November 25, 2003
BUSH IN THE UK:
IRAQ PROTESTS 'TARNISH' DISPLAY OF U.S.-UK SOLIDARITY
** Iraq protests
"tarnished" a long-anticipated display of U.S.-UK solidarity.
** While observers saw the
visit benefiting the president's re-election bid, they say PM Blair only stands
to lose popularity.
** Bush's speech, received
favorably in the UK for its "verve" and "promising" Mideast
remarks, was panned by critics elsewhere as "preaching to the
Protests during president's visit served as 'a strong reminder of
the fiasco' of Iraq-- Center-left and leftist
dailies highlighted the large protests that coincided with the trip. Italy's center-left Il-Messaggero
stated that "the people started to protest against Bush even before he
arrived." Malaysia's official New
Straits Times argued that "the protesters are telling [Bush]...that he
has misled the world on Iraq."
Centrist Die Presse of Austria saw Bush's visit "becoming a
game of hide-and-seek in order to avoid the anger of the masses." In contrast, Austria's mass-circulation Kleine
Zeitung chided the protesters, calling "the stunt with the Bush statue
on Trafalgar Square" (a parody of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue
in Baghdad) "a political travesty."
And Berlin's right-of-center Die Welt advised: "We should remember that the
demonstrators by no means represent the authentic voice of Great Britain"
since a Guardian poll demonstrated "that the majority of
British" welcome the president.
Bush's 'Three Pillars' speech praised for steadfast message,
criticized for lack of change-- UK and Czech dailies
hailed Bush's speech as a success, saying Bush had "exceeded" himself
and terming his remarks on the Middle East "promising." The mainstream Czech daily MF Dnes
felt "Bush spoke much more like a European than anytime before." Likewise, Britain's center-left Independent
applauded "the finest piece of political oratory since the era of Kennedy and
de Gaulle." Most writers demurred,
with Rome's business daily Il Sole-24 Ore describing the speech as
being, "for friends only."
Manila's widely-read Philippine Daily Inquirer found that Bush
was "preaching to the converted."
While the visit served Bush's re-election efforts, it could harm
Blair's image at home-- Saudi Arabia's English
language Arab News opined that "while Bush has undoubtedly
gained...Blair got little out of the visit except a huge security
bill." Indonesia's independent Kompas
stated: "Blair definitely will not
gain political benefits." Ireland's
centrist Sunday Tribune averred that Blair "received precious
little by way of concessions on steel tariffs, environmental concerns and the
fate of the British prisoners in Guantanamo
Bay." On the other side of
the equation, Austria's liberal Der Standard found that for Bush,
"the visit is a good photo opportunity, which he will...use profitably in
EDITOR: James Deacon
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 67 reports from 25 countries, from 18-24 November. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Mr. Bush's
Speech In London Showed The Thinking Of A Great World Leader"
Columnist Bruce Anderson commented in the center-left Independent
(11/24): "Last Wednesday, a London
audience had the privilege of hearing the President expound his thinking, and
Mr. Bush exceeded himself. That was no
easy task, for he always rises to a big occasion with a fine speech. But even by his standards, this was
special.... It was the finest piece of
political oratory since the era of Kennedy and de Gaulle.... No American President has ever expressed such
sympathy with the Palestinian people, or such implicit criticism of Israel's
policy towards them. Yet how much credit
has George Bush received in Britain?...
But I defy any fair-minded person to read Mr. Bush's speech and refuse
to recognise his pivotal role in the Middle East peace process."
"The Paradox Of American Power"
An op-ed by columnist Philip Stephens in the independent Financial
Times stated (11/21): “For me, the
president's state visit has been a metaphor for the paradox of American power -
invincibility matched by an acute sense of vulnerability. You cannot fail to be
awed by the motorcades, the vast presidential Cadillac, the armies of Secret
Service agents and the rocket-toting helicopters ever overhead. Yet a life
imprisoned in what Mr. Bush refers to as his "bubble", testifies also
to a terrible fear of America's enemies....
But if Mr. Bush still reserves America's right to apply "violent
restraint of violent men", he paid more than lip-service to the
multilateral institutions on which the west's security has long rested. There
was a nod, too, to what his host calls being "tough on the causes of
terrorism" by addressing the conflicts, poverty, and disease that serve as
al-Qaeda's recruiting sergeants.... As
the nation most threatened by rogue states and international terrorism, the US
cannot allow its hands to be tied. Nor can anyone be permitted to challenge the
essential righteousness of the cause....
Sometimes removing a tyrant can serve both strategic and moral purpose.
Somewhere out there is a new international settlement - something to match that
of the late 1940s.... Such a settlement
would combine American power with the vital moral legitimacy Mr. Bush has so
rashly squandered in the two years since September 11 2001. It would marry
Europe's attachment to engagement with states such as Iran and to a just
settlement in the Middle East with America's determination to strike back at
the nihilistic forces whose only purpose is death and destruction.”
"Promising A More Cooperative Future"
The independent Financial Times judged (11/20): “Most promising were Mr. Bush’s remarks on
the Middle East, couched as part of his third pillar of spreading global
democracy.... This is exactly the
even-handed language that Mr. Blair sought from Washington in return for UK
participation in the Iraq war. Yet going
to war is a heavy price to pay for such a statement from Mr. Bush, however
well-intentioned. And what does it mean,
if not followed up by active U.S. peace-brokering? Part of Mr. Blair’s problem is that even if
he can sway Mr. Bush, the latter has to persuade the rest of his
administration. Mr. Bush’s track record
of imposing his views on his cabinet has not been good. And, in the coming year, Mr. Bush’s thoughts
will be more on his re-election than anything else.”
The left-of-center Guardian editorialized (11/20): “Mr. Bush recognizes that in the Middle East,
‘the stakes could not be higher’. But
the laudable demands he makes of all parties--Israelis, Palestinians, Arab and
European governments--ignore his own administration’s lack of peacemaking
rigor. Mr. Bush admits the violence in
Iraq is serious. But he makes the old
mistake of underestimating opponents, vowing to meet fire with more fire and
thereby encouraging an ever greater conflagration.... Perhaps the greatest disconnection between
Whitehall words and real-world actions was evident in Mr. Bush’s ideas about
multilateralism, exercised via the UN and other institutions, which in theory
he supports. In practice, as all the
world knows, his administration continues to subvert or bypass collective
decision-making whenever that suits its purpose. No amount of sugar coats this bitter
pill. No amount of folderol, flummery or
flattery makes it easier to swallow.”
"The President’s Speech Spoiled Only By The Weakness Of His
The center-left Independent took this view (11/20): "Mr. Bush offered his audience a
forceful restatement of his already known views, delivered with a degree of
verve, eloquence and even humor that defied his reputation as the least articulate
American president since the silent Calvin Coolidge. For all the familiar elements...there were
two categorical restatements of his administration’s policy that deserved to be
hailed without reserve. The first was Mr.
Bush’s insistence that the U.S. was in Iraq for the duration.... The second was his call to Israel to stop
'the daily humiliation of Palestinians', freeze settlements and not prejudice
final peace talks by erecting 'walls and fences'.... They are welcome for all that, as promises on
the record against which Mr. Bush’s good faith can be judged in the future.”
