|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
President Bush's first State of the Union Address generated a surge of editorial commentary as friends and foes alike were struck by the apparent transformation of a political "lightweight" into "a real leader." (Note: This report is an expansion of today's Early Report.)
EUROPE: Led by 'determined, self-confident' Bush, will superpower 'live by own rules?'
The notice served on Iran, Iraq and North Korea to stop aiding and abetting international terrorism was seen as marginalizing the role of the anti-terror coalition. Paris's left-of-center Le Monde contended that coalition partners Russia and China's status as military suppliers to Iraq, Iran and North Korea "undermined the credibility of President Bush's speech." Bush critics depicted his America as a "hyperpower" bent on imposing its own rules on the world. Most observers held that the president would be hard-pressed to translate his success against the Taliban and al-Qaida into legislative success on domestic issues.
EAST, SOUTH ASIA: 'Strong' on terrorism, but 'incomplete' on economics: East Asian editorialists deemed the president's singling out of "old adversaries" North Korea, Iraq and Iran as hardly surprising. They warned, however, that America's cause must be seen "just and transparent" in the eyes of its allies, and not merely a case of "settling old scores." South Korean papers worried that Mr. Bush's "provocative" statements on North Korea portend wrangling over the issue of peninsular unification at the U.S.-South Korean summit next month. Elsewhere, many found a concern for the global economy lacking in the Bush address, arguing that a robust U.S. economy and aid for poor countries are also deterrents against terrorism. Indian writers were glad that Bush cited Kashmiri insurgents as terrorists, while their Pakistani counterparts noted he had dubbed Musharraf "praiseworthy."
MIDDLE EAST: Arab anger, anger, anger: Uniformly unfavorable, often harsh, commentary criticized the president for targeting Iraq, Iran and North Korea as nuclear and terrorist threats while overlooking Israel. A Saudi observer fumed that the post-9/11 environment "ideally suits Jews," who want to see the gap between the U.S. and its Arab allies "widen," but an Israeli daily said that Bush's message was just "what America wanted to hear after September 11."
WESTERN HEMISPHERE: 'Bush Doctrine' the new 'U.S. foreign policy': Amid a diversity of opinion--positive in Canada, cautious and lukewarm in Argentina, mostly critical in Brazil--most agreed that the address effectively reaffirmed the "depth of the U.S. commitment" to the war on terrorism and represented the consolidation of the "Bush Doctrine" in lock step with the "hard-liners in the administration." Observers saw the expansion of the war as inevitable, and stressed that, after success in Afghanistan "the hard parts now lie ahead." A pair of Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo dailies suggested that Bush had "capitalized" on the U.S. military success and was "using" the war on terrorism "to mobilize support for his domestic political agenda."
EDITORS: Stephen Thibeault, Gail Hamer Burke, Irene Marr, Kathleen Brahney
EDITORS' NOTE: This survey is based on 64 reports from 41 countries, January 30-31. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Rise Of President Bush"
The conservative Daily Telegraph (1/31): "A year ago, when he first addressed Congress, Mr. Bush was dismissed by many as a lightweight--a daddy's boy with a limited intellect and no experience of foreign affairs, the lucky beneficiary of a disputed election. Already before September 11, he had demonstrated there was more to him than that; that he was a true conservative who meant what he said, whether over tax cutting or missile defense. In the suicide attacks he faced a challenge to rank with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and rose to meet it.... In the face of European doubts about pursuing the war on terror beyond the first phase, Mr. Bush showed himself steeled for the long haul. 'The campaign may not be finished on our watch--yet it must be and it will be waged on our watch'; compare that doggedness with Bill Clinton's incoherent posturing.... In his State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush came across as straightforward, resolute, and eloquent in his appeal for self-sacrifice. On that showing, he deserves his outstanding poll ratings."
The independent Financial Times declared (1/31): "It is essential that the U.S. president and commander-in-chief should not abandon the moderation and careful diplomacy that have enabled the U.S.-led campaign to unite such a broad international coalition behind it. There is a danger that his ringing rhetoric about defeating an 'axis of evil' will divide the alliance, rather than seal a common purpose.... He named specifically Iran, Iraq and North Korea. But it is an agenda fraught with difficulty. Global terrorism and rogue states are very different targets. They all require different treatment. North Korea and Iran do not belong in the same breath as Iraq. To lump them together is simplistic and will alienate new allies in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.... Mr. Bush named four groups as part of a terrorist underworld...three have Israel as their target. To single them out may sound right in Ohio and Wisconsin. It does not in the Middle East.... The first phase of the campaign against terrorism has been extraordinary successful. Mr. Bush's first year in office has left him hugely popular. But that should not be a signal to abandon moderation."
FRANCE: "President Bush On The Warpath"
Left-of-center Le Monde commented (1/31): "Every U.S. citizen listening to the State of the Union Address had reason to be concerned. Because the tone and the words used were meant to trigger alarm. The war against this new world adversary, terrorism, 'is only beginning.'... But is the threat as pressing as all that?... Of course, the September 11 attacks are there to justify President Bush's alarmism. Still, we cannot help but be somewhat skeptical at the means invoked by President Bush to deal with this threat.... President Bush has signified his satisfaction at having Russia and China at his side in his fight against terrorism.... Suffice it to say that China and Russia are the principal suppliers of Iraq's, Iran's and North Korea's military programs. This, again, undermines somewhat the credibility of President Bush's speech."
"Bush Declares War On 'Axis of Evil'"
Right-of-center Le Figaro's correspondent Jean-Jacques Mevel wrote (1/31): "The White House has finally tipped over to the side of the 'hardliners', those who believe that eliminating Saddam Hussein...is as pressing as catching Osama bin Laden.... Europe...has several reasons to find the (president's) speech unsettling, for what was said as much as for what was omitted.... George W. Bush avoided any reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an issue over which the Europeans are almost as touchy as the Arabs. Even more sensitive is the status of the European detainees at Guantanamo, this subject was barely touched on...in the speech Tuesday evening."
