April 29, 2003
'PUNISHING' FRANCE OVER OPPOSITION TO IRAQ WAR
** Writers see a 'bitter,
triumphant' U.S. 'making an example' of France, trying to prevent emergence of
** France wants to counter
U.S. superpower, but the 'coalition of the unwilling' is crumbling.
** U.S.-France rift should
not be allowed to delay Iraq reconstruction or injure NATO.
'Vindictive' U.S. wants France 'to pay' for opposing Iraq
war-- Dailies worldwide said "an urge for
retaliation" and the "intoxication" of victory were behind
Secretary of State Powell's statement that France would "suffer the
consequences" of its opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. France's Catholic La Croix described
Powell's statement as "proof of the depth of bitterness" felt in the
U.S., despite Chirac's call for "pragmatism, which is a way of saying
let's look forward, not back."
Editorialists said the U.S. was seeking "to make an example"
of France and "show the world what happens" when a country opposes
U.S. "might and power."
Liberal papers claim U.S. 'bluster' is meant to divide
Europe-- Finding U.S. rhetoric
"extremely unpleasant," liberal papers in Europe termed the
U.S.-France conflict "an apt example of how far transatlantic relations
can deteriorate" if a European country ignores "the new realities of
power." Other outlets stated the
"attack on France is an attack on the concept of the European Union as a
power." Austria's independent
political weekly Profil proclaimed the Americans know "exactly why
they are attacking" France:
"They want to hit Europe in general."
Chirac now 'faces the music' as the 'coalition of the unwilling'
begins to unravel-- While a Saudi daily said
France's anti-war stance reflected "principles over national
interests," others saw Chirac's diplomacy as stemming from France's desire
to build an "independent" European counterweight to the U.S. France's La Tribune called Chirac's
policy of "systematically opposing" the U.S. "a fatal principle
with ineffective results." German
papers saw "a creeping withdrawal" by Germany from "the
previously highly praised alliance with Paris and Moscow." Russian dailies held that France had
"left Russia holding the bag" after Paris, "oblivious to the
Franco-Russo-German alliance," made "attempts at reconciliation"
Importance of alliance will likely outweigh U.S. 'euphoria' and
French 'opportunism'-- Writers argued that the
current U.S.-France dust-up "must not be allowed to impede" the
reconstruction of Iraq. Many Europeans,
saying further strain in transatlantic relations "serves nobody's
interests," called for an end to U.S. "rhetorical
muscle-flexing." A German daily
judged that it will be "difficult" for anti-war Europeans "to
start talking to the U.S. again" if the "official tone" of
Washington doesn't moderate. The
Netherlands' influential NRC Handelsblad expressed the conviction that
"the notion that both countries are allies...should eventually prevail
over the narrow-mindedness of revenge."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 58 reports from 25 countries, April 24-29, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
The independent, pro-business Financial Times observed
(4/24): "Mr. Powell and his officials have their own reason to feel bitter
at France. Having persuaded the
unilateralist hawks in the Bush administration to give multilateral diplomacy a
try, they felt undermined by French blocking tactics in the UNSC. So Mr. Powell now seems quite ready to take a
harder line towards Paris, including perhaps sidelining it in NATO by
conducting business through the alliance's defence planning committee on which
France does not sit. But the State
Department itself feels sidelined, by the failure of its pre-war diplomacy over
Iraq and by the post-war momentum that the Pentagon now has in directing Iraq's
reconstruction. Mr. Gingrich
specifically jibbed at it for allowing the UN, the EU and Russia to become
involved in producing the 'road map' for an Israel-Palestine peace.... Mr. Gingrich misses the point, though, that
Mr. Powell and his department are not freelancing, but carrying out policies on
Iraq, the Middle East and elsewhere that have Mr Bush's endorsement. Mr Powell, for his part, might note that
those policies should accommodate, not punish, dissent from allies. Democracy in the U.S., above all, is built on
toleration of dissent."
Jean-Christophe Ploquin judged in Catholic La Croix
(4/29): “In France, those who support
the idea of Europe’s construction are rudderless. The Iraqi crisis has injected a massive dose
of confusion in the minds of those who have campaigned for a political Europe
that would stand apart from the U.S....
Yesterday, Tony Blair was exceedingly clear: Europe must be built with
the U.S., not against it.... France must
adapt its European policy to the reality revealed by the Iraqi crisis. Thierry de Montbrial of IFRI suggests that in
the short term France must keep a low profile in order to safeguard a long-term
project. It is paradoxical to note that
Europe’s defense may in fact develop in the years to come with the U.S., not
against it. In this regard, Chirac’s attitude at the mini European summit is
sure to be carefully scrutinized.”
"Rumsfeld And Powell At Each Other’s Throats"
Jan-Jacques Mevel wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(4/25): “In Washington, the center of
gravity has shifted: Secretary Rumsfeld, strengthened by two military victories
in two years, is taking over the management of the peace from Secretary Powell,
whose position was weakened by his diplomatic defeat at the UN.... The administration’s hardliners appear to be
putting as much energy in leaving Colin Powell on the sidelines as in
disqualifying France.... Now that the
war in Iraq is over, President Bush’s choices are political choices: he can
follow Secretary Powell’s way, based on alliances and burden sharing, or he can
adopt Secretary Rumsfeld’s method: a worldwide supremacy of the U.S. without
compromise or allies.”
