|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Editorialists in several regions offered retrospectives on 2001, and mused on whether "the year of September 11" will have a lasting impact on global politics. The question on the minds of a number of Western and East Asian writers was whether Sept. 11 had "inaugurated a new era" in U.S. foreign policy, "one less unilateralist and more accommodating of international opinion." The Bush administration was given high marks by several in Europe for its conduct of the anti-terrorism war, with some pointing to "the amazing feat of bringing together in a few weeks' time a broad international coalition against terrorism." Nevertheless, many in Europe, Asia, the Mideast and Latin America were uneasy that Washington, emboldened by its success in Afghanistan, would expand its military campaign to other venues and further neglect, in their view, other foreign policy priorities. Highlights follow:
Europe/Canada: An underlying theme in many papers was that the U.S. emerged from 2001 "bloodied but vindicated"--shown to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks but unchallenged as the world's superpower. Media diverged on whether 9/11 and its aftermath made the U.S. more cognizant of the need for international cooperation, or only "reinforced America's unilateralism." Some in Britain, the Czech Republic and Portugal praised the Bush administration for rounding up international support and mounting a determined and able response to the terrorist attacks. Others in France, Belgium, Finland, and The Netherlands saw the U.S.' effort at consensus-building on anti-terrorism as an aberration. Citing the Kyoto Protocol and ABM Treaty, they complained that 9/11 had failed to dissuade the U.S. from its "solitary conduct." A leftist French paper and an opposition Russian daily even accused the U.S. of "aspiring to global hegemony." A few papers reminded readers that "terrorism is not the world's only enemy," and urged the international community to bring the same rigor to fighting other global problems as it has to battling terrorism.
OIC Countries: Columnists in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Pakistan ominously warned that the U.S. would draw upon its success in Afghanistan and use its "military prowess" to ensconce itself in Central Asia, thus confirming the "trend" toward a "unipolar world." Writers in Egypt and Turkey, meanwhile, lamented that the 9/11 events had widened the gap of misunderstanding between the West and Islam. Rather than exclusively blaming the U.S. for the "horrible setbacks" in the Arab world, however, a number adopted a self-deprecatory tone, admitting that outdated thinking, extremism, and the tendency to hold onto the past were also responsible for the enmity. An Egyptian pundit ridiculed the Arab "naivetT" toward the Bush administration, which, in the writer's view, had led many to believe that Bush's "background in the oil industry and his father's old relations...could make American policies more sympathetic to Arabs and less biased toward Israel." Another argued that a "broad dialogue" among Arabs was necessary in order to establish a "formula" to gain acceptance into the "modern world." Similarly, a Turkish daily stressed that 9/11 had underscored the need for Muslims to "re-evaluate" the values of Islamic "in the light of secularism and rationalism."
East Asia: Chinese papers alleged that the U.S., far from "softening its policies," would emerge from 9/11 even more unilateralist and bent on "establishing a unipolar world." Papers in S. Korea and Singapore also picked up on "sole superpower" theme. Seoul papers worried that the U.S. would make 2002 "a year of war" and voiced their opposition to "unilateral U.S. militarism." A Singapore daily, likewise, mused that the U.S.' swift victory in Afghanistan, "confirming as it has America's overwhelming might," might tempt it to "wield the big stick" too readily. A Taipei paper, by contrast, saw the U.S. "relying more and more" on its regional allies in fighting terrorism. Japanese and Hong Kong writers stressed the need for better international coordination on terrorism and other issues, from economics to the environment.
Latin America: A sense of resignation that 9/11 signalled a "breaking point" with early Bush administration attention to the region pervaded much of the end-of-the-year commentary. The abrupt turn of events frustrated expectations that this was to have been the year to mark "America's century," as "promised" by the president, and fueled resentment in some outlets, notably in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Mexico. Most of these critics perceived U.S. "detachment" toward the Argentine crisis, the "lower profile" given to the war on drugs and the FTAA as evidence that the Bush administration applied a "different standard" toward Latin America. Many essentially agreed with a Quito daily's assessment that post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy would "be based on what is convenient for the great power." While the autopilot was set on U.S. criticism for most, a Bogota daily took different, pragmatic tack, arguing that Colombia's "only reasonable option is participation in the international mainstream led by Washington."
EDITORS: Katherine Starr, Irene Marr
EDITORS' NOTE: This survey is based on 64 editorials from 36 countries, Dec. 12- Jan 10. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region and country, and listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "A Nation That Stands Bloodied But Vindicated"
Gerard Baker, Washington correspondent for the independent Financial Times, expressed this view (12/27): "The sentiments most powerfully on display in the United States are enduring optimism and renewed faith in what their country represents. Indeed, the paradox of 2001 is that, in seeking to bring the United States lower, its enemies have succeeded only in building it up. This is not empty political rhetoric. It is an accurate picture of American self-regard today. It would be absurd to suggest that the rest of the world has embraced everything that America stands for in the wake of September 11. The details of how you organize a free society will be quibbled over for centuries yet. However, the war on terrorism has set in stark relief the really important political choices the human race confronts. In its way, September 11, 2001 and its aftermath could prove as significant as November 1989 in its consequences in the global struggle for freedom."
FRANCE: "Consequences Of The September 11 Attacks"
A two-page report under the above headline was featured in right-of-center economic Les Echos (1/10). In the report, Stephane Dupont had this opinion piece titled: "George W. Bush Transformed After a Year in the White House" (1/10): "A controversial figure up until last summer...the White House's occupant has proved to be a true leader able to rally members of the political class to his cause in a rare united front. Unskillful up to then on the diplomatic scene, the former Texas governor also succeeded in the amazing feat of bringing together in a few weeks' time a broad international coalition against terrorism."
“Is What’s Good For The U.S. Also Good For The World?”
Herve Kempf opined in left-of-center Le Monde (1/8): “If one analyzes America’s diplomacy since the September 11 attacks on all issues that exclude ‘the war against terrorism,’ it is obvious that the United States has deliberately adopted a unilateral position. The United States has not moved an inch on the Kyoto Protocol.... On GMOs it has not only maintained its position against the protocol on bio-security but also vigorously fought against the Nairobi conference.… [It] has also reaffirmed its opposition to the treaty on banning nuclear tests. In reality, this solitary conduct by the U.S. is not surprising. It is a continuation of the policy adopted by President Bush in 2001. The September 11 attacks did not change America’s position on dealing with major world issues.”
"Back To The Drawing Board"
Pascal Boniface of IRIS (Institute for International Strategic Relations) commented in left-of-center Liberation (1/7): "Americans are interpreting their military victory as a triumph. It reinforces their belief that they are almost always right and that they can always impose their point of view. Their unilateralism...comes out reinforced by this war...which was led with great political intelligence.... The United States managed to demonstrate that the war was not against the Muslim world, or even the Afghan regime, but that it was led by the United States in the interest of the rest of the world, rather than as selfish revenge.... Now that it has been reassured by a victory that turned out to be easier than expected, it has once again become sure of itself, very sure in fact.... The events, far from proving its weakness have proven [its] superiority. Its victory has reinforced America's unilateralism and its desire to impose its vision.... America has learned nothing and could face other rude awakenings."
