|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Overseas editorial reaction to the World Economic Forum was dominated by criticism of the U.S. and doubts about the merits of globalization. In a shift from the positive coverage of free trade following Doha, the focus was on the failures and negative consequences of globalization. Secretary Powell's remarks on "waging war" on world poverty received a few nods of approval, but overall, editorials portrayed the U.S. as insincere about correcting "global inequalities."
--Anti-Americanism has become acceptable again, particularly in Europe, supplanting the erstwhile "solidarity" with the U.S. after the terrorist attacks.
--The prevailing view was that globalization contributes to rather than prevents the poverty-terrorism connection and sympathy toward the developing world--seen as not reaping the benefits of a free trade--is on the rise.
--A minority view held that while globalization is flawed, it is the best alternative for creating economic opportunities for those who choose to participate.
Criticism of U.S. overtakes economic agenda: A number of European dailies concluded that the post 9-11 goodwill toward the U.S. has evaporated. Many critics, warmed up after their diatribes against the president's State of the Union "axis of evil" remarks, focused less on economics than on the U.S.' perceived "unilateralism" in the war on terrorism. Even London's conservative Times warned, the greatest danger to the U.S. was its leaders' "arrogance of power."
Skeptics question globalization and "capitalist values." Many lamented that the rules of global trade, written by the U.S., were "stacked against" the developing world. They saw the gap between rich and poor countries "widening"--a problem that would fuel terrorist-breeding "hostility" toward the West. A majority concluded that the free market model needed redressing.
Defending globalization: A few, mainly in Canada, Europe, India and the Philippines, bucked the anti-globalization trend. They dismissed the poverty-terrorism link as "facile," some deriding the WEF attendees as "buffoons" or "dreamers."
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 59 reports from 19 countries, January 31-February 7. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Arrogance And Fear: The American Paradox"
A commentary by associate editor Anatole Kaletsky in the conservative Times observed (2/7): "Is America about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? To judge by the incoherent paranoid mood of the World Economic Forum in New York, American politicians, businessmen and media commentators appear to be on the brink of a collective nervous breakdown.... Americans should now feel more secure than ever.... Yet the Bush Administration's response to all these victories has been to terrify the American public with bloodcurdling rhetoric about the infinitely greater horrors of nuclear and biological terrorism that lie in wait.... There are many possible reasons why Mr. Bush may prefer to whip up irrational war hysteria rather than rest on his laurels....
"All this is obvious enough--and all of these themes were widely discussed in the background of the New York forum, if only sotto voce. It is also obvious that America's paranoia and arrogance will pose at least a temporary danger to the global--anti-terrorist coalition. What is less obvious...is the effect of the new paranoia on the global victory of American capitalist values.... Even U.S. businessmen seem to be losing confidence in the legitimacy of the system that made them rich.... All this may be no bad thing. Perhaps global inequalities have become intolerable. Perhaps the imbalance between materialism and spirituality does need redressing. Perhaps Europe...could benefit by distancing themselves further from brash American values. But as Mr. Bush pushes America ever further towards the extremes of military unilateralism, there is a growing danger of a repeat of the global ideological backlash of the 1960s--and a near certainty that U.S. influence in the world will diminish. The greatest danger to America's dominant position today is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is the arrogance of American power."
"Is It At Risk?"
A special report in the independent Economist reflected (2/2): "Leadership in fragile times' is the theme of this year's World Economic Forum.... [For] Once that theme is apt. America has declared war on terrorism, Argentina's financial system has collapsed, and the world economy is enduring the worst slowdown in a generation. Does all this, as some argue, pose a threat to the liberal international order--that is to globalization?... Pessimists were quick to suggest that globalization cannot survive these shocks.... The war on terrorism could conceivable clog the arteries of the global economy.... So far, however, the evidence...is patchy.... In short, most aspects of globalization have survived the shocks of 2001 remarkably well. But at the same time these events have worsened a long-standing problem. Global integration is a selective phenomenon. Many countries benefit, many do not.... Globalization is not, and never was, global. Much of the world,...including large tracts of Africa and many Muslim countries, has simply failed to participate. The shocks of 2001 now risk worsening this long-standing marginalization."
"U.S. Treasury Secretary Sheds No Tears For Poor"
Jeremy Warner penned this editorial in the centrist Independent (2/4): "For Mr. O'Neill, debt relief and most overseas aid is a waste of money. Sure there is a desire to do something about the state of the world, the more so since the terrorist attacks, but there is also a bigger priority, which is not to waste the taxpayer's money. There's some truth in what he says, especially when it comes to the effectiveness of overseas aid. The trouble with Mr. O'Neill is that he thinks like the businessman he was.... Meetings of the World Economic Forum have long been characterized by American triumphalism, and despite all that has occurred--the bursting of the technology bubble, the business downturn, 11 September and the Enron embarrassment--this one is no exception."
FRANCE: "Recovery: American Voluntarism"
Philippe Reclus opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/7): "The all-powerful American view at the Davos/New York Summit proves that the U.S. firmly intends to keep the upper hand and not give anyone else the leadership role in bringing about global economic recovery. No one can deny that Europe would be the first to benefit from (this recovery). But it is regrettable that once again the Old Continent is lagging...and incapable of proposing an alternative to the American system of market economy while the Enron scandal highlights its excesses."
