February 25, 2003
EUROPEAN RIFT: 'ATLANTICISM' VS 'EUROPEANISM'
blast French President Chirac's "shameless attack" on E. European
French, others criticize Eastern Europe's "Atlanticism."
Outside Europe, some think "NATO is falling apart."
"Defiance" of the U.S. hides the EU's "inability to play
an independent role."
'New Europe' likens 'infantile and even
dangerous' Chirac to de Gaulle, Brezhnev--
European writers assailed Paris's apparent belief that "when France takes
a position, all Europe is supposed to bow low before it." East European dailies blasted Chirac's
"truly scandalous actions" in advising EU candidates to "keep
silent." One Czech paper compared Chirac
to Leonid Brezhnev, saying he sought to "renew the doctrine of limited
sovereignty." Russia's reformist Novvye
Izvestiya said he was "posing as a new de Gaulle." Pro-opposition Romania Libera declared
that former East Bloc countries don't want to join a Europe "confronted
with a Soviet-like hegemony."
Several German writers were also critical. Business-oriented Handelsblatt said
that "when Chirac speaks of Europe...he thinks of France, France, and
nothing but France."
French believe Europe must be 'a political
counterweight to America’s hyperpower'-- Some leftist and French outlets agreed
that "there is more than ever the need for a balancing view" instead
of playing "blindly into Washington's hands." Some said pro-U.S. leanings "undermine a
common EU foreign policy" and not-so-subtly advised against rapid
acceptance of new EU members. Germany's
center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung attacked the applicant countries'
"uncritical stance towards the U.S."
A Belgian daily added that Europe will lose its identity completely if
it "allows itself to become contaminated by the Atlanticism" in
The 'spectre of political implosion' threatens the EU and
NATO-- Asian and Arab papers
stressed the "deep differences among the European countries" in forecasting
that "in the future the rift within NATO will grow wider." Bangkok's elite Matichon predicted
that after EU and/or NATO expansion, "France and Germany may be isolated,
prompting them to befriend Russia" in response to "New Europe's"
pro-Americanism. Several, including
Indonesia's independent Suara Pembaruan, hoped Paris and Berlin would be
able to unite Europe to become "a balancing force against U.S.
domination" of the globe.
'Franco-German defiance' actually stems from inherent 'weakness'--
Many dailies, noting "Old Europe's"
weakness, stressed "how easily the Americans managed to blow EU unity
apart." Lisbon's center-left Diario
de Noticias added that "today's Gallic arrogance is little more than a
sign of despair" stemming from what Canada's leading Globe & Mail
called the "huge economic and military gap" between the U.S. and
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis was based on 94 reports from 41 countries over 15-24 February
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
"Despite Appearances To The Contrary"
Donald Macintyre commented in the liberal Independent
(2/20): "It isn't difficult to
defend the proposition that one of the less remarked casualties of Tony Blair's
Iraq policy has been the collapse of his European project.... Iraq has proved the most powerful catalyst.
Cemented no doubt by Donald Rumsfeld's counter-productive gibe about "Old
Europe", Germany's deep distaste for an Iraqi invasion sits all too
easily, from the point of view of an Atlanticist UK Prime Minister, with the
desire of a handsomely and freshly mandated President Chirac to go with the
grain of European public opinion by leading opposition to the war. What price now Mr Blair's bid for British
leadership in Europe?.... You don't have
to support Mr Blair's line on Iraq to recognise that a substantial number of EU
governments have been ready to side with him. At Monday night's summit in Brussels
there were strong expressions of support for his arguments on Iraq from a group
ranging from Spain to Ireland, from Portugal to Denmark. It's also a truism that Mr Blair's stance is
more closely in tune with an enlarged Europe than that of the French President.
Several of the candidate countries of Eastern Europe, who still look to the US
as their primary liberator from the communist yoke, have backed the British
Prime Minister forcibly. Indeed, it is not too fanciful to see President
Chirac's shameless attack on some of those same candidate countries as an
acknowledgement of that shifting tide.
What's more, for all the apparent strength of the Franco-German
alliance, it isn't quite as impregnable as it seems."
"Europe Sends A Message To Iraq"
The independent Financial Times expressed this view
(2/19): "At their brief summit
European leaders peered into the abyss of the trans-atlantic rift over
Iraq. Not liking what the saw, the
decided to overcome their own stark divisions and regroup around a common
position that is coherent--at least for now.
Unable to agree it is time to use force against Iraq, the 15 members
could agree on upholding the authority and integrity of the Security
Council. In its essentials, the EU
position spelled out that the Iraq crisis can be resolved peacefully, that war
should be only a last resort, but that the obligation is on Saddam Hussein to
comply with United Nations Security Council demands that he disarm. It also emphasized that Mr. Hussein would be
making a mistake if he believes he can survive by dividing the Council. The fundamental differences highlighted by
last Friday's meeting of the Security Council--above all between France's
emphasis on the inspections process and American and British insistence that
Baghdad is not cooperating with inspectors - are still there. But after the Brussels summit, the main
difference is over when to decide whether inspections have run their
"Wanted: A Foreign And Defense Policy That Europe Can Agree
The liberal Independent stated (2/19): "At a time when the United Nations and
NATO find their credibility and perhaps their very existence questioned, it
should have been possible for Europe to speak with one voice and find something
powerful to say...With the world all too visibly dominated by its single
hyperpower, the United States, there is more than ever the need for a balancing
view to be heard. This is not
'anti-Americanism', because there will be many occasions, indeed probably most,
when the values and interests of the US and EU converge. What is different today is the nature of the
strains on the Atlantic alliance. NATO
may have passed its sell-by date, but little thought seems to have been given
to what might replace it. Inevitably, the EU will form the basis for any new
system of common European security. But it will have to move much more quickly
to resolve some of the obvious difficulties in designing such a security
FRANCE: "Chirac And
Washington: The Break”
Alian-Gerard Slama said in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/24): “What is striking in Franco-American
relations is their asymmetric nature: France’s anti-Americanism is ambivalent,
while on the other side of the Atlantic, the hostility of the media and of
numerous officials is massive and direct. The economic and diplomatic elite in
the U.S. is clearly Francophobic. In France everyone remembers what Europe owes
its ally.... The nature of the break
between Chirac and Bush is new and has much to do with the two men’s
temperament.... If the French government
wants to save the world from a new conflict, it is not so much because of its
pro-Arab policy, but because it is looking to the future.... France is on the side of legality and
morality: its originality is that it wants to be realistic rather than
ideological.... Beyond the Iraqi crisis,
France wants to regulate international relations through legality. This happens
to be the most realistic explanation for Chirac’s outburst against Bulgaria and
Rumania: Europe is open only to those who will respect the rules governing
Gerard Dupuy observed in left-of-center Liberation
(2/21): "The first Iraqi conflict
inflicted a serious blow to the credibility of the media. Not so much because of its ill-intended
repetitiveness.... Today the
caricature-like approach of the Murdoch group does not make the job easier for
the journalists who support President Bush's policy. Yet, the pro-war approach adopted by a
majority of the U.S. media is, journalistically speaking, no more or less questionable
than the generally anti-war attitude adopted by the French media.... For the strategy-makers, the media is only
one more parameter in their game....
History is told by those who win, but the reporters are those who tell
the stories as they evolve. Having been
one of the collateral victims of the first Gulf War should help us avoid a
similar fate a second time."
"The Law Can Not Be Bisected"
Charles Lambroschini wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(2/21): "Iraq is not an immediate
threat...and with Baghdad's recent show of cooperation it is better to use
patience rather than force. The U.S. is
looking to render legitimate a strategy which is clearly a strategy of
violence.... On the other side one finds
the 'legalists' who maintain that the law cannot be bisectred. International law prohibits an intervention
in the affairs of a UN member. The fact
that Iraq is considerd to be unfriendly changes nothing. Faced with the gigantic terrorist fires which
could be triggered by an arbitrary operation against Iraq, George W. Bush
should find an inspiration in Lloyd George's wise adage: 'You can do business with the cannibals
without adopting their disgusting eating habits."
"Bush About To Cross The Rubicon"
Alain Touraine remarked in left-of-center Liberation
(2/21): "American officials have
already assessed the price they have paid for their policy: a break in NATO and a hostile public
opinion.... Every day that passes
increases the break between the official stand, harsh and contemptous towards
the UN, and a public opinion that, although patriotic...wants to wait before
going to war.... Bush's America,
religious and pro-war, is turning its back on Clinton's American, giddy with
its economic power but eager for alliances, trusting in its hegemony but
liberal in the European sense of the word....
It is hard to see how this America, too powerful to fail to crush its
adversaries, but too vulnerable to keep at bay terrible reprisal, will be able
to change its policy.... President Bush
can put an end to the crisis tomorrow by going to war. But part of America's opinion belives that
this war will lead, victory after victory, to a terrible weakening of America's
position in the world and to terrible harm for the Americans themselves. May G-d advise President Bush not to cross
Claude Imbert wrote in weekly right-of-center Le Point
(2/20): "It is a fact that France
today, busybody that it is, appears as the gleaming champion of the opposition
to America. This opposition has
unleashed a Francophobic hysteria there and anti-Americanism here.... This boosts Saddam Hussein and pleases bin
Laden. As for NATO and Europe, they are
not yet broken but are fractured.... If
the U.S. persists in wanthing this war that they ceaselessly announce, France
will have to face the prospect of abstention.
In short, exiting through the back door."
Patrick Sabatier wrote in left-of-center Liberation
(2/19): “Who missed an opportunity to
shut up? Chirac.... The French President
made the same mistake as the American officials who spoke of the ‘old Europe.’