"Wars Against Europe: American Military Unilateralism"
Jean-Pierre Ferrier held in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/4): "Europe's incompetence in the military sector has been accentuated through three wars initiated and led by the United States in the past ten years. Iraq presented the opportunity to verify the individual faithfulness of the members of the Alliance. Kosovo showed the minimal role played by European allies, whose participation the Pentagon considered as a weakening factor militarily but nevertheless diplomatically very useful. Afghanistan served to summarize the situation: The allies have the obligation to participate in missions decided by the United States following the guidelines determined by Washington. In each instance the rules are the same: At most, the Europeans have the right to information, or to the impression that they have been kept informed.... But the EU is in general absent.... In spite of Maastricht and the euro, Europe's joint defense and security policy is still very much in the future."
"The Year Of September 11"
Jean-Paul Pierrot had this to say in communist L'Humanite (12/31): "The war in Afghanistan did indeed lead to the fall of an abominable regime...one that Washington, in the not so distant past, supported.... While still under the shock of...September 11, the world wondered, which lessons would U.S. leaders learn? Would they rethink their unilateralism...by involving themselves, along with the UN, in finding solutions to the problems of the world? For now, nothing seems to point to that end. On the contrary, the threat of seeing military operations spread to other countries, such as Somalia, Yemen or Iraq, is a sign that hegemony remains the number-one priority of the Bush administration."
GERMANY: "The 'I'-Alliance"
Washington correspondent Wolfgang Koydl filed the following editorial for Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung (1/9): "Today, Pakistan fits even less the draft for the future of the region which is currently being developed in the State Department and the White House. The United States is unable to control this region all by itself. That is why it is planning to appoint three reliable deputy sheriffs who patrol the region once U.S. marshals are absent. The first is a reliable and experienced cop, the second worked for Washington before, and the third is a newcomer: Israel, Iran, and India.... In the future, Iran's significance may even grow, because the United States may no longer want to rely on the ambiguous Saudis. And Israel, in turn, could live well with these two sheriff colleagues. But Delhi and Tehran could learn something very important from Israel, too: How to keep U.S friendship by making oneself indispensable."
"The Appearance Of Normality"
Malte Lehming maintained in an editorial in centrist Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/4): "Washington's desire for invulnerability was already part of the discussion about missile defense. Terrorism has not reduced this desire; it has made it stronger. Whether in Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines or Iraq, the United States will not give up its fight against various threats any time soon. In addition, the Bush administration will generally act alone in these matters. Success in Afghanistan has encouraged those military strategists who view coalitions as obstacles. Anyone in Europe who had hoped that 'unrestricted solidarity' with the Americans would mean the chance of gaining more influence is likely to be disappointed. All of this will put tremendous pressure on transatlantic relations. The U.S. administration, which less than a year ago was viewed as unstable and likely to fail, is now solidly in charge. It is being led by a president whose strength, among others, is to be underestimated by his opponents. Congressional elections will take place in the United States this year, and there is no Democrat in sight who could challenge Bush."
RUSSIA: "What Future for NMD?"
The reformist weekly Vlast (# 50, 1/4) published this article by Ilya Bulavinov and Ivan Safronov: "The latest turn in relations between Russia and the West as a whole and the United States in particular, profanely speaking, is owed to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Moscow has officially been recognized as a key player in world politics. The events in Afghanistan have proved something no one except Russian politicians believed anymore: There is, effectively, no [way of] solving major international problems without Russian participation."
Under this headline, the nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (12/29) ran a piece by Vasiliy Safronchuk: "There have been no qualitative changes inside Russia or in its relations with the West since September 11.... The current regime, as Yeltsin in his time, has been wooing the West, hoping for Russia to be recognized as a capitalist country.... There is a new force in the world that openly challenges the majority of humankind...and aspires for global hegemony. It is the United States. But the Americans have been trying in every way to hide their true intentions, disguising them as fighting against international terrorism.... The United States' attempts to drag Russia into the Gold Billion's coalition to stand up to the rest of the world are really disturbing. It is surprising how easily Putin fell for the antiterrorist trap Bush set up for him. He readily joined the U.S. action against Afghanistan and used his influence to get Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to pitch in and offer their bases for the U.S. aviation and airborne troops. The ungrateful Washington responded by declaring its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.... In effect, Putin has had Russia bonded with the U.S. war chariot in a crusade against all those who oppose the United States' global hegemony."
AUSTRIA: "Bush Unopposed"
Martin Kilian opined in independent political weekly Profil (1/7): "Bush knows he owes (his current popularity) to the military success in Afghanistan. Quite cleverly, he declared 2002 yet another 'war year.'... As far as U.S. security policy and the 'war against terror' are concerned, clearly no one is going to oppose him.... With barely a word of complaint everyone accepted that after September 11, this president extended his power like no other supreme commander since Roosevelt."
BELGIUM: "The Year Of The 'Lonely Sheriff'"
Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert argued in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/3): "2001 will remain the year of September 11 for the Americans--and for a major part of the world. Will 2002...become the year of the 'lonely sheriff' with Bush in a key role? It is frightening that Bush appears eager to play that role--with the support of the Congress and the people.... Despite the predictions of the prophets of doom the United States achieved an early victory. The bridgeheads of the terrorist network have been destroyed. The Taliban regime has been ousted. A broad coalition government has been installed under the auspices of the UN.... America, however, does not feel accountable to anyone about the goals of its future operations and refuses to say at what moment it will judge its war against al-Qaeda to be over.... America's lonely march is not limited to Afghanistan. In recent months, the United States swiftly distanced itself from the [CTBT]. In Geneva, it obstructed the [BWC] conference and insulted...Putin by withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. Moreover, the United States worried friend and foe by talking about possible attacks against Iraq. That obvious unilateralism is a strange result of '9/11'--the date that should have made the United States realize that even the mightiest nation does not live on an island."