"Porto Alegre 1, Davos 0"
Hedwige Chevrillon judged in centrist La Tribune (2/4): "For once the World Economic Forum did not turn out to be a conference on self-congratulation by the 'masters of the universe.' The Porto Alegre Forum was there to remind them of the concerns raised by an apparently inhuman globalization.... Still, it would be nanve to bury globalization once and for all.... The figures are here to prove its effectiveness.... Herein lies the paradox: Globalization is not global.... There is a need to explore new forms of development. What remains to be ascertained is the attitude of the United States, which is still traumatized. And the strong language used by the U.S. president in his State of the Union Address is not of the sort to reassure the rest of world."
GERMANY: "Shot That Backfired"
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine noted (2/4): "The dreamers who gathered in Porto Alegre and in New York think of everything else, but not of the economic success of threshold and developing nations which would be impossible without globalization. And the IMF obviously does not seem to dare to present the situation as it is. This can be right only for those who want to create confusion instead of informing the people."
"Has There Ever Been September 11?"
Maren Peters noted on the front-page of centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/2): "The attacks on the World Trade Center shocked not only New York. The whole world was shaken to the core. The new slogan was: rethink, redirect, and redistribute. But it did not last long. The need to move closer together in the common fight against evil faded with the fear of the Taliban. And the desire to close the wide gap between a prospering and a poor world, between supporters and opponents of globalization was pushed into the background even during the first donor conference on Afghanistan. After the hopeful beginning of the WTO in Doha, this World Economic Forum has again turned into a bitter haggling between the developed and the underdeveloped world.... Supporters and opponents of globalization would now be well-advised to engage in a field where successes are necessary and possible: in the new World Trade Round. At the WTO talks there will not be friendly meetings but tough negotiations. Politicians and managers of the industrialized world have to prove that they are serious about an opening of their markets and about a fair distribution of wealth. And opponents of globalization would have to show that they accept global trade as a possible path to a better policy. But thus far, signals are not very encouraging."
"Protest In A New Framework"
Rolf Paasch had this to say in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (2/4): "It seems that globalization critics made a new beginning after this more or less peaceful conference and protest weekend. They have reconquered part of their credibility. But now it will be much more difficult to find forms of protest that can no longer be misused by militant minorities. And there is the challenge to develop programs that survive not only in the idyllic Porto Allegre but also in the confrontation with the supporters of globalization. The interventions by Chancellor Schroeder and IMF leader Koehler in New York demonstrated the size of this task. Their pledges for a fair global order, their criticism of the industrialized nations, may again have no political consequences, but they made this criticism in public and this requires a response. A practical new definition of their work and their goals has never been as important for globalization critics as today at a time when, in the shadow of the 'anti-terror war,' economic liberalism is getting a new security policy framework."
ITALY: "Europe And The U.S. Find Themselves Far From Each Other"
New York correspondent Mario Platero opined in leading business Il Sole 24 Ore (2/5): "The curtain fell on the stage of the World Economic Forum with a basic message: the gap in the relations between the U.S. and Europe is widening again, on both the political and economic levels.... There is no doubt that in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush was referring to some European governments when he stated that there are countries that are more concerned about living quietly rather than continuing the fight against terrorism."
"Global, No Global And America's Puzzle"
Cesare de Carlo concluded in conservative, top-circulation La Nazione/Il Resto del Carlino/Il Giorno (2/5): "For sure, we can say one thing. Notwithstanding its contradictions, Washington is well aware of its responsibilities at the world level. Sometimes, it would like to give them away, but it cannot. It is the center of the empire. Everyone, in every corner of the world, is looking at it, as they were looking at Rome two thousand years ago. They wait for its decisions. And then they criticize."
“U.N. ‘Unilateral Approach’ Criticized In New York”
New York correspondent Stefano Trincia held in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (2/4): “On the penultimate day of the World Economic Summit, participants did not talk about poverty or social imbalances. They dealt, instead, with the growing American ‘unilateralism’ in foreign policy and in the economy. Such a policy, typical of the only world superpower, emerged clearly during the summit from the words of Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Treasury Secretary O’Neill. A strategy that creates concern among European diplomacies, and even high-level NATO circles, regarding the immediate future of the war on international terrorism. The United States' veiled threat to settle the accounts with Iraq or to attack Iran for its alleged support for al-Qaida goes hand in hand with the awareness of the secondary role still played by Europe--unable to formulate a united and effective foreign policy, or to counter the dollar’s exaggerated power with the frail euro.”
RUSSIA: "Nothing Globalizes The World Better Than Anti-Globalists"
Reformist Noviye Izvestiya published an article by Aleksandr Ivanitskiy (1/31): "Most observers agree that the 'Davos Era,' with its utter belief in a single method of treating the world's social and economic ills, developed by a few eggheads at their brainstorming sessions, is over. September 11 showed that not all peoples want the same thing, and the Argentine default shows that not all are capable of moving steadfastly to where they want to be. Besides, anti-globalism, being partly the neurosis of the Western world itself, is clearly a reaction to the world's financial crisis of the late 1990s, which did in several seemingly promising economies in the Far East, Latin America and, incidentally, Russia. The unification of Europe has caused fears in the Third World as it has stopped being the West's favorite toy. Under the circumstances, nothing contributes better to economic globalism than the syndrome of a besieged fortress. The question is who will be let in."
BELGIUM: "Talk Is Not Enough"
Economic affairs writer Johan Corthouts observed in independent De Morgen (2/4): "It is high time now to change the situation and to come forward with new and fresh ideas to stop underdevelopment. Porte Alegre, for instance, (could do that). Now that even the super wealthy begin to have doubts about their own recipes, the time (of the anti-globalists) may have come to present solutions.... [But] Porte Alegre looks more like a 21st century Woodstock--a place where it is nice to be to develop relations.... If the anti-globalists want to become a counterweight they will have to organize themselves differently. Talking alone is not enough."