"The Bush Doctrine"
The conservative Times commented (11/20): “There will doubtless be those who insist he
is exaggerating the danger faced by democracies, dismiss the notion that
political pluralism can be promoted in the Middle East and see scant virtue in
a forward strategy for it. Mr. Bush is,
though, right, and others would be wise to stand with him in his
enterprise.... Mr. Bush has nailed his
colors to the successful transition of power in Iraq, reminded Israel that any
measures it takes to protect its people should not make a peace settlement
implausible, stated without naming him that Yassir Arafat cannot be trusted to
establish a viable and democratic Palestinian state, and told Saudi Arabia that
internal reform is essential. It is an
ironic twist that many of those protesting at Mr. Bush’s presence here have
long charged that America has propped up rather unsavory leaders. There is now a president who agrees with
them, and who wants to alter course, yet the denouncing and the prancing go
"Bush Turns Europe’s Consensus On Its Head"
The conservative Daily Telegraph had this opinion
(11/20): “George W. Bush’s Whitehall
address represented the boldest challenge to the conventional wisdom of the
British and European elites since Woodrow Wilson preached the rights of
self-determination of smaller nations after the First World War.... He believes that terrorism and rogue states
can be vanquished on the West’s terms:
unlike the exhausted European empires of the post-war era, which lost
almost every insurgency that they fought, America is fighting this battle at
the height of its powers. Above all, it
is doing so convinced of the rightness of its cause, namely the spread of
liberty from which no one should be excluded.
There was thus much in President Bush’s very radical analysis, not least
on the rights of women, that any serious British progressive--and even some
protesters--might support.... It
confirms our belief that the anti-Westernism of many left-wingers trumps all
other values in which they profess to believe.
No matter: if he continues on
this course, Mr. Bush should create new realities on the ground among the
'wretched of the earth', as assuredly as Ronald Reagan did when he asserted his
belief that the peoples of eastern Europe need not be consigned to despotism
"Old And New"
The conservative Times commented (11/19): “The polls published in the past week, even
in the left-listing Guardian, indicate that George W. Bush's visit to
these shores is backed by comfortably more than a third of British
people.... It is unlikely that by
Friday, when this tour is complete, it will be acclaimed universally. It would be unfortunate, though, if the
president’s presence were not a chance to hail a shared history and enduring
values. A number of this president’s
critics have asked why he should be the first to hold his office to be accorded
the honor of a state visit. The true
mystery is why it has taken so long for an occupant of the White House to be
received in this manner. It appears to
have been an oversight, not a deliberate act, and state visits should be a
matter of course in the future. The ties
that bind Britain and the United States are so many in number and so
distinctive in nature that they merit the highest level of diplomatic
recognition.... For reasons old and new,
Mr. Bush, as president and representative of the United States should be
"The Negation Of Everything The U.S. Professes To Stand
The center-left Independent editorialized (11/19): “The state visit of President George Bush has
come to signify all that has gone wrong with transatlantic relations. The royal pageantry that should be a public
demonstration of amity is being hidden behind the walls of the palace. The crowds that would, under other
circumstances, be cheering this country’s most stalwart ally, will be marching
in protest. The president will move only
in a sealed bubble of security. It will
be a tense and contentious three days.
The prime minister...has been let down by Mr. Bush over the post-war
strategy for Iraq, over the Middle East and, most urgently, over the disgrace
that is Guantanamo Bay.”
"Our American Friends"
The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized
(11/18): "Robin Cook, the former
foreign secretary, says he is baffled by the Government's decision to offer the
president of the United States a full state visit to London. What puzzles him, apparently, is that George
W. Bush has been accorded the honor, while his predecessor, Bill Clinton, was
denied it.... Mr. Cook need have no
fear...that Mr. Bush has been asked because the Government prefers Texans to
the natives of Arkansas, or because Tony Blair prefers Republicans to
Democrats. Mr. Bush is visiting the
Queen as the representative of the American people. These are a people to whom we in these islands
owe our freedom and much of our prosperity.
They are a people who share our own preference for freedom and democracy
over tyranny and fear. Even now, their
servicemen and ours are fighting in the same cause against terrorism. The mystery is not why the president of the
U.S. has been invited to pay a state visit to Britain. It is why the invitation has been such a long
"Us And Them"
Labor MP and former defense minister Peter Kilfoyle commented in
the left-of-center Guardian (11/18):
"Bush and Blair...wholly miscalculated the course of events, both
politically and militarily, and their errors have left them reaching out in
desperation for cover.... American
presidents...tend to hide behind the stars and stripes.... Tony Blair, on the other hand, found it
impossible to don the Union Jack for a transparently American war--and a failed
one at that. Instead, he clings to the
myth of the 'special relationship' as justification for his dogged loyalty to
Bush.... At the same time, critics of
his position are painted as disloyal, unpatriotic and anti-American. At every opportunity opponents of Bush are
labeled, explicitly or implicitly, as unthinking bigots.... No, Mr. Blair, it is not knee-jerk
anti-Americanism which holds sway in the UK.
It is the reaction of one old friend to another when the latter is acting
wholly unreasonably and unacceptably. In
such circumstances, that old friend needs to be reminded of his
responsibilities to himself and to others.
In such a context, if we do not speak out to President Bush, who on
earth can? It is through those entirely
justifiable criticisms that we might inform our real friends--the American
people--of the damage done to America's standing and interests by the Bush
approach to international affairs."
"A Visit Filled With Risks"
The center-left Independent remarked (11/18): "This first ever formal state visit to
Britain by a U.S. president may not be the absolute no-win occasion for George
Bush that it promises to be for Tony Blair.
But there is scant doubt that for the White House too it has not exactly
come at the ideal moment.... In
comparison with the great themes of the economy and Iraq, the success of a
foreign visit where pomp and ceremony will outweigh substance is marginal in
the electoral calculations of candidate Bush.
But a factor none the less it is....
Americans know that Mr. Bush will never be met with garlands on the
streets of Paris or Berlin. London,
though, is a different matter. Britain
opened its heart over 11 September, and was the trusted ally in the war against
Iraq. For all the advance warnings, live
pictures of hundreds of thousands of British citizens protesting against his
very presence would surely come as a shock.
They can only bring home the extent to which Mr. Bush has alienated
foreign opinion, and reinforce doubts about the quality of his
statesmanship. But for a president whose
toughness in times of crisis is one of his main selling points, this risk was
less than a craven cancellation, or a transparent case of diplomatic flu. Moreover, it is possible that a display of grace
and dignity under fire could be to Mr. Bush's electoral advantage. These will be a fraught few days for both
leaders, and when Mr. Bush leaves Britain on Friday, it is likely that anything
less than a total disaster could be counted as a success."
