commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/4): "The Munich Conference this weekend helped to underscore the depth of today's transatlantic gap. Europe complains that the United States is treating it as a negligible entity...as 'pygmies soldiers'.... Yet it feels just as threatened as the United States and possibly more vulnerable. But it does not have the means to impose its priorities. In Munich, to the disappointment of the Europeans, the United States reiterated its intention of opting for an adaptable coalition against terrorism.... The Europeans, who expected from the U.S. delegation assurances on consultations or a renewed dialogue, were disappointed.... Washington does not seem to take seriously Europe's reticence towards a campaign against Iraq, even if Europe had no alternatives to offer. Indeed how can Europe hope to influence America's projects? In matters of defense, the gap between Europe and the United States has never been so wide.... With its new military budget, the U.S. can afford to be the king of the world.... On the one hand, Europe cannot afford to increase its military budget, and on the other the Americans are doing everything to keep Europe in a position of dependency.... Everything would indicate that the United States will ignore Europe's discontent and continue to act alone."
GERMANY: "Not A Rhetorical Fluke"
A. Buschschlueter commented on national German radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (2/2): "Bush's speech got a lot of attention, not only among the countries of the 'evil axis.' The allies, too, are wondering what the president's surprising and sweeping statements may mean. One thing is certain: The 'evil axis' is not a rhetorical fluke, and the new debate is not simply theoretical.... The U.S. president is pursuing a dangerous mission--self-righteous, filled with almost religious zeal, and carried by a wave of support at home. A political impossibility: a holy warrior in the White House."
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (2/2) judged in an editorial: "The Europeans are right to be upset. After all, expanding the war to include Iraq, Iran, and North Korea would have highly negative political consequences: Even moderate Arab regimes would come under immense pressure from people in the streets, and the already fragile coalition against terrorism would crumble. There are no plausible justifications for Bush's list: Under its moderate President Khatami, Iran has opened up hesitantly, but noticeably.... North Korea is sticking to the moratorium on tests for long-range missiles. And Saddam is certainly no democrat, but his chemical weapons program was supposed to have been destroyed almost completely when the UN inspectors left in 1998. So far, the accusation that Iraq, suffering from sanctions, has upgraded its weapons programs dangerously has not been proven. Europe would have done well to contradict Bush clearly and quickly."
ITALY: "Saddam In Washington's Crosshairs"
A report by Washington correspondent Alberto Pasolini Zanelli in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale said (2/4): "War drums are beating louder and more insistently in Washington. From the U.S. capital arrive 'ultimatums' in all directions, aimed at designated enemies, as well as at reluctant allies. After President Bush's 'solo,' there is a choir now: the administration has unanimously switched to positions that were originally typical of the 'hawks.' America claims the right 'to defend itself by attacking,' i.e., to attack first, and friends are encouraged to come along. They are also warned that they should not try to stop it. Even Secretary of State Powell, previously known for his 'moderate' attitude, is using this kind of language now.... The eternal 'hawk,' Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in the meantime, has opened fire against Iran, accusing it, for the first time in such an explicit fashion, of having facilitated 'the transit of al-Qaida members'..... The strongest attacks, however, are those against Iraq. Condoleezza Rice is the one who pressed the trigger this time.... But she reserved the strongest language for the countries that are traditionally or potentially allies of the United States and that have expressed reservations, very explicitly at times, on the U.S. choice to expand the war against terrorism to include entire nations.... Even NATO and, in Washington, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the military strategy outlined by Bush."
"NATO: 'With The United States Only Under Certain Conditions'"
New York correspondent Stefano Trincia reporten in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (2/2): "The United States is trying to make the war on terrorism humane. It asks the world for solidarity in order to fight the poverty and desperation that are behind terrorism. It tries, behind the shades of the World Economic Forum in New York, to resume a semblance of dialogue with the Palestinians. It promises, through the words of Secretary Powell, to keep the dialogue open with Arafat after the very tough words with which President Bush practically dropped him. But, outside official meetings, the United States collects only skepticism.... The first and most significant response came from NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, according to whom NATO's military support for the United States based on Article Five...does not extend, per se, to any military initiatives that America might undertake against the countries of the 'evil axis.'"