"Why The Anti-Globalization Militants Don't Want To Talk With Verhofstadt"
Chief commentator Yves Desmet opined in independent De Morgen (2/1): "Today, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt will attend the World Economic Forum in New York. He had the intention to travel from there to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where the anti-globalization militants are gathering. But, that plan will not take place. The organizers of the alternative forum don't want to see Verhofstadt.... One must admit that Verhofstadt, during his EU presidency, was virtually the only government leader who was willing to start a debate with the anti-globalization movement.... As a matter of fact, he agrees with many arguments of their analysis, but he does not agree with all their solutions.... A certain segment of the anti-globalization movement has accomplished its goal. It is not the NGOs, the trade unions and the new social movements--the majority of the anti-globalization militants--but a small segment of the militant leftist movement that has won the battle: The segment that continues to view communism as the only soul-saving remedy against all the injustice in the world. In the tradition of that movement, a dialogue with the enemy is unacceptable. Such a dialogue with the enemy cannot yield anything--except doubt about their own unique conviction.... Nobody demands that the anti-globalists declare that Verhofstadt is right,...but it is stupid and arrogant to refuse to talk to this opponent--a man who has shown that he is willing to listen."
IRELAND: "Economic Forum Hits At Smug U.S. Superpower"
According to the centrist Irish Examiner (2/5): "They came in solidarity with the terror-wounded city of New York. But since they arrived, speaker after speaker at the World Economic Forum has lambasted America as a smug superpower, too beholden to Israel at the expense of the Muslim world, and inattentive to the needs of poor countries or the advice of allies. As the forum wrapped up its five-day session yesterday, some of the criticism has been simply scolding by non-Western leaders. But a large measure has come in public soul-searching by U.S. politicians and business leaders."
"The Gap Between Rich And Poor"
The liberal Irish Times held (2/5): "The sense of unease tended to pitch European critics against American policy-makers, in a significant barometer of a growing trend in world politics. There was a clear difference of emphasis between U.S. and European views about the likelihood of a rapid economic recovery.... A more disquieting disagreement about policy arose from discussion about President Bush's reference last week to an 'axis of evil' between Iran, Iraq and North Korea in harbouring and promoting terrorist organisations. This was described as a 'bridge too far' for the Europeans by Mr. Joseph Nye, the international relations scholar."
"Post-September 11 Reluctance To Criticize U.S. Comes To An End"
International business editor Conor O'Clergy filed from New York in the liberal Irish Times (2/4): "The World Economic Forum this weekend nonetheless became a catalyst for the end of international post-September 11th reticence--the reluctance to criticise the United States in its war on terrorism.... It became almost open season on the U.S., ranging from criticism of protectionist policies that hurt developing countries and the low level of US foreign aid to concerns about unilateral military actions the U.S. might take following President Bush's naming of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an 'axis of evil'.... There was a perception that globalisation created private wealth in a process biased against the poor, and resentment against the U.S. came from the fact that as the only superpower, it so influenced the world, while its own population had no interest in the world, said Mr Zaki Laidi, senior research fellow at the CERI research institute in Paris."
"Powell Says U.S. And Allies Must Address World Poverty"
The liberal Irish Times ran a piece by international business editor Conor O'Clery (2/2): "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged yesterday that the United States and its allies must do more than seek to defeat terrorism by military means.... His portrayal of the benign aspirations of US foreign policy comes as it finds itself the subject of some lively criticism at the forum, which this year includes many politicians of the developing world, religious leaders and and critics of U.S.-led globalization.... Some prominent European voices were also heard cautioning the United States about 'going it alone' in its new war."
POLAND: "God Bless America"
Maciej Rybinski wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (2/6): "The World Economic Forum in New York changed into a global tribunal to try the United States of America. Not only the small groups of anti-globalists, but also the Forum participants...strongly criticized the biggest economic power for its egotism and ignoring the needs of the poor.... One could be under the impression that were it not for the United States, the standard of living in the post-colonial African countries being torn by tribal wars would be much higher; that it is the United States that curbs the development of entrepreneurship in the post-Communist countries of Eastern Europe, maintains the Middle Age social structures in India and Bangladesh, or forces principles that restrict output capacity and innovation on EU countries."
"Waiting For The Repetition Of Enron"
Marcin Szymaniak wrote in center-left Zycie Warszawy (2/5): "The World Economic Forum which just ended was slightly different from previous rallies of this kind. Its participants were more zealous in trying to convince the public that they cared for the poor, the wronged, the Third World, etc. Alas, everything indicates that, as usual, it will all end in prattle. Our pessimism stems from our assessment of the behavior of the mighty of the world. The people of the Third World should rather not count on their mercy since they [the mighty of the world] have little respect for their fellow-citizens and employees as the recent example of Enron shows.... The Enron affair and other scandals of this kind only validate the anti-globalists' charges against the politicians and big business."
ROMANIA: "Globalization Continues In Spite Of Protests"
In independent Ziua, Constantin Balaceanu Stolnici opined (2/1): "The process of political, and especially economic, construction of globalization continues in spite of the protests, which sometimes reach an unacceptable level of aggression, of those who want to put an end to the course of history.... While in New York, globalization is based on the market economy, and, in general, on realistic, liberal or neo-liberal models, the people in Porto Alegre have fallen into the demagogical trap of an unrealistic egalitarianism, inspired by ancient socialist utopias from the beginning of the 19th century, and by the disastrous experiences of 20th century Leninism and Stalinism, which were carefully made up."