Arrogance is never a good policy. What is worse is that the slip does not seem
to be a slip at all.... There is no
doubt that the Eastern European nations are wrong. An unconditional Atlantic
policy cannot serve a European joint foreign policy. In matters of security and
defense, it is dangerous to put oneself blindly into Washington’s
hands.... This pro-Americanism is loaded
with complications for Europe and its foreign policy. But it is not through
humiliation or threat that France can hope to keep these nations from playing
the role of America’s Trojan horse to weaken Europe.... Europe has a future as a political
counterweight to America’s hyperpower. But it cannot achieve this by
positioning itself as an adversary of the U.S. While Bush may be suffering from
blindness when he thinks he can ignore the ‘old Europe,’ Chirac is doing the
same when he thinks he can dictate to the ‘other Europe.’”
“Being Right is Not Enough”
Pierre Rousselin observed in right-of-center Le Figaro
(2/19): “It is not enough to be right.
One must be able to convince the others. And in the battle of ideas preceding
the war on Iraq, France is not always using the right arguments. Chirac is
right to chastise the Eastern European countries for their support to the U.S.
But he should also wonder why they have not heard France’s message.... It is at times like these that we in France
suffer from the lack of a French or European international channel able to
offer an alternative to the views offered by the Anglo-Saxon media.... But France’s message is just not clear: to
pretend that the inspections will suffice to disarm Iraq is not
convincing.... The letter of eight and
the subsequent letter of ten are ‘childish'....
But France should have presented its views to the East European capitals
by going to see them.”
Bruno Frappat noted in Catholic La Croix (2/19): “President Chirac was probably annoyed and
irritated when he made his sortie which was the equivalent of huge meteorite
launched into the gardens of Eastern Europe....
His accusations were pointing to potential traitors...and one might
discuss ad infinitum the appropriateness of such comments. But the fact remains
that this European identity crisis over Iraq is working like a painful catalyst
about Europe’s enlargement, its legitimacy and the doubts it is raising. By
saying out loud what others are thinking, Chirac probably went further than he intended. But
the basis for his accusations, if not the form, deserves to be analyzed: Do
these European nations want a European Europe or an Atlantic Europe?”
GERMANY: “Duel For Europe”
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich declared
(2/20): "Even after the compromise
from Brussels, differences of opinion continue to exist. The one, Jacques Chirac, continues to seek
reasons against an Iraq war, while the other, Tony Blair, wants to strike today
rather than tomorrow.... Within the EU,
Paris and London traditionally form the counter poles. In contrast to Blair, Chirac is surrounded in
his own country by a grand coalition of approval. His pragmatic anti-war position is shared by
all parties...while Blair has never been as unpopular as today. In order to improve his reputation, he is
trying to seek friends among the pro-American accession candidates in eastern
Europe, which Chirac called to order with a stern reprimand. The next Blair-Chirac conflict will certainly
come. For both the opinion leadership in
Europe is at stake.”
Bernd Ziesemer noted in business-oriented Handelsblatt
of Duesseldorf (2/20): “For weeks, the
chancellor has been trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with President Chirac
in the Iraq question.... But the
Schroeder should not harbor any illusions about the beginning of this
wonderful, new friendship with the French president. When Chirac speaks of Europe these days, then
he thinks of France, France and nothing but France. Since WW II, the French governments have
tried to take advantage of every international crisis in order to strengthen
their own international influence.
Innumerable diplomatic crises, for instance, in NATO, were orchestrated
over the past few decades only for this purpose. Whether it were the agricultural talks [in
the EU], the occupation of vacant positions in international bodies, the debate
over a European constitution, or the discussion in the Security Council, no
other country on this planet is better at selling itself as the best possible
price than the Grande Nation. In
general, the French do not show any consideration for German interests. Have we
already forgotten how Francois Mitterrand tried to undermine German unification
in 1989? Germany’s interests are by no
means congruent with France’s. This
refers particularly to the relationship with our direct neighbors in the
Eastern European accession countries that have been marginalized and threatened
by Chirac and his ministers.... And in
the UN Security Council, the French are mainly interested in putting their
position on a new foundation after the end of the bipolar world.... France’s goal to become the undisputed
‘Numéro Un’ in Europe could result in many conflicts with Germany in the coming
“Peace Is What Satisfies France”
Clemens Wergin opined in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/20): “Who
are the greatest unilateralists in the world?
No, not the Americans, the French, because they pursue only one goal in
the Iraq conflict: their national interests.
And for this end, they have allied with the one who must be considered
the masters of multilateralism: the Germans. If we follow the European
differences of opinion of the past few months, we do not come to the conclusion
that Europe itself lives in a multilateralist state, which it recommends to the
world as a medicine Irrespective of whether
it is the German-French initiative, the pro-America declaration of the ‘new
Europe,’ and the alliance between Russia, France, and Germany; one talks to the
partners only if parts of the continent have already been offended. Europe is disintegrating into the axis and
alliance policy of the 19th century.
There is no trace of a supranational spirit."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger commented in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (2/19): “Revenge is mine,
says Chirac, because he believes that the EU candidates’ statement on Iraq had
an illegal subtext, addressed to Paris and Berlin, not Washington. The candidates took issue with Germany’s and
France’s claim to speak for all of Europe at all times.... Chirac and Schroeder claim that the candidates
have undermined a common EU foreign policy...but the two leaders have done
precisely the same. They, too, made
agreements without consulting others.
They, too, wanted to force partners to decide between loyalties. The governments in central and eastern
Europe, caught between U.S. security promises and European prospects of
affluence, may well be asking themselves right now whether...their statement
was worth the political fallout. The
treatment they are receiving from western Europe right now is likely to remind
them of an unholy past when they were forced to follow party lines.... This much is certain: The Iraq crisis will put more pressure on
European structures than we can imagine today.”
“Chirac And The Far East”
Daniel Broessler judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (2/19): “Poland or the Baltic
countries view America’s presence as the decisive stability factor for
Europe.... It is possible that the
Poles, the Czechs, and the Hungarians acted clumsily with their statement on
U.S. policy, but it was not their goal to divide the transatlantic alliance,
whose members they have been only for a short while. Nevertheless, the EU has legitimate concerns
over the candidates’ behavior. By
adopting an uncritical stance toward the United States, the new members could
make it difficult for the EU to play a significant global role. The candidates must be careful not to turn
into the United States ‘Trojan donkey,’ as Polish journalist Zdislav Najder put
it. On the other hand, one should not
overestimate this danger. The newcomers
are wrestling with the Iraq question in the same way as Germany and Great
Britain. There is no sign of a blind
adoption of U.S. positions. Moreover,
today’s candidates are not tomorrow’s members.... After becoming full members, these countries
will undergo a European socialization, whose result will also depend on the
behavior of established members--especially France.”
“L’Europe, C’est Moi”
Jacques Schuster observed in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (2/19): “Trying to avoid complete
isolation, Chancellor Schroeder had little choice but to support France
unconditionally. Now Chirac...believes
himself capable of realizing what all French presidents since de Gaulle have
dreamt of--to speak for Europe and lead the continent according to French
priorities. The French president is not
concerned with peace in Iraq or a common European position in the Security
Council. He is interested in solidifying
his key position in Europe. To reach
this goal, he is willing to risk a conflict with the Americans, albeit without
giving up any of his options.... In Cold
War Europe, Chirac would now be where he wants to be, but today’s Europe is a
different place. Together with the
Poles, the Czechs, and the Hungarians, Great Britain will take over the role of
mediator that used to belong to Germany and will try to put the brakes on
France. It remains unclear what role
Berlin will play in the future.”
ITALY: “The UN Game”
Elite, classical liberal Il Foglio editorialized
(2/19): “George W. Bush does not seem to
be the President on the defensive depicted by some media after the half failure
of the UNSC meeting on February 14, after the images of pacifists in the
capitals of the whole world, or almost the whole world. George W. Bush takes
the compromise reached by the 15 countries in Brussels as a gesture of support,
even if in the old European style.... He
also takes satisfaction in the EU candidates’ strong replies...to the French
President’s scolding. Bush does not dismiss pacifism, but he...prefers to
govern for security rather than with support.”
RUSSIA: "Chirac Vs
Maksim Yusin declared in reformist Izvestiya (2/20): "The Eastern Europeans, speaking with
one voice, came up with a rebuttal, some of them defiant. Paris could hardly have expected the
ex-Communists, who have only recently cringed, asking for EU admission, to talk
that way and try to teach manners to the French of all people."
"Chirac The Peace Champion"
Yuriy Kovalenko remarked in reformist Novyye Izvestiya
(2/20): "Chirac, who had the entire
world in an uproar as he started his presidency by resuming nuclear testing on
Hiroshima Day in 1995, poses as a staunch opponent of war today."
"The Show Is Over"
Pavel Felgengauer commented in reformist youth-oriented Moskovskiy
Komsomolets (2/20): "An early
solution to the NATO crisis is more proof that all speculation by its officials
that even the smallest countries have the
power of veto in the Alliance...is sheer propaganda. So it was for nothing that our politicians,
as they signed all sorts of declarations and charters with NATO in recent
years, sought a right to veto, too. As
it turns out, only the United States has a real veto power. Without the U.S. armed forces, NATO is
incapable of carrying out serious combat operations. But it can easily dispense
with any of the other member-countries....
Statements by politicians in Moscow that NATO is outdated and likely to
collapse soon because it is going to admit too many former communist countries
are utterly wrong. As a matter of fact,
our former satellites have been following Washington's instructions even more
readily than NATO veterans. It looks
like in a world that may come into being after the Americans occupy Iraq and
establish an effective protectorate in the Middle East, the United States will
be a total and absolute ruler. The UN
and the 'concert of great powers,' permanent members of the UN Security Council,
will make little or no difference at all.
The show is over. All the UN
Security Council will have to do is rubberstamp Washington's decisions or stay
on the sidelines, watching America do whatever it chooses to."
Sergey Strokan commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(2/19): "Well-rounded and
commonplace, the Declaration, in effect, is a fig-leaf hiding the EU's split
and inability to play an independent role in the Iraq crisis. The EU as a whole and its individual members
made concessions to save face and adopted a final document that is vague and
enables Europe to accept any course of events.