"One Day Changed Everything"
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn observed in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (1/2): "One year ago [Bush] was described as...stupid, narrow-minded, extremely conservative and not interested in the rest of the world outside America. He rejected the Kyoto Protocol and irritated friend and foe with his anti-missile shield.... Today...he has shown that he is a strong and moderate war leader. He has kept a tight rein on the hawks in his administration and, with the help of Tony Blair and Colin Powell, he built a broad coalition against terrorism. Minus points are his blunders like his Wild West style dead-or-alive statements and the fact that he cannot always conceal his disdain."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Year One Only Started After September 11"
Milan Vodicka maintained in right-centre MF Dnes (12/31): "Just like the 20th century only started after the first shots of WWI in 1914, the 21st century really only began after September 11.... Almost everything changed: emotions, attitudes, alliances. The year 2001 did not have 'major news,' it only had September 11. Events of that day showed that power does not necessarily induce safety. It showed that the United States is superpower No. 1, which also makes it a super-target No. 1.... When Bush appealed to the rest of the world to unite its efforts in the fight against terrorism, the Cold War came to its final end, and the world set out on a new urgent mission.... The Americans had long viewed their foreign policy as a charitable act, but after the Manhattan attacks they realized that they need the rest of world as much as the rest of the world needs the United States.... The events of September 11 proved that prophesies about a war between civilizations were wrong, but they also showed how easily anger turns into violence, and how many of us still do not really appreciate that we all are involved in this fight."
FINLAND: "Looking Forward To 'A Great Year' But For Whom?"
Independent regional Aamulehti's editorial read (1/3): "The tragic events last September strengthened the U.S. position in international politics. Besides sympathy, the U.S. received promises of far-reaching cooperation. The Bush administration responded by softening its style and tone. Earlier, it had been criticized for selfishness bordering on arrogance. After the terrorist attacks, changes in U.S. policies--to include changes not just in style, but in substance (to reflect a more internationalist approach)--were widely expected. However, it is no longer certain that these changes will take place. Just before Christmas, the United States announced it would disengage from the important ABM Treaty.... Skeptics say that it is fruitless to expect real change in U.S. politics. Bush is not planning a return to the Kyoto process and opposes the international criminal court. Washington continues to react negatively to current proposals for the verification of biological weapons and the small-arms trade. The value of the UN may have increased in Bush's eyes, but it is hard to believe that the president and his inner circle of advisors would be willing to relinquish any real decision-making authority to international and multinational organizations."
KAZAKHSTAN: "In Defense Of Order"
Independent Express K commented (1/8): "After the tragic events of September 11, many Kazakhstanis came to view the United States in a different way--with love, or even veneration. The desire to forgive America for all its past sins has swept across the globe, [but] essentially nothing has changed in America's overseas priorities. Just as before, it fancies itself the master of everything under the sun and behaves accordingly. Neither George Bush, nor Richard Cheney, nor Colin Powell have given a single reason...for it to renounce its global aspirations, as demonstrated by its uncontrollable desire to control absolutely everything."
LITHUANIA: "Year Marked By Horror And Mourning, But Also Hope"
The main editorial in leading independent Lietuvos Rytas reflected (12/27): "September 11, 2001, the date of the beginning of the new era, has been etched into the memories of the majority of the civilized world for a long time, perhaps even for a lifetime.... The first year of the third millennium of history will be marked not only by horror and mourning over the death of several thousand people under the ruins of the World Trade Center, but also by a sign of hope. Perhaps one can even say that [UBL]...not only horrifyingly demonstrated on September 11th how unsafe the most powerful country in the world can be, but also, he, against his own will, helped to pave the bridge for America and all of humanity toward a safer world."
THE NETHERLANDS: "The Necessity Of A Double Battle"
Influential Haagsche Courant's editorial read (12/31): "The world after September 11 needs more than 'dead-or-alive' rhetoric.... Blair has best understood that. He sketched, shortly after the attacks, a 'new world order.'... The battle against poverty, disease, civil strife and violations of human rights will take more time than smoking out Tora Bora. But if it does not happen, terrorists will always find free ports in impoverished countries without state institutions such as Afghanistan and Somalia. And solutions are sometimes nearer than is apparent. This month a scarcely noticed report appeared by international experts, composed under the leadership of former Norwegian PM Gro Brundtland. If the rich countries would together, annually contribute $27 billion (0.1 percent of their GNP) to basic health care in the Third World, they would annually save the lives of eight million people, and would be supporting the development of the poorest countries. In comparison: The U.S. Congress allocated, days after the attack, $40 billion for combating terrorism. It is a double battle, but only if it is fought simultaneously will the world really be changed after September 11."
"After September 11"
Liberal Trouw's editorial held (12/24): "The war in Afghanistan has been fought, and the international coalition against terrorism is creaking because the United States is being suspected of wanting to bomb other countries. Furthermore the United States, is being reproached, and not without reason, that in the area of international agreements and treaties, they are dealing as opportunistically and arrogantly with the world as they before September 11. And finally, this American administration is doing much too little to attempt to take the sting out of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a conflict that in whatever way contributes to the hate and jealously in the Arabic and Muslim world with regard to everything which the U.S. stands for. Thus apparently nothing has changed since the eleventh of September.... And that is a pity, because terrorism is far from eradicated in this world, and every momentum to deal with it and to deny it material and emotional base should be grasped."
NORWAY: "The Road Ahead"
Conservative, newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (12/31): "September 11 has already become a red-letter date, even though we don't know what final outcome the terror attacks will have on New York and Washington when history is written.... The fight against terrorism has shown what power the international community, with the United States behind the wheel, is able to mobilize when the goal is clear and the will is present. The surge of political and military energy we now see is exceptional. It is therefore tempting, at the turn of the year, to remind ourselves that terrorism is not the only enemy in the world. Hunger, environmental damage and population explosion are among the greatest dangers of mankind.... If the events of September 11 lead to the world community's using its political energy to fight (these other dangers), the date will go down in history as a red letter date of great importance."
PORTUGAL: "Bush, A Year Later"
Influential, center-left Público had this piece by editor-in-chief JosT Manuel Fernandes (1/7): "Few will now doubt that the team assembled by Bush junior has shown the ability, cohesion, competence and determination indispensable for the creation of an extraordinary international coalition, as well as the effective conduct of a distant war in the extraordinary conditions created by the 11th of September.... On the external front he said he would pursue an anti-missile defense system, and he's doing it, it being notable how each passing day reduces the international opposition (particularly from European partners and from Russia). Even when he followed paths I have contested--as in denouncing the Kyoto Protocol--I have to admit that he has been coherent and frontal: What he said, he did, and in Portuguese and European politics one can rarely conjugate those verbs together."
"The War Continues"
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Ant=nio Ribeiro Ferreira judged respected moderate-left Diário de Notfcias (12/31): "The year 2001 was marked by the beginning of the war against terrorism, which will certainly continue into 2002 for the good of the peace and security of populations in any part of the world.... The bosses of al-Qaida and of the defunct Afghan regime still have to be caught, but the continuation of American military operations is a sign that these objectives will sooner or later be reached.... In the end, those imaginary enemies that some people were talking about following the September 11 attacks--in an attempt to escape their responsibilities and justify official passiveness in the face of terror--had a name, an organization, and the means and the support to massacre innocents.... The war against terrorism has also allowed a clear separation of the waters in the Middle East. After years and years of mystification, both the United States and the EU have come to recognize the terrorist character of organizations that are the true obstacles to peace in the region.... The war is, in fact, being won.... The year 2002 will not be one of peace. That's a good sign for those who have always been--clearly, and without complexes of any sort--in favor of the war against terrorism."