"Opportunity To Solve Mideast Conflict"
Political analyst Vladimir Alexandrescu wrote in pro-government Dimineata (2/1): "The New York Forum will also represent an opportunity for diplomacy to play a role in different conflicts, such as, first of all, the one between the Palestinians and the Israelis."
SPAIN: “Porto Alegre In Davos”
Left-of-center El Pais contended (2/4): “Anti-globalization has triumphed, in a certain way.... Porto Alegre and Davos have much more in common today than they did last year. Such an opportunity is not to be missed.... The organizers of Porto Alegre have excluded autocrats (like Fidel Castro) and the violent...but they are making a mistake by not opening up more.... Davos has become a little like Porto Alegre, and in the end, there is a little bit more realism. The most positive thing is the increasing general perception that a safer world has to be a fairer world.”
"Between New York And Porto Alegre"
Independent El Mundo concluded (2/1): "Bin Laden, the war and the economic crisis are making it compulsory for the Davos Club to restart its search for prosperity on the grounds of globalization and democracy, while keeping in mind that this won't be achieved unless citizens feel the benefit from it.... The anti-globalization movement is more than ever risking its credibility and strength as well.... Their summit will be a failure if they do not go beyond attempting to condemn the Afghanistan war.... Out of their reflections, there must be concrete proposals, and above all, their commitment to defend them in a peaceful way."
TURKEY: "Rising Stars: Nationalism And Flag"
Hasan Cemal saw increased nationalism and support for the federal government as he reported from the WEF for mass-appeal Milliyet (2/1): "There is an obvious change in the freedom/security balance following the September 11 attacks. The freedom aspect is losing ground, while the security aspect is gaining with the help of public support. ... The world is changing again, and this time 9/11 is the major driving force. International platforms, like the WEF makes this fact even more obvious. Speaking domestically, it seems Turkey will enjoy a much better place in the global community if Turkey manages to finish its internal homework."
"Davos Made In USA"
Izzet Sedes commented on the New York and Porto Allegre meetings in mass-appeal Aksam (2/1): "Each meeting represents a different view of the global scene. The fact of the matter is, global issues existed before the Sept. 11, and they continue to exist now. Nothing has changed in that regard. The fight against terrorism is definitely a requirement, but at the same time there should be a fight against poverty and hunger, and work for a more peaceful world."
SAUDI ARABIA: "The International Message To Washington"
London based, pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat editorialized (2/5): "President Bush was unable to attend the World Economic Forum because of his busy schedule. Albeit, he might do well to ponder over the message sent by the political and economic decision-makers there. A simple message which stated that unfortunately despite America's extraordinary sole superpower status it has failed to fulfill its leadership role in many spots in dire need.... Thus, giving way to prevailing hostile feelings toward the U.S. by Leftist groups, religious extremists and nanve idealists. Strikingly enough, America made light of the forum's fierce criticism of U.S. politics in the Middle East and the global free-trade environment.... One extremely dangerous example is the Bush government's unconditional support for Sharon, which gives him the impression that Israel has full-rein to impose its terror on Palestine and its people. It also breeds hostile, anti-American sentiments among the Arab and Muslims public and angers Palestinian sympathizers.... The message sent by the 120 decision-makers is: We are friends of America, please listen and consult with us; and work to reduce tensions around the world while it's still possible."
Jeddah-based, moderate Arab News editorialized (2/5): "Moving the World Economic Forum to New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel has succeeded in keeping at bay the thousands of often-violent protesters, whose behavior has disfigured so many recent international economic gatherings.... All the hugely varied issues that they represent, ranging from saving the spotted owl to banning nuclear weapons, meet together at a single point, which is deep distrust of the capitalist system.... (Corporations) have formed massive organizations whose budgets rival, if they do not actually dwarf, those of many poor countries. The protesters argue that these hugely powerful businesses are, in effect, answerable to no one. They are only interested in profits.... Would big companies have bothered to work so hard on their images, if it had not been for the groundswell of doubt and unease about their behavior? Probably not.... Third World debt forgiveness would probably have come about without protesters focusing worldwide concerns on the strict and inflexible policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But forgiveness has almost certainly come about more quickly.... Tanzania is a classic case where privatization has been imposed on the government by the World Bank. But...is it really privatization or 'foreignization'? Are countries like Tanzania now being exposed to economic, rather than political, colonization?... Bankers smoking their big cigars in the corridors of the Waldorf-Astoria would argue that a well-run economy with flourishing businesses, even if they are foreign-owned, will bring prosperity and economic stability to everyone.... This is all right as far as it goes, but multinationals still need to have checks upon them, control which First World governments often seem reluctant to exercise. And if a mammoth company, like Enron is prepared to bribe and cheat within the establishment, maybe we need the yelling anti-capitalist outsiders, to keep on crying foul, even if they are wrong some of the time."