GERMANY: "Bush Is Naming Names"
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/31) noted in a front-page editorial: "This president will not be talked out of the international fight against terrorism, nor of taking on a hostile regime reaching out for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Bush, quite undiplomatically, singled out Iran, Iraq, and North Korea in his speech. This kind of openness may bother appeasement politicians abroad, but Bush is simply not one of them. It is up to the governments of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea to contain the conflict. North Korea can give up on blackmail by missiles; Iran can stop exporting tons of weapons to Palestine; and Iraq can stop investing in poisonous gas. All of that is not asking too much."
"War As The Father Of All Things"
Wolfgang Koydl judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/31): "Bush needs this war in order to push through his domestic agenda, which the September 11 attacks had delayed but not destroyed. Bush needs this war in order to explain the budget deficits the country is facing for the first time in years. Bush needs this war as justification for the recession, and he needs it as a recipe for fighting the economic crisis. And Bush needs this war and the popularity it is bringing him because congressional elections are coming up. That is why the president once again invoked the dangers represented by an 'evil axis'--the terror countries Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. And that is why he spoke of 'tens of thousands of terrorists,' spread all over the world, at all times ready to strike the United States. Even Bush's own secret service is likely to know that this number is probably a significant exaggeration. But the president needs strong images if he wants to prevent the memory of Sept. 11 from fading."
ITALY: “President And Commander-In-Chief”
New York correspondent Mario Platero observed in leading, business Il Sole-24 Ore (1/31): “Europe may have been caught unprepared by the aggressiveness, the toughness, the clarity of Bush’s speech. That same Europe that invoked a soft line towards Iraq now finds itself with Iran on the table, as well.… There is no doubt that Washington has already taken into account the possibility of a ‘difficult’ reaction fom Europe.”
“Bush: ‘The Evil Axis Threatens America’”
Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto stressed in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/31): "Bush’s vehemence made the State of the Union Address sound like another declaration of war--[similar to] the one on September 21 against the Taliban and al-Qaida, in the wake of the Twin Towers attack.”
“Bush Against The Evil Axis: ‘We Will Strike Our Three Enemies’”
An analysis by Vittorio Zucconi in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica insisted (1/31): “Tuesday’s speech was not meant to show the way for the allies of the anti-terrorism coalition.... It was, rather, a rally for the troops, aimed at...mobilizing U.S. public opinion...and giving the impression that there is a determined, self-confident, strong and pious man in command.… Especially in Europe, which Bush mentioned only once during the speech and thanked only once for its collaboration in the war, as if he were taking us--and this is the real weak link in his ‘doctrine’--for granted, almost as invisible guests at the banquet of personalized unilateralism.”
RUSSIA: "Bush Doctrine"
Aleksandr Shumilin commented in reformist Izvestiya (1/31): "The stormy applause in Congress following George Bush's first State of the Union was more evidence that America has a real leader.... The president set the right tone by inviting them to look to the future. While the past is tragic, the future is bright and wonderful. The president tried to be sincere. The main thing was to help his fellow countrymen regain a feeling of security.... The United States made it clear that it will no longer tolerate Iran, Iraq and North Korea attempting to create weapons of mass destruction. Either they stop or a stop will be put to the ruling regimes there. That is what the Bush doctrine is basically about."
"America's Foreign Policy Becomes Its Domestic One"
Andrei Zlobin and Igor Maksimov opined on page one of the reformist Vremya Novostei (1/31): "Today the master of the White House is not just president of the richest and most powerful nation in the world. He is the leader of a hyperpower that, without even trying to impose its rules on others, merely lives by its own rules in this wide world. Characteristically, there is nothing in this address that might be called a foreign policy aspect. What is going on in the world is seen from a perspective that is strictly American. With the United States' foreign and domestic policies merged naturally, other countries are only mentioned in terms of friends or foes."
Yevgeniy Vasilyev stated the reformist Vremya MN (1/31): "This address, if it is not a new victory for Bush as a politician, is vivid proof that, qualitatively, he has become a better leader of his country since he first took over the White House."
AUSTRIA: "Axis Of Evil"
Foreign editor Christoph Winder stated in liberal Der Standard (1/31): "George Bush's tough talk about an 'axis of evil' is likely to influence the general climate and the currently quite sunny Russian-American relationship: Moscow has repeatedly expressed its concern about the steadily disintegrating friendship between Moscow and Washington. A United States 'going it alone' in Iraq, Iran and North Korea is definitely not going to please the Russians."
BELGIUM: "Iran Is 'Hostile' Once More"
Foreign affairs writer Marc Van de Weyer wrote in conservative, Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (1/31): "The fact that Bush mentioned Iraq and North Korea by name is quite understandable. Both countries have been at the top of the list of hostile nations for years.... Much more surprising is the fact that he mentioned Iran. The modest rapprochement after September 11 seems to be over.... The relationship reached below zero when Israel seized a vessel loaded with weapons on its way to Gaza. According to Israel, the weapons came from Iran. As a result, Washington reiterated its old allegations against Tehran: that is has a stock of biological weapons and that it represents an international danger after its purchase of ballistic missiles from Russia, China and North Korea."
"Sky-High Ratings Mask Domestic Problems"
U.S. correspondent Yve Laudy commented in independent La Libre Belgique (1/30): "Peace, prosperity, and budgetary surplus have been replaced by war, recession, and deficit. But the Americans do not blame George W. Bush. On the contrary, 82 percent approve his presidency, although all do not agree on his domestic policies. But to maintain this support for the war, for him, and for his party--which hopes to regain the majority in both the House and the Senate in the November elections--the State of the Union Address will not be sufficient. The budget Mr. Bush will propose next week shows that he understands this, but also that a partisan battle is unavoidable."