Bruno Frappat wrote in Catholic La Croix (4/24): “Will resentment be the axis for
French-American relations? For weeks it
was known that the ‘hawks’ wanted to make France pay.… What is new is seeing
Secretary Powell, known to be a ‘dove,’ added his voice to the rest.… Just when
President Chirac is speaking of ‘pragmatism,’ which is a way of saying let’s
look forward not back, Secretary Powell’s threat is proof of the depth of
bitterness felt by the U.S. This is the
price France will pay for its stance on the war.... The new episode over the lifting of sanctions
is a continuation of Chirac’s fight for international law. President Bush’s America has an axe to grind
"On The Razor’s Edge"
Philippe Mudry commented in centrist La Tribune
(4/24): “Franco-American relations have
entered a zone of turbulence. Soon
France will know whether its policy of systematically opposing the U.S., a
fatal principle with ineffective results, will be the target of
retaliation. In spite of Secretary
Powell’s remarks, one can safely say that Washington has not decided yet. France’s gesture towards Washington regarding
the sanctions does not fully give the U.S. a free rein; it is nevertheless a
sign of appeasement. But many more will
be needed for a minimum of trust to return.
The European summit of April 29 is...laden with threats for
transatlantic relations. One can only
hope that it will not result in an unfriendly message, including on NATO issues.”
GERMANY: "Hooray, They
Are Again Talking To Each Other"
Wolfgang Muenchau had this to say in business daily Financial
Times Deutschland of Hamburg (4/29):
“Politics is the continuation of war with other means. This is how we should interpret the fact that
the Americans want to talk with Germany again and that Secretary of State
Powell will soon come to Berlin.... At
the same time, we hear from Powell, but also from Britain’s Foreign Secretary
Straw, that their future relations with France have fundamentally changed
because of the Iraq war, a euphemism that both sides are planning to be
unforgiving towards the French. In the
future, Paris is to be pushed as far as possible out of the decision-making
process in NATO. The future of
transatlantic relations can then be built on the axis between Washington and
London, and Germany is invited to join them.
The fact that Chancellor Schroeder and his Foreign Minister Fischer lack
not only a strategy but also scruples, allows the conclusion that they will
accept Washington’s cuddling course and will reject the previously highly
praised alliance with Paris and Moscow....
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had been accused of dividing Europe into an
old and a new part. After he succeeded
in doing so, Secretary Powell is now about to divide the old Europe even more.”
"Lessons In Realpolitik"
Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (4/28): “After America won the
war, it is now turning to its former and current friends with a simple question: What is the state of our partnership?… It is
not surprising that France is in the center of U.S. dissatisfaction.... But Washington held it against Chirac in
particular that he turned to an active alliance policy against Washington. Those who are of different opinions in an
alliance must resolve the problem in the alliance instead of working for new
alliances. This is an ice-cold logic but
it is justified. The German government,
too, must raise the question whether it will be able to maintain the pact with
the United States if it wants to pursue a different policy.... Germany has not yet made clear what goals it
is pursuing in this game for new alliances.
Does it want a Europe that is independent of the United States or does
it want to stick to the Alliance with the United States? The signals...indicate a creeping withdrawal
from the French division policy....
Those who leave the alliance with the United States are damaging
themselves. Germany would have to lose
more if it gave up this alliance. With
respect to security policy, the economy, and policy--the governments in Berlin
and Paris are now taught a tough realpolitik lesson about power and its
limits. But it is also true that a
friendship, for instance with the Untied States, is unable to grow under such
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine commented (4/25): "First Syria, North Korea and France,
and now Iran--Washington has issued a warning to a different country almost
every day since the end of the war in Iraq.
'Consequences' are threatened, 'sanctions reviewed' or even 'military
options not excluded.' The U.S.
Secretary of State apparently likes the diplomacy of public loudspeaker
announcements. But one could also have
used the usual discrete diplomatic channels....
But important people in Washington seem to believe that rhetorical muscle-flexing
is part of the role of a (victorious) world power. This is not very clever. No government, and this applies also to
Islamic countries, wants to appear to its people to be simply carrying out
American orders. It will be difficult
for Europeans who were against the war to start talking with the U.S. again if
they have the impression that the U.S. always has its finger on the
trigger. The foreign policy issues that
Bush raises are the correct ones, but the official tone of his government makes
understanding more difficult."
Washington correspondent Malte Lehming argued in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/26): “The
brave trio against the war--France, Russia, and Germany--is now faced with a
pile of debris. The war was not
prevented. The walls of the institutions
that were used to exert influence are crumbling. Irrespective of whether it is the UN, NATO,
or the EU: they were all weakened....
The trio is being split in a smug way into the greedy, the sly, and the
stupid. The greedy ones are the Russians
who had business relations with the Iraqi regime. The sly ones are the French who wanted to get
their own back on the United States, and the stupid ones are the Germans who
were driven only by their naive longing for peace. A commentator of the Washington Post
wrote: ‘Let us forgive Russia, punish
France, and ignore Germany.' He wrote
what the U.S. administration thinks.
What can Europe do to regain stature?
Little. The insight is
painful: If it opposes the United
States, it will lose the conflict. If it
clings to the U.S. cloak, it will lose dignity.
The golden solution is probably situated somewhere in the middle,
between French arrogance and British eagerness.
But thus far, nobody has found it.”