"The Courtesy Mr. Bush Is Owed"
The conservative Evening Standard held (11/18): "When the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw,
was asked about the demonstrations that would be taking place during the state
visit of President Bush this week, he hit out at what he called the
'fashionable anti-Americanism' that he saw behind the protests. This was a rash simplification of the motives
that are expected to bring together some 100,000 people to demonstrate against
Mr. Bush's visit this week.... For many,
probably most, of the protesters, it is the war in Iraq, that is the primary
grievance. Others are opposed to
globalization, or Washington's pressure on us to plant GM crops, or its
policies on global warming, trade or the detention without trial of prisoners
in Guantanamo Bay. Some of these
criticisms will be voiced by people who make a clear distinction between their
warm feelings for America and Americans and their deep distrust of the Bush
regime. Of course there will also be
protesters who are, as Mr. Straw suggests, genuinely and unthinkingly
anti-American. What is important is that
this latter group, however intemperate its rhetoric, is not seen to dominate
the protests this week. It would be both
dangerous and misleading if it appeared...that opposition to the Iraq war was
being conflated with crude condemnation of the U.S. as a whole.... As the U.S. head of state, President Bush
will be a guest of the Queen and the nation--and as such he deserves our
FRANCE: "Bush The
The editorial in Communist l’Humanite by Bruno Odent read
(11/20): “The exasperation of the
demonstrators in London points to something that goes much deeper than mere
refusal of the war-mongering American neo-conservatives, or Blair’s complicity
with them. It highlights, first and
foremost, the rise in Euro-American contradictions...and the ambivalent nature
of the European Union.”
"Rubbing People The Wrong Way"
Michele Gayral commented on the French worldwide broadcast radio,
Radio France Internationale (11/20):
"Moderation, however, did not characterize the American president’s
speech yesterday in London.... Despite a
few vague and sympathetic allusions to the beauty of the transatlantic
relationship, George Bush was particularly forceful regarding ‘his’ war in
Iraq.... Above all, the president’s
speech resembled a list of grievances against the Europeans, and not just those
who opposed the intervention in Iraq...at the risk of embarrassing his host
"A Fool’s Game"
Charles Lambroschini held in right-of-center Le Figaro
(11/19): “George Bush has everything to
gain from his visit to London and Tony Blair has everything to lose.... The U.S. president is looking for publicity
in the belief that...this will contribute towards his re-election.... To be seen hugging Tony Blair is George W.
Bush’s way of proving his credibility on the international scene. Parading around with the Queen, who along
with the Pope is one of the only foreign figures that the average American
viewer can recognize, is to prove that the only attempt to isolate the U.S.
diplomatically was made by the envious French.... Paradoxically, this visit will prove the
extent to which the ‘special’ relationship between London and Washington has
become a fool’s game. George W. Bush
takes without giving. Indeed, when Tony
Blair stated that the UK needed a UN resolution to send its troops to Iraq,
Donald Rumsfeld shot back that the U.S. is powerful enough to do without the
British. The bridge that Great Britain
has set out to build between Europe and the U.S. is a mirage.... George W. Bush may obtain results that are
exactly the contrary of what he’d hoped for with this visit and if it goes
badly, the president will distance the British from America and reconcile them
Philippe Gelie observed in right-of-center Le Figaro
(11/18): “In case President Bush didn’t
know it yet, he will discover during his trip to London that Europe has become
a landmine for him.... If both parties
could have managed it, his visit to London is one of those which both sides
would have gladly postponed.... And so
the challenge will be to grin and bare it....
While the U.S. sees Tony Blair as a sort of watchdog for Europe, the
Europeans see him as their protector against America’s unilateralism. Blair’s role is an ungrateful one as he tries
to be more than ‘Bush’s poodle’ as he is perceived by the English press.”
"Bush In London To Reaffirm ‘Special Relationship’ With The
Marie-Laure Cittanova wrtoe in right-of-center Les Echos
(11/18): “The visit should have marked
the celebration of a quick victory in Iraq.
But due to the growing number of attacks, it will be one of the meetings
allowing the allies to define the details of a transfer of sovereignty to the
Iraqis.... Washington’s changed position
on Iraq comforts those who opposed the Iraqi conflict. And in Great Britain, many oppose Great
"Blair And His Cumbersome Guest"
Gilles Delafon stated in right-of-center Le Journal du Dimanche
(11/17): “On Tuesday Tony Blair will
welcome George Bush for a three-day visit that was planned a long time ago and
which Blair would have gladly done without…
While the Iraqi war has freed a people, it has also given birth to a new
type of terrorism and reactivated fundamentalist movements. Most of all it has emphasized the dangerous
amateurism of the American architects of democratic revolution in the Middle
East.... In Britain, the verdict is in:
60 percent of the people polled disapprove of President Bush’s policy in
Iraq.... For the British press this
visit is nothing more than a campaign opportunity for President Bush.… Tony
Blair has gained little from his collaboration with the U.S., except for
promises of contracts in the Iraqi reconstruction. He expected to serve as an intermediary
between Europe and the U.S.: in the end
he became America’s auxiliary. Proof of
this can be seen in the fact that as soon as Great Britain joined France and
Germany to discuss Europe’s defense, Tony Blair was called on the carpet by
GERMANY: "Change Of
Karl Grobe argued in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(11/20): "George W. Bush's words
hide the effort to make a change of course appear to be the straight
continuation of a policy he has always considered right.... But this change of course...hides the insight
that many things were wrong that were implemented in Iraq and that the
occupation policy of the past months was wrong and only nurtured resistance. But if this also results in the insight that
the future Iraqi democracy must be developed by the Iraqis themselves, i.e.,
cannot be bought on the supermarket by the superpower, then it will be all the
Jacques Schuster had this to say in right-of-center Die Welt
of Berlin (11/20): "President
Bush's speech in London is more than a mere justification of the war in
Iraq.... It destroys fear of an
overhasty withdrawal from Iraq...and it emphasizes that America continues to
stick to the goal of establishing a stable, possibly democratic state and is
willing to make sacrifices. In addition,
Bush is reaching out his hand to the Europeans by stressing how indispensable
are the transatlantic partnership and cooperation with a united Europe. Both aspects come at the right time.... Bush's resolute words will strengthen all
those in Iraq who pin their hopes on a new beginning. Despite the turbulence of the past week,
Americans and Europeans are dependent on each other. Both need each other to defend the shared
values in a world that has become more threatening since 9/11. In addition, Europe is dependent on the
United States because it is unable to defend itself without U.S. military
power. It is high time to leave the past
months that were so rich in conflicts behind.
Bush 's speech invites us to do this.
It is now up to the Europeans to find an appropriate answer."
Right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung
opined (11/20): "This visit, which
was originally planned as a show of triumphant cooperation between President
Bush and Prime Minister Blair lacks any splendor, and the smiles of the main
actors look forced. The situation in Iraq has dramatically deteriorated for the
United States. Against this background, Bush's remark that democracy must be defended
by using force only looks self-righteous.
Blair's reference to the special U.S.-British relationship resembles
Bush's empty rhetoric: George and Tony,
if necessary, against the rest of the world could be the slogan under which the
two leaders want to conceal the fact that they treated formerly close allies
like extras. Smoother, more thoughtful
tones would be more convincing and be appropriate in view of the seriousness of
the situation in Iraq."
"Gala Dinner In Dinner Jackets And With Risks"
Matthias Thibaut judged in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (11/19): "The visit to
London offers President George W. Bush a great chance. If he is really the charming politician who
has strong principles, who thinks globally, and who listens wisely...then he
will have the chance to prove this in London.