An editorial in Jeddah-based, moderate Saudi Gazette declared (2/4): "The issue drawing attention in this year's World Economic Forum, which is being held in New York instead of Davos, Switzerland, is the relationship between the West and Islam. Although the political West has been focusing on Islam since the fall of Ronald Reagan's Evil Empire...and although pseudo-intellectuals like Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington have been regularly warning the keepers of Western civilization of the impending conflict with Islam, the relationship between Islam and the West has gained significance since America's 911 events. In official circles and the media, Islam is being portrayed more negatively than ever.... The chronic problem of the human and political rights of the Palestinian people is being ignored this time since the government of Ariel Sharon has almost resolved the issue to its own satisfaction; and because the America of President George W. Bush has decided not to be an honest peace-broker, and is now pleased to act as the mouthpiece of the Zionist regime.... The U.S. wonders why Arabs or Muslims hate America, but rejects the view that this is due to the fact that the U.S. has not used its power to resolve the Palestinian problem. Palestinians, including infants in their mothers arms, are being massacred. Yet, American conscience has not stirred.... One problem at this year's WEF meeting is concern that Arab countries constitute the only part of the world trying to stay out of modern times, and that they cannot join the WTO because some of them do not allow the import of alcohol!... Such discussions betray the level of Western understanding of current issues outside the West. The question before Muslims is whether Western misperceptions can ever be corrected."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "What The World Needs Now"
An op-ed from international editor Paul Kelly in the national conservative Australian had this observation (2/6): "Though prompted by security problems at Davos, it was an astute move [to hold WEF in New York] since America's hopes, fears and aspirations are the drivers of world economic and security outcomes, now more than ever. The American condition was on display. This is a nation that feels under threat and takes the threat seriously.... Immense military power and the chill of fear is carrying the United States on to an unpredictable path. Bush has widened U.S. military aims, warning that 'I will not await on events' since 'time is not on our side.' New York's meeting was dominated by vulnerability, fragility and uncertainty.... The core of the New York conference was the need to find new bridges--between rich and poor, globalists and anti-globalists, Israel and the Palestinians. The WEF can't produce the answers but it can influence the agendas."
"Fair Trade And More Aid For A Safer World"
An editorial in the liberal Age held (2/5): "This year's meeting was moved to New York from its customary home in Davos, Switzerland, to show solidarity with the United States after the attacks of September 11. If the rich world learned anything from those attacks, it is that we can no longer maintain the illusion that poverty and resentment in other parts of the world will never touch our sheltered lives.... Countries cannot break into the global trading system while their populations are sick and hungry, and while the trade rules are stacked against them. Fairer trade is one part of the answer. But in the short term there is no alternative to well-directed aid if the world is to become a safer place."
"WEF Tricks Of The Trade"
An editorial in the national, business-oriented Australian Financial Review concluded (2/4): "The strengths and weaknesses of Western capitalism were displayed in New York at the weekend.... Mr. Colin Powell urged world leaders to wage war on poverty, despair and hopelessness in order to help persuade aspiring terrorists 'that there is a better way.' But there was no mention of taking the simple step that the World Bank reckons would do most to eradicate poverty--opening up the markets of the United States and other rich countries of the world to the agricultural products and textiles that poor countries can produce most easily."
NEW ZEALAND: "Interview With MP Clayton Cosgrove"
National Radio's highly rated 'Morning Report' program interviewed MP Clayton Cosgrove about his impressions of the World Economic Forum (2/4): "There are some amazing people here--Kofi Annan, Colin Powell was here the day before yesterday. You know, they're the best and the brightest and it's a huge opportunity for a junior MP like me to actually be exposed to them and learn something and take the best of their ideas and bring them back... You spend two or three days in a room with a whole series of operators, both political, NGO, commercial. You rub shoulders with all sorts of people and you never, you know, you never get an opportunity like this and there's huge business opportunities here. There's huge synergies and you know, we have a bible which is an email address book they've given us and we freely can communicate with these people... There's a lot of pride in this city, a lot of sorrow obviously. I visited Ground Zero a couple of days ago and it looks funnily enough, like a reconstruction site. There's nothing there, it's a big hole in the ground now, but people, you know, people are determined to bounce back from this and it's a pretty emotional place I've got to say. One thing I do admire, you know, the Americans have a great love of country and there is a real sense of pride and resilience in this country and there is a great deal of thanks and gratitude for the New Zealand government's role and what we've said, what we've done and what we continue to do to assist the American cause. Our Prime Minister is held in very high regard in this country."
PHILIPPINES: "Who's Fighting Poverty?"
The independent Philippine Daily Inquirer commented (2/7): "In the...World Economic Forum...two themes were resonant: advancing security in a fragile world and reducing poverty and restoring sustained economic growth. The focus on the poor as the root of conflict and even attacks by terrorists came as a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. But while U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill acknowledged the need to combat poverty, they focused on the need to combat 'evil regimes.' Their remarks at the forum...drew attention to President...Bush's budget proposal for next year which provides the biggest military build-up in two decades while plunging the U.S. government again in deficit. ...While military spending receives a big boost, the budget seeks cuts on health and education spending. With this shift in spending by the world's largest economy, the voices at the forum calling for a serious examination of poverty asa cause of conflict and terrorist attacks virtually got a short shrift.... As the most important source of capital and investment, the United States sets the pace for the direction of capital flows. The flow right now is moving away from poverty alleviation or aiding poor economies."
Julius Fortuna, in his column in the independent Manila Times, wrote (2/7): "There's a new slogan arising out of New York World Economic Forum. It's called 'ethical globalization.' This is a phrase that means we can set up a kind and caring community in the midst of selfishness and profit. Is that society possible in our time? ...We doubt whether ethical globalization can ever be achieved.... George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, doubted whether ethics and capitalism could mix. Carey said the fall of Enron...raises question about honesty and accountability within capitalism.... China is showing the way in terms of mixed social economy. ...It has adopted certain positive features of capitalism.... But abuse inherent in capitalism is checked because of the reserve power of the state hanging over the heads of the abusive.