"Holding A People Hostage"
Stefan Ulrich commented in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (4/23): "True
to the saying that 'the winner takes all,' the U.S. wants only the members of
its coalition to have a say and make a profit in Iraq. It seems the other countries on the Council
have only one way to makes themselves heard--through sanctions. The coercive measures against Saddam could,
some strategists on the UNSC believe, now be used against the Americans, since
Washington needs UN sanctions to be lifted if it wants freedom to act in
Iraq. But that requires a UNSC
resolution, and the veto powers, first and foremost France and Russia, could
prevent a resolution as long as the U.S. wants to keep the fruits of military
victory to itself. While the purpose of
such a threat not to lift sanctions is legitimate...the means is not, since
sanctions are hurting the Iraqi people and it would be wrong to take them
hostage in order to punish the Bush administration; doing so would simply
underscore the propaganda of the enemies of the UN in Washington, who see the
organization as a barrier to progress....
Thus the UN and its members must continue their dispute with the U.S.
global power in other areas, namely by denying the attack on Iraq any
legitimacy and leaving the Americans to pay the costs of reconstruction and the
occupation as long as they insist on pursuing a course that is both unilateral
"Powell: 'France Will Have To Pay For Its Politics'"
Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto wrote in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/24): "It is not a declaration of war but it
is one of the most serious threats ever issued by the U.S. against one of its
allies: France 'will pay the consequences' of its 'no' to the war in Iraq. Secretary Powell, the administration's
'dove,' issued the threat during an interview.... The dove showed his claws after a meeting
with White House 'hawks'.... According
to an anonymous U.S. Administration official, the measures proposed include
France's exclusion from some of the NATO meetings.... It is clear that President Bush has not
forgiven President Chirac yet, not withstanding his telephone call last
week. But it is not clear whether Bush
simply wants to penalize the ally, or simply wants it to line up on U.S. positions
at the UN, where new resolutions on Iraq will be presented. The White House and State Department
spokesmen's recent statements have given strength to the second interpretation
with mostly conciliatory remarks."
Yelena Shesternina stated on page one of reformist Izvestiya
(4/24): "Paris has extended the
olive branch to Washington, oblivious to the Franco-Russo-German alliance,
which opposed the war in Iraq. Russia
has seen for itself yet again that in the contemporary world, there are no
constant allies--there are only constant interests."
"Russia Left Holding the Bag"
Dmitriy Suslov noted in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(4/24): "The French
proposition...shows how tenuous the 'coalition of the unwilling' is. The French...have virtually left Russia
holding the bag, as it insists that the sanctions be in place until the UN arms
inspectors accomplish their mission."
"Moscow Too Pedantic"
Andrey Zlobin and Pyotr Rozvarin wrote in reformist Vremya MN
(4/24): "Russia called for lifting
the sanctions long before the war started.
That makes its current stand look too pedantic. The U.S. logic is more convincing.... While reacting painfully to Paris's attempts
at reconciliation, Washington ignores Moscow's inflexible statements."
Foreign editor Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof commented in independent
political weekly Profil (4/28) :
"The Americans have really had it with the French. This is more than just a chill in diplomatic
relations. No, Washington has actually
broken off relations with Western ally France.
Jacques Chirac and his secretary of state, Dominique de Villepin, were
at the forefront of the anti-war camp in the UN. And George W. Bush and his men are never, ever
going to forgive them for that.... Of
course: France, a moderately important Central European power, is in totally
different league from the U.S., the world’s sole superpower. But it seems as if Washington considered
Paris a veritable competitor. The entire
world was watching when elegant and eloquent diplomat de Villepin and his
vision of a peaceful world civilization governed by international law,
outrivaled American Secretary of State Colin Powell and his desperate defense
of the crude heave-ho war strategy of the Bush administration, to the applause
of the UN Security Council.... The
Bushmen know exactly why they are attacking Chirac and the French. They want to hit Europe in general. It is all the more surprising that not a
single European government is coming to the help of the French. In the interest of the Europeans, the motto
today should be: Solidarity with Chirac!”
"Quarrel In The Sandpit"
Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder contended in liberal daily
Der Standard (4/28): “We’ve all
got the message: The Americans are cross with the French because they did not
want the war in Iraq. The French are
cross with the Americans because they did not want the war in Iraq, but the
Americans went ahead with it anyway. It
is obvious to everybody that this basic conflict also hides a number of
shabbier motives, mainly to do with business.
Nations like to present themselves as idealists at least
verbally--reality is usually different.
The way in which the Americans and the French, whether politicians or
media people, are now hitting each other over the head with their frustrations,
is becoming increasingly ridiculous, the longer the conflict lasts. The patriotic neologism of ‘freedom fries’,
Jacques Chirac’s snotty rebuke of the U.S.-friendly new European states, or
George Bush’s threat last week that Chirac would not darken the threshold of
his ranch in Crawford for a long, long time--all this shows the characteristics
of an out-of-control quarrel in a sandpit.
In the interest of international relations, it is high time for
politicians to adopt a more constructive style.”
"The Rules Of The Power Game"
Foreign affairs writer Walter Friedl wrote in
mass-circulation Kurier (4/24):
“It is a fatal mixture of arrogance and paranoia which the U.S. is
revealing at the moment. Instead of
showing some magnanimity in their hour of victory, Bush’s warriors continue to
hit hard. However, the fact that the
usually quite prudent Colin Powell is now threatening NATO-partner France with
'consequences' for being a declared opponent of the war in Iraq opens up a new
dimension altogether and is simply outrageous.… True, the U.S. has always
played in a league of its own in certain respects. But until the terror attacks of 9/11, it more
or less stuck to the rules of the game--now it makes up its own.”