He seems to have understood this.
With interviews Bush worked hard and...the latest poll in The
Guardian showed that the British can be convinced.... But Tony Blair must show that the special
relationship with Washington is no one-way street. He says that those who pursue quiet diplomacy
have greater influence than those who criticize and grumble in public.... Blair must still prove that his voice really
has an influence on Bush, ranging from steel to global trade to Kyoto and
Guantánamo.... On Monday, President
Chirac comes to London. A few clear
words with which Bush accepts European wishes would be a great help for the future
of the transatlantic partnership."
Alan Posener argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin
(11/19): "When hundreds of
thousands of people take to the streets in London in the coming days and German
TV stations broadcast pictures of burning Bush effigies, we should remember
that the demonstrators by no means represent the authentic voice of Great
Britain. The Guardian revealed in
a poll that the majority of British welcome the president. In view of the terrorist attacks in Iraq, we
could expect an increase in the anti-war mood, but the opposite is true.... Tony Blair is profiting from all this. He remains unpopular, but his ratings are on
the rise. The British honor loyalty to
principles and steadfastness. Gerhard Schroeder
could learn from this and from Blair's vision of Britain's role: 'I firmly believe that our foreign policy rests
on two pillars: the alliance with the
United States and our position in the EU.
There is absolutely no reason to give up one of those, and we will not
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg had
this to say (11/19): "For many
disappointed British the Iraq war showed the reality of the special
relationship with the United States.
Tony Blair is allowed to bark but George W. Bush keeps the leash in his
hand. That is why George W. Bush's state
visit has not evoked much enthusiasm....
Thus far, his self-elected role as mediator between Europe and the
United States has not done anything good for Tony Blair either in foreign or
domestic policy.... But he does not
question the special relationship with Washington and this is good. It is also in the interest of the European
partners because there is no alternative to the attempt to improve
understanding across the Atlantic. The
debris in the wake of German-American relations following the Iraq war makes
clear the limits of a policy of confrontation.
Europe must be interested in the British leader continuing to build the
transatlantic bridge. No other country
is better suited than Britain."
ITALY: "Bush: It Is A Duty To Fight For Freedom"
Marco Niada commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore
(11/20): "Those who were expecting
a conciliatory president ready to compromise on the Iraqi issue yesterday were
disappointed. With a militant speech
directed to the faithful British ally, George Bush yesterday made it clear that
there is no turning back, that we live in a world in which terrorism is a
bitter reality and that democracies must be ready to fight to defend the
principles of tolerance, freedom and free trade.... George W. Bush's was an imperial speech that
almost ignored Europe had he not teased it in passing, and he praised the
British ally and his friend Blair....
Blair yesterday reciprocated. Now
everyone expects concrete concessions toward his friend of difficult times--on
the British prisoners at Guantanamo, on steel tariffs, on contracts for British
companies in Iraq. It was a speech for
friends only, that did not offer anything to those who opposed it, other than
tolerance towards those who dissent."
"In Iraq A Just War To Bring Democracy"
Alberto Flores D'Arcais opined in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (11/20): "In the war
against terrorism democracy has an irresistible power: 'the appeal of freedom.' This is where Bush began his speech
yesterday.... He was not at all disturbed
by the protests that forced him to 'hide' in the official palaces.... The U.S. president used his rough but
effective style and that political philosophy made up of simple and clear
certainties that are almost banal. These
certainties make him the most hated U.S. President by his adversaries (abroad
and domestically) but also the most loved by his (many) supporters--certainties
that Europe is somewhat cowardly, the UN is somewhat useless, certainties on
the U.S.' imperial role and of his own personal mission: to defeat terrorism, to save America and to
impose democratic values in Muslim countries."
"Pacifist Britain Protests Against Bush"
Chiara Puri Purini commented in Rome center-left daily Il
Messaggero (11/19): "Bush's
trip cannot but be interpreted as a sign, a confirmation of that relationship
between Washington and London, which was further strengthened by the military
intervention in Iraq. And yet for the
advisers of both leaders, this is not the moment to give in to public
demonstrations and celebrations--it would be preferable to maintain a low
profile. The international situation is
difficult.... But it is difficult to
keep risks at a minimum without violating fundamental freedoms. The people began to protest against Bush even
before he arrived."
"Bush Seeks Help For Iraq In London"
Bruno Marolo noted in pro-democratic left party daily L'Unitá
(11/18): "George Bush is preparing
a new course in Iraq. He will arrive in
London...amidst the protests of tens of thousands of demonstrators, with the
hope that Europe will help tame the Iraqi rebels and to win the election in
America. He would be willing to include
European allies in the command of operations in Iraq in order to obtain the
troops and the money he needs. The
European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Javier Solana revealed Bush's forced
willingness and it has been confirmed through various signals launched by the
White House.... The cards on the table
have changed. The United States no
longer wants to make Iraq a protectorate for its interests in the Middle
East. It [U.S.] is giving up in light of
the elections. They have abandoned the
Israelis and the Palestinians to their destiny; they recognize that they will
continue to need the Royal Saudi House for a long time; they have given up
their threat to use force against Syria and Iran. They thought that once Saddam had been ousted
the other authoritarian regimes would have fallen like dominoes. Now they are content to limit the damages, to
install in Baghdad a government with a legitimate appearance and to withdraw
the greatest number of soldiers. At
least for the moment they have decided to put aside their plans which to them
seemed ambitious and which to the rest of the world seemed arrogant."
RUSSIA: "The Queen And
Olga Dmitriyeva filed from London for official government Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (11/24): "Remarkably,
throughout this visit, the most controversial one in British history, as
described by the local media, there was no flare up of anti-American
sentiment. Whatever resentment and
hatred was given vent to was addressed personally to George Bush and him
alone. Generally, it is hard to expect
the British to be anti-American, the two nations bound by history, the language,
and direct kinship. All the more
striking their anti-Bushism, a wide-spread antipathy of the U.S. President, a
macho man flexing his muscle and shooting on sight. There is no such thing as Bush
diplomacy. Instead, there is Bush's
preemptive strike concept, a method to settle problems in the world. As Bush talks about improving relations with
Europe, nothing of what he says, however sweet, can change anything, so strong
is the feeling of rejection the Europeans have for Bush. It is hard to see what can change their
"Iraq Tarnishes Visit"
Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta observed (11/19): "Iraq is a big blotch on the current
state visit. Most British, unhappy about
the results of the operation, condemn the very idea.... However colorful the welcoming ceremony, it
can't make up for the allies' aborted policy in postwar Iraq. The Bush visit is a strong reminder of the
fiasco, just a few days after Blair barely survived a devastating fall in his
popularity ratings. Stepped-up 'Iraqification,'
Washington hopes, will help improve the situation. But what most worries Bush is how he will
look next year. The growing number of
casualties in Iraq may kill the Texan's re-election bid."