IRELAND: "Bush Speaks To Congress"
The liberal Irish Times opined (1/31): "Mr. Bush has clearly signalled the opening of a second phase of that campaign.... Mr Bush has grown enormously in authority and stature at home and abroad since the September 11th attacks, and this showed clearly in his address. He has mastered his international brief, overcome doubts about his diplomatic skills and used a powerful supporting team to advantage.... A U.S. attack on any of the states mentioned would gravely affect the international coalition to fight terrorism. Without clear evidence, an express mandate from the United Nations and the concurrence of its allies, any attack would be a foolhardy and dangerous exercise in unilateralism."
FINLAND: "President Lays Out Long War Against Terrorism"
Finland's leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (1/31): "Bush spoke in a threatening manner but did not tell what sort of action he is planning against these countries. It is not easy to understand what Bush's purpose is in connecting Iran, Iraq and North Korea with 'an axis.' None...of these countries are allied with each other in any way.... The rhetoric which accompanies an appearance before Congress and actually putting policies into practice are different things. The most important message was that the war against terrorism can be expected to continue for a long time and may expand in surprising ways."
GREECE: "Commander Bush"
Chief foreign news editor Michalis Moronis argued in popular, influential, anti-American Eleftherotypia (1/31): "His remark about tens of thousands of terrorists being a 'ticking time bomb' is not convincing.... White House officials referred to approximately 100,000 terrorists trained in Afghanistan since 1979. Nobody dared say, however, that these people were trained by the Americans in order to confront the 'Evil Empire.' Nor did they take into account that Bosnia, a host of terrorist camps according to Bush, has been practically under NATO rule since 1996.... Father Bush inspired this war, and Bush junior seeks to carry it out. However, this war will boost anti-Americanism, and strengthen terrorism."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Bush To The Letter"
Newspaper of record NRC Handelsblad editorialized (1/30): "Bush began and ended his speech with the war on terrorism that the United States is conducting, 'a war that has just begun'. From this, one can discern how the United States will act in the coming months in terms of foreign and security policy. Altogether, that is not a very pleasant prospect. In threatening language, governments that in the U.S. view are not doing enough to combat terrorism, are exhorted to do this now, and rapidly. If that does not happen, the United States will intervene.... .Not a word did the president devote to a coherent policy toward the Middle East, which is interwoven with the campaign against terrorism. That is to be regretted, as the situation between Israel and the Palestinians is worsening rapidly and bears the seeds of a much greater conflict. The fact that the United States is letting matters go where they will in the Middle East influences negatively the battle against terrorism and heightens the tensions with the Arab allies of the U.S. coalition..... But Bush is not invulnerable. The war costs a lot of money: more than $30 million a day. The budget shortfall rises. There is his achilles heel; there are the chances for the Democrats...along with another subject, not mentioned by the President: Enron."
NORWAY: "Bush's Strong Warning"
Norway's newspaper-of-record, conservative Aftenposten asserted (1/31): "Despite the official title, it was not an account on the State of the Union that President Bush presented to Congress yesterday. His speech was more a narration on the war against the terrorist Al-Qaida network and an indication of what can be expected in the future. The central focus was a warning to the three nations the president called the 'evil axis': North Korea, Iraq and Iran.... President Bush has shown a good knack for creating and maintaining an international alliance against Al-Qaida, but this foundation will hardly hold if there is a war against Iraq, even if it is intended to remove an unscrupulous and merciless despot."
PORTUGAL: "The World We Live In"
Editor-in-chief JosT Manuel Fernandes noted in center-left O Público (1/31): "America is perhaps the only nation where a president could address the country in the terms used by George W. Bush the day before yesterday: 'Our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. Yet the state of our Union has never been stronger.' Which is true--and which allowed him to receive a standing ovation."
ROMANIA: "Junior Learns From Senior's Experience"
Foreign policy analyst Roxana Frosin opined in business-oriented Curentul (1/31): "As opposed to George Bush Sr., the current White House leader understood that, in order to maintain his popularity ratings, it is time to approach some issues (not only) closer to Americans' fears, but also to their pockets: homeland security and the economy.... In an extremely intelligent move, the president asked congressional Democrats and Republicans to...accept his plans for relaunching the economy. In this way he closed, for the moment, the mouths of his political adversaries, who, since December, started to voice opposition to his...tax reduction for wealthy Americans [and] his rejection of plans for environmental protection.
SWEDEN: "George Bush Concentrates On Security"
Stockholm's conservative Svenska Dagbladet noted (1/31): "Although George Bush entered the White House as a controversial and often mocked individual, he is nowadays generally regarded both as a president and statesman."
"Tough Language Against 'Evil' Powers,"
Foreign editor Per Ahlin observed in Stockholm's independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter (1/31): "To bring terrorists to justice is one of the priorities of the U.S. government. And it is not a wild guess to say that a major part of the international support would depend on how legal rights are being respected. The debate in the last few weeks is proof of this."
SWITZERLAND: "Fusing War On Terrorism With Domestic Agenda"
Conservative Neue Znrcher Zeitung, Switzerland's most respected paper, (1/31) saw "an effort by the president to prolong his exceptional popularity as commander-in-chief in the war against terrorism and use that popularity to achieve his domestic agenda.... Bush can only achieve that goal by fusing foreign policy and domestic politics. The Democrats, on the other hand, are following exactly the opposite strategy: they are supporting the President as the protector of national security but are drawing a line between domestic issues and national unity in the fight against terrorism."