In financial Curentul, political analyst Andreea Enea commented on the future of U.S.-Russian relations (12/30): "It is a certainty that Russia and America are shaking their hands in a different way than they have done it up until now, and are reaching agreements at a different level.... 2002 will offer the same realities, but with different meanings. It is the year of NATO's expansion, which Russia has always wanted to be as restrained as possible, and to be as far as possible from the Baltic States. This expansion means a reconfirmation of the functionality of this collective security institution, which is the symbol of American military supremacy. It is also the year in which the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty."
TURKEY: "Long Year For Uncle Sam"
Yasemin Congar mused in mass appeal Milliyet (12/31): “Come and let us rack our brains and recall the United States at the end of 2000. Elections were on everybody's minds and the word 'chad' was on everybody's lips.... The country was suddenly divided.... But look at the United States today. America is talking jihad not chad, all eyes are on Tora Bora not Florida, the Republican-Democrat argument has largely been replaced by an extraordinary national unity in the belief that, in Bush's words, 'a new front of good has been opened up against evil'; an America that has begun to rewrite not only its own but the whole world's agenda with a terrifying nationalist rhetoric. Whether those that struck at this country on its home turf...actually saw this day coming is unknown. However, just as with Pearl Harbor, the United States has become the proverbial 'woken dragon.' It is a country that has the political clout and the military technology to open front after front and wage war for years, yes years, in the name of 'ridding the world of terrorism' and to do exactly what it says it will do.… Today's America is one where the national anthem is heard and sung more frequently than ever before, where everything that can be painted...has been bedecked in red, white and blue; a country where everybody says, 'God bless America.'...
"For those of us who feel somehow linked to the fate of the world, 2001 ends as we make plans for the New Year based on the accounts of the last year with questions centered on the United States being asked: Will terrorism in the Middle East be uprooted? Will war be declared on Iraq? Will the Arab-Muslim world be able to make reform towards democracy and freedom? Could the United States be attacked again? Could things get so far out of hand that the button for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons be pressed? We will find out in 2002 and let us hope they favor respect for life. With wishes that your worries decrease and your pleasures increase this year. “
"Islam Vs. Islam"
Haluk Ulman observed in economic/political Dunya (12/26): "The whole September 11 process should teach the Islamic world a lesson. The most important one by far is the fact that Muslims can only stand on their own feet by being contemporary and not working for 'jihad.' Contemporary values leave no room for dogma. The values of Islam, therefore, should be re-evaluated in the light of secularism and rationalism.... Those states capable of achieving this can gain prestige with the West. This is the only way to get rid of an environment that can produce an Usama bin Laden. Otherwise Muslims will always be treated as second-class by Westerners."
EGYPT: "Islam And The West"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior contributor El-Sayed Yassin judged (1/3): "If a dialogue between Islam and the West must be conducted, then both sides should exercise 'revelation of self.'... For example, Western orientalism from the start, developed anti-Islamic trends.... Westerners continue to believe that Islam is naturally violent.... On the other hand, contemporary Muslims continue to believe that Western civilization is materialist and lacking of spirituality. Extremist Islam considers the West as infidel.... The frank revelation of these main trends is the first step toward an objective image of the other."
Leading pro-government Al Ahram and the English-language Al Ahram Weekly's columnist Salama Ahmed Salama held (1/3): "The [international] media scene has been particularly discouraging in 2001, and in this respect Arab countries have fared no better than the rest of the world. The Arab media under predictable pressures, sought to appease American anger. It fell into a morass of self-contradiction, verbally defending Islam and Muslims against Western attacks, while announcing support for the American campaign against terrorism.... In many cases, newspapers have been banned in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen."
"Who Kidnapped The Issue?"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's columnist Salama Ahmed Salama remarked (12/31): "The Arab world has never suffered such horrible setbacks--in all its issues--as in 2001. This started with the arrival of President Bush...and the election of Sharon in Israel. Arabs have shown a flagrant inability to make predictions about the new American administration.... Arab naivetT reached the point that some of them even believed Bush's background in the oil industry and his father's old relations...could make American policies more sympathetic to Arabs and less biased toward Israel. But events have proven the opposite to be the case.... The Arab world witnessed no change in either thinking or policies according to the new changes. They have failed to rearrange their ranks, reconcile belligerent parties, and emerge from the tunnel of empty exaggerations to realistic, effective policies.... Naturally then, the Middle East reached an impasse with the first American shock [on September 11]; Israel kidnapped the Palestinian issue under the excuse of fighting terrorism."
"Arabs And The West"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's columnist Gamal Zayda noted (12/30): "The GCC is meeting as Arab civilization confronts heavy challenges. The Arab world is accused of exporting terrorism, clashing with the Christian West, being incapable of coping with the liberal democratic world, and providing the climate for religious fascism.... Gulf Arabs enjoy a false sense of security due to an uninterrupted flow of oil to the industrial world, though recent days have proven the West can sacrifice her closest allies.... Some people have not realized that most precepts crumbled after September 11; the world and the West changed but Arabs have not.... Relations between the Gulf and the United States are no longer what they were before September 11. Thus, some Arab countries suffered from overwhelming attacks in the American media and by various political circles in Washington. These challenges require a broad dialogue in the Arab world to create a formula for agreement with the modern world which allows us to be part of the new world agenda: i.e. applying democracy, opening the way for freedom of expression.... The goal is to block this harsh attack on the region by some extremist conservative powers in the American political system which want to use the American military prowess to realize their purpose and allow the terrorist Israeli prime minister to destroy the Palestinian people."
SAUDI ARABIA: "America's Color Blindness"
Dammam based, moderate Al-Yaum editorialized (1/5): "Sept. 11 caused America to become color blind. The colors it sees are either white (pro war on terrorism) or black (pro terrorism). All of the colors in between are ignored. One is either with it or against it. America is democratic within its borders and authoritarian abroad. The United States did not demand the support of other countries in its campaign for lack of military power.... The coalition was necessary to legitimize the attacks after terrorism hit at the heart of America.... Great Britain joined the coalition voluntarily only because of tight relations between Washington and London.... Nobody disputes America's right to retaliate against its attackers.... Our disagreement is with establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan, in the heart of Asia.... America aims at establishing a base in every country that can provide a strategic location. America has not lost its ability to distinguish between colors, but it is pretending to be color blind in order to achieve its strategic objective of controlling the sources and the routes leading to all of the oil fields in the world."