"Riding A Bicycle With Mismatched Wheels"
Olga Dmitriyeva filed from London for official government Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (11/18): "U.S.-British
relations have long been known as a bicycle with wheels one of which is bigger
than the other. The smaller wheel is
Britain, of course. Though it is small,
you can't do without it. The bicycle
doesn't have a spare wheel. The United
States has never had one. As things are
going, Bush needs Tony Blair, his only prop under the circumstances. That is clear. The acid test is whether Blair and Britain
need that kind of friendship and benefit from it.... Even the savviest of British diplomats admit
that fixating on the United States at the expense of relations with Europe no
longer seems like the right thing to do."
"How Much Will It Hurt Blair?"
Valentina Kulyabina observed in reformist Vremya Novostey
(11/18): "Planned months ago, this
state visit was devised as an occasion to celebrate an American-British victory
in Iraq. Instead, Bush has had to
politely congratulate the British on living in a free country and being able to
protest. Blair's supporters are trying
to figure out the damage the Bush visit may cause to his position at home, as
the country is awaiting the results of an inquiry into the death of David
Kelly, who stated that eager to start a war in Iraq along with the United
States, the British government had misused the information from the Baghdad
"U.S. Votes For International Control"
Natalia Babasian commented in reformist Izvestiya
(11/18): "Bush is not going to
London empty-handed. The United States,
according to the EU's Javier Solana, has acknowledged a need for placing the
troops in Iraq under international control.
The Allies' position in Iraq, mildly speaking, is not what it's cracked
up to be. Earlier the international
community vainly tried to persuade the Americans to allow a role for the UN in
Iraq, whereas now Washington and London will try to talk the rest of the world
into 'borrowing some of Iraq.'"
Foreign affairs writer Hubert Patterer commented in
mass-circulation daily Kleine Zeitung (11/22): “Although the anger of the war opponents
about the state of the world and that of the U.S. President was justified, the
stunt with the Bush statue on Trafalgar Square was a political travesty. After all, Saddam Hussein was a mass
murderer, who brutally subjugated his people for decades. Bush is a democratically elected head of state,
who may be voted out next year. Even
those whose judgment is clouded by anger should afford themselves the luxury of
"Panorama Of Irritations"
Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder wrote in liberal daily Der
Standard (11/20): “The main problem
in bilateral relations between the U.S. and Great Britain is obviously post-war
Iraq, where things have taken an unplanned turn. On the highest level, however--between George
Bush and Tony Blair, whom the war in Iraq cost his youthful-fresh appearance,
and almost his job--the British-American friendship is celebrated for the
media.... But this cannot disguise the
other issues that cloud the relations between the two countries. For instance, the British military is still
unhappy about the fact that all their concerns were simply disregarded by the
war strategists in Washington. British
and American soldiers also have very different ideas about the management of
post-war Iraq. After all, the British
occupiers have the experience of a long colonial tradition on their side, and
it has to be admitted--even by those who have no sympathies towards imperialist
behavior--that the colonial rulers often had a thorough knowledge of the
cultures they subjected.... It is not
likely that these issues will worry Bush much.
For him, the visit is a good photo opportunity, which he will also be
able to use profitably in domestic politics, once his election campaign gets
"A President Calls"
Brussels correspondent Friederike Leibl wrote in centrist daily Die
Presse (11/19): “No one seems to be
particularly happy about the American visit to Britain: originally planned as a triumphal procession,
it now seems to have turned into a game of hide-and-seek in order to avoid the
anger of the masses.... Tony Blair,
still somewhat disheveled from the war in Iraq and its aftermath, needs
successes in domestic politics, not the shallow status that comes with
high-level states visits. The invitation
of the British to George W. Bush was issued quite a while ago. Now, that things have gone a bit differently
than planned, it is only fair that the two brothers in arms have to face the
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Bush
Came A Bit Closer To Europe"
Petr Pravda observed in the mainstream MF Dnes (11/20): "The speech of President Bush to the
Brits, and at the same time to the world, was no fundamental break-through.
Bush's vision that the security and peace of the world rest on three
pillars--effective international organizations,
use of force in case of necessity, and democracy--will certainly not
change the world at once.... But unlike
many of his speeches in the months following the terrorist attacks on the U.S.,
President Bush softened both the tone and emphasis of his speech, making it
clear that America, more than ever relies on the outside world. Because of the war in Iraq, Bush's domestic
position is weakening and the elections are fast approaching. For this reason, and not only because he was
on European soil, President Bush spoke much more like a European than anytime
before.... Anyone watching Bush's
performance had to admit that the President does his job well from time to
time. From a psychological point of
view, it was a very good speech, which did not offend the Brits or the Europeans."
Right-wing daily Magyar Nemzet (11/20) editorialized: “As far as President Bush is concerned it
would already be a significant result for him if the British press, which was
so hostile about his arrival, leave him alone for the rest of his visit. As regards Bush’s political goal to
discourage the idea of an independent European military force he is right to
believe that the London is the ‘road to reach’ Paris and Berlin. Paris and Berlin enthusiastically support the
idea of an independent military.
President Bush, though, forgets about what the most important thing
is. If Blair demonstratively supports
Washington’s plans in Europe, Blair happens to shrink Britain’s own scope of
maneuvering within the [European] Union.
The American President has to be clear with the fact that in the large
part of Europe, split otherwise deeply over the Iraq issue, he has successfully
earned the title ‘the most unpopular U.S. president of all times’.”
IRELAND: "Silent Enemy
Wipes Away The Smiles In London"
A comment by Marion McKeone in the centrist Sunday Tribune
argued (11/23): "By White House
criteria, the visit was a qualified success, featuring a well-received speech
by Bush and a spirited defense of US foreign policy at a joint press
conference. But the impact of theses widely televised events was marred by the
deadly explosion in Turkey.....True, Bush gained a lot more from the visit than
Blair, who received precious little by way of concessions on steel tariffs,
environmental concerns and the fate of the British prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. But the central message that the White
House wanted to convey- that the US has enough international support to rebut
claims that its unilateralist foreign policy has failed - was compromised by
the 27 deaths in Turkey.....which underscored the sense that the US's allies
are paying a high price for their support....The warnings of new attacks, the
attacks on Istanbul and the loss of US lives in Iraq are leading to an
increased sense in the US that the country is under siege and that the war in
Iraq is failing to gain any traction in the wider war on terrorism....The
Istanbul bombings are a grim reminder that the terrorists are determined to
cause maximum political discomfort to the US president and his allies..."
"Threat Posed By Istanbul Atrocities"
An editorial in the center-left Irish Times argued
(11/21): "Mr. Bush's visit to
Britain has been framed in high security and deep controversy about the war in
Iraq and his foreign policy objectives and methods, as witnessed by yesterday's
large demonstration opposing him in London. His speech on Wednesday addressed a
number of these criticisms fluently and directly. The values he expressed in
favor of multilateral institutions and democratic freedoms in the Middle East,
as well as his stout defense of the war against Saddam Hussein, surprised some
of his critics. So did his defense of their right to free speech--which he and
Mr. Blair insisted is guaranteed only by a willingness to defend it by military
means if necessary. Others have welcomed these statements of principle but
doubt whether Mr. Bush has the political will or capacity to translate them
into action in an election year. Theory and practice are in stark
contradiction, they say."