It means that 'united Europe' can't play the game on its own, preferring
to wait and see.... The EU has no real
plan, one that would be alternative to the United States'."
Yuriy Kovalenko declared in reformist Novyye Izvestiya
(2/19): "Torn by contradictions,
the European Union has come up with the last stern warning to Saddam Hussein,
with its mini-consensus helping it avoid a crisis.... Owing to the Iraq crisis, Chirac, posing as a
new de Gaulle, has gained an unheard-of political capital. With 83 percent of the French and
practically all political forces--from the Ultra-Rightists to the
Ultra-Leftists--behind him, he is really hard put to back down, to fail to use
the veto power in the Security Council, and to support the U.S.-led war in some
way or other."
Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen observed in independent
Christian-Democrat De Standaard (2/22):
“The political consequences if a resolution is rejected are
far-reaching. We may wind up in the
worst scenario of all--with a military operation that is not legitimated by the
world community, with the UN on the sidelines, with the EU and NATO in
confusion and with an American protectorate in the Middle East that divides the
West and the Arab and Islam world as the cradle of new terrorism. Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt’s interesting
plea this week for a new Atlanticism--with a European pillar together with an American
pillar--is not productive in this context.
It is a laudable attempt to use the wide desire for peace as a lever for
an act of European voluntarism. But, at
this moment, Realpolitik prevails in all the capitals. That is why the Patriot missiles and the
AWACS aircraft of the NATO partners are on their way to Turkey and is French
carrier Charles de Gaulle conducting maneuvers in the Mediterranean. The difference in military capacity between
the United States and the rest of the world is immense now. The Bush administration is exploiting that
bluntly and without scruples. However,
the phenomenon itself is not related to the question of who is the current
inhabitant of the White House. A war in
Iraq is neither the start nor the end of that evolution. But, it will be an important milestone. The world after a unilateral Iraq war will be
different from the world we knew before.”
Foreign editor Jean Vanempten commented in financial De
Financieel-Economische Tijd (2/22):
“The U.S. administration’s arrogant behavior caused more and more
irritation. A professional politician
like Chirac must have felt that. He saw
a golden opportunity to take an international profile.... He will now have to wait and see how long he
can maintain the stubborn French position.
The military buildup around Iraq has reached such high level that only
an American ‘Go’ is needed. The troops
are ready.... However, the resistance
against the unilateral campaign against Iraq has made one thing clear. The world is not ripe for becoming one single
unity. Everyone is entitled to one’s own
culture, opinion and conviction. And, a
major part of the world believes that a pre-emptive war is not an (accepted)
concept in the international order. With
all his opportunism, Chirac succeeded in throwing that on the table. That means that the fact that the British
press call him a ‘worm’ and a ‘pimp’ must be considered part of the
warfare--the psychological warfare that is.”
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn observed in conservative
Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (2/20): "The simple and sobering truth is that
Europe does not have a policy for major problems. In such circumstances, self-interest prevails
and national interests always come first. The Americans have uncovered that division
even more. Europe simply does not know
what to do against Bush and his administration.... In the meantime, one problem seems to be
untangled. NATO has probably reached an
agreement on what to do about Iraq. The
deadlock that lasted one month ended on Sunday evening when Belgium stopped its
opposition against defensive measures for Turkey. The row ended with a ‘face saving
compromise.’ In practice, the
Verhofstadt government did not accomplish anything tangible. It approved what Secretary General Robertson
put on the table one week earlier.
However, the relief in NATO was so great that Belgium was allowed to
sell it as a victory--to keep everyone happy.”
"Don't Follow Blindly"
Jim Lannoo opined in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd
(2/19): “Those who want to become
members of the European family must accept the tradition of consultation and
not follow the Americans blindly. That
is the core of French President Chirac’s criticism on the ten would-be members
of the EU after the EU crisis summit in Brussels on Monday evening.... when he underlined the division in Europe in
a painful manner. With the enlargement
of the EU, that division may even increase in the coming years.... In the recent past, the EU authorities always
justified the EU enlargement with the same arguments. The main argument was that the re-unification
of Eruope was an historic duty after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Furthermore, the EU was going to expand its
market with 75 million consumers--to the benefit of the European economy. The leaders in would-be members also urged
for EU membership.... They focused on
the support that they would receive as poor countries. And, they view membership of the EU and NATO
as a symbol of liberation from Moscow....
Chirac’s message is correct: the EU is more than a common market and a
source of agricultural and regional assistance.
It is also and increasingly a political club in which family traditions
of consultation, democracy and respect have developed over the years. Those traditions cannot be pushed aside
lightly after the arrival of a group of new members. Europe threatens to lose its identity
completely if it allows itself to become contaminated by the Atlanticism in
BOSNIA: "Beginning Of
End Of NATO"
Boro Hajdukovic noted in Republika Srpska-based pro-nationalist
weekly Oslobodjenje (2/19):
“Americans did not expect many things that happened, they did not expect
that their humble servants would oppose them so much.... They really expected, as in the case of the
Serbs, that they would give the order for killing and destruction...and the
subordinated countries, or the allies, as they ironically call them, would
obediently follow the order.... The
newly created situation in the Alliance...undoubtedly represents the most
apparent and the most serious crisis among the allies and NATO members. Actions of confronting forces,
Germany, France, Belgium...really encourage the Iraqi people and their
president to stay persistent in their opposition to the American intentions to
discipline their country.... On one
side, there are divisions and splits in NATO, while Iraq and the Islamic world
are getting united and stronger on the other side.”
BULGARIA: "EU's Hard
Core Chose A Soft Policy Towards Iraq"
Left-of-center Sega commented (2/24): "In theory France and Germany should
seem isolated along with their few loyal friends. If we count the U.S. supporters, their number
definitely seems larger. However, Paris
and Berlin count more and more on an ally that was never included in the count
until now. Their position differs from
the policy of most other governments but is in synch with the sentiment of most
nations.... If the war against Iraq,
which looms ever closer, is not fast and effective, but instead results in
numerous victims and new regional crises, France and Germany could be certain
that the hard-line, pro-U.S. governments will be toppled by their own
electorate. This would help France and
Germany position themselves as the true European leaders."
"The War In Iraq As A Collective Execution"
Left-of-center Sega held (2/21): "The military operation against Saddam
is being portrayed as a police operation which would punish violators of the
law. It will be some sort of execution
of a sentence. But what court and by
what law was this sentence issued....
The consequences of a possible war against Iraq, especially without a
special UNSC resolution are manifold: a
long-lasting conflict with the Arab and Muslim world, a lasting division within
NATO and the EU, a delay in EU enlargement, legitimization of the global
terrorism through a war, a lasting clash in the UN and robbing the UNSC of its
authority. Is the Bulgarian government ready
to take on these consequences on behalf of Bulgaria? Isn't its position hasty, unprincipled and
demonstratively obsequious? Hasty
because it doesn't take into account a possible albeit difficult to achieve
consensus within the EU.
Unprincipled--because it comes down only to negotiating a guarantees for
security and future benefits in return for a possible unconditional support for
the planned military operation. And
finally, demonstratively obsequious because its only motivation is that any
other position would be an obstacle to the country's accession to NATO."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "What Damage Will The War Cause"
Martin Denemark opined in business-oriented centrist Hospodarske
noviny (2/21): "While the
Homeland Security Secretary appeals to Americans to get ready for a national
alert, the Europeans argue about the correct approach to the Iraqi crisis.
Various institutes publish analyses of the possible economic impact of the war
and meanwhile, some of the damages are apparent already. It was said after 9-11
that the world would never be the same again. It has not changed much,
though--and if it had, than it was for the worse. Fear brought on by terrorists
has been constantly nourished and has been blurring clarity of minds. The
debate over Iraq has been rattled by the cynicism of world leaders, calculation
made with the public opinion moods and double standards applied to various
dictators. We cannot calculate war damages precisely, but one thing is
sure--world leaders keep increasing them day by day."
Karel Jezek wrote in mainstream MF Dnes (2/20): "We should look at the entire issue (of
Chirac's critical statements about EU candidate countries as protégés of the
U.S. in Europe) soberly. Emotive commentaries are unreasonable. Similar verbal
escapades have been appearing between France and the U.S. since the end of
WWII. None of these disputes, however, ever really threatened the oldest
alliance between the two Western states."
"They Won't Learn"
Jiri Ruml wrote in center-right Lidove noviny (2/20): "An anti-war demonstration is a noble
thing, but it should not be overdone.
After my long years of experience, I believe that it's necessary to
react to all threats on time. I'm not
sure if the pacifists, who peacefully burn U.S. flags and almost extol Saddam,
are aware of this. Pressure needed to
tame the Iraqi aggressor was relaxed by the quasi-peaceful approach of Germany
and France. Their motivation is not that
pure, though--Schröder is trying to live up to his pre-election promises and
save the country from an economic crisis, and France is resuming its role of a
stubborn rebel within NATO to get even with the allies for what it sees as its
post-WWII humiliation. Germany and France
try to create hegemony over Europe, but sooner or later they will start
fighting one another over their market shares. That's a rule of history. We all
have some memories of the human inability to learn. I was thirteen when Hitler
came to power with the silent blessing of France and the UK. My son was thirteen when the Russians came to
occupy the CR and the U.S. President left in a helicopter for his ranch. My grandson is going to be thirteen this
September. I can't say what will happen
then, or when his children will become thirteen, whether they, too, will come
out on the streets to demonstrate for or against something - that is, if there
is anything left on this planet then."
Michal Mocek wrote in centrist, leading MF Dnes
(2/19): "If Chirac wants to revive
the spirit of Leonid Brezhnev and renew the doctrine of limited sovereignty,
which means less rights for some countries, it is his own affair. But it would
be a good thing if France found a way to excuse itself politely for the tirades
of its president. Certainly, it does not have to do so. But it will only show in this way that it
does not respect the right of others to voice their positions."