"Poverty And Terrorism"
The independent Manila Times held (2/6): "Last week at the World Economic Forum in New York City, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo suggested an international coalition against poverty to complement the coalition against terrorism. There is value in all this, although we think it is too facile to overstate the connection between mass poverty and the growing prevalence of terror.... Looking back, two events that are germane to an understanding of the post-Sept. 11 world stand out. The first is the oil shock that the OPEC inflicted on the world economy some 30 years ago. The result was a massive transfer of wealth to a few countries that controlled most of the world's supply of petroleum.... The other event was globalization. The so-called Washington Consensus of trade liberalization, tight macro-economic management, and the international linking of markets failed to take into account the time and resources needed by poor countries to adjust. The result was instability and, in some cases, civil strife. The confluence of the effects of these two events coincided with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and militancy that began in Iran. Islam became a political ideology for the liberation of Muslim countries from Western tutelage. The coalition against poverty, should it become accepted, could deliberately promote policies that would stimulate market-led economic growth. This is the best way to bring down poverty levels. As for terrorism, the approach should be to defuse Islamic militancy by settling the dispute between Israel and Palestine and forcing the Gulf States to begin introducing democratic reforms."
"Root Causes Of Global Conflict"
Editorial consultant Amando Doronila noted in his column in the independent Philippine Daily Inquirer (2/6): "The World Economic Forum, at which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called for an international coalition in a war on poverty, ended its summit of the world's economic, political and academic elite in New York on Monday with diminished influence in setting the development agenda for the 21st century.... The summit was held under the shadow of the global economic downturn deepened by the terrorist attacks, the rising anti-American sentiment over its global campaign against terror and the collapse of Enron which highlights corruption in one of the leading symbols of capitalism's corporate sector. In New York, the agenda of the forum thrust to the forefront the security concerns arising from the attacks on the United States and these concerns highlighted such issues as 'clash of civilizations,' the root cause of conflict - such as poverty (which President Macapagal accented), inequity and intolerance - and the global economic outlook. The theme 'fragile times' echoed in the meetings."
"Terrorism, Poverty Are Twins"
The government-controlled People's Journal said in its editorial (2/3): "President...Arroyo delivered a strong...message in the opening of the annual World Economic Forum in New York last Thursday.... The President challenged the...five-day meeting to harness the United States-led coalition to fight the global war against terrorism in order to launch and sustain the fight against poverty and in the process contain the spread of terrorism.... The intimate linkage between terrorism and poverty is also a...problem being addressed by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The Abu Sayyaf band...for instance, must be exorcised if we have to bring development to Mindanao.... No foreign investor would be comfortable at the mere mention of terrorists,...explaining to a large extent why an overwhelming majority (of Filipinos) backs the ongoing RP-U.S. annual military exercise."
THAILAND: "America Warned Not To Go It Alone"
“Cafe Dam” commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep Turakij (2/6): “Most leaders who took the podium praised President George Bush’s handling of war in Afghanistan. However, many were also concerned about his very utterance about the ‘axis of evil’, comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, regarding it as an open invitation for more sabotages around the world.... Chats overheard at a cocktail party had it that Bush attempted to appoint himself a ringleader looking for war without first consulting friends and allies, in the process forcing the latter’s hand to go along.... In a tense atmosphere over to one corner of the meeting room.... EU Council secretary-general Javier Solana told Secretary of State Colin Powell that the United States must bear in mind that Europe wanted to have a say in the decision-making process.... Such is a warning that the United States must not go it alone without seeking consent from Europe or it will risk jeopardizing their friendship.”
"EF: No Longer Business As Usual”
Mukdawan Sakboon commented in the independent, English-language Nation (2/4): “If America and other affluent countries really care about the urgent problems of the world which they discussed in a panel in New York, they could first follow in the footsteps of Finland with regard to international aid.... Only five of the world’s developed countries have met the target [outlined by the Finnish prime minister.] America is not one of them.... President George W. Bush could...[have shown] leadership in addressing the meeting instead of sending his secretary of state and his treasury secretary."
BANGLADESH: "Powell Also Says The Same Thing"
Independent Bangla-language Matribhumi editorialized (2/5): "In the World Economic Forum, Colin Powell has repeated President Bush's threat. We would like to say that the U.S. must restrain itself. The U.S. wants to ruin the global system, which may one day become suicidal for the U.S. itself. It is being said that the U.S. conducts state terrorism in the name of the campaign against terrorism. It even considers the Palestinians' struggle for freedom terrorism. We urge the U.S. to refrain from such a dangerous policy."
The World Economic Forum: Tasks To Build A Safe World"
Pro-opposition Bangla-language Ajker Kagoj commented (2/3): "One side in the conference says that the U.S. does not have the ability to overcome the worldwide recession. It seems impossible for Japan to recover from the state recession it is now in. On the other hand it is also being said that the U.S. is the focal point of the world economy. Its economic foundation is so strong that it will soon rise up and its recession will soon go away. The distress of the world economy will also be over. Whatever is the truth, we urge that both sides be allowed to speak. Let the World Economic Forum hold its conference without any hindrance and give the world community a chance to respond. Let us preserve everybody's right to speak."
INDIA: "Pop Economics"
An editorial in the centrist India Times asserted (2/5): "The World Economic Forum summit might seem an unlikely place to find a rock star. Not this year. (U2 Rock Star) Bono spoke in all seriousness about a new Marshall Plan for Africa.... It was left to Paul O'Neill to play Scrooge. O'Neill pointed out that funds that are given away end up either being misused or gobbled up by avaricious middlemen.... Mr. O'Neill was being a tad defensive - understandably so, since the United States spends about 0.1 percent of its gross domestic product on foreign aid, less than any other industrialized country. But there is a measure of truth in his words. No country has ever gone from being underdeveloped to developed on the basis of aid alone.... So even as developing nations rail at the 'unfair' world order, they might want to introspect about whether they are doing enough to develop their latent resources."