RUSSIA: "Chechen Terrorism Is Okay"
Ilya Bulavinov held in the reformist business-oriented Kommersant (2/4): "The position of the West, as a whole, and that of the United States (as voiced by U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow in Russia), in particular, are that the Chechen fighters should break off with international terrorism, and Moscow should seek a political settlement with the Chechens. It turns out that, essentially, Chechen terrorism is okay as long as it is separate from international terrorism or, speaking more precisely, from the terrorism which the United States is fighting, with Moscow's assistance. The issue of Chechnya between Russia and the West may have quite negative consequences. To be sure, Moscow will no longer support the Americans' major antiterrorist operations anywhere in the world, unless the West alters its stand on Chechnya."
"Those With Bad Luck"
Vitaliy Portnikov commented in the reformist business-oriented Vedomosti (2/4): "Addressing the Munich conference on security, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov stated that Russia has no evidence that the governments of Iran, Iraq and North Korea sponsor international terrorism. Ivanov needed to say that about the 'traditional allies' to camouflage a new change in Russia's foreign policy. He further spoke of those unlucky enough to come to power in countries that fell easy prey to terrorism. Until recently, Moscow, rejecting the United States' idea of armed interference in a government's affairs that pose a danger to international stability and its own people, referred to the pre-eminence of national sovereignty. It did so during NATO action against Yugoslavia, the first international operation against the legitimate government of a sovereign country. Now Russia's position is much closer to America's--any dictator supporting international terrorism may be called 'the unlucky one' and subjected to the proportionate use of force. This is exactly what Washington wanted and what Moscow opposed. Apparently, Moscow, seeing the hopelessness of resisting a new world order, has decided to join it."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Economy A problem For the Self-Assured Bush"
Centrist Haagsche Courant commented (1/31): "It is noteworthy that among the so-called 'rogue states' he named not only North Korea and Iraq, but also Iran. He offered no evidence."
ISRAEL: "Bush' Sin Of Omission"
Senior columnist Zeev Schiff wrote in independent Ha'aretz (2/3): "That Iran is included on the American list [of terrorism-supporting states] despite the contacts the United States is holding with Tehran, is considered something of an innovation. However, Syria's being totally omitted from the list of states involved with terrorism in one way or another, is an even greater innovation.... The United States, for its part, is probably toying with the idea that it can bring about a change in Syria's behavior. The debate is now focusing on the question of what constitutes terrorism.... Syria has launched an interesting move, including trying to persuade the U.S. to enter into a dialogue with the leadership of Hizbullah, arguing that this is, in the first place, a political organization.... The U.S. rejected this dubious proposal, but Bush's complete failure to mention Syrian involvement in terrorism, in what was an otherwise excellent speech, left a bad taste."
EGYPT: "American Can't Turn Enemies Into Red Indians"
Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie held in leading, pro-government Al Ahram (2/4), "We should realize the implications of Bush's speech. We should explain to the American administration that mutual understanding between the American people and other nations is what makes America a true superpower. Neither nations nor beliefs instigate hatred of America. It is only the Zionist lobby which loathes world stability and creates the pretexts for the hatred against Americans. However mighty the military strength, it cannot turn the nations of the earth into Red Indians again. Has this message reached the American administrartion?"
JORDAN: “War Intentions And Moderation”
Chief editor Taher Udwan wrote in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-langauge Al-Arab Al-Yawm (2/1): “No Arab government or people would agree with the content of President Bush’s State of the Union address, that described Hisbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations, and described Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the triangle of evil. The address was hostile, very hostile.… No Arab government or people want to confront or go to war against the United States. In fact, the majority of the Arab world calls for protecting Arab-American relations and still considers Washington the only party capable of bringing peace to Palestine.… The Arabs cannot agree with the content of Bush’s address, while their lands and their holy places are under occupation.... The real fear is that the Bush administration is no longer represented by the State Department--that is by the political and diplomatic means of resolving international conflicts and problems--but by the Pentagon. [It is] as if we are really in a state of world war in which the U.S. administration believes that it is on one side and that the Arab and Muslim world is on the other.”
LEBANON: "The International Prosecutor"
An editorial by Abdel-Hussein Shabib in the (2/4) edition of Hizballah-weekly Al-Intiqad stated: "Does the 'war speech' by President Bush in which he threatened to strike Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Hizballah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad...mean that there is no curbing the American frenzy? Is it a real threat?... We believe that Bush's rhetoric is a quick way to contain the developing international reluctance to support the American campaign against terrorism. By now, the United States has its differences with the international community over the prisoners in the Guantanamo Naval Base...and over the definition of terrorism.... There is also a major contradiction between the American and European position over what is going on the Palestinian arena,...as well as tension between Washington and several Islamic capitals.... Bush has only to put his warning into action...and sit back and watch it backfire."