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn maintained in conservative
Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/24): “Verhofstadt’s initiative is completely
wrong. Apparently, he is convinced that
the ties with the Americans are irreparable at this moment. It is true that George Bush is dividing the
world with his firm unilateral policy.
But, that does not mean that you have to fuel anti-Americanism. The fact that countries that are viewed as
too pro-American have not been invited (that anti-Americanism) seems to be the
only motive for the meeting in Brussels.
The only consequence is that transatlantic relations will be strained
even more. That serves nobody’s
interests.... Verhofstadt wants to form
a front with the French. However, except
for Belgium--which has virtually become a vassal state thanks to Louis Michel’s
policy--no European country is willing to be dominated by Paris. French foreign policy is too nationalist and
perfidious to serve Europe’s interests.
As a minimum, there must be a counterweight--which can only come from
the British. But, the latter are not
allowed to participate. Tony Blair must
be ‘punished’ for his support to Bush.
However, without the British a European army is nil. It is better to do nothing in that
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Game
Michal Mocek commented in centrist MF Dnes (4/24): "The fight over Iraq has not ended with
the fall of Baghdad. A new phase is
starting in which bombs will not be enough to win the fight. The UN will be once again a stage for the
fighting, as the U.S. demands an abolition of the UN sanctions against
Iraq. The war has shown that if the U.S.
faces resistance, and its opponents use all permitted rules to block the
American will, then the U.S. chooses a simple tactic: it will break the
rules. Therefore, France is trying a
method, which would preserve for the UN at least some influence over Iraq. It doesn't propose abolition of the
sanctions, but rather their suspension.
This is, however, a risky game: it about whether the rest of the world
outside of the U.S. may yet somehow influence the American decision-making in
Iraq or not."
"Fight Over Iraqi Oil Started"
Petr Nemec opined in the centrist
Hospodarske Noviny (4/24):
"From the technical point of view therefore nothing stops Iraq from
trading oil as before. However, there
are political obstacles. While the U.S. calls for terminating the sanctions
against Iraq, the only body that can do that, the UNSC, is hesitating. Russia and France said they would support
lifting the ban only after it has been proved that Iraq has no WMD. Not that they care about the well-being of
Iraqis; the two countries have their own economic interests that would be jeopardized
by the elimination of the sanctions.
Iraqi oil could swamp the world market and decrease the price. The Americans are not motivated purely by
compassion either; Iraq is not a poor country and its oil can at least, in
part, pay for the reconstruction of the country. Like all games, this game over Iraqi oil has
a side that will lose. In this case it
will be Iraq."
Columnist Tibor Varkonyi speculated in liberal Magyar Hirlap
(4/29): “The influential lady
[Condoleezza Rice] said that France had to be punished, Germany had to be
handled with cool indifference, and Putin’s Russia had to be forgiven. What a coincidence that, according to the
documents found, it was the diplomats of these very countries who had given
information to Saddam Hussein and his team....
One cannot completely rule out the possibility that the documents rooted
out from the trash can had been manufactured by a section of the American
secret service, to support Ms. Rice’s plan ready to be implemented.... America has triumphed, and now wants to drain
the cup of victory to the bottom. It is
swimming in euphoria, and wants to sweep aside everyone who would not only
disturb, but also block this euphoria with postwar power games. They must not leave even a shadow of a doubt
about the exclusivity of America's international influence; and Chirac’s and
Blair’s recent attempt at reconciliation, the intent to revive Europe, even if
only in the long run, can be considered such a block.”
"Example Of What A Crisis Looks Like"
Senior columnist Hanna Szalay argued in influential Hungarian
business/political daily Vilaggazdasag (4/28): “The leader of the White House affirmed that
the U.S.’ opposition to France is official....
Paris is going to be neglected in NATO.
France’s economic and trade interests, in Iraq, for instance, will be
ignored too. The recent conflict between
the United States and France is an apt example of how far transatlantic
relations can deteriorate if a country in Europe ignores the ‘new reality.’”
"The Situation In The West Develops?"
Conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet held (4/26):
“If we look at last week's developments between the United States and
France, we hardly find common interests (or common values) that bind Paris and Washington
together. Washington, it seems, wants to
build much more on the ‘new’ Europe, on countries that supported the U.S. in
its war with Iraq. So these
Central-Eastern European countries again have their homework. They have to figure out how to safeguard
their national interests between two poles (the United States and France).”
Threats Against France Are A Terrible Sign Of The Times"
The centrist Sunday Tribune editorialized (4/27): "There is something extremely unpleasant
the about the threats, covert and overt, that American politicians are issuing
against France.... We can be certain
that if and when Iraq becomes an Islamic state, George W Bush will be as
unhappy as he was when Saddam Hussein was in power.... Not so long ago the emissaries of the
American president were welcome in the world's trouble spots. They came, largely, with one agenda. To help solve the problems. That was when Bill Clinton was president and
his ambassadors were generally speaking respected throughout the world. George W. Bush has turned the United States
into the world's bully. They bully with
guns and bombs. And they bully with threats. The treats issued against France will no
doubt convince our government that they made the right decision in backing the
U.S. war in Iraq. The fact of the matter
is, the very opposite is true."