TURKEY: "State Of The Union"
Hadi Uluengin commented mass appeal Hurriyet (1/31): "On the issue of fight against terrorism, it seems President Bush tends to agree more with the hawks than the doves. He is going to finish the job on Iraq. Naming Iran as part of the bandits category also shows that Bush is under the influence of hawks. But this is a wrong approach because it obstructs the rise of secular and democratic powers in Iran. Another mistake in the State of Union Address was the absence of a Middle East section. President Bush has not even mentioned the issue as if things were perfect in the Middle East.... As for the missile shield issue, it shows the fact that the military industry lobby in Washington has not given up on the Star Wars even after 9/11and it never will.... The missile shield, requiring a series of giant investments, would also serve as an economic stimulant."
ISRAEL: "What America Wanted To Hear"
Washington correspondent Orly Azolai-Katz wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (1/31): "[In the State of the Union Address,] Bush didn't say anything new.... [But] as regards the Israeli angle, Bush positioned himself exactly at Israel's place: without saying it, he clarified that Israel's enemies are also America's foes.... After the speech, the White House spokespeople quickly issues reassurances that the president had not yet declared war. But it was what America wanted to hear after September 11: The voice of thunder, the voice of the mighty fighting the abhorred. Bush did it big time.... He offered the right dosage with a new enunciation...which sounded like that of a man who knows he has already passed the public test and who is coming to reap applause."
"Bush's Speech Strengthened Regional Israel-Egypt Alliance"
Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote in a page-one article in independent Ha'aretz (1/31): "Israel and Egypt are the strongest members in the regional alliance led by the colossal superpower. Both countries were impressed by the determination of Bush II to pursue the fight against terrorism--more than his father had done against Iraq--with active Egyptian, and passive Israeli assistance.... Given the transparent use [in Bush's speech] of World War II terminology--the triple Iranian-Iraqi-North Korean axis--it is natural for the countries of the region to conclude that the United States is serious this time and that Bush is really examining them according to their contribution to, or interference with the fighting. This is a negative message for Bashar Assad and Yasser Arafat, and a positive one for Mubarak and Ariel Sharon."
WEST BANK: Media Treatment
All papers (1/31) carried front-page coverage on the State of the Union Address, highlighting, what was viewed as very negative, the warnings against Iraq, Iran, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam led with a banner headline stating, "Bush Names Iraq, Iran And North Korea As Targets For Next Stage Of His War Against Tterrorism.'" A lead headline in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida read, "Bush Prepares The American People For The Next Stages Of The Century's First Wars."
IRAN: "Demagogic Tactics No Longer Effective"
The conservative English language (Internet Version) Tehran Times argued (1/31): "President Bush...once again accused the Islamic Republic of seeking weapons of mass destruction and supporting terrorism.... These baseless remarks are not anything new, as they are quite in line with the hostile attitude Washington has held toward Tehran ever since the Islamic Revolution toppled the U.S. puppet in this country and brought an independent government to power. But there are also certain reasons for the increased harshness in Bush's remarks against Iran. The fact is that although the U.S. forces have been trying for the past few months to capture Osama bin Laden, who is considered by Washington to be the mastermind behind the September 11 incidents, they have so far failed to achieve this objective. Thus, to hide this failure, Bush needs to raise a commotion over what he claims are threats from independent countries like Iran or North Korea in order to divert U.S. public attention from the Bin Laden issue. Besides, the incumbent president is trying to give an impetus to the U.S. military-industrial complex, which requires fomenting crises throughout the world."
EGYPT: "A Message To The American President"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's contributor Sekina Fouad intoned (1/31): "Mr. President, I know the many sources your country has to know what is happening in the world...so how could you fail to know about the silent anger in the Arab and Islamic street?.... One of them asks what you would do if an American land was occupied by foreign troops that start changing its geographical and demographic features?.... Is the United States leading a war against terrorism that is fundamentally a violation of international legitimacy, while at the same time the United States is partial toward Israel that also violates international legitimacy and spreads allegations and lies that it is involved in a dispute over land not an occupation by force?... It is time for our nation to learn lessons and to realize that the unity of Arab ranks and breaking Israel's strategy to abort Arab solidarity has become essential for life. Before we blame Zionist crimes and American bias for this catastrophe, we should look at the pathetic situation of our nation that resorted to begging and abandoned its source of strength and its...material and cultural wealth."
LEBANON: "State Of Delirium"
"The Last Stop," a daily column by Sateh Noureddine in Arab nationalist As-Safir, judged (1/31): "When the greatest country in the world falls into a state of delirium, the whole world should be terrified, and all of mankind should feel the danger. The State of the Union Address delivered by President Bush and hailed by the Congress and American public opinion was no different that the statements that were issued by Usama bin Laden. It is war between right and wrong, between what is true and what is evil.... What is really terrifying, though, is not Bush's low IQ, but the Congress's reaction to his address. A whole nation decides to go to war without knowing who the real enemy is, without asking about the price, and without asking whether there is an alternative.... One of bin Laden's victories is getting the United States to lose its control...announce that it is the kingdom of ultimate goodness, and getting it to break its own laws and principles.... America is raving and the world should stay in bunkers."