"Bush's Eyelid and War"
London based, pan-Arab Al-Hayat editorialized (12/30): "President Bush says farewell to the year 2001 with a big promise: 'The U.S. will not blink an eye (shut an eyelid) until terrorism is defeated' so let us all blink and rest our eyes knowing that Bush's success is certain. The consequences of this are something else. Bin Laden, al-Qaida and all the poor Arabs will get their share of the knife of terrorism. Bush has the right to enjoy his incomplete victory in Afghanistan, and we have the right to say farewell to the events of Sept. 11 with no regrets. The American media gave us a clear lesson about souring Arab-American relations. Is this not racial discrimination? By claiming that they are liberating the world, Americanizing it and globalizing it, aren't they actually liberating it from its oil as well as its terrorists? The list of damages caused by the Sept. 11 attacks is not yet complete. Who knows what else bin Laden has up his sleeve for his war against the American economy? Who knows what kind of 'victory' awaits us in 2002 while Bush refrains from blinking?"
"Bush's Benefits From The Sept. 11 Attacks"
Jeddah-based, moderate Okaz editorialized (12/23): "The hatred of the United States by many nations (including Arab and Muslim countries) goes back to 1945 when WWII ended and the United States became a superpower and a leader of... 'the new occupation.' The hatred grew with time, especially after the increasingly negative effects of selfish American foreign policies which are aimed at serving Americans' interest even if it was at the cost of other nations. The more greedy Americans became, the more the hatred increased. The more the negative effects of American policies became understood internationally, the more hatred even educated nations had for America. The negative American domination reached its peak after the collapse of its major competitor, the former Soviet Union. But fate has punished those who wished for USSR collapse and praised America out of ignorance. These people now say: 'Uncle Sam is not any better than the Red Bear.'... Things got worse when George W. Bush came to power, when the Republicans took over the Congress, and when Sharon regained power in Israel. That is when the American right wing ideologies took over. They came to power with the mentality of a warrior fighting the Red Indians.... During the first eight months in office Bush converted the American surplus generated by Clinton into a deficit. In South Africa at the international conference to fight racism, America took embarrassing positions condemned by many observers including many Americans. At the same time Sharon came to destroy the concept of the peace process between Arabs and Israelis. Perhaps all these events contributed to the Sept. 11 attacks, but they gave Bush his political gain. It gave him a chance to exercise his military domination and launch his missiles regardless of the effects of such actions on innocent civilians.... It is ironic that those who attacked America out of hatred and to destroy its power, gave Bush increased popularity within his country. A benefit Bush would have never dreamed of getting on his own."
BAHRAIN: "The Twenty First Century Will See Confrontation"
Fawzia Rasheed stated in semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij (1/5): "America is not aware that its war against terrorism today will mark the beginning of its end because if the nations are silent now they will not be in the long term. It seems that the 21st century will be full of humans' search for freedom and dignity and the only way to do that is confrontation."
CHINA: "Developing A Constructive And Cooperative Sino-U.S. Relationship"
Ren Yujun and Wang Rujun wrote in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 12/30): "During an exclusive interview with the People's Daily, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Yang Jiechi said the general trend of Sino-U.S. relations has been good this year.... Facts have proven that despite ups and downs in the bilateral ties, the common interests between China and the United States are more than differences.... Enhancing high-level contacts and exchanges is very important. Developing a constructive and cooperative Sino-U.S. relationship is the right choice for the two countries under the current circumstances, and will be conducive to world peace and stability."
"U.S. Unilateralism Goes Unchecked"
Yan Feng wrote in the Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun, 12/25): "Since September 11, the Bush administration has...softened some of its foreign policies. But obviously, it has not fundamentally abandoned unilateralism.... Unilateralism is a concrete manifestation of the U.S.' pursuit of power politics throughout the world, and goes against the main trend of dialogue and cooperation. It not only poses threats to world peace and security, but also will has an unhealthy effect on U.S. national interests. Given the fact that establishing a U.S.-led unipolar world is already a fixed strategic goal of the United States....and that the Bush administration has a strong military background, it is predictable that Bush will never abandon unilateralism easily."
"U.S.: Unilateralism Plus Pragmatism"
Shi Xiaohui wrote in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao,12/24): "In short, the Bush administration's diplomacy was characterized by strong unilateralism in the earlier stage and more pragmatism at present...[but its] foreign policy after the September 11 incident indicates that the U.S. goal to maintain its sole superpower status remains unchanged. Its position that America's interests take precedence over the interests of any other countries has not changed, either."
HONG KONG SAR: "Bush's Reality Check Amid New Year Cheer"
The independent, English-language South China Morning Post's Washington correspondent Greg Torode said in an analysis piece (1/7): "According to an array of Washington insiders, do not be fooled. Many are happy [Bush] seems to be enjoying the moment--and stellar approval ratings--because they warn that some extremely tough and awkward decisions lie ahead. He may indeed soon be forced to spend some reflective moments in front of the mirror, contemplating far weightier matters than the merits of Texas cheeseburgers. From every angle, his new war on terrorism remains a work in progress, at best. The black and white issues that suit Bush's leadership style so well are receding and the messy shades of grey are returning.... Any future attack will seriously damage the cloak of success that now shrouds Bush's early efforts. The patter of the last week cannot hide the potential for tough days ahead for a leader whom many were calling shaky just months ago, before 19 terrorists hijacked four planes and changed his world, our world, forever."
"Taxing Tasks For The New Year"
The independent, English-language South China Morning Post remarked in an editorial (12/30): "There are now signs that economic recovery in the United States may be close.... What is most important as a new year approaches is that confidence is allowed to grow. Destabilizing factors must be attacked as effectively and as energetically as war was waged in Afghanistan. The current headlong plunge into war by India and Pakistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the restoration of orderly governance in Afghanistan are examples of where the United States and its allies must act vigorously. These tasks are far more taxing than a simple military campaign against an inferior enemy, but they are ultimately far more important in achieving a more stable--and more prosperous--new year."
JAPAN: "Remedies For Recovery Of World Economy"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (1/4): "While the world economy has become ever more fragile after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the international economy should use every means to prevent a global recession.... Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, financial authorities in the United States, Japan and Europe pumped funds into their financial markets to prevent confusion in the markets. This experience has taught us that major industrialized nations should further promote monetary policy coordination. Should anxiety over the future subside, the U.S. economy may start to pick up in the second half of this year.... As the world's second-largest economy, Japan also needs to do its utmost to revitalize its deteriorating economy."
"Preserve International Coordination To Create New World Order"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (1/3): "The most significant sea-change brought by the Sept. 11 attacks is the advent of concerted relationships between the United States, Russia and China.... There is no doubt that China, with its vast market and rapid arms expansion, will emerge as an economic and military superpower in the coming years.... How to forge a stable strategic relationship with this gigantic elephant is the most pressing agenda facing the United States and Japan. Regardless of this undertaking, we must maintain international coordination against terrorism. We must make a long-lasting, concerted approach to founding a new world order. By building upon the fruits of the U.S.-initiated military campaign in Afghanistan, we could see a final success in international efforts to crack down on terrorism."