SYRIA: "Between The Tyranny Of Power And The Requirements Of Justice"
Dr. Khalaf al-Jarad, chief editor of government-owned Tishreen declared (2/4): "One state's monopolization of the world community's destiny; its manipulation of international resolutions; and its insistence on imposing its views, and strategic and tactical goals on the globe forcing other states to adopt unreasonable and unfamiliar interpretations under pressure, intimidation and threats; all these methods do not establish a balanced world order. If U.S. policies succeed in spreading terror in one place, the United States will only be able to force compliance and will continue as the sole superpower for a short period of time. Dividing people into good or evil, ally or dissident, friend or enemy, only increases tension and disturbs the balance in international relations...with chaos. More dangerous and devastating 'terrorism' will emerge under different pretexts while real terrorists (i.e. Israelis) will evade punishment and justice. The tyranny of a sole superpower will replace international legitimacy. Some experts have warned against the dangers of employibg terrorist methods to fight terrorism.... Certainly, not differentiating between terrorism and national resistance does not contribute to eliminating terrorism nor does it prevent people from inventing new methods of resistance."
MOROCCO: "Sharon Goes To War: Beware Of The Use Of The Stick"
A front-page commentary signed by Khalid Jamai in government coalition, Istiqlal Party French-language L'Opinion (2/1): "President Bush's State of the Union address is a war address. It's an address of threat, a speech that commits intellectual terrorism. The White House leader plays the role of a small soldier, promising to hit his enemies while identifying his targets, his future victims: Iran, Iraq and North Korea, along with the Hamas and Hizballah resistance movements.... While it is clear his message is meant for local consumption with an eye on the November congressioanl and gubernatorial elections, his speech is irresponsible as it has global implications, coming from a head of a state that is currently the world's only superpower."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Read History!"
Abha-based, moderate Al-Watan held (2/4): "All the countries of the world, including the Arab and Islamic countries, have condemned terrorism...and have called for combating it. They also stressed the necessity of distinguishing between terrorism and resistance.... It is unbearable...that every day since September 11 we have heard threats (from the U.S.) under the banner of combating terrorism.... The United States has a list of terrorists to which it adds names and crosses out others whenever it wants. Sharon has been committing genocide under the same banner. Some spiteful Western countries are pursuing a war against Islam and Muslims also under that same banner--combating terrorism.... It really is a mistake not to read history, and so to predict what might happen in the future. If any country is subjected to injustice, it can do nothing other than defend itself.... Stop giving us lessons in civilization, humanity, and how to combat terrorism!"
"The Axis Of Evil"
Jeddah based, conservative Al-Madina opined (2/4): "A couple of days ago the U.S. president talked about the so-called 'axis of evil.' Yesterday, the Pentagon and White House quickly responded to European, Russian and Chinese unease over the war on terrorism saying that it would act alone if necessary in defense of the country. America's proposed plan for a world without terror is one that only spreads a greater number of terrorists around the world. Since terrorism is a side effect of fear and panic stemming from the feeling that one is under siege, the U.S.' politics of self-defense place the safety, security and stability of the lives of hundreds of millions of people at risk. In addition, Bush's planned war threatens the basics of international stability required for economic and social development around the world. This situation will inevitably lead to a multiplication of terror, ill will, and the desire for revenge. America's bulging muscles, today more than ever, pose dangers not only to itself but to the world at large. In the event that the international community and world leaders do not rise to the occasion and confine the wild imagination of the so-called hawks of the Pentagon and the U.S. National Security Council, the whole of humanity will one day awaken to its worst nightmare."
"Why The War?"
Abha based, moderate Al-Watan opined (2/2): "Why the daily alarm by the U.S. President and his administration following the end of the Afghani war? And whose interests do the current beating of war drums serve?... How long will America be able to finance the war on terror, which is only just beginning? Wouldn't it be more becoming for America to overcome its blind desire for revenge against terrorist acts? With positive coordination with friends and allies around the world, it could come up with new ways to combat terrorism at a lower cost and with greater effect."
TUNISIA: "U.S.-Israel, Protector And Protected Alike!!"