"Bush Speech Missed Many Marks In Middle East"
According to the English-language Daily Star (1/31): "George W. Bush's State of the Union Address...was remarkable for what it lacked: any mention of the United Nations as either a vehicle for or a partner to Washington's far-reaching but vague (and therefore dangerous) ambitions. The American president mouthed more of the same 'our-way-or-else' rhetoric that has been an unfortunate by-product of the September 11.... To be sure, Bush's speech-writers tossed in a few kind words about Islam. But they counted for little in a sea of threats whose blissful ignorance of the past and manifest indifference to the present can only serve to destabilize the future.... Palestinians, it seems are not human in Bush's world, for they have no right to either demand dignity or fight for it. The rule of law is only enforced when it suits America's (or Israel's) whims and cannot be applied to dozens of international laws and UN Security Council resolutions dealing with occupied Arab land.... Bush got one thing right: Terrorism must be eliminated. But he promoted solutions that figure to be no more successful, only more intense and therefore more dangerous on all sides.... Arabs are not asking for the world, only for their rights.... Once there is no reason to commit terrorist acts, the groups that perpetrate them will wither away."
MOROCCO: "Only The Beginning"
Medi-1, semi-official radio station in Tangier with an audience over 21,000,000, reported (1/30): "President George W. Bush has ignored the Middle East in his State of the Union and made direct threats against Iraq, Iran and North Korea as countries producing mass destruction weapons. Bush stressed that his campaign against terrorism is only beginning."
QATAR: "Bush's Speech--Nothing New"
Columnist Mazen Hamad wrote in semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Watan (1/29): "When I listened to President's Bush speech, I thought that he had declared war on the rest of the world. But when I read it carefully, I found that the 45-minute speech was full of old statements. Bush did not say anything new. He had said before that Iraq, Iran and Korea are developing weapons of mass destruction. He also said before that Hizbullah, Hamas and Al-Jihad are terrorist organizations. The Cowboy will never step down from his horse, and God knows where this will lead us to."
"American Arrogance "
Semi-independent Al-Raya maintained (1/31): "In his State of the Union Address, President Bush reflected American arrogance in its ugliest form. Once again, the Americans are threatening the world with force to impose their demands. The speech was almost a declaration of war against Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. This provocative language will definitely not help the coalition to support the United States in the war against terror. We believe it is time to confront and challenge American arrogance."
SAUDI ARABIA: "U.S.-Arab Confrontation"
Pan-Arab, influential Al-Hayat featured this commentary by Riyadh bureau chief, Dawood Al-Shiryan (1/31): "President George Bush has renewed accusations of terrorism against the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Army of Mohammed movements. He also accused Iraq of conspiring to develop anthrax, lethal gas, and nuclear weapons.... The new American rhetoric has put Arab governments in an embarrassing situation, increased possibilities of political confrontation between the Arabs and Washington, and perhaps suggests the targeting of some Arab countries for military actions.... Arab governments' approval of the meaning of the new American language, or even parts of it, will be a hard concession to make, in light of the war of annihilation against the Palestinian people.... Washington is ready to engage in dialogue and to change its tough tone if it feels that the Arabs are interested in negotiations over (the future) of the Islamic movements' resistance, rhetoric, relief assistance, education, and (political) parties. The Arabs are ready to cooperate, and even grant concessions, but they are still far from halting the resistance, as well as from identifying it with terrorism."
Moderate, influential Al-Watan opined (1/31): "Coinciding with U.S. President George Bush's 'State of the Union' address, the New York Times published a paid full-page advertisement quoting a statement distributed by 62 American Jewish organizations demanding that Washington abruptly end its relations with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.... It is not at all strange that the Jews benefit from (the current) situation, which suits them ideally, by widening the gap between the United States and its Arab allies, and by favoring their interests. But we fully blame Washington, which is confused following the September 11 terrorist actions. It seems that Washington is no longer able to distinguish between its friends and its enemies.... The statement of the Jewish organizations had an effect even before it was published, so as to make President Bush reaffirm that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah are terrorist organizations. (By doing so) he once again disregards the reason why these organizations exist: Israel's occupation of Arab territories and its mistreatment of their innocent people."
SYRIA: "The Point Of Evil"
Faoud Mardoud, chief editor of government-owned Syria Times, editorialized (1/31): "In his national televised speech on Tuesday night...President Bush said the world faces a continuing threat of terrorism, claiming that Iran, Iraq and North Korea are developing weapons of mass destruction. But what about Israel, which has already acquired all kinds of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear warheads? Different sources from within and outside the region sound the alarm about the amount of weapons of destruction in Israel and the possibility of using them against Palestinian civilians. President Bush seems unaware of that.... It is hard to understand why the United States prefers to hide the evil face of Israel.... President Bush should have called this a 'point of evil'."
TUNISIA: "A Misleading Speech"
Editor-in-chief Mustapha Khammari wrote in independent French-language Le Temps (1/31): "President Bush's State of the Union Address has not succeeded in changing the conviction that the American superpower is dangerously managed.... Bush enjoys public opinion approval levels not seen since Franklin Roosevelt. He therefore thinks everything is allowed, and distributes threats to the world.... The major American papers were not mistaken when they qualified the speech as not brilliant. But public dissatisfaction only concerns the domestic portion of the speech. The foreign policy speech received applause, but only because it was misunderstood. The public appreciated the warrior gestures but there was a deficit of explanation of global reality in a world almost exclusively dominated by the American will. Apparently, President Bush's speech on terrorism is acceptable, when he says the goal is to put an end to terrorism and to prevent suffering.... The American people don't know that these principles are selectively applied. f American people found out about the suffering of the Palestinian people, who are deprived from their rights, they would revolt against their own administration which lets Israel do what it wants. The war rhetoric will not serve the United States, its interests, or the interests of peace."
AUSTRALIA: "The Bush World View"
An editorial in the leading liberal Sydney Morning Herald judged (1/31): "Predictably, and appropriately, the President of the United States, George Bush, devoted almost half his State of the Union address to the Congress yesterday to fighting the evil of terrorism.... Yesterday, even though the U.S. economy is in recession and the Enron scandal is simmering, he went before the nation's applauding legislators as one of the most popular of modern presidents. Opinion polls put his approval rating at higher than 80 per cent.... Yet even allowing that yesterday's was a speech for a peculiarly American occasion...some of his rhetoric will raise concerns abroad, even among U.S. allies. It suggests that the Bush world view remains worryingly simplistic and selective."