Martin Denemark commented in business-oriented centrist Hospodarske
noviny (2/19): "They are arrogant and by alliance they mean compliance
with their standpoint. This is how many European leaders view their U.S.
counterparts. But oh-la-la, let them change the NATO offices for EU
headquarters, and what we see is magic:
The offended fighters against U.S. hegemony turn into sovereigns
preaching to the candidate countries how to behave. In theories depicting the EU as a family,
Chirac has adopted the position of a despotic father accustomed to command and
even punish his kin. That's what he did
when he turned against the candidate countries, with truly scandalous
arrogance. If the EU leaders want the
candidates to respect common European foreign policy, they must invite them to
the negotiation table and not to humiliate them by making them wait at the
FINLAND: "A Feast For
Osama Bin Laden"
Major Finnish-language independent national Helsingin Sanomat
carried a column by Olli Kivinen stating (2/20): "The cards have been shuffled even more
by the U.S. attempt to split the ranks of the Europeans, mainly those in the
EU, at which the Americans have been fairly successful. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been in
the front line, driving a wedge between the Europeans by referring to the Old
and the New Europe, and by linking anti-war Germany to Libya and Cuba. The
statements seem spontaneous, which, of course, they are not. It is amazing how easily the Americans
managed to blow EU unity apart. They
masterminded two letters supportive of U.S. policies, the first of which was
signed by eight countries, five EU member states: Britain, Spain, Italy,
Portugal and Denmark as well as three applicant countries: the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland. The remaining
applicants joined the 'Ten of Vilnius', signing a similar letter of
support.... The United States and the EU
could admit that despite their close ties, their political mainstreams are
irrevocably and permanently different.
This has to be accepted before unreasonable additional damage has been
done to the UN, the EU, NATO, the U.S. and the EU member states, among which
are countries that don't realize that only cooperation can secure the interests
of even the biggest countries in a changing world."
"U.S. Not Listening To Crticism"
Independent Swedish-language Hufvudstadsbladet
editorialized (2/18): "If one
believed that the massive demonstrations over the weekend against U.S. war
plans would impress President Bush, one has to be
American politicians and media criticize with deepening irony and arrogance
those who refuse to back their policy--especially their European
friends.... In Europe, one of the
fundamental questions is, Why does the United States not understand that the
number of victims and risks taken are will be far too high?.... Despite the heated comments, nobody can truly
believe that the common values that prevail between the U.S. and Europe
seriously threatened. One cannot imagine
a world where the two would be on different sides"
Left-leaning Hungarian-language Nepszava maintained
(2/19): “The tough stance of the French
administration is unusual. It is unusual
to the West and to the East [of Europe] as well. Chirac used words that are
unfamiliar in diplomacy. What is behind
his serious and tough words? The Iraqi
crisis has caused serious changes in the French public thinking. The French people consider themselves the
envoys of peace. The French president
has just recently spoken about the idea that there should be more than a single
power center. He obviously meant that
France ought to be one of the poles.
Although he knows well that France is not in the political nor in the
economic situation to become an individual power against Washington. But France has, no doubt, an important
political asset: a veto right in the UNSC.
The statements of the French politicians reflect a great deal of
self-confidence. It is understandable.
But they ought to be careful that their self confidence does not spill over
into self-satisfaction and pride.”
“Life Outside The EU?”
Conservative Hungarian-language Magyar Nemzet editorialized
(2/19): “As a respected French academic
reminded us some days ago, Hungary is not yet member of the EU. The ardent advocate of Hungary’s EU membership, Prime Minister
Medgyessy holds that in the Iraq issue there is life outside the EU. [reference
made to the line by former Hungarian PM Viktor Orban saying that there was life
outside the EU, for which he was harshly criticized by the socialist
opposition] Peter Medgyessy has made Hungary a persona-non-grata state by a
simple signature [on the letter of eight supporting the U.S.]. But as
Hungarians learned with Trianon [the peace treaty after WWI], it is best to
take the French seriously.”
“Viagra For Desire Of Peace”
Editor of the liberal monthly (formerly legendary) samizdat Beszelo
Laszlo Namenyi argued in top-circulation, pro-government Nepszabadsag
(2/19): "To reduce the American casus
belli to [whether Iraq possesses of WMDs] only serves the purpose of changing
the topic inconspicuously.... Thus, the
question of how much we can trust Saddam Hussein is--morally, and in a
grotesque way--being transformed into the question of how much we can trust
George Bush.... The peace fighters
accusing the American administration of the demonization of Iraq are demonizing
America. They are accusing the U.S. government with not understanding the
world, not understanding the position of others, they themselves are not
willing to make the slightest effort to at least consider the American
position. They keep silent about the motive, the horror of September 11, that
makes the American position possible to sympathize with--even if not
necessarily right--and by using the worst cliches, they attribute the U.S.
position to ‘well-known’ American stupidity, evilness, meanness and
aggressiveness. From a certain point of view, the anti-Americanism rampant in
the minds of certain peace fighters (that other peace fighters easily deduce to
its original form of anti-Semitism) is more worrisome than the war they are
IRELAND: "EU Unity In
Tatters As Hawks Force Pace"
Conor Sweeney noted in the center-right, populist Irish
Independent (2/24): "Europe's
fragile show of unity over Iraq appears close to disintegrating, as EU Foreign
Ministers meet today in Brussels. Although the 15 leaders agreed to sanction
military action as 'a last resort,' the U.S. and its chief European
allies--Britain, Spain and Italy--are already backing another UN resolution
sanctioning a war in Iraq.... The
readiness of the pro-war camp to give up so quickly on the weapons inspectors
will dismay France and Germany, who had hoped their concession at the summit--to
eventually agree to endorse military action if the inspections did not yield
results--justified more breathing space for diplomacy.... The drift towards a split will dismay Irish
diplomats, who helped draft last week's deal which effectively pulled both
extremes back towards the center, where Ireland has tacitly supported the U.S.,
but only if it launches an eventual attack with UN support."
"Peace Demos Can Play Role In Forging An EU Demos"
Paul Gillespie wrote in the center-left Irish Times
(2/22): "Divisions deepened
immediately after the united position was agreed in Brussels--largely because
President Jacques Chirac berated the 12 candidate states for signing two
letters supporting U.S. policy on Iraq....
Coming on top of a letter from Mr. Tony Blair briefing the candidate
states on his view of the summit outcome...it is difficult to exaggerate the
willful ineptitude of the two leaders who had just agreed on a common
position.... In political theory the Greek
word demos refers to the people making up a political community, usually a
nation. In modern usage it is commonly used to identify a community of citizens
linked to each other by strong cultural and democratic bonds and pressing for
more effective control over government. There is a major political and
theoretical battle under way about whether the 'European people' qualify as a
demos.... The huge demonstrations for
peace throughout Europe and the world last Saturday are also part of this
process.... Such demos can make a demos.
They help to construct a transnational public sphere reflecting and expressing
common continental or global values--or disagreements."
"Asserting French Influence"
The center-left Irish Times editorialized (2/21): "Almost by the day there comes another
example of Franco-British tension on foreign policy issues. The latest row is
over the invitation issued to Mr Robert Mugabe to attend the Franco-African
summit in Paris this week. It has been roundly attacked in several British
newspapers as typifying French hypocrisy and self-promotion.... For one who has criticised the US for
multilateralism on Iraq, however, he (Chirac) has ground to make up in practising
it within the European Union.... Mr
Chirac proceeded to attack the accession states for their "infantile"
signature of two letters supporting US policy over Iraq.... It was an extraordinarily ill-judged
outburst, which reduced the chances of forging a more coherent EU policy on the
Iraq crisis. Mr Chirac was expressing an aggravation with the British for
encouraging the accession state governments, as well as giving voice to
reservations about an enlargement which may see France lose influence. The 12
accession states have their own political and historical reasons for taking
this line; but after this episode they will be less keen to subordinate their
positions to a common EU policy, which many Europeans rightly see as the only
way to balance U.S. global hegemony."
"Down From The Fence"
The populist, center-right Irish Independent opined
(2/20): "It now seems almost
inevitable that the United States will strike against Iraq in a matter of
weeks, with or without a second Security Council resolution.... Whatever the outcome of the Iraqi conflict,
there are already casualties. The mutual confidence in trans-Atlantic relations
is one. The project of a common foreign and security policy for Europe is
another.... It is quite an achievement
for the EU's leaders to find a consensual form of words on the Iraqi crisis. It
is also most encouraging to find the Taoiseach coming off the fence at last
just as he was in danger of squandering his credibility as a European
leader.... He has distanced himself
firmly from the US and British argument that a second resolution is not needed
before military action.... European
unity is essential as we run up to realigning the world which is what a war
with Iraq will do. In this scenario, inevitably the EU will form the basis for
any new system of common European security. The need for a strong European
foreign and defence policy has never been greater. Old and new Europe ought to
be able to agree on that."
"Old Europe Can Learn From New Europe's Attitude To
Mark Dooley wrote in the center-left Irish Times
(2/19): "We should never lose sight
of what the U.S. did for the countries of old Europe, including Ireland and the
peace process.... While old Europe
continues to resent America's dominance in international affairs, new Europe is
quite content to live with Pax Americana. This is so because it has first-hand
experience of what life can be like when such peace does not prevail. Ever
since Vietnam, we in old Europe have tended to interpret any US military action
as heavy-handed imperial aggression....
This is not to suggest that new Europe is uncritical of the US. It does
imply, however, that it is easy for those who churn out anti-American rhetoric
on a daily basis and those who forever beat the mantra of 'traditional
neutrality', to do so when both their freedom of speech and their neutrality
are protected by America and its allies....