"When Bush Talks Of Democracy, Just Remember Guantanamo
A comment by Pat Brosnan in the left-of-center Irish Examiner
opined (11/21): "The problem is
that for countless millions of people around the world who admire what America
has always stood for, it was disconcerting to see Mr. Bush trample over the
United Nations in his stubborn drive to invade Iraq...Seeing that this
multilateralism was one of three pillars he revealed for world peace, we should
not be too sanguine about his commitment to them and, if anything, we should be
even more worried about world peace. At least while he's in the White
House...What we saw on the streets of London was not a form of paranoid
anti-Americanism, but a protest to underline the fundamental injustice of the
invasion of Iraq and what flowed from it."
"The Sorry State Visit"
The center-left Irish Times published this by commentary by
Eddie Holt (11/17): "The symbolism
of George Bush's visit to Britain will be loud and contentious.... Aiming at voters back in the U.S., Bush will
contrive to be seen as a new emperor in an old kingdom. The gig is meant to show that the putative
emperor is not isolated internationally.
It could, however, be an isolating experience for Tony Blair.... You couldn't blame the prime minister if he's
less thankful for this imposition. For
Blair, the so-called 'Toxic Texan' may prove to be as toxic as those U.S. hulks
tied up in Hartlepool.... Still,
anti-war protesters are just a part of the looming problem. Their presence will be explained as proof of
the vibrancy in Britain."
NORWAY: "Hard Bush
Puts Blair In A Hole"
In the newspaper of record Aftenposten (11/20) Foreign
Policy editor Nils Morten Udgaard commented: “President Bush doesn’t yield on
any issue in Iraq after the attacks, demands Muslim democracy everywhere and
seeks support--but not a joint NATO-discussion about the road ahead. The U.S.
was not like this in 1945… The speech from a President, who has a bust of
Winston Churchill in his office, was as one could expect rich in historic
reflection… But the history from the time after the War, when the U.S. built up
its alliances, was barley mentioned. At time the U.S. asked the Europeans to
suggest solutions, and they participated in shaping both the Marshall plan of
1948-49 for the economy, as well as NATO in 1949 for defense. Nobody doubted
that the U.S. would have the final word, but the Americans sought solutions in
cooperation with others… The absence of a similar attitude these days among the
Americans is striking."
POLAND: "It’s Not
Marcin Bosacki opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (11/21):
“On Thursday night, a few hours after the attacks on the British targets in
Istanbul, one hundred thousand people took to the streets to protest - no, not
against terror, but against the policy of the U.S. President. Many shouted that
Bush is a threat to peace, that his attack on Iraq provoked the acts of terror.
I strongly disagree. It’s an open question whether the war with Saddam was
reasonable, or whether it brought more good or evil. But when during a
demonstration against the U.S. on such a day no one loudly opposes Al Qaida,
not only the foundations of common sense but also decency are shaken…. One
could debate how to fight with bin Laden, or whether Bush is doing it properly.
Above all, however, we must understand that not Bush (as they shouted in
London) or Israel (as Europeans responded in the well-known poll), but
fanatical terrorism is a threat today."
Zygmunt Slomkowski opined in leftist Trybuna (11/19): “When President Bush’s trip to Great Britain
was at the planning stage, it was supposed to be a demonstration of unity and
victory for the two leaders who decided about the war in Iraq. Now that the visit is actually happening,
Bush and Blair have to excuse themselves and convince others that their
decision was correct.... Thus President
Bush’s stay in London is not a moment of triumph. It rather calls to mind an examination of
conscience, which has to help get out of the Iraqi labyrinth and save the
political skin of both leaders.”
ROMANIA: "Bush In
Foreign policy analyst Roxana Frosin opined in the financial
oriented daily Curentul (11/18/):
“Planned months ago as a moment of celebration of the British-American
alliance, and as an image success with Queen Elisabeth, the official visit to
London, even though the first for this American president, has all the odds of
turning against George W. Bush. A never
seen before security operation...can stop possible terrorist attacks against
the American leader, but it cannot stop the approximately 100,000 anti-war
demonstrators.... No matter what the
decisions and courtesy of British officials, the Kingdom’s population has the
same opinions as the strong anti-American or, to be more accurate, the
anti-Bush ones, expressed in France or Germany."
SWEDEN: "An Unwelcome
Social Democratic Stockholm-based tabloid Aftonbladet
editorialized (11/18): "President
Bush was invited to Great Britain one and a half years ago, about the time he
and Prime Minister Tony Blair planned the war against Iraq. The short historic aftermath has shown that
their arguments for launching the war were false. The WMD were non-existent and the
Iraq/al-Qaida connection was fabricated.
The fast victory has been transformed into a chaotic occupation with
constant deadly attacks. The Iraqi
authority, installed by the U.S., does not work. The rebuilding, a multibillion business for
companies with close ties to the President, is so corrupt that American
authorities have been forced to intervene.
The American proconsul was forced to return home. The war on terrorism has resulted in more
terrorists.... George Bush can bring
home pictures showing him standing next to Queen Elizabeth. They are arguments in the upcoming
presidential election campaign. But to
Prime Minister Tony Blair the result of the visit will be more meager. He promised that the special UK-U.S.
friendship would induce President Bush to cooperate with the UN, engage in the
Mideast peace process, and possibly also be more positively inclined to the
Kyoto Protocol or the ICC. President
Bush's visit to the UK reminds the British that nothing of this has
materialized. A majority of them say,
also in surveys in reactionary dailies like the Sunday Times, that Tony
Blair's friendship with George Bush has only been a negative for the UK."
Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (11/21): "There was
nothing new in President Bush's speech [on November 19 in London]. He made similar remarks on different
occasions. The innovation this time was
the firm style the president used towards Israel. He stated that by building the fence it fails
peace, and that by its actions in the territories it humiliates the
Palestinians.... Parallel to his firm speech in London, the U.S. UN Security
Council representative voted in favor of the decision adopting the 'road map'
as is, while ignoring Israel's reservations.... The firm words the president
said in London towards Israel, even if they were said only to appease with his
host, Prime Minister Tony Blair, might harden Abu Ala's stance and hurt the
renewing of talks even before they have begun."
EGYPT: "The Hated
Pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed
Salama argued (11/22): "The antagonistic demonstrations which greeted
President Bush in London and the polls that showed the British people's
discontent with the unilateral American policies that led to the Iraq war did
not prevent the visit.... President Bush made the visit, although it was
fraught with danger, because he realized he was running his presidential
elections in London.... What mostly angered the British, is that Blair...did
not obtain anything in return for his allegiance and subordination to Bush....
the worst thing is that Bush ended his visit to London without succeeding in
changing the negative view of the Europeans and the British, in particular. He feels that as long as he believes in God
and goes to church, he will win. However, the problem is he fails to have
knowledge of history, economy and all else."
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Meaning Of The British Anti-Bush Demonstrations"
Jeddah's conservative Al-Medina editorialized (11/24): "Perhaps the pressures of the Jewish
lobby inside the U.S. Congress and the White House...made it difficult for
President Bush to reconsider his decision to occupy Iraq. [But] the large anti-Bush demonstrations in
Britain and the general frustration among Europeans over U.S. policy should
make him review his policies and positions."