CHINA: "State Of The Union Address Draws Much Attention"
Chen Tieyuan wrote in the official Chinese Youth Party China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao, 1/31): "Almost every sentence and paragraph of President Bush's State of the Union Address won applause from Americans on January 29. His words that 'the United States has never been stronger' seem to show that Americans’ national strength has not been damaged by the ongoing war against terrorism which costs about $30 million every day.... According to a U.S. official, who was reluctant to identify himself, the U.S. victory in the war against terrorism has already demonstrated that the achievements of U.S. foreign policy have been recognized by the public.... The address once again confirms that after September 11 the two [U.S. political] parties will put aside differences and work together to deal with external threats.... One interesting thing is that President Bush sang high praise for Pakistani President Musharraf, a sharp contrast to his unkind words and strong opposition to Musharraf when the latter took office. The media describes President Bush's words about Pakistan in the State of the Union Address as using both stick and carrot."
HONG KONG SAR: "First Things First"
The independent, English-language South China Morning Post commented (1/31): "President Bush made it clear in his State of the Union Address that the next phase of the United States' war against terrorism will be against old adversaries.... By naming Iraq, Iran and North Korea as 'evil' terrorist nations for producing weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Bush made it clear who America's next targets were. That he should provide no evidence is not surprising in light of how the war in Afghanistan was conducted, but that he should name old foes already on the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism hints at Washington grasping at straws as to what to do next.... The first phase of the war against terrorism is far from over and must be taken care of before Washington opens new and unproven fronts. Mr. Bush may have committed his military to a cause, but it must be just and transparent and not merely a case of settling old scores."
"Next Anti-Terrorism Target Is 'Axis Of Evil'"
The independent, Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal remarked (1/31): "In Tuesday's State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush clearly targeted the so-called 'axis of evil': North Korea, Iran and Iraq. This 'axis of evil' is patterned after former President Reagan's 'Evil Empire,' which is what he used to call the Soviet Union.... [Now] Bush pushed the Bush Doctrine a step forward. He has included countries that possess large numbers of powerful weapons threatening the United States in the anti-terrorism list.... Iran did provide assistance to the anti-terrorism action in Afghanistan. There are strong voices internationally as well as domestically that reject a United States attack on Iran. If the United States aims at North Korea, China will object. Not even South Korea wants to squabble with North Korea because of its Sunshine Policy. Hence, the United States cannot rashly send troops to North Korea. Even if the United States wants to tackle Iraq, it will encounter many difficulties, militarily and diplomatically.... The success of anti-terrorism relies not only on the battlefield, financial efforts and intelligence. The conflict between the Arab world and Israel and the poverty in Islamic countries must also be solved. These are fundamental issues. It is disappointing that Bush's State of the Union Address focused only on domestic politics."
INDONESIA: "Strong But Incomplete"
The leading, independent. English-language Jakarta Post remarked (1/31): "Overall, it was indeed a strong speech, but in our judgment it was also an incomplete one. The rest of the world, especially the developing non-Western countries, have a great interest in seeing that the United States should be successful in achieving a respectable level of economic growth towards the end of this year. Only a strong America can help the poorer parts of the world achieve a decent level of living. Although President Bush did propose the establishment of a new USA Freedom Corps, among other things to extend American compassion throughout the world, we do expect a strong and structured commitment from Washington in overcoming the five major problems of the developing countries. Namely, availability of potable water; production and distribution of electricity affordable to all; construction of affordable housing; the eradication of major public diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS, and widespread public education with an emphasis on mastering the basics of digital technology. To a large degree, the improvement of the social-economic level of poor people throughout the world is also an effective way of eliminating terrorism."
JAPAN: "Address Reflects Japan's Concern About DPRK"
Conservative Sankei observed (1/31): "We welcome that President Bush shares Japan's concern over the DPRK's military threat and acts of terrorism. Japan should join the United States to reduce military and terrorist threats in the region."
"President Bush Prioritizes National Interests"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai's senior Washington correspondent Sunohara observed (1/31): "President Bush...declared to the world that the United States would pursue a more realistic, national interests-first policy. His declaration was a clear departure from his father's...declaration of idealism that called for the establishment of a new post-Cold War world order. The world is beginning to see the United States as no longer insisting on its unipolar domination."
NORTH KOREA: "DPRK Spokesman Slams Bush's Accusations"
Pyongyang's offical KCNA news agency reported (1/31): "A spokesman for the foreign ministry of the DPRK released a statement today denouncing President Bush for revealing a reckless attempt to stifle the DPRK by force of arms. The statement read [excerpts]: The U.S. is in the grip of a serious economic recession...there were large-scale attacks on the World Trade Center...and the Pentagon...and large scandals related to the administration have been brought to light. This is entirely attributable to the unilateral and self-opinionated foreign policy, political immaturity and moral leprosy of the Bush administration. Herein lie answers to questions as to why the modern terrorism is focused on the U.S. alone and why it has become serious while Bush is in office. The reality clearly proves that the root cause of all misfortune is the reckless strong-arm policy of the Bush administration.... Bush, making a profound confusing of right and wrong, foolishly attempts to ascribe all accusations made against it at home and abroad due to his reactionary and chauvinist policy to terrorism. What merits a serious attention is that Bush disclosed his reckless attempt to stifle the DPRK by force of arms. There has been no precedent in the modern history of DPRK-U.S. relations that in his policy speech the U.S. president made undisguised threatening remarks on aggression and threat against the DPRK, an independent and sovereign state. This is..little short of declaring a war against the DPRK."