Before supporting those who proclaim that there is no moral
justification for military force even with a UN mandate, we should first take
note of the astonished reactions of those in new Europe when they hear of such
proclamations. We might come to realise that those whom we are supposedly
defending against so-called 'American aggression' might not actually desire our
protection because it may signal their only hope of someday enjoying lives
comparable to our own. Where the people of the Middle East now stand, those of
new Europe once stood. There is much to be learned from their example and
Schroeder-Chirac Alliance Makes The U.S. A Target Of International Terrorism”
Pro-LDK, mass circulation Bota Sot had
this column by commentator Elida Bucpapaj (2/24): “The Schroeder-Chirac alliance has nothing in
common with pacifism or peace. If their
alliance had a humane background, the two men should have been the first ones
to support the change of regime in Iraq, its transition from a dictatorial to a
democratic regime. Chirac’s interests
are political-economic in nature. From his neocolonialist position he is
interested to keep the despot in power in order to purchase Saddam’s oil at the
black market at a price almost for free….
But one should not forget that this artificial alliance has its
consequences. By becoming protectors of Saddam, Mugabe and all dictators of
banana republics, Chirac and Schroeder have also become protectors of Usama Bin
Laden. Meanwhile, by opposing the policies of America, Chirac and Schroeder
have turned the U.S. into a target of international terrorism.... When the U.S.A. attacked dictator Slobodan
Milosevic it did not do it because there was oil in Kosovo but to follow
humanistic principles to stop the bloodthirsty hand of a despot who attacked an
innocent people. These humane principles are leading the U.S. attack on Saddam
Between America And Europe"
Second-largest Lithuanian-language Respublika opined
(2/20): "The French leader's speech
is truly not the highest standard diplomatic application, it is full of
blackmail elements. however, there is one thing he is right about - Poland,
Lithuania and company did fall by the wayside.
Having received the invitation to the EU, the candidates by far did not
receive the 100% guarantee of membership.
The ballast of European thought is pressing many countries of our
continent - when there's a conflict between the national interests and national
solidarity, the British, the Italians, or the Spanish also humbly take their
own way, even if it leads to the other shore of the Atlantic. But even in this case they do not look lost
in the labyrinth of politics. We may say
that our tossing to and fro between America and Europe is our flexible foreign
policy. But when one lives in a family,
they have more rights than when one is asking to be accepted into the
family. Especially when one is not as
important as they think. Lithuanian
diplomats like to note, that Europe and America are like Father and Mother to
us. But the end miserable if during a quarrel of parents the child decides to
support one of them. Sometimes it is better to remain silent."
MALTA: “Europe And Iraq”
The English-language independent weekly Malta Independent on
Sunday editorialized (2/23):
"After initially expressing sharp differences over how best to deal
with the crisis in Iraq, European leaders finally came closer to a common
position last week after successfully concluding a special summit in Brussels.
This position was also approved by the candidate countries, including Malta. A
clear message was sent to Iraq that it alone would be responsible for the
consequences should it continue to defy the will of the international
community. The EU agreed to uphold the
integrity and authority of the United Nations Security Council and made it
clear that the Council has the primary responsibility for dealing with Iraqi
disarmament, which is definitely a step in the right direction.... The main message from the European Council is
that yes, force is an option, but only as a last resort, and that the Security
Council must be the driving force behind the attempts to disarm Iraq. The
council conclusions were a small step towards Europe adopting a reasonable
common position on Iraq which is far better than unilateral declarations coming
from the “dove” or “hawk” camps within the EU. For Europe to carry weight in the
international camp it must speak with one voice whenever possible.... Europe can and must contribute to a peaceful
solution of this crisis. The EU has the ability to be a voice of reason and it
must go the extra mile to avoid war. Naturally, at some stage it must come up
with a reasonable deadline for Iraqi compliance with the UN resolutions.”
NETHERLANDS: "EU And
Influential, independent NRC Handelsblad has this editorial
(2/18): "The EU leaders were only
partially successful in seeing what kept them together and they did not look at
where they differed from one another
on the issue of Iraq. They
managed to produce a joint declaration containing concessions which each member
state can interpret its own way. A
classical European compromise.... After
NATO did the same, the EU, too, came to the conclusion that unity--even
cosmetic--is essential to keep pressure on Baghdad.... President Chirac found it necessary to give
the new member states a dressing down.
He said it was a shame that the East European newcomers supported the
U.S. and that they passed on a good opportunity to shut up. If only Chirac would shut up. Is it strange that the newcomers would side
with a power that means something politically and militarily rather than side
with a Union that is totally divided and has so far only managed to manifest
POLAND: “Let’s Not Drown In
Antoni Podelski opined in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(2/24): “The U.S. Administration is
trying--in a highly irresponsible way--to win new members for NATO and
candidates for the EU against the not very submissive 'old' Europeans.... Let’s not hurry with rash declarations about
who is right on the Iraqi issue: the United States or France. Both sides of the
transatlantic dispute are defending their principal national interests in this
matter, clearly ignoring the ramifications that this egoistic position may have
for European or Atlantic partnership and integration.... It is in the interest of Poland that mutual
European foreign and security policy be built in close cooperation with the
evolving, not marginalized NATO. At the
same time [building this policy] should not be in opposition to the United
States, lest the European Security and Defense Initiative be perceived across
the ocean as one more French anti-American intrigue. We should [build this policy] not to arouse
the hope that in place of the old French-German axis one can create a new axis
of the European integration that would be more submissive to the United States.
This new Europe simply does not yet exist, and without France and Germany, or
in opposition to them, there will not be a new Europe at all."
“Poland’s Sovereign Right”
Krzysztof Gottesman commented in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(2/19): “Assessing Poland’s foreign
policy, Chirac allowed himself to say words which should not have been said.
Calling our support for America not fully responsible behavior, showing lack of
good manners, infantile and even dangerous, demands a strong response.... European leaders and the public have
different views on a war in Iraq and the role of the United States on the Old
Continent. France...has always wanted to play a dominant role in Europe-often
in opposition to the United States....
Paris has the right to have its own politics. But it cannot...happen at
the cost of Poland, its place in Europe and in the EU.”
PORTUGAL: "The Great
Cemeteries Of Normandy"
Mario Mesquita wrote In influential moderate-left Público
(2/23): "Between ideological
pacifism and religious or professional Atlanticism, there exist those who
oppose a war in the Middle East because they disagree that it is politically or
strategically opportune, because they consider American arguments not very
convincing, or just because they feel insufficiently informed beneath the fog
of related propaganda.... A reading of
the American press shows us that domestic public opinion is not limited to a
majority supporting Bush or to the active opposition who demonstrated on the
streets of New York.... European reluctance,
which originates in the Paris-Bonn [sic] axis, has set off a strong campaign of
criticism of France in the United States....
The 'great cemeteries' argument--repeated to a certain extent all over
Europe by those who defend a war in Iraq -- might move a certain segment of
public opinion, but will not convince the most demanding sectors capable of
understanding that foreign policy cannot be promoted using historic debts, nor
was American intervention in the Second World War based upon sentimental motives.... At the beginning of the 21st century, Europe
is the only possible counterweight to the unipolarity centered in
Washington. The 'manifesto of the
pro-Americans', with Portugal in the second rank, has revealed--even more than
what was suspected--the enormous fragility of the European construct. If we wanted to distance ourselves from Paris
and Berlin, it would have been more worthwhile to adopt the wise neutrality of
"What They're Saying"
Deputy Editor-In-Chief Jose Antonio Lima observed in
top-circulation centrist weekly Expresso (2/22): "Socialist Party activist Ana Gomes, in
connection with the 'letter of Eight' that the Durão Barroso government signed
in a divergence from the Paris/Berlin axis, said, 'When they go back to discussing
the divvying up of funds in European councils, Germany is going to have a few
things to say to us.' Well, there's a
self-seeking, petty vision subservient to foreign politics in all its splendor. A vision that, not by chance, was equally
developed recently by Jacques Chirac in baldly threatening the European
countries of the East.... This was
pretty rich coming from someone like Chirac, who complains about the U.S.
wanting to impose its positions on others and about the law of the
strongest.... What is worrying is that
Chirac's arrogance is nothing but the other side of the coin of the
subservience adopted by the Socialist Party leader."
Princeton-based Amb. João Cutileiro, former secretary-general of
the Western European Union, commented in top-circulation centrist weekly Expresso
(2/22): "The question of Iraq is
serious, but you couldn't have predicted a year ago that it would end up doing
so much damage. At fault is the
short-sightedness of some of the protagonists.
First, the Bush Administration.
The arrogance, the oversimplification...at times the rudeness, has
driven away potential allies and made it difficult for other governments to
explain the need to punish Iraq to their publics.... But the Americans' blameworthiness shrivels
in comparison with some of the Europeans.
Gerhard Schroeder...has been unable to free himself from his position,
which defies the authority of the Security Council and deals an ax blow to
German-American solidarity, one of the axes of stability and European
construction.... Jacques Chirac's case
is different.... Countering American
arrogance with French arrogance will not help France be respected on the Old
Continent.... Meanwhile, some European
governments understand what is at stake, and are actively trying to salvage the
transatlantic link. Without losing sight
of the essential Iraqi question: that the Security Council ordered Iraq to
disarm; that if this is not done nicely it will have to be done nastily; and
that the best way to avoid the use of force is to place before Baghdad a united
and universal threat. And regarding this
last requirement, European shortsightedness has not been helpful."
Influential moderate-left Público's editor-in-chief José
Manuel Fernandes noted (2/20): "The
French spend their lives condemning 'American unilateralism.' However, their president seems to believe
that when France takes a position, all Europe is supposed to bow low before
it. That he doesn't have to tell his
allies what he's going to say, but they must always phone the Elysée before
opening their mouths. And that there are
states with more rights than others. So
you see why there are those who fear a directorate of the 'big ones',
understood to mean France and Germany?"
Deputy editor-in-chief António Ribeiro Ferreira declared in
respected center-left Diário de Notícias (2/20): "France is exulting in the role it has
come to play in the Iraqi crisis.... The
confrontation with the United States and Chirac's rough tones with Bush are
making France delirious.... But the
worst for France will come in 2004, when the Europe of 25 becomes a
reality. At that time we'll see how much
of today's Gallic arrogance is little more than a sign of despair."