"Bush's Visit To Britain"
Jeddah's English language daily Arab News said
(11/23): "In Britain, Bush might
have repaid his faithful ally Blair by using his London trip to announce
categorically that the US will abandon its steel tariffs, now declared illegal
by the World Trade Organization. Or he
could have made a definitive move on Palestine, rather than producing another
vague criticism of the wall the Israelis are building... What the Bush White House wanted was a
glittering event at the start of the president's yearlong campaign for
re-election... While Bush has thus
undoubtedly gained, it would appear that Blair got little out of the visit
except a huge security bill and the chance to be seen once more as the U.S.'
most loyal ally. It must be hoped that
now he is safely back home, the President at least remembers to send a postcard
saying thank you."
EAST ASIA PACIFIC
Hai Lin commented in the official Communist Party People's
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (11/20):
"Britons' protests against Bush's visit prove that the U.S. and UK
governments' behavior in starting the Iraq war and unwillingness to withdraw have
failed to gain people's support.
Currently the leaders of the U.S. and Britain are living a difficult
life, being badly battered in electoral politics and by the Iraq issue."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Brothers In Arms"
Foreign editor Peter Kammerer wrote in the independent
English-language South China Morning Post (11/18): "When Mr. Bush arrives in London today
for what is billed as the biggest and most important foreign trip of his
presidency, the promised drink in a pub in Mr. Blair's northeastern England
parliamentary constituency of Sedgefield will be farthest from his mind. Iraq, and its ramifications, will be
foremost.... Inquiries are underway in
the U.S. and Britain into whether the urgency for war was justified. With Mr. Bush facing re-election next year
and Mr. Blair possibly calling early elections, the fact that both men are
slipping in opinion polls is problematic."
Of Demonstration Removes The Substance Of Bush’s Visit To UK"
Leading independent daily Kompas commented (11/19): “The substance of President Bush’s three-day
visit has been taken over by the sensation of overwhelming security and the
threat of massive protests. Long before
the U.S. presidential airplane [landed] in London...the ballyhoo of protests
had spread.... However, in contrast to
all assumption and theory, a poll showed 43 percent of British respondents
welcome the visit, while only 36 percent reject the visit; a result that could
make Bush smile.... Yet, mass gathering
in all Europe to protest Bush is very intense.
The unwelcome response from Britons and demonstrators from Europe
indicate that Bush is unpopular among European communities. Some even believe Bush’s visit to Britain
will damage Blair’s image. Bush’s visit
revives the anger of many European communities, if not all, for the attack on
Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair
definitely will not gain political benefits from Bush’s visit.”
MALAYSIA: "Hoots For
George And Tony Show"
Government-influenced English language New Straits Times
ran the following editorial (11/21):
"Throughout "Fortress London", thousands of protesters
are demonstrating. The roar of hostility is loud, reverberating across Europe.
Anti-war protesters are telling him, in no uncertain terms, that he has
committed an incalculable error, that he has misled the world on Iraq. For Bush, it must be exasperating that so
many doubt the goodness of his heart.
The fact that he is in Britain to 'puncture misconceptions' on that side
of the Atlantic about the American-led Iraq invasion, suggests that his
position on the war has not changed, despite the rising toll of casualties
among American soldiers and growing opposition at home. Of course, Blair is robustly defending the
American President. On Tuesday, Blair declared in the House of Commons that 'it
really is about time we started to realize who our allies are, who our enemies
are, stick with the one and fight the other.'
This is a message for the Americans, especially. For they must now know
that the goodwill they have enjoyed since Sept 11 has dissipated. In its place, a visceral anger and distaste
for all things American has come to the fore. Which is sad really, because we
do need to live peaceably alongside each other on this small planet. While the rest of the world may see this, a
recent survey conducted by US politicians and educators reveals the opposite
about Americans. The survey underscores the ignorance that many Americans have
about the outside world. The pervasive
lack of knowledge may explain why Americans were unable to grasp the meaning of
world events since Sept 11. It also explains why Bush presses on, sending US
troops into a country where young Americans and innocent Iraqis are killed by
the dozens every week--to cleanse the world of evil."
Double Talk In Britain"
Former IV grantee Randy David wrote in his column in the widely
read Philippine Daily Inquirer (11/23):
"Before Europe's critical leaders start hailing an imagined
softening of American attitude, they ought to read the subtext of his
speech.... In a dig at the tedious UN
process of arriving at a firm consensus, Bush stated: 'We understand as well
that the process of multilateralism is not measured by adherence to forms
alone--the tidiness of the process--but by the results we achieve to keep our
nations secure.' This is not a chastened
Bush reciting a redemptive ode to multilateralism; this is the same Bush who
harbors a deep contempt for any collective process America cannot dominate.
This is a man who loves to talk about peace but sees its attainment only as an
outcome of the use of force. 'The second
pillar of peace and security in our world is the willingness of free nations,
when the last resort arrives, to restrain aggression and evil by force.' This
may as well be the sole pillar on which U.S. domination of the world today
rests.... Clearly, he is unable to see that in many parts of the world today,
America is perceived not as liberator but as the source of oppression and
violence, and the target of moral wars of liberation. Finally, Bush pays homage to 'the global
expansion of democracy and the hope and progress it brings' - the 'third
pillar' of American security. On this value, he predicates the war against
tyranny and Dictatorship. He sees only the tyrants of Iraq, Afghanistan and
Palestine.... But Bush makes no
reference to the Saudi autocrats. It could be a vague reference to the
opportunistic relationships that both Britain and America had with Saddam
Hussein in the past. More clearly, he used this line to whip Arafat and his
associates, the unnamed 'Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, who
tolerate and profit from corruption and maintain their ties to terrorist
groups.' Bush dislikes Arafat intensely not because he is a tyrant but because
this crafty Palestinian is not a malleable American boy. Bush's speech was interrupted by applause
many times. He was preaching to the converted. Out in the streets of London,
where thousands had gathered to protest his visit, no one believed a word of
what he was saying."
An editorial the centrist Telegraph opined (11/21): "Two countries separated by a common
language have apparently been brought together by the affinity of their
leaders. There is no denying that the
President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, and the Prime
Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, speak the same language. This has taken what is known as the special
relationship to a new level.... The
high-water mark of the relationship was the joint Anglo-American offensive
against Iraq. Blair can justly claim
that he has been through fire for Bush.
The latter's visit to Britain showed the level of hostility that exists
against the Iraq war and against the policies of Messrs. Bush and Blair. The ceremony and the pageantry surrounding
Bush's visit was typical of the British love of pomp and circumstance. But it could deflect attention from the
intensity of popular anger against Bush which forced the cancellation of the
ceremonial cavalcade. This protest
cannot be written off as a piece of exhibitionism on the part of Britain's
loony fringe ... There was more than a hint of self-righteousness in what Bush
had to say. But this is only to be expected since he has been forced on the
defensive for an act which he carried out to eradicate one of the greatest
threats to modern civilization. The
protests only showed that the freedom Bush wants to defend is something that
people still cherish and value."