"The Realities Of Post-War Politics"
Paul Gillespie contended in the center-left Irish Times
(4/26): "There were several signs
this week that post-war international politics is adjusting to the military
victory of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
France and then Russia modified their demands that United Nations
sanctions against Iraq not be lifted until its arms inspectors are satisfied
that weapons of mass destruction have been dealt with.... French officials are astonished at the Bush
administration's vindictiveness, which could have serious economic
consequences. Those who hoped for or expected
a political confrontation on the subject have had to adjust their sights to
these realities of power. Neither oil
nor financial aid to reconstruct Iraq can flow legally until sanctions are
lifted, which President Bush called for last week. The French policy modification allowed some
funds to be released; but it leaves outstanding the question of what is to
MALTA: "Iraq Should
Now Be Allowed To Sell Its Oil"
The independent, English-language Malta Independent took
this view (4/25): "Even now that
the latest Iraqi war is over, France and Russia are continuing their course of
self interest--at the expense of the nation they have all along been playing a
charade of pretending selflessly to protect....
France says it is in favor of 'most' sanctions being eased, but slowly,
and not including the oil-export embargo.
This is something of a volte face:
before the coalition forces invaded, they were busily lobbying in favor
of all sanctions...being removed, regardless of whether nuclear, biological or
chemical weapons were hidden there....
The U.S. meanwhile is no longer keen to involve the UN, which was
hampered from supporting it, and without whose assistance it launched the
invasion..... Transatlantic ill-feeling
and squabbles, especially between France and America, may take some time to
repair and overcome, but they must not be allowed to impede the reconstruction
of a country whose future and freedom all this fuss has been about."
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad concluded
(4/24): "American-French relations
have been under pressure before. France
has throughout centuries given itself a role of political military and economic
superpower and fights American hegemony with a great deal of verve.... The line opted by Jacques Chirac was reckless
and more aimed at domestic consumption than at foreign efficiency. Now he has to pay a price for that. The French voters who strongly supported him
must have noticed that. The urge for
retaliation will continue to exist in Washington. But the notion that both countries are allies
who could need one another should eventually prevail over the narrow-mindedness
NORWAY: "France Being
Erik Sagflaat commented in the social democratic Dagsavisen
(4/25): “American democracy has been
built on freedom of speech and respect for others’ opinions. That was before
President George W. Bush came to power.
His world is divided into two parts: enemies or friends, and absolute
loyalty is demanded of friends.... The
plans to shove France to the side in NATO are more serious.... But it is a decision that demands endorsement
also from the remaining member countries.
The need for solidarity in the alliance should forbid an attempt to
bully a central European country like France.... NATO must not become a type of world police
force in America’s service. That France,
and for the time being also Germany, endures is reassuring. In today’s situation NATO needs France as a
corrective to American dominance.”
The independent newspaper VG observed (4/24): "Hopefully the parties on both sides of
the Atlantic have learned something from the political spectacle that led up to
the war, so that one avoids a new and agonizing fight about the UN’s role. The most important thing here is namely not
whether an Iraq-brigade stands under the UN’s blue flag or not. The most important thing is to secure
international help in the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq. And here Norway can contribute, even if the
Government went against the American led war."
Anne Thurmann-Nielsen wrote in independent Dagbladet (4/24):
"In a world that is either black or white, George W. Bush has found
his global mission.... Do we want this
man to set the moral standard for all the people on the planet?… In autumn 2004 Americans choose more than
their own President. They decide also if
the world still shall be the mission field for a small group of new-conservative
Americans with a fundamentalist Christian belief. The most frightening thing is that the Bush
regime has as a basic tenet that they are right. They think they have the moral high ground on
their side.... Either you are with us,
or you are against us, to use the President's own words about America’s friends
and enemies in the world. One of the
enemies is France. And if it had not
been because it is a bloody insult to children, I would have called what we are
witness to today terribly childish. The
U.S. does not want to play with France any longer."
Left-of-center El Pais wrote (4/27): "In an unjustified and absurd way, the
Bush administration, and even American society, have decided to take reprisals
against France because of the position taken by Chirac's government in the war
against Iraq. The U.S. has seen the
French challenge as an attempt to create a counter pole. Let there be no mistake, the attack on France
is an attack on the concept of the European Union as a power, as the American
dislike of the idea of Europe is growing....
By letting Washington punish France for having defended international
legality, and by relegating the UN to a consultative role in the building of a
new Iraq, we are all losing."
"The Mistakes Of Chirac And Villepin"
Conservative ABC editorialized (4/27): "Chirac and Villepin made two obvious
mistakes. The main one was to show a
huge ethical and democratic insincerity with their opposition to the intervention
in Iraq.... The Americans saw the French
position as opportunistic, seeing in their opposition not so much a rejection
of a war against the Saddam regime, but of the surge in power of the
hyperpower. In order to carry out their
plans, Chirac and his minister of foreign affairs perpetrated the second
political mistake: opportunistically
allying themselves with Putin, reinforcing the Franco-German axis by taking
advantage of the fourteenth anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles and ordering
the silence of the governments of the emergent states in Europe, on the
threshold of joining the [European] Union....
It is the role of Spain and Great Britain to ensure that France does not
stagnate and that Bush does not go too far with his 'punishment'."
ALGERIA: "The End Of
French-language independent L’Expression held (4/28): Colin Powell has just attacked France, which,
he declared: ‘Should bear the consequences,’ of its position on war in
Iraq. The true UN is being revealed; its
resolutions have only served the interests of world powers, the Americans since
the end of the cold war, the only power....