"Measure Of Hope"
Mário Bettencourt Resendes, editor-in-chief of respected
center-left Diário de Notícias,
had this to say (2/19): "Good sense
and political vision has prevailed....
The document approved Monday in Brussels brings forth what consensus is
possible in a situation where, on Washington's part, the decision to go to war
seems irreversible. Now, if that
happens...without explicit Security Council approval, it runs the serious risk
of re-opening wounds that are still far from being healed. We know that there are those who argue that
Resolution 1441 has sufficient ballast to dispense with a new vote.... But it is indisputable that the safeguarding
of multilateralism and the effort desirable to contain the Bush
Administration's impulses with the framework of the United Nations would
recommend a second resolution."
"The Distrust That Persists"
Manuel Carvalho contended in influential moderate-left Público
(2/19): "For all that European
leaders are pushing themselves to speak with a single voice, their internal
relations have been compromised by the taint of distrust. Because the 'letter of Eight'...has its own
word in the dictionaries, one that will not soon cease being invoked:
ROMANIA: "Being Part
Political analyst Cristian Campeanu commented in pro-opposition Romania
Libera (2/20): "When we
requested to join the European Union, we all believed that we were going to
join a union of free countries. No one
warned us that we would not have the right to speak unless permitted. Obviously, eastern countries definitely want
to be part of Europe, but not of a Europe that is confronted with a Soviet like
hegemony. These countries have suffered
enormously as a result of communism, and they gained their freedom sometimes,
as in Romania’s case, with the price of their own blood. This sacrifice gives them the right to defend
their freedom, even with the risk of being labeled as ‘badly brought up.’ As for France, we are convinced that it is
too great a nation (and) which will try to wash away the shame Jacques Chirac
threw in its face.”
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:
Independent Danas noted (2/22): "The extraordinary EU summit, at which a
compromise statement was adopted enabling the use of force against Iraq as a
'last resort,' disassembled the cult of the U.S.... One cannot be a member of the peaceful
European family and support the war adventures of the U.S. Administration, hoping
that hypocrisy will pay off. Nor can
billions be taken from European funds for ordering American F-16 planes under
the excuse that 'Euro fighters' are allegedly not good enough for the defense
of Poland.... The support of the Vilnius
group for the American war plans destroyed the illusion about the EU as the'
alliance of common values'.... Now is
the moment to think carefully if global peace and European prosperity can be
achieved by military growth, or by having a mutual foreign policy, or by nourishing
differences. Europe is really too old
for its nations to forget their history and stop being Germans, French, English
or Serbs. Without a new European nation,
there can be no dreams about a new Europe that would look like the U.S.... Vive la difference!"
SPAIN: "To War with
Left-of-center El País declared (2/24): "The elegies of Bush to [President of
Spain Jose Maria] a contented Aznar at the Texas Ranch at Crawford has
illustrated the radical turn that the head of the PP has taken in the foreign
policy of Spain. Aznar went very far in
Crawford; he practically guaranteed the
intent of Bush to legitimate war through a new resolution.... The international position of the Government
is flagrantly divorced from Spanish public opinion.... and is part of a great gamble Aznar has made
since [he became President] for a relation much deeper with the superpower, at
the cost of moving away from the heart of Europe.... Europe has been formed on two bases; the
French-Germany understanding and the transatlantic link. More than the relationship with the U.S. as a
multiplier effect for Spanish influence on the international scene is its
participation in the heat of Europe."
"U.S. Doesn't Want To Endanger The Support Of Its
'Unconditional European Allies' "
Reporter Ricardo Ortega of national television network Antenna 3
commented (2/21): "It seems that in
any case [even if Saddam disarms or goes into exile] there will be a military
presence in Iraq. Washington wants to
put in a military government to guide the transition.... A second resolution will be designed in
Washington, London and Madrid. The White
House doesn't want the urgency of war to put in danger the support of its
'unconditional' European Allies.... [By
not putting forward an ultimatum in language of a second resolution] they hope
to reduce the resistance from France and Germany.... Powell believes this way is heading down a
dead-end street....Powell says that war will be in the name of the
international community. In the UN 100
countries have expressed their opinion and all except four have come out in favor of opposing war and
giving more time to the inspectors. It
seems that something is missing in the arithmetic of the White House."
"A Technical Stopover"
Javier Pradera wrote in left-of-center El País (2/19): "[President of Spain Jose Maria] Aznar
appeared yesterday before the Parliament in a technical stopover between his
visit to Brussels...and his visit this weekend to Texas to report on his
actions and in return receive information or instructions from Bush.... The imprudent initial dash of Aznar to align
himself at all haste, unconditionally, with the Bush Administration has made
him make errors in managing the times: his
servile offering to put his face forward as the promoter of the 'letter of
eight" dictated by the other side of the Atlantic not only gave a violent
blow to the common European foreign policy, but left Spain in a position
inferior to that of a vassal.."
"A Debate, At Last"
Centrist La Vanguardia declared (2/19): "Although the EU leaders displayed in
Brussels a fragile reconciliation, it's obvious that differences about the best
way to resolve the Iraqi dispute continue to exist in Europe.... Despite the risk of confusing wishes with reality,
the special summit in Brussels showed a certain spirit of urgency, and the
sense that, first, the inspections cannot go on indefinitely, and, second, that Baghdad should not hold any
illusions; the only way to defuse the crisis is by complete disarmament. No matter how difficult it seems, both
considerations are not incompatible with the conviction that war should be the
TURKEY: “U.S.: Better Make
Up Your Mind Immediately”
Mehmet Ali Birand noted in mass appeal Posta (2/18): “The Bush administration is very determined
to go ahead with the Iraq operation with or without another UN resolution. It does not matter how strongly the Europeans
oppose the U.S., and it does not matter whether Turkey is involved or not. The Iraq operation will be carried out and
Saddam will be toppled.... Given the
circumstances, the nature of the Turkish parliament’s decision becomes
historically important regarding Turkish-American relations. The U.S. administration, feeling stabbed in
the back by France and Germany, is now keeping a keen eye on Turkey. Americans are clearly warning that ‘time is
almost up,’ and that Turkey should come up with a decision.... It seems that Ankara will have to produce a
parliamentary decision in the end whether it likes it or not.”
UKRAINE: "Ukrainian Sweets
In Exchange For Oriental Delights"
International observer Tetyana Silina warned in pro-opposition
independent weekly Dzerkalo Tyzhnya (2/22): "The difficulty for our country is that
it finds itself having to consider three sets of factors: American, European and domestic ones.
To improve its relations with the U.S., Ukraine has to cooperate with it
on Iraq. And it is crystal clear that
without American support Ukraine's chances for NATO and EU membership become
negligible. At the same time, in view of
the European Union’s position, Ukraine also cannot afford full support for the
U.S. policy on Iraq like the backing that all Central and Eastern European
countries offered. Everybody remembers
Jacques Chirac's angry words about the 'Vilnius ten' lacking discretion and
respect for the EU.... It is also
impossible to discount the domestic factor, because the majority of Ukraine's
population is against the war in Iraq, while future presidential election make
the Iraq issue a convenient tool to impress our peace-loving voters."
"Vassal, Neutral Or Antagonist?"
Pro-Administration anti-American weekly 2000 recommended
(2/21): Official Kiev's statements about
its possible direct participation in the aggression against Iraq (even if under
UN aegis) is a somewhat premature move, and one that potentially can bring more
problems than benefits. The most logical
line of behavior for Ukraine in this situation would be neutrality combined
with the tilt towards Paris and Berlin.
This potentially could give us a chance to act as an intermediary
between the conflicting sides which sooner or later will be needed."
ISRAEL: "Behind The
Scenes Of The War"
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote
in independent Ha'aretz (2/21):
"While the demonstrations and activities designed to foment hatred
for the U.S. continued in public, behind the scenes the Americans took off the
gloves.... It has been learned that in
order to forestall a French veto, the Americans have warned Paris that their
reaction to a veto will include rules and regulations that will be aimed
against the French economy and the economic relations between the two
countries. A similar American threat
worked against the Japanese in the past.
In other words, Washington has told French President Jacques Chirac that
as long as he focuses on demonstrations and anti-American declarations, the
United States will be able to live with the situation. But that will not be the case in relation to
French actions that are designed to disrupt Washington's moves in the Iraqi
sphere. Now it remains to be seen how
Chirac will beat his retreat and what excuses he will come up with for
WEST BANK: “Berlin
Rebuilding Its Wall On The West Side”
Hani Habib opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam
(2/19): “It seems that Germany realized
that its ambitions of joining the permanent members of the Security Council are
vanishing. For many years, Washington gave Germany promises without taking any
steps on the ground to fulfill them. Therefore, Berlin is trying, while it is
heading the Security Council, to act as a spoiler reminding the world of its
abilities to play a primary role in international policy. Berlin is making use
of the current public opposition to war [against Iraq]. Will Germany achieve
its aim of occupying a permanent seat at the Security Council by utilizing
demonstrations against the American war?”
EGYPT: "Arrogance Of
Power And Conceit Of Weakness”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Reda Helal
commented (2/20): “Franco-German
defiance may be derived from resisting the American ‘era,’ but it could be
resistance emerging from a conceit of weakness. Clearly the American era will
not last forever but it will not end tomorrow.”
“Germany and France Against America”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Hazem Abdel
Rahman concluded (2/19): “Since Germany
and France could not cope with massive U.S. military power, they could only
curb its zeal using politics and diplomacy. If America were to establish the
principle of conducting unilateral military action or forced the UNSC to issue
authorization for it to initiate this action, it would constitute a precedent
for continued a U.S. use of this method to destroy the international collective.