SOUTH KOREA: "Deep-rooted U.S. Distrust Of North Korea”
Independent Dong-a Ilbo editorialized (01/31): “President Bush is likely to consider North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq, as a potential enemy that may attack the U.S. and its allies using weapons of mass destruction, and to pursue policies accordingly… Meanwhile, the Kim Dae- jung government has a perception of North Korea that is strikingly different.... President Bush has correctly pointed out that the North Korean regime is arming with weapons of mass destruction while starving its citizens. Yet our government seems so intent on appeasing North Korea that it even considers sending a tourist group to the Arirang Festival, which is North Korea’s political showcase. This attitude is quite baffling… The U.S.-South Korea summit is scheduled to take place in Seoul in mid-February. The situation on the Korean Peninsula will certainly be the most important item on the summit agenda.... The two countries should first and foremost take this opportunity to examine the reasons behind such differences in their views of North Korea."
"State Of The Union Speech And The Korean Peninsula”
The government-owned Daehan Maeil editorialized (1/31): “Given that North Korea signed the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and has expressed its intention to resume talks, the United States should refrain from making provocative comments that could deal a heavy blow to North Korea. Differences over nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons must be resolved through dialogue, not warnings and protests.”
VIETNAM: "Mr. Bush's Complex Strategy Problem"
Manh Tuong analyzed in Vietnam People's Army daily Quan Doi Nhan Dan (1/31): "Nobody doubts that it is the war in Afghanistan that has helped Mr. Bush strengthen his position and that has created an opportunity for the United States to expand its influence. Now U.S. soldiers' footprints have marked in places in Central Asia, a strategically important region in the world which the United States once thought hopeless for its presence. Gradually, U.S. soldiers are coming back to Southeast Asia, too, through joint military operations in the name of combating terrorism... However the war in Afghanistan does not create any advantage for Mr. Bush in domestic issues. All of the budget surplus gained during the Clinton administration has vanished as the war on terrorism continues, marking Mr. Bush's first year in power with a constantly declining economy and rising unemployment.... In domestic issues, in the future, Mr. Bush will have to fight hard with the Democratic Party to refute criticisms that he only represents large corporate, oil and gas tycoons, and that his intention to cut taxes only benefit wealthy people in the United States and large arms manufacturers, not the majority of the American people... The two parties also have such different strategies to stop the recession and unemployment that they are unlikely to go in the same road to solve domestic challenges."
INDIA: Media Treatment
Television news channels (1/30) and major dailies (1/31) generally highlighted Bush's praise for Musharraf's "strong leadership" while noting how the United States was working closely with Russia, China and India. His assertion that terrorist-training camps had been eliminated in Afghanistan, and his naming of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed as one of the groups in the "terrorist underworld" was positively noted by many dailies.
"Judge And Executioner"
The nationalist Hindustan Times observed (1/31): "There was...reassurance for the other countries when the leader of the world's most powerful democracy promised to 'pursue' the terrorists 'wherever they are'. However, along with the reassurance, there may also have been a muted feeling of unease at the manner in which Bush spelt out his goals.... Bush's speech may well mark the beginning of a new age--Pax Americana--where the United States will be judge, prosecutor and executioner.... From now on, however, the U.S. may not even bother to consult others when it battles its enemies."
"Bush Warning Is For Pakistan, Too"
Senior editor Siddharth Varadarajan wrote in the centrist Times Of India (1/31): "If Bush's references to Pakistan are parsed further, it is clear that he was attempting to emphasize three points. First, that Pakistan is only cracking down now. Second, that the United States believes Musharraf is the best man for the job. And third, that if he falters--of if he is replaced by men who will not act on America's concerns--the United States will consider itself at liberty to hit out."
PAKISTAN: Media Traetment
Pakistani editorials (1/31) focused not on the State Of The Union Address, but rather on U.S. Ambassador Chamberlin's statement that President Musharraf's upcoming visit to the United States could "change Pakistan's destiny." News reports on the address emphasized Bush's reference to Musharraf as "praiseworthy," while noting the United States' identifying Islamic countries (Iran and Iraq) as possible next targets in the war against terrorism.
CANADA: "A Foreign Policy For The Civilized World:
David Warren submitted this analysis in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen (1/31): "It takes a day for the content of a political message, such as President George W. Bush's State of the Union, to sink in.... The morning after, we ask: What was the meaning of it?... What the speech sounded was the depth of the U.S. commitment to win the 'war on terror.' From what I can discern, Michael Gerson and speech writing staff went through nearly 30 drafts, as the administration tested its will internally. It was the last chance for any 'doves' within to get punches pulled, and qualifications written into what has emerged as the 'Bush doctrine.' That doctrine now stands unambiguously as the foreign policy of the United States, probably for decades to come. While the essential principle was enunciated by President Bush even in the first moments after the terror strikes of Sept. 11...the implications of this have now been thought through. When, for instance, the president named Iraq, Iran and North Korea, he was in deadly earnest. He was effectively declaring a state of war with those regimes.... The issue of weapons of mass destruction has been put at the center of the U.S. world view. The lesson of September 11 has sunk deeper and deeper: Here are states that sponsor terrorists and are recklessly advancing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs and missile systems with intercontinental reach.... Mr. Bush's State of the Union address was a signal, not only to the countries named and warned, but to U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere. For there is currently an ominous lull between storms.... By the tone of his remarks, President Bush was telling Europe, 'You're not off the hook. We will not to return to the business-as-usual of September 10th.'... The war, in other words, has hardly started. The easy part--dispatching the Afghan terrorist regime--has been accomplished. The hard parts now lie ahead. The real question, from the beginning, has been: 'Does the United States have the stomach for a conflict dimensionally larger than the Afghan campaign?' On Tuesday, after much internal wrangling and additional thought, Mr. Bush repeated the answer: 'Yes.'"