PAKISTAN: "World Economic Forum"
An editorial in the center-right national Nation argued (2/5): "With the ghost of terrorism continuing to stalk the developed world, the issue could not be ignored at the WEF. Mr. Colin Powell linked terrorism with battling poverty and consequent hopelessness that helps breed anger. While mentioning military, intelligence and legal means to combat terrorism, on which Washington is currently putting the entire stress, Mr. Powell underlined the importance of battling the root cause. How far the U.S. administration is sincere in its professions can, however, be gauged from its decision last week to reject time-bound commitments for doubling official development assistance (ODA) to the world's poorer nations from the current $50 billion to $100 billion."
CANADA: "Poverty-Terrorism Link Is Mere Groupthink"
Alexander Rose contributed this piece to the conservative National Post (2/5): "I wish the Bilderberg Group, the Freemasons, the Council on Foreign Relations, ZOG, the Templars and the Illuminati really did secretly control the world instead of the buffoons who attended the World Economic Conference...in New York. Then I would be confident that at least someone compos mentis was minding the store. Like the Great Unwashed outside with their 'revolutionary street-theatre' and Chomsky paperbacks, the world's Great and the Good think only what is popular at present, at the expense of what is empirically, logically and realistically true. Only a couple of years ago, Davos participants were earnestly discussing the coming of a borderless, techno-capitalist, rights-based world. Now that this trendy cross between fetishistic Wellsian technophilia, Randian anarcho-capitalism and Marxist determinism has perished in the Great Dot.Com Meltdown, the WEF again focused on the issue of the moment: the presumed links between poverty, the United States and terrorism.... The Masters of the Universe congregated at the WEF ought to stick to what they're best at--making money, not peace."
ARGENTINA: "Message From New York"
An editorial in business-financial El Cronista read (2/6): "Last year, the World Economic Forum focused on the impact of a slow-down in U.S. economy and the capacity of the EU to play the international 'engine' role. Twelve months later, the situation has changed completely. The debate focused on the vigor of the U.S.'s unexpected recovery and on the new political and defense realities after the September 11 terrorist attacks. After four days of debate...over 2,000 world political and business leaders urged called for the benefits of globalization to be shared by all--rich and poor. However, no definition was made on how to do this."
"Brazil Outraged At U.S. Criticism"
Eleonora Gosman, leading Clarin's Brazil-based correspondent, commented (2/3): "For the first time and in public, U.S. Treasury Secretary O'Neill questions Brazilian authorities, triggering waves of criticism. During a luncheon organized by the World Economic Forum, he said that in Brazil there's a lot of corruption and nobody respects rules.... O'Neill's words suggest a veiled U.S. warning with 'a defined purpose', according to the governor of Ceara.... But others infer that the U.S. government really wants to limit Brazil's participation in favor of Argentina."
"Anti-Davos: Argentina, Key Focus At Brazil Forum"
Nestor Restivo, on special assignment in Porto Alegre for leading Clarin, opined (2/2): "Last year's World Social Forum had predicted possible outbursts as a consequence of Latin America's foreign debt. And it was right on one thing: the non payment of Argentina's debt resurfaced the blood drainage of 'money in exchange for indebtedness'. In fact, everything taking place in Argentina now is the key topic in every debate at this Forum, where all anti-globalization and anti neo-liberalism groups gather."
"Does The Argentine Crisis Jeopardize Emerging Markets"?
Pablo Maas, on special assignment in New York for leading Clarin, wrote (2/1): "And after Argentina what? This is the question commonly made at Waldorf Astoria Hotel where the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting takes place. What most concerns well-known bankers, businessmen and economists gathered here is the future of emerging markets after the massive crisis in confidence unleashed by the collapse of Argentine convertibility system and the freezing of Argentine banking deposits. Critics of globalization consider that the Argentine case shows the failure of the financial liberalization model.... Representatives of the financial sector consider that the collapse of the policies they supported in Argentina is exclusively related to domestic affairs and has no relation with alleged shortfalls of the (economic) model.... The expectation about Argentina is that it manages to stabilize its financial situation by reestablishing the system of payment."
"World Economic Forum: New Debate Focused On Argentina"
Pablo Maas, on special assignment in New York for leading Clarin, commented (1/31): "The Argentine crisis will be one of the key topics debated at the World Economic Forum.... Unlike past years, in which the participants at Davos celebrated the apparently booming progress of globalization and prosperity of the developed world, this year the atmosphere is marked by the impact of a synchronized recession affecting the United States, Europe and Japan for the first time since 1970. Although some eminent U.S. economists declared recently that recession is over, other specialists are still in doubt.... The scandal surrounding Enron's bankruptcy... also promises to trigger a whirlwind of criticism in view of what is considered 'excessive financial liberalization' which allowed big companies and their auditors to hide key information and make indiscriminate use of fiscal havens in order to produce profit and conceal losses."