That could be the reason for German-French insistence on operating under the UN
and we should appreciate their position.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "Timely
English-language Arab News editorialized (2/20): "The latest warning to the U.S. on the
horrendous consequences of any unilateral action against Iraq has come from
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal.... If it is the weapons of mass destruction the
US is after, they need to be destroyed even in an Iraq with a benevolent ruler
with State Department-certified democratic and human rights credentials. If
Saddam Hussein is the problem, bringing in WMD only clouds the issue and gives
Saddam more room to maneuver and a better chance for survival.... It is this shifting stand (one day WMD, Saddam’s
regime or Al-Qaeda links the next) that has weakened the U.S. case against
Iraq. Add to this Washington’s cavalier attitude towards the UN. This
unwillingness to listen even to their friends is America’s real problem, not
the alliance of “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” led by France."
"Threat To West"
The pro-government English-language Saudi Gazette editorialized
(2/20): "The Western bloc is under
threat from within.... The dispute has
certainly become quite interesting, and it is also very disturbing. Its hidden dimension is growing Christian
fundamentalism and sectarian conflict in the West.... Trained during the Soviet era in perfect
'yesmanship,' the East European nations think they should accept the United
States as their new boss, and not the European Union which many of them aspire
to join soon. Since it is believed that
Washington, as the sole surviving superpower, is the keeper of the temple of
capitalism, the new converts must swear fealty to the United States rather than
to the European Union, which they know is not recognized as the ‘world
leader'.... [T]hese nations have ignored
one important factor, that their support for the U.S. war will surely distance
them from the European Union."
The English-language Arab News commented
(2/19): "France’s determined
opposition to Washington’s attempts to steer the UN into an attack on Iraq has
given it an international standing that it has not enjoyed for many a year. It
has come to be seen as the leader of the global anti-war movement, more so than
even Russia and China.... For that
reason, President Jacques Chirac’s outburst at central and eastern European
governments such as Poland and the Czech Republic for daring to take the U.S.
point of view is astounding.... This is
the same blustering, steamroller approach that the White House has used to such
damaging effect on the world stage. President Bush’s “either you’re with us or
against us” statement, his arrogant assumption that Washington knows best and
that everyone else has to fall into line behind it have done more to alienate
international public opinion than the evident bellicosity of his Iraqi policy;
other governments are not going to be told what to do by Washington. It is
incredible then that Chirac should try to do the same on a European
The pro-government English-language Saudi Gazette opined
(2/19): "There are five major
reasons why “old” Europe is not siding with the U.S. administration. Although Europe is not Christian like the
United States, it is troubled by a sudden explosion of Christian fundamentalism
in political circles of the United States....
Secondly, another war in the Mid-East will destroy the United Nations,
create a huge political vacuum and spell anarchy for the whole world.... The U.S. policy, it is believed in the Europe
and the rest of the world, will destabilize the world politically and
economically.... Major European nations
understand that if it [American control of oil resources] happens, Europe will
be starved of oil and will be at the mercy of the United States which will then
exercise a monopoly over oil production, prices and supply patterns. “New” Europe thinks it will be rewarded if it
helps the U.S. to implement its strategy.
But one factor being ignored by European strategists is that a country
made totally defenseless becomes a greater source of instability. While no one wants WMDs in the neighborhood,
no one wants to live in a vulnerable world."
UAE: "Rising Conflict
Between The Two Sides Of The Atlantic"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej editorialized
(2/23): "This rising conflict
between the U.S. on one side and France and Germany on the other confirms with
no doubt the variance between a power-seeking hegemony and a power seeking to
have a role in the new world order since the latter realizes all the political
and economical losses that might occur if it gives in to U.S. demands or
accepts NATO as a tool in Washington's hands.... This situation might lead to a catastrophic
end, especially when American goals align with those of Israel, and both start
planning a new political geography for the region, in addition to imposing
their own solutions for problems in the region which will definitely put an end
to all Arab issues and ambitions."
CHINA: “European Union
Appeals For Peace”
Xin Bei declared in the official English-language China Daily
(2/19): “Actually, as the drums of war
are beating louder and louder along with the accelerated U.S. military
build-up, the U.S. Government should rethink hard and seriously why its
behavior in the international arena has so quickly vaporized the world’s
sympathy and support for the victim of the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks. When U.S. Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld recently blamed ‘Old Europe’ for not following the U.S. way, obviously
he did not realize the E.U. was much keener than the United States to adapt to
the changing world situation, as its latest statement shows. No matter how many sophisticated weapons and
advanced combat plans the United State can implement, its ‘logic of war’ and
the ‘new imperialism’ behind it are moth-eaten and doomed.”
CHINA (MACAU SAR):
"NATO: From The Peak Of
Glory To Falling Apart"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(2/19): "France and Germany are
pitted against the U.S. on the Iraq issue.
They did not even hesitate to veto the move to provide military
assistance to NATO member Turkey. The
reasons are that a war on Iraq would not only threaten French and German oil
interests and France's traditional power in the Middle East, but also that it
would be, in fact, the continuation and development of long-term
contradictions. NATO is falling apart. The U.S., of course, can see this. The Bush administration has been implementing
unilateralism since taking office; one of its objectives is to free itself from
French and German interference in NATO, in order to follow its own security
standards and strategy.... U.S.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talked about French and German policies
toward Iraq, using the term 'Old Europe' to address them. This is sarcasm which shows the new U.S.
attitude towards NATO. In the future,
the U.S. will put more emphasis on and strengthen cooperation with the countries
Rumsfeld called 'New Europe,' rather than with its traditional allies (except
for Britain). This means that in the
future the rift within NATO will grow wider."
JAPAN: "Iraq Eclipses
Cooperation At G-7 Meeting"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri opined (2/24): "The world economy is currently under
threat on two fronts--the Iraq crisis and growing signs of worldwide deflation.
But the recent meeting of G-7 finance ministers in Paris failed to agree on any
concrete coordinated policies to counter these dangers. A joint statement
issued by the meeting vaguely described the Iraq problem as a 'geopolitical
risk.' A series of important events are
scheduled through the end of next week, including the new resolution the U.S.
and Britain plan to submit to the UNSC and an additional report by UN weapons
inspectors in Iraq. Moreover, these events may be followed by the U.S. use of
force against Baghdad. Even against the background of a political rift between
the U.S.-UK camp and France-Germany group over the Iraq standoff, the G-7
declaration is significantly lacking in persuasiveness."
"Iraq Should Have No Illusions"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized
(2/19): "An EU emergency summit
ended in Brussels on Monday after adopting a joint declaration that included a
warning to Iraq. Major EU nations, notably Britain, Germany and France, are
deeply divided over Iraq's WMD problem. But with the joint declaration, the EU
appears to have managed to find a common voice again. For the first time, the
statement issued by the EU leaders referred to the possible use of force
against Baghdad. Germany accepted the statement, which warned Baghdad that it had
a 'last chance' to disarm. Saddam
Hussein should take this warning seriously. He should recognize anew that he
has no option but to make serious efforts to disarm. The declaration made it
clear that Baghdad should have no illusions on this issue. But it is true that
the EU leaders' agreement is based on an extremely fragile foundation. The
leaders acknowledged both the pros and cons of a U.S.-led attack against Iraq
in the declaration, balancing the opinions of Britain, Italy and other
countries supporting the U.S. and Germany and France that are calling for
continued UN inspections. The leaders steered clear of contentious
INDONESIA: Impact of
Division in Europe
Independent Suara Pembaruan carried a
commentary by Nanang Pamuji, head of master degree program of Yogyakarta’s
Gadjah Mada University, stating (2/19):
“Last week, political division began to surge within NATO on whether
they would assist Turkey in the case of an Iraq attack against the country. Germany, France, and Belgium opposed any NATO
involvement in the war in Iraq.... On
the positive side, the conflict in Europe serves as a balancing force against
U.S. domination. Not every country [in
Europe] blindly supports U.S. international policy.... On the negative side, because opposition
against the U.S. is not total yet, there will be uncertainty in international
security system.... This means
Washington could decide to attack Iraq, regardless of the UN and Europe.”
Publisher Max Soliven wrote in the independent Philippine Star
(2/20): "In the grim Realpolitik of
today's crisis and future crises, it seems, the Eastern countries of 'New
Europe' believe that the U.S., not the Germans or the French, might be their
ultimate protector.... When asked by
reporters whether he was dismayed by the massive anti-war demonstrations in
London and elsewhere in the world, and, worse, his own serious drop in approval
ratings, Blair replied that he was not involved in a popularity contest, but
felt he had to do what he thinks is right. Hopefully, someday, he added, his
ratings might go up again. But he stuck to his guns. That's what leadership
entails--the courage to do what's unpopular at the moment.... A leader, who's standing pat, too, despite a
storm of public protest in Australia, is Prime Minister John Howard--fresh from
trips to England and Indonesia. Howard
had said months earlier that he might retire when he reaches the age of
64--which is this July. But the other day, Howard asserted that if the public
doesn't like the job he's done, 'they'll throw me out' at the next
election.... I salute him for having the
balls--and the leadership."
THAILAND: “Old Europe-New
Dr. Aswin Netphokaew commented in elite, Thai-language Matichon
(2/20): “The EU and NATO are scheduled
to increase their members in 2004.
France and Germany may be isolated, prompting them to befriend Russia
since over half of the EU and NATO members will probably belong to the ‘New
Europe’ camp who opts to associate with America rather than the ‘Old Europe’
camp like them."
INDIA: "America Versus
Germany And France"
Columnist Shibashis Chattopadhyay commented in Calcutta-based
Bengali-language fortnightly Desh (2/18): "The divide in NATO was quite natural.
For, the importance of the Middle East in the US as well as the British foreign
policy is infinite. But the role of Germany and France in the politics in the
region happens to be limited. In other words there is a typical hiatus between
the Europe-centric world view of these countries and the mostly Middle East
based world view of Washington. Besides, France's foreign policy is now plagued
with a myriad challenge following lots of domestic troubles, terrorist threats
and mass revolts against the French nationals continually brewing up in
different African countries. Invasion of Iraq would only make the situation
more difficult for France. Germany, too would be mired in deeper economic
crisis. Moreover, both these countries do not want the US and Britain to
establish their hegemony over Europe. So they do not concur with America's Iraq
policy ... France and Germany are ready to accept the defense regime approved
by the UN, but Bush and Blair are eager to execute the military strategy under
the aegis of the Western block. There is a yawning gap between the two."