Senior editor Manoubi Akrout wrote in independent French-language Le Quotidien (2/2): "Within the past few days a new deal has disrupted the steady relationships in the Middle East. Americans and Israelis have, strangely, started to flirt with Syria, and this after Bush's incoherent speech on the State of the Union and after Sharon's declaration 'regretting' not having eliminated Arafat in Beirut in the eighties.... The protector (US) and the protected (Israel) have reasons to worry. Despite their virtual control of the Middle East, they have been overtaken by events. The Iraqi-Iranian raprochement has exploded an atomic bomb in the face of both Americans and Israelis. Hence, to save what's left, the two parties have suddenly turned to Syria in order to break up any eventual collaboration with Iraq and Iran...but Syria is not blind and knows that the protector and the protected are one and the same and have no differences when it comes to Arab countries."
AUSTRALIA: "Bush Not Beating Around"
Defense writer Geoffrey Barker stated in the national, business-oriented Australian Financial Review (2/4): "The President's address was hardly reassuring to allies who stand with the U.S. in its war on terrorism. It was intemperate, unnecessary and appeared to signal that Bush was ready, even eager, to plunge into wars against what he called the 'axis of evil'.... The address was at odds with the measured and disciplined U.S. response so far.... It was a chilling declaration.... It remains to be seen whether the State of the Union address reflected much more than a rush of rhetorical blood to the President's head. But it has hardly helped to reinforce international cooperation to defeat terrorism, and it has raised real doubts about ultimate U.S. respect for allies whose interests might not always coincide with U.S. domestic political interests."
"Saddam A Smokescreen For Bin Laden Fiasco"
An op-ed from Hugh White, Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in the leading liberal Sydney Morning Herald (2/4) read: "There are two very good reasons why George Bush will not go after Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The first is the likelihood that he wouldn't succeed. The second is the consequences if he did.... So why did Bush make so much of Iraq in his State of the Union address?.... The big question in the whole war on terrorism, is simply this: where is Osama bin Laden?"
JAPAN: "Axis of Evil Remark Causes A Stir At Home"
The moderate Tokyo Shimbun's Washington correspondent observed (2/2): "President Bush's description in his State of the Union Address of Iraq, Iran and the DPRK as an 'axis of evil nations' has created a stir in the U.S. A Cato Institute researcher said it was not proper for the President to make such a description that might get 'mixed up' with the image of the World War II-era Axis (of Japan, Germany and Italy). The researcher added that it is unlikely that these three terrorist-sponsoring nations would join hands in a future anti-U.S. movement."
PHILIPPINES: "Second Nuclear Age? Terror Just Part Of It?"
Former presidential press secretary Teodoro C. Benigno wrote in the third leading Philippine Star (2/4): "Bush's address was virtually a declaration of war against the enemies of America. Not only war on international terrorism but war on nations that would harbor terrorists, war on the timid and hesitant, the weak and vacillating, a Manichean war waged by the forces of virtue against the forces of evil.... I am convinced there are deeper currents that undergird America's martial offensive today.... The countries mentioned in Mr. Bush's 'axis of evil' are all Asian countries. This is no coincidence. The fact is, Iran, Iraq and North Korea lie within America's nuclear 'arc of terror'--in Asia. Is it possible that because Islam is in Asia, American wrath has to see to it that Asia is contained and with Asia the 'evil' that is terror--all within Asia--exterminated once and for all? America uber alles?"
SOUTH KOREA: “Dangerous Bush, Dangerous Korean Peninsula”
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (2/4): “President Bush continues his ultra-harsh remarks on North Korea.... Since September 11, national security has become the most sensitive issue to the American people. Against this backdrop has come the ‘Bush Doctrine,’ in which President Bush defines North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as an ‘axis of evil’ and makes clear his intention to rule the world through U.S. military power. However, the doctrine only serves the interests of Mr. Bush and Americans, and poses a terrible threat to world peace, especially peace on the peninsula.... As for Mr. Bush, ensuring peace on the peninsula may be an unimportant issue to him, but it is a matter of death and life to us. The U. S. should halt its unilateral and militaristic moves undermining efforts for peace by North and South Korea, the owners of the Korean peninsula.”
