July 22, 2003
WILL U.S. 'SAVE LIBERIA'?; DID BUSH 'CLIMB DOWN' ON ZIMBABWE?
** Global media contend the
U.S. has an "historical responsibility" to intervene in Liberia and
question Bush's "ambivalent position."
** Although a U.S.-led
peacekeeping mission would symbolize "good intentions," foreign media
acknowledged that "Liberia is only the tiniest fragment of Africa."
** Zimbabwean and Euro
media regret Bush's endorsement of Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy."
Bush 'hesitant' to send U.S. troops to 'into the breach' -- The U.S.' "cautious" approach
towards Liberia produced mixed reaction.
Critics found Bush's position "contradictory," saying he was
"raising hopes" for Liberians while expecting Americans to
"honor his hesitance to send GIs to another risky mission." Some observers judged that the "world's
policeman" was "in danger of overstraining itself." Others claimed that "a military
intervention for human rights' reasons sets a precedent" that could lead
many to ask "why doesn't [Bush] do this in Congo, Sudan, or
Zimbabwe?" A Sueddeutsche
Zeitung columnist doubted that the "U.S. will seriously support
Liberia" now that Bush has returned from Africa. Advocates of U.S. involvement, however, insisted
that Bush cannot "wriggle out of" the U.S.' "indisputable
responsibility" to a country founded by freed American slaves."
Aiding Liberia would bolster U.S. image, yet Africa 'needs more
than American might' -- Global outlets agreed that a U.S. intervention in
war-ravaged Liberia would be a "golden opportunity" to "lift the
odium" from the White House that it intervenes "only when its
economic interests are at stake."
It would also help "wipe away" U.S. resentment in Muslim
Africa. A U.S. contribution could, as
Indonesia's leading independent Kompas suggested, demonstrate that
Washington "still has the will to take part in international
institutions." Skeptics concluded
that "foreign troops cannot create stable societies by firing guns." Germany's right-of-center Frankfurter
Allgemeine warned that interventions claim victims and that "nobody
should be surprised" if such an event produced "another
quasi-protectorate." In response to
Bush's call for Taylor to step down, Nigeria's independent Comet quipped:
"Bush ought to know that the elimination or exit of a principal actor is
unlikely to signal the end of a conflict."
U.S.' 'bankrupt diplomacy' reverses previous 'hard-line' stance
towards Mugabe -- Sharing disappointment,
independent Zimbabwean dailies along with London's conservative Daily
Telegraph disapproved of Bush's meeting with South African President Mbeki,
asserting that Bush "implicitly endorsed the view" that "the
resolution of Zimbabwe's problems lies squarely with Zimbabweans." This left Mugabe free from the "fear of
censure." These editorialists had
expected Bush to pressure South Africa to "abandon its ineffective policy
of so-called 'quiet-diplomacy'" and take the lead in "demanding that
Mugabe step down to pave the way for a transitional government" that would
ensure democracy in Zimbabwe.
EDITOR: Sandra Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 67 reports from 30
countries, July 4-22. Editorial excerpts
from each country are listed from the most recent date.
SOUTH AFRICA: "Stable
Africa Fits U.S. Strategic Interest "
Rupert Cornwall contended in the independent,
Durban-based Natal Mercury (7/8):
"For five days at least, the man of war will become a man of
peace. President Bush is coming to
Africa this week not to issue ultimatums or to rally U.S. troops.... U.S. peacekeepers in Liberia may be a symbol
of U.S. good intentions, but Liberia is the tiniest fragment of Africa. True, under its new doctrine of forward
defense, the U.S. is looking for permanent bases on the continent--but these
would be garrisons in the campaign against terror, not the guarantors of some
21st century Marshall Plan for Africa."
"Bush Has A Golden Opportunity"
International affairs editor Peter Fabricius wrote in the liberal Star
(7/4): "The trip is obviously
designed to demonstrate that Bush cares for Africa.... Bush is coming under increasing pressure to
send U.S. troops into Liberia to restore order.... Journalists and others...say...now is your
chance to put your money where your mouth is.
And indeed this would be golden opportunity for the U.S. to wipe away
much of the resentment in Muslim strong Africa about its use of force in Iraq
by using that force again in Liberia to save innocent African lives."
KENYA: "Why Bush Must
Build Bridges And Not Walls"
Kanu party owned Kenya Times editorialized (7/11): “Since he was sworn into office in 2002,
Bush has quarreled with China, Russia,
NATO allies, the European Union and North Korea on issues such as international
law, missile treaties, international terrorism etc.... Today he arrives in Africa, a continent that
figured little in his presidential campaign.
His war in Iraq as well as his rash statements about Zimbabwe have been
very unpopular in the minds of the African people. He also comes at a time when most African
nations have been placed on high terrorist alert, finding themselves in between
the wars involving U.S. interests and terrorist groups dotted all over the
world.... Bush, whose trip to Africa is
as brief as any can be, should realize that very few people, least of all
Nelson Mandela, think highly of his radical and unilateral approach to delicate
matters of international importance....
Mandela has described him as a man who does not think correctly that is
also a danger to the world. With that in
mind, it would be prudent for Bush to tread slowly and carefully on African
issues including Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe."
Deserves More Attention"
The Lagos-based independent Comet editorialized
(7/17): "The responsibility of
doubling as continental leader and sub-regional 'big brother' has, once more,
placed the Liberian political crisis on Nigerian shoulder. Apart from providing asylum for Charles
Taylor, playing host to many Liberian refugees, Nigeria has once again,
dispatched 2,000 soldiers to lead other contingents in bringing an end to the
two decades of nightmare in Liberia....