"America Must Be Globalized"
Liberal Asahi opined (1/1): "After the Sept.11 terrorist attacks, we often hear the question: 'Has the world changed?' Some pose this question while hoping to alter the world. As we are witnessing the deepening globalization or 'Americanization of the globe,' more people around the world are insisting that it must be the United States that should become more globalized. The Bush administration has made certain efforts to wage a war on terrorism while coordinating with the international community. However, the world will not move forward unless a fundamental change occurs in the behavior of this superpower, which considers international organizations and other states as mere tools for pursuing its national interests. The ongoing stalemate over issues related to the Kyoto Protocol and the [CTBT] clearly illustrate the need for the United States to change its approach toward the rest of the world."
SINGAPORE: "A Gentler America?"
The pro-government Straits Times contended (12/20): "Did Sept. 11 inaugurate a new era in American foreign policy, one less unilateralist and more accommodating of international opinion?... If truth be told, rumors of a more internationalist America were much exaggerated from the start.... If anything, Afghanistan, confirming as it has America's overwhelming might, may well dilute further the administration's already weak internationalism. No other power, or combination of powers, could have achieved what the United States has achieved in Afghanistan, so swiftly and economically. It has demonstrated it is the only game in town. Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan--all battles which it won with ease--have, between them, erased America's Vietnam syndrome. But the other side of the coin of these easy victories is that they may make the United States more willing to contemplate the application of force, more accustomed to the idea that it can wield the big stick. Its friends and allies all benefit from a confident America, but they would feel better if that confidence expressed itself in less unilateralist terms."
PHILIPPINES: "Twin Facts"
Nationalist Carmen Guerrero Nakpil opined in the independent Malaya (1/9): "The new year serves up a paradox made up of twin facts. The first is the total supremacy of America. It is, beyond cavil today, the single, universal empire presiding over a world at its feet. It is a dominion that is larger, mightier, more encompassing and brilliant than the Roman, the Chinese, the Spanish or the British empires ever were.... The other fact about the United States is its vulnerability. Its very greatness makes it most vulnerable. A few hours on a recent morning in September devastated its economic and military centers...leaving America's population disoriented and unnerved. Swamped by its belief and practice of human rights, individual freedoms and democratic openness, the United States failed to protect itself and its citizens. Its foreign intelligence agencies, its immigration policies, fighter aircraft deployment and, above all, its aviation security failed miserably and made September 11 possible. The tragedy was greater because it could have been avoided. There had been plenty of warnings and alerts. U.S. terror experts, the FBI and some in the CIA had knowledge of the intentions and operations of Bin Laden. Even the Manila police had sent in a report to the CIA in 1993, and several ship and embassy bombings and an early attack at the basement of the World Trade Center in 1993 were clear warnings. But international terrorism just did not get the attention it deserved from the Clinton and the Bush administrations."
SOUTH KOREA: “We Oppose Unilateral U.S. Militarism”
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (1/4): “According to a Japanese newspaper, the U.S. will soon dispatch more than 100 soldiers of its Special Forces to the Philippines in order to destroy Islamic rebel forces in the country.... Given that Bush recently declared that  would be a ‘year of war'...the U.S. dispatch of troops to the Philippines appears to be a foregone conclusion.... We cannot agree to such power-based U.S. militarism because it could lead to the massive killings of innocent people and turn the world into a place ruled by the law of the jungle.... The U.S. should figure out what is really necessary to eradicate terrorism and what causes terrorists to explode in anger and hatred. The saying that those who rise by the sword will die by the sword does not apply to terrorists alone."
"The Need To Prevent 'A War Year' In 2002"
Conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (12/31): “To our dismay, Bush has declared that 2002 would be a ‘war year,’ while stressing the necessity to prepare for possible additional terror attacks.… In a situation where rogue states, such as Iraq, are being mentioned as the next targets in the war on terrorism, we cannot help but pay special attention to the facts that the United States still keeps North Korea on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism and that U.S.-North Korea relations are getting worse over the North’s nuclear and missile issues.... Few people can deny that the currently stalemated U.S. and North Korea relations are caused by oppressive U.S. policy toward North Korea based on Bush’s ambition for hegemony.... A prolonged war against terrorism will only perpetuate bloody retaliation and invite a clash of civilizations. We urge the United States, as the world’s sole superpower, to show real leadership to prevent a catastrophic end of humankind."
TAIWAN: "United States' Forward Deployment Strategy Turns Shaky"
Journalist Sun Yang-ming noted in conservative, pro-unification United Daily News (12/23): "After the September 11 incidents, Washington immediately discovered that the unilateralism, adopted since the Bush administration took office, was inadequate in handling the new type of terrorist attacks. Washington thus had to return to the old practice of the Clinton administration, namely, to reopen multilateral negotiations with each regional power. It is hoping to coordinate with the major powers in each region to obtain their support for the United States' interests, its security and anti-terrorism policy.... This seems to be the road that the United States must choose with regard to its security in the future. In fact, the U.S.' current anti-terrorism or Afghanistan policy, to a certain extent, will force Washington to rely more and more on its allies [for] resources and assistance."
PAKISTAN: "The Year That Changed The World"
Karachi-based independent Dawn said in its editorial (12/31): "It was in 2001 that a new world order started emerging with stunning speed.... It confirmed the trend towards a unipolar world.... The American power was seemingly so invincible that many states fell in line and joined the so-called world coalition while non-participants chose to remain discreetly quiet. Tragic though the enormous loss of life in New York was (3,000 by final count), it hardly justified the devastation of Afghanistan and the massive killing of the Afghans. A factor which certainly helped the Bush administration emerge unscathed from its military adventure was the alienation that many, including Muslim populations, had begun to feel towards the Islamic fundamentalists who have been all too willing to resort to 'jihad' against those who are not on their side. Hence there was relief all around when the Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapsed like a house of cards.... In the climate of instability created by the American war in Afghanistan, the terrorist attack on the parliament house in New Delhi...proved to be a spark in the tinderbox.... There are far too many imponderables in the prevailing tense situation, the key one being the risk of a nuclear war. There is also the factor of uncertainty of American policy. As such, South Asia has emerged as the most dangerous place on earth.... Decades of mutual distrust has blinded the leadership of India and Pakistan to a point where they turn to Washington to have it pull their chestnuts out of the fire."
"The Year 2001"
An editorial in The Nation opined (12/31): "The defining movement came with the terrorist attack of September 11 on the U.S., when freedom movements all over the world lost their legitimacy in the Western eyes. The cry of human rights died down in the din of the so-called right of 'self-defense', allowed to some chosen states. As the rules of the game changed, so did the rules of the war. These were developed by the U.S. in the war in Kosovo and were used in the conquest of Afghanistan. Back home, the fall of democracy and the fall of the economy, which had brought a lot of pain to many, brought a reprieve out of the blue. The September 11 incident suddenly made President Musharraf the darling of the West when he ditched his Afghan policy.... While it provided him the pretext to crack down on religious extremists, it may have also saved him from an attack by India because of U.S. intervention."