“Forceful Declarations By The U.S. And North Korea Baffling”
Independent Joong Ang Ilbo editorialized (2/2): “We understand that Mr. Bush delivered his State of the Union address as the president of a country still fighting a war against terrorism. But no matter how hostile the relationship may be, describing a specific country as an ‘axis of evil’ is excessively self-righteous and aggressive. All the more so, given that the U.S. and North Korea continue to leave open the possibility of resuming bilateral talks. Fortunately, White House and State Department spokesmen have stressed that 'This does not suggest impending military action against North Korea,'... Restoring trust between the two Koreas and between Washington and Pyongyang, and the commitment to dialogue and negotiation are most critical at this point. Accordingly, North Korea must...recognize the ongoing changes in international affairs.... The ROKG must also end its impetuous approach to inter-Korean reconciliation. Instead, it should actively mediate dialogue between the U.S. and the North on the basis of objective proof and principles that can bridge differences of opinion between the U.S. and the ROK over North Korea. This mediation is ultimately South Korea’s role.”
THAILAND: “The Axis Of Evil In Bush’s View”
“Jupiter” commented in top-circulation, Thai language Thai Rath (2/3): “President Bush tried to collectively brand Iran, Iraq and North Korea the ‘axis of evil’.... The three countries have not allied in the said fashion. Therefore, it is likely to be just a pretext for the Bush administration to further launch military operations against one of these rogue states.... The world community mostly wants to avoid any large-scale military operations...lest they snowball out of control. All sides that had approved of the U.S.’ onslaught on Afghanistan now favor using a milder combination of economic/political approaches with friendly countries willing to cooperate in weeding out terrorism rather than getting involved in a bloodletting conflict.”
VIETNAM: "Fighting Terrorism, But Unable To Eliminate Terrorism"
Ha Yen Trung wrote in Ha Noi Moi, official paper of the Hanoi Municipal Government, (2/3): "Observers say that it seems the U.S. wants to take advantage of the war on terror to 'kill two, or even three, birds with one stone', i.e. to eliminate regimes that it does not like and to establish its military presence in major areas of the world.... While hunting for terrorist elements, Washington does not pay much attention to eradicating the socio-economic causes of terrorism as well as the causes of the extremist attitudes toward the West in general and the U.S. in particular.... It is probable that with the current anti-terrorism approach, it will be hard for Washington to completely eliminate terrorism. Therefore, the 'strong arm' tactics in Washington's global policy will only result in forces of resistance from others."
BANGLADESH: "Bush Branding"
The centrist English language Independent commented (2/1): "Now that President Bush has chosen to bracket Iran as an evil nation, a new chaos promises to descend on global politics. Mr. Bush also has set new parameters for U.S. policy, which clearly overturn those made in the last few days of the Clinton administration regarding North Korea. At a time when efforts, however strenuous, are on to affect a change in relations between Pyongyang and Seoul, the Bush pronouncement will not help. As for Iraq, there are whole new perspectives which call for observation here. That the Saddam regime survives is a surprise; and surprising too is the way in which ordinary Iraqis have suffered through the continuation of economic sanctions."
INDIA: "Bush's New Stridency"
The centrist Hindu opined (2/4): "The arrogance that marked the latest Manichaean pronouncement of the U.S. President, George W. Bush, alleging an 'axis of evil' on the international stage has justifiably produced a backlash of adverse reactions.... In a macro-perspective, it appears that Mr. Bush has chosen to raise this new specter so as to promote his pet theme of a space-age missile defense system for America and its allies.... Clearly at this point there is no cause for the international community to support American efforts to widen the campaign beyond Afghanistan."
"A Brave New World"
Former director of the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, Jasjit Singh, wrote in the centrist Indian Express (2/4): "The test of the Bush Doctrine will be the degree of democratization that it will infuse in international relations and economic interaction.... But the emerging world, as defined by Bush, cannot be a world that is polarized. It is in this context that his references to Iran, Iraq and others as an 'axis of evil' have to be seen.... Few countries of the world would describe the regimes in these countries as 'evil' although most would hope to see their evolution towards more liberal democratic societies.... The war against terrorism is virtually the Third World War; and democracies are natural allies in this war. This is the opportunity to strengthen future relations based on deeper understanding of each other."
PAKISTAN: "The U.S. State Terrorism Against Iraq"
Dr. Jassim Taqui wrote in Islamabad's rightist English langauge Pakistan Observer (2/4): "In a bid to conceal the most barbaric and inhuman state-terrorism which has been practiced by successive U.S. administrations for the last 11 years, President Bush has come with an attack on Iraq. Fortunately, his unjust attack on Iraq has been condemned throughout the world including in the United States itself.... Bush has stabbed humanity in the heart by attempting to conceal the evil of sanctions and genocide against the people of Iraq and to converting this evil injustice into justice by defending the evil of torturing the people of Iraq to death."