The same scheme is being reproduced as far as the reconstruction of Iraq
is concerned.... The U.S. diktat on the
world is more obvious than ever.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "Lifting
Or Maintaining The Sanctions"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Madina editorialized (4/24): "France, Russia and Germany all opposed
a war against Iraq without international concessions. Their decision was based upon their own
national interests. Now America...wants
to discipline France in particular; whereas the U.S. position regarding Russia
and Germany is less serious, why?...
There are indications that the U.S. is giving President Chirac an
ultimatum. Chirac, and consequently
France, has had to retreat up and change their previous clear anti-war stance,
or face a similar fate to that of Saddam and his country. In other words, put France under sanctions. Of course in the case of France, the
situation will not be as bloody as it was in the case of Iraq. Through economic sanctions and otherwise, the
U.S. wishes to put an end to the French president who favored principles over
national interests. America wants to
make France an example for all those who might think of challenging
Washington. France is responding with a
false UNSC sanctions crisis. Chirac
wants to prolong the decision to lift the sanctions on Iraq, when the U.S. is
calling for immediate lifting of sanctions.
It seems that the U.S. would not mind lifting the sanctions on France if
the latter did not object to lifting sanctions in Iraq."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Diplomatic Double Dealing"
The conservative Australian editorialized (4/29): “In the case of the French Government's
theatrical denunciations of the U.S. and its allies in the months before the
invasion of Iraq, it appears the foundation was less principle than double
dealing, as demonstrated by documents discovered in Baghdad.... The extraordinarily quick victory of the
U.S., the immense happiness of Iraqis to be free of the thugs who oppressed
them for decades and the fact the Americans give every indication of wanting to
leave Iraq as soon as possible makes France's opposition to the war less than
clever. But the fact that they have been
caught out playing politics while cloaked in the rhetoric of humanitarian
principle is unlikely to discomfort the French.
As the response of opponents of the war demonstrated before the shooting
started, sophistry with a French accent can be so much more compelling than
truth spoken with a Texan drawl.”
Will 'Settle Accounts' With Asia-Pacific Countries"
Xi Xuelian commented in the official Communist Youth League China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (4/28): “Obviously the U.S.’ diplomacy is getting
simplified after 9/11 to the ‘not a friend, must be an enemy’ theory advocated
by the hawks in Washington. People are
not surprised to see that the U.S. has started to ‘settle accounts’ after the
victory of the Iraq war. Take France,
the traditional ally of the U.S., as an example; it is now treated with disdain
by Washington. Governments of
Asia-Pacific countries are waiting for the U.S. to ‘award according to
contributions’ and ‘be punished based on wrong-doings’.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Big
Powers Debate Lifting Sanctions On Iraq"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(4/23): "Washington maintains that
with the removal of the Saddam regime, the situation in Iraq has changed,
making sanctions unnecessary. Washington
is looking after its own interests: As
the U.S. takes the lead in Iraq's reconstruction efforts, it stands to gain the
most from lifted sanctions.... Bush's
proposal puts Russia and France in a very awkward position. If they echo the U.S. suggestion, they will
play into American hands by authorizing the new Iraqi authority, which is
propped up by the U.S. It will only get
more difficult for France and Russia to secure decision-making and
participation rights in the rebuilding of Iraq.
If, on the other hand, they reject Bush's proposal, France and Russia
will be accused of ignoring the plight of the Iraqi people.... In view of this, France and Russia must adopt
a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand,
they will support lifting sanctions. On
the other hand, they will stress that lifting them is contingent upon the UN
playing the leading role in Iraq's reconstruction, not the U.S.... The big powers are arguing over issues such
as 'lifting sanctions' behind closed doors, negotiating their fair share of the
reconstruction pie. Why shouldn't they
discuss issues like these with Iraqis at all levels of society and from
different political factions, allowing the Iraqis themselves to make the
decision? The Iraqis are the ones who
really suffer from sanctions; they should have the right to voice their
"Vindictive In Victory"
The widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer expressed this
view (4/26): "The conquest of Iraq
has opened a host of other problems.
Foremost of these problems is that the U.S. victory has filled it with
hubris and arrogance.... In the
aftermath of victory, the United States has also turned with a vengeance on its
former transatlantic allies that opposed the invasion in the United Nations
Security Council. The heat of U.S.
vindictiveness is focused on France, and one is no longer sure whether the
United States hates France more than Saddam's Iraq.... Having won the war, the United States has not
displayed the magnanimity of victors. It
is heaping scorn on a long-time ally whose greatest sin was (to) disagree with
American foreign policy objectives. U.S.
retaliation has sunk to a pettiness and petulance seldom seen in relations
among democratic countries that disagree with one another. The United States has made it known that
when President George W. Bush attends an international economic summit in
Evian, France, in the spring he will stay in a hotel across the border in
Switzerland.... We can expect that the
next phase of America's preemptive war to be an all-out economic and diplomatic
campaign against disobedient European allies to impress upon them the new
reality of U.S. imperial hegemony over the West."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
Former secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Ranjit Singh
Kalha provided this analysis in pro-economic-reform The Business Standard
(4/28): "There is no doubt that
after the 'anger' with France and Iraq subsides, the U.S. will have to make a
critical choice and begin repairing the damage to transatlantic relations.... The schism that has opened up will require
some painstaking hard work to pat up.
Powell's visit to Turkey is an important first step."