"When In London, Mind The Gap"
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (11/18): "One can be pretty certain that George
W. Bush won't get any petal-reception when he arrives in London this week. Instead, he may have to wade through
obstructing bodies of protesters. While
Bush has...in style, announced that he is ready for such a welcoming
committee...both White House and Whitehall have sotto voce described the visit
as a 'trip from hell'. Host Tony Blair
sees matters differently.... Britain and
the U.S. are, after all, the firmest of buddies. This camaraderie became even stronger when
the issue of waging war against Iraq cost the U.S. the friendship of
traditional allies such as Germany. But
then, with his cups of coffee Blair should remember to tell himself every
day: L'Etat ce n'est pas moi. The list of non-Downing Street British
complaints against Mistah Bush is long, from the Kyoto agreement to Guantanamo
Bay and Iraq. Britons are now even peeved
at American steel tariffs. A jaunt to
Britain has always boosted the image of a U.S. president."
The liberal Witness commented (11/19): "How ironic. In a world full of dictators and terrorists,
it's the leader of the one remaining superpower, and the loudest advocate for
world peace, who needs most protection--and in a country which he believes to
be his greatest ally, too.... Perhaps
this heated--but not warm--reception will have the effect of increasing the
influence of those in the U.S. pushing for a so-called 'exit deal', seen as the
only way in which America can redeem itself and begin to change its current
image as a loathed and resented global bully."
"Bush: No Shower Of
Barney Mthombothi commented in the liberal Star
(11/19): "Bush's trip could
possibly have been a victory parade had he had the humility to listen to the
many voices of reason. Instead he made
serious missteps on his way to Iraq. The
first was to interpret the international goodwill and heartfelt sympathy after
September 11, 2001 as a blank cheque, a reason to flaunt American power and
flout international conventions with gay abandon.... The second mistake Bush made was...to try and
link the Iraqi leader with international terrorism.... No such link existed.... His third mistake was perhaps the most
audacious. He told a barefaced
lie.... Intelligence was doctored on
either side of the Atlantic to prove Saddam presented an imminent
danger.... This has destroyed the trust
and confidence that people have on leadership.
Truth has been the biggest casualty.
Bush needs to do what he is temperamentally probably not cut out to do:
humble himself and admit he has made serious mistakes that have caused enormous
suffering. Having done so, he would then
have to go back to the UN, where he would be surprised by the genuine
willingness of other nations to solve the problem. What they would ask of him is
Justified War In Order To Achieve Peace"
Gabriela Litre, London-based correspondent for daily-of-record La
Nacion wrote (11/23): "Amid the
clamor of thousands of pacifist demonstrators and the fear for possible
terrorist attacks in this city, US President George W. Bush again fervently
defended the offensive against Iraq and his pre-emptive war doctrine by
justifying the use of 'violent repression' against 'violent men'... With
certain irony, Bush warned that the UN's credibility and viability depend on
his willingness to keep his word and act... The head of the White House assured
his country will not withdraw from Iraq in spite of the criticism of his
handling of the postwar... In addition to making a strong defense of the US-UK
alliance, Bush attempted to prepare the world for possible new military
interventions in the future...."
BRAZIL: "The English
An editorial in center-right O Globo (11/23) asserts: "In no other place in the world do
demonstrations against the U.S. seem more misplaced than in England. And it doesn't make much difference if the
gigantic protests in Trafalgar Square had President Bush as a specific
target. The fact is that millions of
English people went to the streets moved by hostile sentiments against the
President of England's greatest friend....
What explains Bush's lack of popularity amongst the English? Obviously there's the Iraq war issue that
mobilizes pacifist groups all over the world.
There's also the intent to hit Prime Minister Tony Blair, to whom many
don't forgive for having lead the country to a mostly, unjustified military adventure. But apparently that's not all. Curiously many English people accuse Bush of
betraying the English democratic ideal.
With the treatment given to war prisoners in Guantanamo and other
demonstrations of disrespect to principles of co-existence, Bush would be
destroying the U.S. image such as the pattern of a democratic society. An average American who lives in England for
25 years tried to explain the English feeling of frustration. In a letter to the "New York
Times," published on Nov. 19th, he said: 'Those demonstrators are not anti-American....
They, who see us as an example and are perplexed with this government that
despises Kyoto, the U.N. and international courts.' In other words, the English took advantage of
Bush's visit to tell him in three days what the rest of the world has been
trying to tell Americans for the last three years."
"The Seductions Of Terror"
A column by journalist Alberto Dines in center-left Jornal do
Brasil argued (11/22): "How to
ideologically classify the 150,000 English gathered in London to protest against
Bush's visit? They could be leftists,
rightist, Trotskyist, Bolsheviks, or authentic workers, nationalists or sincere
internationalists, religious fanatics or agnostic, radical environmentalists or
convict vegetarians.... To be against
Bush and Blair is not necessarily to be Bin Laden's or Saddam Hussein's
accomplice.... To fight the
unilateralism of neo-conservative Americans, it's necessary to strengthen the
United Nations and all international organizations, rather than to justifying
the barbarian attack that put an end to the U.N. in Iraq and took the life of a
statesman of Sergio Vieira de Mello.
This compliance with cruelty is insidiously infiltrated in our way of
thinking and acting. We are little by
little becoming immunized to accept the different violence that is established
in the body and soul of the cordial, infamous society."
"Iraq In Question"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized
(11/20): "United States President
George W. Bush reiterated during his speech in Great Britain the guidelines of
the U.S. government's policy for Iraq and, as expected, reassured that
Americans will not retreat... It is well-known that the invasion, labeled as a
chapter in the war against terror, had massive support of the American
people...but, as time went by, the intervention generated criticism and
suspicion in the United States itself...Americans are reluctant to admit that
going to war may be a mistake... According to a Gallup poll, the Iraq
experience may produce an unprecedented disappointment... In April, 80% of
Americans supported what the USG was doing in Iraq; last week, there was only
42% of support."
"Going the Wrong Way"
Right-of-center O Globo editorialized (11/19): "Even in England--the unconditional ally
of the U.S. in war and in peace--President Bush is harvesting the fruits of
dissatisfaction he has been spreading with his hegemonic unilateralism since
the beginning of his mandate.... U.S.
leftist intellectual Michael Hardt...says anti-Americanism in its most recent
incarnation is a protest against the model of global control based on force and
domination, adopted by Bush. Apart from
the ideological bias, recent facts seem to validate Hardt's analysis. It's what was seen in Iraq when the White
House scorned the prevailing sentiment all over the world and pursued its
almost solitary plan (were it not for England) to militarily interfere to
overthrow Saddam Hussein, with the excuse of combating international
from the Fire"
The business-oriented El Financiero editorialized (11/19):
"The protests during the state visit of President Bush to Great Britain
only show the rejection of the unilateral decision by the White House and some
of its allies to invade Iraq last March.
This also demonstrates how urgent it is to reform the international
political and legal system, which was violated by the decision that now seems
illegal and that has forced the Bush administration to seek approval from the
United Nations to legitimize its military presence in Baghdad. In other words, it is an effort so that the
United Nations can rescue the U.S. chestnuts from the fire, now that security in
the former territory of Mesopotamia has become worse, with increasing rejection
of the occupation by Washington."