"Dangers Of Overreaching"
The center-right, national asserted Nation (2/3): "President Bush has threatened to take the U.S.-led war against terrorism to Iraq, Iran and North Korea.... The U.S. is increasingly seen by the Muslim world as targeting Islamic countries and communities. The perception has been strengthened by the unstinted support being extended to Ariel Sharon who continues to exercise the worst type of state terrorism against the Palestinian people. Notice is also being taken of the dubious U.S. role in South Asia and its turning a blind eye to the sufferings of the Kashmiris. An attack on Iran and Iraq will only exacerbate anti-U.S. sentiment in the Muslim world. During his upcoming visit, General Musharraf must warn President Bush about the reaction bound to ensue in Pakistan if the U.S. attacks the three countries listed."
CANADA: "Mr. Bush's Rash Words"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (2/1): "The most worrisome thing about a U.S. foreign policy steered by the perception that the world is divided between allies who support the war on terrorism (Russia, Pakistan and Israel, for instance) and those who don't is where it leads. Through the Bush lens, the bad guys have to be told to shape up or look out. But what if there are more bad guys than realized, and what if they don't shape up? Should they all be bombed into submission, as part of some global campaign that lasts indefinitely? Or will a diplomatic approach somehow have to be revived? It will not be Mr. Bush but his successors in the White House who will likely have to answer that."
"America's Axis To Grind"
Washington correspondent Paul Koring commented in the leading Globe and Mail (1/31): "In one sense, Mr. Bush's new strategy simply adds a pre-emptive offensive component to his long-championed National Missile Defence. North Korea, Iran and Iraq all have, or are close to having, long-range missiles. All three are known to be seeking nuclear weapons capability. Iran and Iraq have--and have used--chemical weapons. So, instead of relying solely on a defensive antimissile shield to protect against surprise attacks from 'rogue states,' as those three countries used to be dubbed, the President has now laid down the justification for a pre-emptive war, while stopping well short of any clear ultimatum.... Given the relative speed and ease with which military action toppled the Taliban, and at the same time silenced criticism from both Washington's allies and its traditional rivals, the Bush administration may be hoping that similarly aggressive leadership against tougher adversaries will produce similarly docile support, or at worst, silence, in the future.... Yet, to dismiss President Bush's grim warning that--with or without allies, and whether or not the world approves--America will not risk the calamitous possibility that a rogue state could obliterate a U.S. city as rhetorical sabre-rattling, would be to forget very recent history. Within hours of the shocking sights of the World Trade Center towers collapsing and entombing thousands of Americans, Mr. Bush told a still reeling country that he would destroy states harbouring terrorist organizations. In Kabul, the Taliban regime didn't take him seriously. Nor, perhaps, did America's friends."
"Cutting Off The Exits"
The conservative National Post opined (1/31): "Most importantly, Mr. Bush put three state sponsors of terror--North Korea, Iran and Iraq--on notice that they are in his gunsights. The inclusion of Iran is telling. Until now, the United States has avoided naming the Islamic republic as an enemy, partly to secure its assistance in toppling the Taliban and partly to avoid inflaming Arab-Israeli tensions. But Iran has been caught red-handed shipping weapons to the Palestinian Authority and fomenting opposition to Afghanistan's new interim government, and Mr. Bush therefore added Tehran swiftly, rightly and publicly to its enemies list. Admirably, the U.S. President is signalling that he and his country will not be satisfied with its pushover win in Afghanistan, but will confront, militarily if necessary, those states that finance and spread terrorism around the world.... But by declaring the truth--that terrorism involves a global network of interlinked cells and organizations, and a clutch of pariah state puppeteers--Mr. Bush makes it plain that he is not seeking soft options. He does not want an easy way out. He has no intention of lobbing cruise missiles uselessly into a desert or mountainside and declaring hollow victory. He does not intend to 'send a message.' He intends to use U.S. military might to win a titanic conflict. All people and nations of good will should support him."