The centrist Hindu contended (4/28): "The American secretary of state, Colin
Powell's 'yes' to a question whether France would be 'punished' for opposing
the war on Iraq would hardly have surprised or shocked other nations if it had
come a century ago when imperialism was still an accepted fact of international
life. But to talk in the 21st century of
punishing another sovereign nation, and a permanent member of the Security
Council like the U.S. itself, smacks of an unacceptable return to the logic of
a bygone era.... The unilateralist
American action in promoting its own inspection team strikes another blow at
the UN. The rationale for launching the
war, as that for the imposition of sanctions before, was the threat posed by
the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq was alleged to have in its
possession.... By pursuing actions that
raise the suspicion that it may have its own agenda in Iraq, the U.S. is
undermining whatever possibilities there exist for a quick end to the
sufferings of the people of that country."
"Is France The Next Rogue State"
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (4/26): "Is France on the verge of becoming the
fourth member of America's 'axis of evil'?
Or the third, now that Iraq has been delivered from evil?... Reports suggest that a meeting attended by
Vice-President Dick Cheney, among others, even spoke of punishing France. It is possible that the proposed punishment
will relate mainly to denying lucrative contracts in the context of
'rebuilding' Iraq. But there has also
been suggestions that the U.S. will try to keep France out of as many
transatlantic meetings as possible and shift NATO's decision-making process from
the North Atlantic Council to a committee of which France is not a
member..... What the Americans perhaps
do not realize is that, in the long run, such shabby treatment of France will
be resented by other European countries also."
"The Consequences Of Disagreeing"
Paris correspondent Vaiju Naravane wrote in the centrist Hindu
(4/25): "The French were, and
remain, profoundly convinced that a single superpower should not be allowed to
bend the world to its will....
Washington sees Paris as having 'betrayed' a friend and an ally. France says differences between allies are
permissible, that one can 'agree to disagree'.
When questioned about possible U.S. action against France, the
president, Jacques Chirac, was both dismissive and reassuring. Once the Iraq crisis is over, Europe will see
the folly of its divisions and move towards greater unity and cohesion, he said
.... From the office of the U.S. Vice
President Dick Cheney, in Washington, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, and
his spokesman, Richard Boucher, were blunt.
Yes, there will be consequences....
The main thrust of U.S. moves against France is likely to be
political. It would like to make an
example of France, show the world what happens when an independent-minded,
second-rung nation dares defy the might and power of America. Paris could be sidelined, both within NATO
and in regular transatlantic consultations between America and Europe.... Although there has been a slight lowering of
tensions...Washington's latest snub was the rejection of the French proposal to
suspend, not lift, the sanctions on Iraq....
Washington has long viewed the possible emergence of a strong, unified
Europe with a common defense, security and foreign policy, with a mixture of
alarm and distrust. Such a body would
directly challenge the relevance of NATO and the absolute supremacy of the
U.S. France has been the one renegade
country that has pushed for a separate European military entity. The obvious way of sabotaging a strong,
unified Europe is by driving a wedge in the Franco-German combine and among the
other second-level players such as Spain, Italy and Portugal."
The Islamabad rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
held (4/25): "Colin Powell's
statement smacks of arrogance and vandalism and constitutes utter disregard of
the established norms of international behavior. France was not the only country which had
opposed U.S. war against Baghdad. The
whole world was up against the U.S. war against Iraq, which was amply
manifested by the massive protest rallies around the globe, including in United
States itself.... Colin Powell's
statement is also a challenge to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, since he is
the only leader in Europe who has stood by the U.S. in its war against Iraq and
had been a bridge between Washington and Europe. Victory intoxication does create a sense of
pride to look down on others, but Bush's victory intoxication has generated
false pride, since his wars against Afghanistan and Iraq were not a fight
between the equals. Those were, in fact,
uneven wars fought against weaker, impoverished and militarily roughed up
nations. It will obviously be a
different scenario with his new targets.
The U.S. Congress must, therefore, restrain Mr. Bush from his
unwarranted and improper conduct before it is too late."
"U.S. Announces Punishing France"
Islamabad-based right-wing Urdu daily Ausaf editorialized
(4/25): "The U.S. has announced
that it will 'punish' France for its 'crime' of opposing the war in Iraq. The Bush administration knows that it cannot
achieve its lofty aims through diplomacy in the new world scenario, therefore,
it will use military power for this purpose.
The only ray of hope in this scenario is France, and it would be wise
for the world to stand by the French. If
the world does not support France now, every weak and helpless country will
"America's Warning To France"
Leading mass circulation Urdu daily, Jang judged
(4/25): "Every member of the United
Nations has a right to express its opinion over any international issue. Any attempt to suppress such voices of
dissent would be an open violation of the international charter of human rights
and freedom of expression. Therefore,
the United States should desist from threatening and suppressing other
countries and should play its role in the establishment of the rule of law in
"And Now In Pursuit Of France"
An editorial in the sensationalist Urdu daily, Ummat held
(4/25): "Presently, France seems to
be prepared to face the music for opposing the United States but, in light of
past experiences, it could not be said how long and to what extent it could
bear the American pressure. Countries
like France, Germany and Russia should stand steadfast against the U.S.
aggression, because all these business gains in the name of reconstruction of
Afghanistan and Iraq are totally momentary and temporary."
"American Threatens France Also"
Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu daily, Jasarat
declared (4/25): "The latest threat
against France has been hurled by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who hitherto
was being considered as a moderate and sensible person. But, in order to save his seat, he has to
become extremist and insensible. No
doubt the political, military and economic power of the United States is
unmatched. But, despite being a
superpower, it cannot rule the world by making Europe, the Islamic world,
Russia and China its enemies."