"Moving Towards War"
An editorial in the Bangalore-based left-of-center
English-language Deccan Herald read (2/19): "The high-level meeting of NATO and the
European Union...have seen deep differences among the European countries over
the US plan to attack Iraq but the final outcome is slightly tilted in favor of
the bloc led by Britain which is unabashedly for war...the NATO statement was a
compromise which also mentioned the need to support the efforts of the UN to
find a peaceful solution to the crisis....
The European Summit also saw the differences within the bloc come to the
fore but they were again papered over for the sake of the solidarity of the
alliance. It is clear that all the
leaders who attended the summit, except perhaps the most hawkish ones like
Britain's Tony Blair, were rattled by the massive anti-war demonstrations which
have taken place all over the continent, and would like to buy time before
actively endorsing war plans.... But it
is generally agreed that the script of the war has already been written and
launching it is now only a matter of time and strategy. As the US has made it clear that it would
attack Iraq with allies or without them and with the unmandate or without it,
the deliberations at other forums are not important in any material
Bush...Back To The Wall!"
The lead editorial in independent French-language L'Enqueteur
read (2/24): "United in anger and
even revolt, the world refuses to pledge allegiance to Washington and rejects
the arrogance of Washington, which has become the only superpower, running over
and running everything since the fall of the Berlin Wall."
KENYA: "Forget The
Peace Rhetoric, East Africa Must Back Bush"
Martin Mbugua Kimani, a postgraduate student of war studies at
King's College London in the University of London, commented in the
independent, intellectual weekly East African (2/24 - 3/2): "It is probably a good thing to oppose
unilateral American action since it can run amok and increase the global
insecurity that is so disadvantageous for us.
But in the particular case of Iraq, and the overall fight against
terrorism, we need to understand that after September 11, the U.S. will pursue
its goal of seeking security with or without European help. By siding strongly with it and not with that
large camp of doves willing to go America's way when the rest are headed in the
opposite direction comes money--just ask Israel and Egypt. Besides, being quiet about our opposition to
terrorism has not kept us safe. We are
caught in crossfire between the terrorists and the West that has revealed a
callous disregard for our lives despite our protestations of
non-participation. What we need is help
in preventing these people from getting across our borders and operating
here. It is America that has the will
and momentum to meet this challenge, not the Europeans, who depend on the U.S.
to quiet a potentially nuclear Middle East or belligerent power supporting
SOUTH AFRICA: "Baghdad
Makes The Most Of The Cat Among The Pigeons"
The National Director of the South African Institute of
International Affairs, Greg Mills, remarked in the liberal Sunday
Independent (2/23): "South
Africa would appear to be on the same side as countries such as France and
Germany in opposing a possible war against Iraq and strengthening the path of
multilateralism offered by the UN....
There is little doubt that the Iraqi leadership will exploit these
divisions. By diluting the threat of
military action, these splits might not only have reduced the imminence of war
but removed some pressure on...Saddam.
The debate...has driven a wedge between western allies
while...neglecting the core tenet of UNSC Resolution 1441: that it is not the job of the inspectors to
find evidence of Iraq's WMD...but for the Iraqis to surrender them. It also obscures that 1441 was passed unanimously
by the Council.... The current handling
of the crisis has put it [the UN] in a position from which it will be difficult
to emerge unscathed and almost inevitably weakened.... Although the Bush administration has done a
good job at painting itself into a war corner from which it will be difficult
(but not impossible) to extricate itself, if there is to be a war or not, the
decision will be made principally not in Washington, at the UN, in Paris,
London or Berlin but in Baghdad itself."
CANADA: "Failing The
Test Of Realism"
Columnist Jeffrey Simpson commented in the leading Globe and
Mail (2/21): "Today, the whole
world stands against the United States, or at least its Iraq policy. Some
governments, such as those of Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland and
others in Eastern Europe, support the Bush administration, but their publics
don't. Everywhere, sympathy has turned to skepticism, even hostility. Never has
one U.S. administration so rapidly turned the world against the United States.
The result is dangerous for the Americans in the long term, threatening to the
Atlantic alliance and Middle East stability, and disastrous for our common
fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.... [S]kepticism and hostility toward U.S.
foreign policy are now everywhere, extending far beyond the usual hard-core
anti-Americans of the Left Bank in Paris or the Annex in Toronto. The United States is no different from other
dominant countries of every age whose very power produces a mixture of envy and
hostility in others. The huge economic and military gap now separating the U.S.
from the rest of the world can make some countries resent their relative
weakness, and to steer that resentment against the United States. It can also
make others bring their policies into line with what the U.S. wants, not
because they agree in their hearts but because they fear the force of American
displeasure.... The world does not buy
the link that the Bush administration has made between Iraq and terror, for the
simple reason that this link is thin at best, non-existent at worst. But the
world has seen a buildup of U.S. might in the Middle East far beyond the needs
of political pressure on Iraq, suggesting that, while diplomacy has taken its course,
the Bush administration wanted war all along."
Leadership Questioned Due To His Support For Bush's Policy"
Maria Laura Avignolo, leading Clarin's France
correspondent, noted (2/21): "Due
to his passionate defense of a military offensive against Iraq and his firm
alliance with President Bush, Prime Minister Blair may end up being the first
victim of a war against Iraq. His continuation as head of the government is
jeopardized and his leadership will be challenged in the House of Commons,
which can remove him from power in the next couple of days.... The threats on Blair are multiple and
dangerous. The first one is a public opinion that has shown its power as civil
society in a mass protest rally of a million-and-a-half people in Great
Britain, and which he keeps denying. The
other one is the division in his party, which is against his pro-Bush and
pro-war position.... No one understands
the reasons for Blair's personal crusade and his political risk vis-à-vis an
ally such as George Bush, intellectually despised and underestimated by most
European leaders who don’t believe he's reliable in terms of international
relations. And they are equally not inclined to tolerate Bush's intention to
give war a moral justification, when he was unable to dispel in the public
opinion the link between a possible war and oil interests and the need to
outline another geography in the Middle East, with pro-U.S.
governments.... Blair recently said
'unpopularity is the price of leadership.' A leadership he may lose in the name
"Chirac's Pacifism Contradicts His Past"
Mariana Dates declared in business-financial Ambito Financiero
(2/21): "Less than a year after his
re-election, President Chirac has turned into a kind of global pacifist leader
due to his firm opposition to the U.S. on the issue of Iraq. Hailed during the
mass protest rallies against war the past weekend, Chirac was nominated for the
Nobel Peace Prize.... His new
international leadership keeps triggering controversy and, according to the
French press, it may turn against him....
France's military intervention and political mediation in the Ivory
Coast crisis is highly criticized, as well as the presence in Paris--at the
France-Africa Summit--of Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe (a country
sanctioned for the murder of white farmers and the occupation of their
lands.) But the most controversial issue
is Chirac's declarations on the pro-U.S. position of those countries that are
about to join the EU. After a very difficult and tense negotiation of the 15 to
reach a common position vis-à-vis the Iraqi conflict, Chirac said that Poland,
Hungary, the Czech Republic and ten other former Soviet countries that had
expressed solidarity for Washington had 'lost a very good opportunity to keep
quiet.'... But Chirac wasn't always the
pacifist he's now. During his first presidency, in 1995, he kicked off by
strongly challenging the international community by carrying out his 'banned
nuclear tests' in the Polynesian Islands."
"Union of the 'Old' Europe"
Leftist Pagina 12 said (2/18): "The 'Old' Europe challenged the U.S. at
NATO when it blocked an agreement for military aid in Turkey, and the row was
officially settled on Sunday. Yesterday, it was the EU's turn: its 12 countries
issued a final declaration that pleases both the 'Old' and 'New' Europe.
'Pacifists' are happy because it says 'war isn't inevitable.' And those aligned
with the U.S. and Great Britain are pleased because the document refers to the
use of force 'as the last resource'. A happy President Chirac confirmed the 'EU
has overcome a minicrisis.'"
"The War's First Fatality?"
Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo opined (2/23): "The spectre of political implosion has
threatened Europe. Differences between
some of the 15 EU members on the Iraqi crisis have taken on the character of
confrontation.... The war of words means
much more than the war in Iraq....
France sees itself threatened in the two multilateral decision centers
in which it is still influential: the UN and the EU. If the U.S. attacks Iraq
without the SC's approval, the UN will tend to be perceived as 'irrelevant' as
Bush has said. If Washington obtains the SC's endorsement with the abstention,
not veto, of France, Russia and China, the French government will be
demoralized.... If there is a place in
the world, in addition to Israel, where Bush is still liked, it is Eastern
Europe. Especially after Russia has come closer to France and further from the
U.S..... All this makes it clear that
the European dream of a coherent foreign policy is just a dream.... The spectre frightening Europe is that the
current crisis will cause irreparable damage to the 'spirit of mutual loyalty
and solidarity' to which all EU members committed themselves by signing the
Maastricht Treaty. This could be the first fatality of George W. Bush's
NICARAGUA: "Can NATO's
Crisis Be Fixed?"
Center-right Managua-based La Prensa editorialized
(2/15): "Many Europeans have always
considered NATO as an instrument of the U.S. to control them.... Bush's decision to invade Iraq is rejected by
France, Belgium, Germany and China, who have great economic interests in the
Muslim world or have immigrants from those countries. They prefer more blue
helmets or UN inspectors to neutralize Hussein, refusing to arm Ankara. The
final question is if NATO will survive its worst crisis in its 47 [sic] years
of existence. It's probable it
will...because Washington needs a European anchor for its planetary