"Bush's Ambitious Call To Arms"
Foreign affairs columnist Gordon Barthos observed in the liberal Toronto Star (1/31): "Only a wildly popular commander-in-chief who feels the country is in lockstep behind him could attempt the State of the Union speech George Bush delivered this week. Despite Congress' thunderous applause, there was something unsettling about his view of the nation, and the world.... Sadly missing from this stirring call to arms was any recognition that smart U.S. diplomacy, political pressure and economic sanctions might contain Iraq, Iran or North Korea, and induce them to change course without requiring that blood be spilled. Nor did Bush acknowledge that North Korea and Iran have been warming to the U.S., after long enmity, and should be wooed. Or that Iraq is so hobbled by UN sanctions, that it poses no credible threat to anyone. And he displayed little interest in working through the UN or with allies, to persuade problem regimes to adopt less hostile policies.... Instead, Bush seemed content to project a combative, go-it-alone attitude and a zeal to settle old scores that seems fated to alienate even allies.... Some put this down to presidential posturing in the runup to Congressional elections, as ordinary Americans grow more anxious about jobs, and less about terror. We can only hope. The state of America's union is not so threatened that it needs to declare war everywhere."
BRAZIL: "Introversion And Bellicosity"
The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo stressed (2/3): "Polls conducted immediately after the State of the Union Address indicate that 94 percent of Americans support President Bush's bellicosity. This should not surprise anyone, considering the U.S. trauma following Sep. 11 and the patriotic pride in the quick military victory in Afghanistan.... This is a disturbing reality. First because it represents a green light to toughening a strategy of voluntarism whose risks are much more predictable than the benefits. Second because it shows U.S. society's indifference about what the world may think about its leaders' reckless policies. Such an exacerbated state of introversion creates an abyss between America and its traditional allies.... The hope of a significant part of the international community which shares the conviction that terror cannot be faced with incomplete measures but refuses to give the U.S. police authority over the world, is that Bush just wanted to intimidate the nations he named [Iran, Iraq, North Korea]. The power would only be used as a last resort, after all forms of joint pressure over 'criminal' regimes which actually develop, produce and sell weapons of mass destruction are exhausted."
CHILE: "Bush's Policy"
Conservative La Segunda asserted (2/1): "In his first State of the Union Address, President Bush set aside the traditional presentation.... This was a speech for a time of war, in which the President used his nearly unprecedented political support to move Congress and the nation toward three great challenges: The war against terrorism, the assurance of internal security, and economic recovery. Without being too specific, but with direct language, Bush showed determination and leadership.... For the first time, Bush pointed the finger at those nations that represent the most serious threat to global security...publicly making them enemies.... However, what his address did not show...was the determination to act according to the rule of international law... U.S. traditional isolationism has gained strength in the months after September 11. This is evident in the limited participation the U.N. has been allowed and in the refusal to consider the 158 individuals held captive in Guantanamo as prisoners of war.... Instead of using his immense international popularity to move toward true international leadership and committing himself to a world order above any national interest, Bush has chosen the path of the autonomous superpower, not subject to any regulation that could in any way limit its actions."
ECUADOR: "The State Of The Union"
Grace Jaramillo opined in Quito's centrist El Comercio (2/1): "During his State of the Union address last Tuesday, U.S. President George Bush...explained his vision of international politics and his geo-strategy for the world.... Bush touched quite successfully on the key issues of concern for the common citizen, but in doing so, he wounded the sensitivities of his foreign allies, mainly those from Europe. These same allies have supported his forces during the Afghanistan operation and his defensive strategy in the Atlantic Alliance.... Although the British and French expected that the anti-terrorist campaign would get tougher, they never expected that the new actors would be announced by name: North Korea, Iran and Iraq.... Another surprising announcement was the military strategy to be followed--press the trigger before someone takes aim. And that was the part of the address where the European dreams of multilateralism got buried.... If there were a real threat, the U.S. would have little to fear in conventional terms. Its military expenditure is equivalent to 37 percent of the total world expenditures in security.... Western Europe as a whole does not expend half of that budget, Russia and China merely reach six or three percent (respectively) of the total expenditure. The asymmetry is so big that it seems Bush owes many explanations to his European allies."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Axis Of Evil"
Afrikaans-language, centrist Die Burger held (1/31): "Not for a long time has America experienced a speech as important as that which was delivered by Pres. George W. Bush to Congress.... It means that the leaders of Iraq, Iran and North Korea should not rest too easy in their beds in the coming months.... Iraq will in all probability be attacked first, probably before the end of the year.... After this, the fear of unilateral action once more becomes a reality."