"U.S. Threat To France"
The second largest Urdu daily, Nawa-e-Waqt charged
(4/25): "U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell has threatened France with consequences for opposing the war in
Iraq.... If America could actively
punish this world power, corner it in NATO and reduce its role in the
organization, then it would not hesitate from attacking smaller countries in
the pattern of Afghanistan and Iraq.
After this threat by America, the need for a multipolar world, already
supported by Russia and China, has increased manifold."
"U.S. Threat To France,"
Center-right Urdu daily Pakistan stated (4/25): "The U.S. threats and actions to punish
France clearly tell as to what extent America could go in any matter. This situation provides food for thought for us
Pakistanis too. Those who propose
confrontation with America should know that their advice is not prudent."
"Another Battle Royal At Security Council"
Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad observed in the center-right national Nation
(4/24): "France and Russia have
been pushing the UN to retain a central role in Iraq. Will they now use the opportunity to address
the post-war situation? They could push
for a resolution to rule the country through a representative of the world
organization, as was done in the case of Kosovo and East Timor. In case they do so, they are liable to
further provoke Washington. If the two
decide to put up a fight and are supported in the UNSC by China and Germany,
this would strengthen the move that is afoot to create a multipolar
"Lessons From Iraq War"
An op-ed by Anwaar Rasul Khan in the center-right national Nation
contended (4/24): "The old
philosophy of 'might is right' has been installed [in Iraq] in the crudest
sense, the theoretical opposition of Russia and Germany has already started
waning and it is a question of time when France would also capitulate after
having put up a strong resistance."
CANADA: "The Dunce's
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le Devoir
of Montreal (4/25): "There can be
no doubt about it, old France will get a spanking. At a National Security Council meeting on the
eve of Powell's comments, high-level Pentagon and vice presidential staffers
argued that Washington inflict punishment on France. The NSC and the State Department
agreed.... If we are to believe the plan
decided by Vice President Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the number two at the State
Department, Richard Armitage...everything must be attempted to isolate France
at the international level and especially within the European Union, such as
multiplying meetings with countries from the old continent while making sure
France is not invited.... Who would have
thought that in this day and age of new economies, the dunce's cap industry
would be promised a long and bright future?"
"The Vote Came Out"
Well-known columnist Richard Martineau wrote in the left wing Voir
(4/23): "After having turned a deaf
ear to the U.S.' call for help...Jacques Chirac is shouting on the rooftops how
happy he is Iraq has been liberated and is bending over backwards to take part
in the reconstruction of the country so he can snap up some lucrative
contracts. What a pathetic clown! God how France can be hypocritical
sometimes. She gives lessons in
diplomacy, she portrays herself as the defender of human rights, and then what
does she really do? She welcomes
Jean-Claude Duvalier with open arms, she supports African dictators, she asks
for a special derogation from international authorities so she can welcome
Robert Mugabe, one of the worst monsters on the planet at the summit of
francophone countries. If I were
American, I would boycott French fries too."
MEXICO: "The Price Of
Leonardo Lopez, a priest, wrote in Independent El
Manana de Nuevo Laredo (4/23):
"One of the biggest businesses of developed countries is the trade
of weapons. It is not a secret that one
of the alternatives to solve an economic crisis is the production of
weapons.... The Iraq conflict has occupied most of the informative spaces;
however, it has not been the only and the bloodiest of the conflicts. Other countries who don’t have petroleum, are
suffering bloody conflicts before the indifference of all...except for those
who sell arms, and when a new conflict arises, they rub their hands before the
prospect of a great business opportunity.
It’s ironic that Russia and
France opposed the war in Iraq, while they happily sold arms (to the
"U.S.: Tough Warning To France For Being Against The War"
Ana Baron wrote from Washington in leading Clarin
(4/24): "Tension between Washington
and Paris yesterday reached a new peak when Secretary Powell warned France 'it
will suffer the consequences' for having led the opposition to the war in Iraq
at the UNSC.... Powell's words took the
French government by surprise because they were issued shortly after France
announced it would favor the lifting of sanctions against Iraq at the UN. Washington considered this 'a step in the
right direction' although the White House would have preferred to lift
sanctions, instead of postponing them.
Everything indicates that the differences between the Pentagon and the
State Department...still prevail. While
Rumsfeld and Rice agree with Vice President Cheney on sanctioning France one
way or the other, it seems that Powell prefers to focus on the future
cooperation with France in other areas.
Harassed by the USG's hawks, which requested his resignation, Secretary
Powell is going through a very delicate and difficult situation."
Maria Laura Avignolo, Paris-based correspondent for leading Clarin wrote (4/24):
"The time has come for President Chirac to make a decision. With an
enormous domestic popularity due to his opposition to war in Iraq and the fear
of his business sector that France's position will damage French business, he
will have to decide whether he becomes the leader of global multilateralism or
comes to terms with U.S. positions in order to avoid the sanctions announced by
the Pentagon hawks and accepted by Secretary Powell in a desperate move to
remain in his position. Those who know
him well, openly say 'Chirac is absolutely convinced of his position.... 'Pragmatism' is the strategy he chose to deal
with the U.S. hyperpower. Returning NATO
its respectability and reinstalling multilateral consensus will be Chirac's
future steps. He will make clear that,
in order to have peace in the world, the way the U.S. is exercising its
hegemony is inadmissible."