BRAZIL: "Davos Forum In The Fight Against Poverty"
The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo noted (2/6): "Agricultural trade, fundamental for Brazil's economy as well as that of many poor nations, was one of the central topics discussed at the World Economic Forum.... The document produced by the Agricultural Trade Task Force in NYC may be considered an important point in favor of the elimination of distorting policies adopted by First World nations.... Support of these changes seems to have increased also in the United States in recent weeks. U.S. newspapers have published stories on how the benefits of the agricultural policy are distributed in the United States. Most of the subsidies go to a few states and to a very restricted number of families, generally owners of large farms.... For the discussion to advance and be productive, however, it will be necessary to overcome firm political resistance in the U.S. Congress.... The world would have profited if the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre had also produced debates and documents as positive as those produced at the meeting in NYC in favor of those 'excluded' by globalization."
An editorial in independent Jornal da Tarde remarked (2/5): "Comparing what was discussed at the World Economic Forum and at the World Social Forum will show that in New York there was more pluralism and a greater defense of poor nations' interests than in Porto Alegre. The anti-globalization militants in Porto Alegre had the opportunity to applaud each other without hearing anything to contradict the 'sacred dogmas' of their ideological beliefs... A comparison between what happened at the two meetings will show that the poor nations' interests were taken much more seriously in the pluralist debates of the World Economic Forum than in the monolithic rhetoric of the World Social Forum."
An editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo noted (2/2): "By moving from Davos to the U.S., apparently due to security reasons, the World Economic Forum has put aside a certain shyness and at the same time continued to consolidate 'social' demands. NGOs and labor unions have gained space in the 'world elite' meeting. On the other hand, the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre seems to be making efforts to get rid of the image of inconsequent opposition.... The myriad of NGOs, political parties and labor unions that get together in meetings such as that of Porto Alegre is apparently reaching a consensus that a minimum of organization and proposals is necessary to occupy with more firmness the new transnational public space."
"No More Diagnoses"
According to liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's political and economic columnist Clovis Rossi, (2/3): "Frequent criticism against the World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, according to which there are no feasible proposals for the problem it diagnoses, is partially unfair. To be fair, the criticism should admit that the World Economic Forum couldn't provide answers to the crucial matter of poverty and the gap between poor and rich either. The Porto Alegre diagnosis seems to be more accurate."
"The Socialist Being"
Independent Jornal do Brasil said in an editorial (2/2): "There is no doubt on what moves the World Economic Forum.... That forum deals with issues in a practical and objective manner, always from the viewpoint of those who have access to power.... Its counterpart, the World Social Forum, is more majestic, imposing. It intends to correct world's injustices.... What is going on with socialist intellectuals?... In order to prevent the debate between those two lines of economic thinking becoming lost in rhetoric, it's important that the socialists lose the fear to be socialists. Then the establishment will then know whom they are talking to."
"A Comprehensive Alliance"
Conservative O Globo opined (1/31): "The II Social Forum taking place in Porto Alegre [Brazil] coincides with the Economic Forum being held in New York.... One hopes that the second Forum in Brazil will be less show business-like than the first one and begins to elaborate concrete proposals to correct distortions existing in the globalization process. And that it goes beyond mere protest to inexorable movements of inter-dependence among societies and economies. Nevertheless, the Porto Alegre Forum's difficulties to achieve such goals are well known. Such a comprehensive chain of alliances going from a leader of reactionary, protectionist activism of the French traditional agriculture (Jose Bove) to well-known symbols of the American 'new left', forged in the fights against the Vietnam War like Noam Chomsky, will indeed have to face difficulties in finding common ground. If the Seattle and Genoa spirit--where violent riots disturbed the WTC and G-8 meetings--is put aside, both the Porto Alegre and the New York forums may help to mature ideas to make the world less unequal."
"The Free Market Has Resulted In Wars"
Conservative O Globo carried this byliner by writer Father Betto (1/31): "The Porto Alegre World Social Forum...brings together the attention of those who recognize the failure of globalization.... The free market has resulted in wars; IMF's rules impoverishes Latin America, takes Argentina to bankruptcy, and forces Brazil to undergo a monthly U.S.$2 billion bleeding. Unemployment has become chronic; socialism has failed in Eastern Europe. Such factors force us to reflect on the current state of the world and find a way out, so that common welfare may be above private interests; human rights, over profit ambitions; social welfare, over orthodox monetarism.... The great advantage of this forum's comprehensive ecumenism is that no ideological straight-jacket is imposed.... It is a rich laboratory in which the most varied artistic expressions join issues such as ethics, spirituality and relations of power and family agriculture, land reform and development alternatives. In Porto Alegre dictatorial thinking sinks and what emerges is the assurance that the dream of many may become reality."
MEXICO: "Davos In New York"
Sergio Sarmiento wrote in independent Reforma (2/4): "The Forum serves an important function at a time when companies have surpassed governments as the institutions that define the course of the world. Presidents and high government officials from every country attend because they believe that their announcements and positions (on a variety of issues) will have a greater impact on entrepreneurs attending the Forum than on traditional political venues. Why is it, then, that 'progressive' groups are hostile to the World Economic Forum? Why is there so much criticism against a meeting that shares many of their ideals? Maybe for the same reasons that the presidents and ministers attend the Forum because they can find some of the most powerful and influential businessmen there, as well as the world media."
"Globalization With Justice"
An editorial in nationalist Universal stated (2/2): "Although the majority of presidents of multinational firms continue to believe that globalization is a 'positive force for social and economic change,' a U.S. polling firm found that globalization is 'also responsible for the growing gap between developed and developing nations.' The dramatic situation experienced by Argentina is proof that globalization has produced greater inequality and upheaval. The 32nd meeting of the World Economic Forum should be used to evaluate the need to create conditions that eliminate the increasingly violent protests of people without hope, who are trapped in destructive poverty."