INDIA: "Greatest Tragedy Of Our Time"
An unsigned editorial in Calcutta Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrika mused (12/30): "Have we seen all the faces of the Satan yet? Have we got his full identity? Does he possess the power of triggering nuclear holocaust? Does he hold the weapon of bio-terrorism in his quiver? Does he furtively walk towards the sudden future of cyber terrorism?... Nobody knows for certain when and where the onslaught of panic might grip us. Usama bin Laden, alive or dead, President Bush had announced. Now, in the post-Taliban era, Bush's prime concern remains the same -- bin Laden, dead or alive. What else could have been a greater tragedy than the fact that at the close of the first year of the new millennium one has to remind the Satan!"
CANADA: "When Carrying A Big Stick, Americans Should Talk Softly"
Columnist George Jonas wrote in the nationalistic Ottawa Citizen (1/8): "It appears that if bin Laden has succeeded in one thing, it has been to push the United States into an era of post-liberalism. The United States has begun to talk the talk of a hyperpower, and has also been walking the walk in the last three months. I don't mind the walk, but find the talk vaguely disconcerting.... There's no question that the United States has the big battalions; what's less certain...is that God is invariably on their side."
“Learning Larger Lessons Of War On Terrorism”
Haroon Siddiqui commented in the liberal Toronto Star (12/23): “Whatever else it did or didn't do, Sept. 11 showed that isolationism is not a viable option amid globalization, that the relationship between action and reaction is quicker than we have been used to, and that we can no longer afford to be selective about human rights and democracy.... It is also useful to recall that, following Sept. 11, a huge effort was mounted to veer the public away from their most instinctive query: Why did it happen? Questions like that were initially dismissed as un-American (shades of McCarthyism?) or as rationalizations for terrorism. Such absurd assertions have since been sidelined by a clear sense that something has gone tragically wrong with American foreign policy to have made so many so angry that they would applaud even Usama bin Laden.... The more contemporary American policy has been to sustain oppressive military or monarchical regimes [in the Middle East], not unlike what Washington used to do in Latin America. The policy has failed spectacularly. In Iran, it produced a revolution. In Algeria, it produced a brutal civil war. In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it produced the Sept.11 hijackers.... It will not be easy for America to change course overnight. But change it must. It is also not clear if it grasps the dangers of aligning itself, as it has, with the likes of Putin, the butcher of Chechnya, or Islam Karimov, dictator of Uzbekistan, who stands accused of gross human rights violations. America has already paid a heavy price for its poor choice of friends. Bin Laden was trained by the CIA..... Saddam Hussein enjoyed America's support throughout his 10-year war against Iran. Bush has provided exemplary leadership since Sept. 11. He now faces an even bigger challenge: applying American ideals more evenly around the globe.”
ARGENTINA: "Different Standards For Latin America"
Patricio Lombardi, business-financial Ambito Financiero's contributor, wrote (12/28): "The U.S. strong response to the regrettable September 11 attacks has demonstrated once again the Bush administration's strong determination when it is time to make decisions. But, unluckily, this standard of political behavior is not applied towards Latin America.... Almost one year after the new USG took office no Under Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs has been appointed in the U.S. State Department. The position is vacant due to the lack of confirmation of Ambassador Otto Reich.... The Argentine case is an example of how the U.S. did not take precautions or give good advise to its loyal ally.... Now Argentina needs to perform deep political and judicial reform, but it needs its friends to be able to implement serious economic and financial recipes which are valid for its people and not to satisfy some international bureaucrats based in Washington."
BRAZIL: "September 11th"
The lead editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo observed (12/29): "As expected, the catastrophic predictions about the 9/11 attacks did not come to pass. The attacks certainly had terrible consequences. To estimate the reach of the consequences is risky and requires some speculation. Even so, it can be said that the United States has done well so far. Of course, there's still the possibility of [it] getting involved in unpredictable problems, especially if it insists on extending its military campaign against terror to other countries, such as Somalia, Iraq, Yemen and Sudan. Even so, on balance Bush gets a favorable grade. Now we must hope that he does not let his war-time popularity go to his head and that he continues managing the crisis with restraint."
MEXICO: "Mexico, Alone Against Drug Trafficking"
Javier Ibarrola wrote in sensationalist Milenio (12/27): "After September 11, the U.S. has increasingly been convinced that all its efforts and resources should be directed to fight terrorism.... Therefore, until further notice, the fight against drug trafficking assumes a lower profile. Undoubtedly, drug trafficking is the paramount issue that binds together Mexico and the U.S., even more than trade and cultural ties.... But U.S.' resources and intelligence have been withdrawn from the border, and Mexico is practically alone in the war against drug trafficking.... Drug traffickers possess large economic resources which they can move in several fronts.... In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Oscar Rocha, a former U.S. anti-drug agent based in Mexico, said that 'we only have three radars down South.... We are blind, we have no infrastructure, and the agents we had have been sent elsewhere.'... Additionally, the over-surveillance within the U.S. has caused number of drugs to remain in Mexico; thus there is an increase in domestic drug consumption.... We should not forget that Afghanistan produces 75 percent of the world's opium. But Mexico is doing its share to fight this problem. While the U.S. is busy with its war in Afghanistan, Mexico's armed forces do not rest in fighting drugs. Their actions are not only to prevent drugs from with circulating in Chicago, New York or Washington, but to prevent their consumption by Mexican youngsters."
Denise Dresser stated in independent Reforma (12/24): "It has become popular not to take seriously the September 11 developments in the U.S. We have heard that 'the U.S. is exaggerating,' that 'this is something of no concern to us,' or that 'some government officials are too Americanized.' Many feel that Mexico is not affected by global trends or local recessions, by closed borders or by the drop in exports.... However, U.S. policies after September 11 have no tolerance, but Mexico is not thinking about how to reverse that situation."
CHILE: "The U.S. Forgot Its Interest In Latin America"
Conservative, influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio piece by Pablo Soto said (12/12): "As 2001 approaches its end, ties between the U.S. and Latin America show an unfavorable balance and not very promising expectations.... President Bush's promise that this would be 'America's Century' ... was postponed. The September 11 attacks marked the breaking point ... This postponement of Latin America in favor of U.S. interests occurs when the region is going through a moment of great turbulence that threatens to get worse over the next months. Argentina is the most symptomatic example of this...and some observers warn that Washington's sudden exit from the region could have complicated effects in the future for the entire region."