ARGENTINA: "War Against The 'Axis of Evil'"
Julian Borger, Washington-based contributor for leftist Pagina 12, observed (1/31): "First they were called 'rogue states', then during Clinton's days Iraq, North Korea and Iran went through a make-up phase and were de-moted to the category of 'states of concern.' Now, President Bush, in search of expanding his war against terrorism, has christened them 'axis of evil.' The reference to ominous danger mentioned in President Bush's State of the Union Address surprised many people in Washington by dramatically extending the reach of the 'Bush Doctrine' aimed at punishing other promoters of terrorism as well as terrorists themselves.... The tone of Bush's message seems to be in concert with the hawks in the Pentagon. They say that Iraq's continuing development of mass destruction weapons turns Saddam into an 'urgent' issue, and that the United States' contention policy is not working. The inclusion of Iran is even more surprising. Teheran helped the United States....with Afghanistan, although their relationship has deteriorated lately. The inclusion of North Korea also surprised certain observers in Washington because the South Korean government of Kim Daejung was preparing a new diplomatic offensive and was looking for U.S. support. Another possible explanation for the inclusion of Iran and North Korea on the list is that they have both developed ballistic missiles... On focusing on them again, Bush is implicitly indicating that the missile shield is still key to U.S. national security."
"War Is Only Beginning" `
An editorial in independent La Prensa read (1/31): "The gist of President Bush's State of the Union address in Congress was the fight against international terrorism--a fight that's only beginning.... He spoke to his people, but had the Democratic Party approving most of his words. He also addressed the rest of the world, a possible victim of terrorist Fanaticism.... Bush declared he will allow no country to be harassed by terrorism, which means he not only focuses on Afghanistan, Somalia or any other suspected country, but on all those whose democracies are subject to terror, which includes Latin American countries. This helps us to better understand the U.S. government's recent attitudes towards Colombia, or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Cuba or even the Triple Border."
"Bush: 'Our War Has Just Begun'"
Alberto Armendariz, daily-of-record La Nacion's New York-based correspondent, noted (1/30): "In an energetic speech aimed at capitalizing on the U.S. military victories to strengthen his domestic policies, President Bush warned...that the 'war against terrorism has just begun'...and he also fervently committed to combating recession.... It was a historical speech that was awaited with much expectation and several analysts did not hesitate to compare it with the one delivered by President Roosevelt in 1941, after the United States entered the Second World War. The 'war on terrorism'...turned the Bush administration...from an administration having doubtful legitimacy...into an administration enjoying an unprecedented level of popularity."
BRAZIL: "What Was Missing In Bush's Address"
Lead editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo opined (1/31): "More for what he did not say...President Bush has received much more criticism than applause overseas. His speech disappointed all of those who expected that he would use such a remarkable opportunity to unveil a new vision of international leadership for the United States. In this vision, the fight against terror would be associated with a redefinition of U.S. relations with the poor world, where low living standards and ignorance feed rancor against U.S. hegemony. Certainly, poverty is not the immediate or the exclusive cause of religious fanaticism. But it seems obvious that the effort to restrain this scourge will only be successful if the United States uses a part of its remarkable resources to help the world's poor. Moreover, the U.S. indifference toward the emerging nations' economic problems jeopardizes the moral authority Washington needs to lead civilization's fight against barbarism."
"Bush's Escalating Rhetoric Aligns Him With Hard-Liners"
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo's Washington correspondent Paulo Sotero commented (1/31): "President Bush made two ambitious and risky bets in his congressional address. While calling Iran, Iraq and North Korea 'terrorist nations,' he has aligned himself with the hard-liners of his administration.... The other bet was to use the war against terrorism, which has maintained his immense popularity, to mobilize support for his domestic political agenda, especially against recession.... Bush has raised Democratic issues that his fellow Republicans always criticized. It is an astute maneuver because it aims at preventing the Democrats from disassociating foreign policy, an area where they cannot criticize Bush, from domestic policy and the current economic situation, which they identify as vulnerable points of both Bush and the Republicans in the November congressional elections."
"Bush Warns That Threat Continues"
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo's Washington correspondent Paulo Sotero commented (1/30): "President Bush used his first State of the Union Address to reinforce the notion that the Untied States continues to be threatened and that the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda is far from over. He said that Iraq, Iran and North Korea form an 'evil axis' and that the war will be extended beyond Afghanistan's borders.... Aware of the fact that Americans are currently more concerned with the possibility of losing their jobs than with another terrorist attack, Bush used his high approval ratings to attack the recession.... In an attempt to get rid of the threat the Enron scandal poses to his administration and to his approval ratings, Bush asked for more transparency, responsibility and accountability to prevent the repetition of a similar collapse."
"Recession And Terror Dominate In Bush's Address"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo Washington correspondent Marcio Aith noted (1/30): "With the economic recession--and no longer terrorism--as Americans' main concern, President Bush spent most of the day yesterday rehearsing the State of the Union Address.... With the United States' relatively easy victory in the first stage of the military campaign against terrorism, Americans are now turning their attention to the economic slowdown.... In addition, Americans' suspicions vis-a-vis the developments of the Enron scandal are increasing.... So far the recession and Enron have not affected the president's popularity.... In his speech, Bush will argue that the war against terrorism and domestic security are at the top of the U.S. agenda."
CHILE: "Education In The U.S."
Conservative, influential, Santiago newspaper-of-record El Mercurio noted (1/30): "The U.S. president passed an important educational reform.... The president has launched this reform in view of clear signals that the transmission of knowledge and culture in that country have stagnated." ##