COLOMBIA: "Challenges of Foreign Policy"
The lead editorial in top national El Tiempo stated (1/5): "The first phase of the global crusade against terrorism is about to be completed.... Having concluded the initial stage, the world will focus on designing a broader, more comprehensive anti-terrorist strategy in 2002, a scenario which will demand adjustments in Colombian foreign policy.... Building on close relations fostered by the Pastrana government, Colombia's only reasonable option is participation in the international mainstream led by Washington.... Obligatory commitments to the [global] crusade against terror must nonetheless allow for conducting useful peace talks with guerrilla groups, and seeking resolution of Colombia's internal armed conflict. Similarly, international cooperation on peace and human rights must follow principles and approaches aimed at distinguishing between assistance and unilateral intervention. Colombian foreign policy...will face other major challenges: the case presented by Nicaragua before the Hague Tribunal [concerning sovereignty over San Andres and Providencia.] Complications with Venezuela resulting from the deterioration of Chavez's political situation, as we saw in late 2001, will create a noxious regional [political] environment.... Confusion created by Chavez' Bolivarian revolution and the eventual repercussions of the Argentinean crisis ensure that the international community will not view the region promisingly from an economic perspective. In the midst of a political campaign and with a change of government ahead, Colombia ought more than ever to maintain solidarity in its foreign policy. A divided country could be an easy target for unwanted interventions as a result of the war against terrorists, truculent actions by Nicaragua at the International Tribunal, and unhelpful ties between Chavez and the guerrillas."
"Bush A Phoenix In The White House"
An essay in weekly El Tiempo, Washington correspondent Sergio Gomez Maseri developed the theme of President Bush's rising to the challenge of current events, observing that (12/31): "On September 11, Bush's weaknesses were put to the test and, to the surprise of many, he surpassed expectations.... To be sure, the president has ahead of him serious challenges that will take the measure of his strengths and weaknesses in coming months: reconstruction of Afghanistan, taking the war against terrorism to other countries like Iraq and Somalia, leading his country out of economic recession and fear occasioned by the [events of September 11], and sustaining international solidarity while making decisions such as unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty. But, we now have facing these daunting responsibilities not the weak and inexperienced Governor of Texas, but a greatly matured president whose prestige, command and credentials are no longer in doubt."
"How Things Have Changed"
A year-end essay by top national El Tiempo columnist Daniel Samper Pizano reflected (12/30): "September 11 shook the world's security, economy, and sense of tranquility...the biggest change being the sense that everything had changed for forever. The U.S., Pakistan, and Afghanistan have been most affected. The former has suffered the psychological effects of its vulnerability, but has also seen its president's [stature transformed] from a cowboy who worried his allies into the leader of an international coalition comprising old and potential enemies such as Germany, Japan, China, Cuba, and Russia. Despite enjoying support from 90 percent of his electorate, reaction has begun to coalesce against Bush Administration policies that have curtailed civil rights and [encouraged] ethnic discrimination."
"The Personality Of 2001"
The lead editorial in top-national El Tiempo stated (12/30): "It has seldom been so painfully easy to choose the person of the year as in the dramatic year just past. The terror and the terrorism embodied by Usama bin Laden decisively shaped a year that changed the course of history. Terrorism is the common enemy. The fight against it should be undertaken rationally and promptly, but without violating democratic principles that the terrorists themselves are attacking. In this respect, those who equate all violence are as disturbing as those [who adhere to a double standard.] We confront a concrete type of violence, not an abstraction. Only when terrorists [take stock of reality and adopt political means] can we prevent a repetition of September 11. It's clear that we haven't reached that point, either in the world at large or in Colombia. The threat continues. But at the end of the day, civilization and reason will win."
COSTA RICA: "Fallen Towers"
Carlos Cortes judged in most influential La Nacion (1/2): "In 2001 not just the Twin Towers fell...it is clear that the...Westernization of the planet...failed.... The World Bank said it in 2001: While children die of starvation, what kind of security can the West expect? While misery, injustice and crime exist, we cannot talk about humankity as a universal truth. What humanity has existed in Afghanistan for the last 30 years?... Winning peace is much more than winning the war.... The West cannot see itself as a fortified mall surrounded by barbarism.... The day that the major arms traffickers decide to finish with poverty there will be a new year and peace for all the world.
"The Other War"
Financial weekly El Financiero stated (12/31): "Washington says its strikes against Afghanistan are a response to September 11th, and that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attacks were caused by people sheltered in Afghanistan. However, a critical analysis shows Washington's reasons are false or, at least, make no sense.... (After being elected, ) Bush organized his cabinet. The vice-president is a petroleum executive and a former Defense Secretary. The National Security advisor is a member of the board of directors of an international petroleum company and a recipient of a Russian scholarship. The Secretary of State is a man without diplomatic experience, and a former Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Another (cabinet) appointment is Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary. He was CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. He and Cheney were speakers at the May 2000 U.S./Russian Forum of Business Leaders. The reader can deduce that the actual 'coincidences' of Bush's cabinet consist of petroleum, the former Soviet Union and military men. Who, if not Washington, could insure pipelines, and at what price? Like Saramago would say: 'The worst is that everything has been justified in the name of the campaign against terrorism.'"
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: "New International Order"
Conservative El Caribe published an op/ed by columnist Antonio Cabezas Estaban noting (1/7): "We must now take some distance from the trauma of September 11 and analyze it coldly. George Bush (senior), behind the Iraqi expulsion from Kuwait in 1991, announced a new world order of peace and cooperation domininated by the United States. In the '90s, we attended to a growing disorder of the planet, in terms of globalization without a human face, local wars, cultural tensions, and the negation by the United States to sign the greenhouse gas reduction in Kyoto and recognize an international cut [in CO2 emissions].... It is true that the United States has changed it priorities since September 11, but not in the direction desired. 'We will increase military spending,' announced Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense. The center of the Arab problem will continue in Palestine, where Sharon fights for his rights without the United States have the political will or the impartiality to favor of a just and lasting peace. Seeing things this way, Latin America will continue to debate how a conglomerate of nations that appears to not know itself, remains unable to arrive at accords and honor them, dancing a tango with bitter complaints that policies, nor democracy, nor the free market are taking root. Latin America, together with Africa, will pay the most for September 11."
ECUADOR: "The FTAA And Dollarization"
An opinion column by Washington Herrera in leading centrist El Comercio (1/8): "The events of September 11 are influencing U.S. foreign policy in such a way that relations from now on will be based on what is convenient for the great power, considering the fact that, no matter what, anti-American sentiment will not be diminished even if they do show signs of being sensitive to developing nations.... The choice proposed --one is either with or against the U.S.--will affect many actions within the U.S.' main market under FTAA.... It would be fair if the U.S. and Canada would immediately open their markets without restrictions and if the southern countries would follow progressively over the next ten years. But it seems this is not going to happen because the process of granting preferential treatment will be negotiated by market or product sectors, which will slow down the negotiation as interests will intertwine in such a way that certain more developed countries will obtain advantages similar to those accorded less developed ones.... But what is fundamental is to know how we are going to enter FTAA without a currency of our own because dollarization affects competitiveness."