Humanity through international organizations and the world super powers,
has not given the Liberian crisis the attention it deserves. It is against this background that we call on
the UN, the United States, AU, ECOWAS and the rest of mankind to contribute
honestly towards an enduring solution to the Liberian crisis. In short, Nigeria's age-long sacrifice in
Liberia must be appreciated by the contribution of other states, financially,
materially and militarily."
"Taylor Should Go Elsewhere"
Ibadan-based independent Nigerian Tribune remarked
(7/17): "President Taylor has been
indicted for war crimes. And there are
many people in West Africa who believe that exile is not a condign punishment
for what they say are the atrocious crimes of Taylor. The hands of many Sierra Leoneans were
chopped off by rebels supported by Taylor.
Many people even assert that the RUF was his creation. Liberia has been a sad, broken country since
1989 when he launched his insurgency.
Thousands of Liberians have been killed.
Many foreigners, including two Nigerian journalists, were killed in cold
blood when Taylor's fighters were prevented from capturing the Executive
Mansion by ECOMOG in 1990. Is that the
kind of person Nigerians should be harboring?... Liberia, tormented for so
long, needs peace. May the exist of
Taylor bring the country exhilarating political calm. But he should please, go
and waste elsewhere."
Lagos-based Daily Independent editorialized (7/17): "It is obvious that while ordinary
Liberians want the intervention of external forces to bring back peace to the
country, their president may not be so readily disposed to the idea, unless
these forces are first subjected to the control of his troops.... These are unsettling signals which ECOWAS and
the UN must address before authorizing troops deployment to Liberia. Daily Independent expects these
issues clearly ironed out, along with the
question of the role of the rebel groups in a post-Taylor era, before
troops are flown to Monrovia. Otherwise,
we may end up with a new war zone in which foreign troops are enmeshed in a
fierce multi-front struggle against government forces and disparate rebel
Lagos based independent The Guardian opined (7/14):
"We would like to state our total opposition to your plan to further
militarize Africa by setting up new military bases in Ghana, Senegal, Mali,
Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe and Kenya as well as expanding
American military presence in Djibouti....
This massive military deployment is to protect oil fields in the Niger
Delta of Nigeria."
Lagos-based independent Daily Independent
commented (7/9): "Only two weeks
ago the European Parliament again 'deplored' the elections and said the April
elections were 'marred by fraud.' The
U.S. government has congratulated Obasanjo on his victory without adding 'as
announced by INEC,' giving the impression that all was well with the process....
Coming to the country at this time is most inauspicious thing to
do. I only hope that Mr. Bush will use
his influence to help explain that in Nigeria, the process is as important as
the outcome and the individuals that emerge from it, that way maybe we can
still salvage some bit of our international standing."
"Taylor Exit Unlikely To End War"
The Lagos-based independent Comet editorialized (7/8):
"President George W. Bush has asked embattled Charles Taylor, President of
Liberia, to step down and leave his coutry without any further ado.... Mr. Bush ought to know that the elimination
or exit of a principal actor is unlikely to signal the end of a conflict."
"Reading Between Bush's Lines On Congo And The Sudan"
Independent Monitor opined (7/16): "What left scribes reading between the
lines as president George W. Bush spoke after brief talks with President Yoweri
Museveni was the remark: 'You [President Museveni] have done an excellent job
of using your prestige and your [Central African] position to help resolve
those disputes. And we will continue to
work with you to bring peace on the continent.'
President Museveni is involved with peace efforts in the Sudan and
Burundi and is a signatory to regional accords to end the Congo conflict. But he is also high on the list of
contributing factors to the Congo conflict where UN reports on the DRC have not
flattered his country's role. No doubt
praising Museveni for ending regional wars was quite a statement, but was there
a tinge of subtlety too in Bush's statements?
If Bush is truly worried about Africa's troubled states turning into
breeding grounds like the analysts say, it seems unlikely that he will
entertain anything that stands in the way of securing these Central African
states. Perhaps there was more in that
diplomatic gloss after all.
"Let's Stand With Bush's America"
Onapito Ekomoloit held in government-controlled New Vision
(Internet version) (7/11):
"Africans too have become innocent and unsuspecting victims [of
terrorism]. Sometimes, using the oil
money, the terrorists have hoodwinked our own people into the so-called
religious war against American infidels.
The result has been the likes of the Allied Democratic Front (ADF),
whose terrorism Kampalans saw live with blood and tears. That is why when President Bush speaks about
terrorism...we should know it is about our own very survival. If the terrorists want to hurt us for
ostensibly embracing American values--as if they offer anything better--it is
reason enough to stand with Americans....
The argument that Bush is here to prop Museveni's stay in power does not
fly. When President Museveni binds our
country to the American fight against terrorism, it is for our common good. The point is, if terrorists blew up an office
complex in Kampala--like they did in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam--it is unlikely
that Bush or Museveni would be inside."
"Which Museveni Will Bush Meet; The NGO
Leader, Or President?"
The independent Monitor opined
(7/9): "Is there a possibility that
the U.S. is changing its practice of canoodling with strongmen as long as they
are pro-Washington? The U.S. might be
shifting, even if it is doing so to protect its changing global interests. We have seen very acrimonious verbal
skirmishing between U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and the autocratic
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. The
Americans are piling pressure on South Africa to lean on Mugabe, who’s wrecked
his once prosperous nation, to go back to the village and grow maize on the
land he has grabbed.... Bush demanded
more forthrightly that Liberia’s warlord President Charles Taylor relinquishes
power and 'go into exile'.... The U.S.
can afford to tell Mugabe and Taylor to go home, and to wag a finger at
Museveni over his third term plot, because the price of doing so has fallen
dramatically. The fear past U.S.
administrations used to have that a leader who was unhappy with them would run
into the embrace of the communist bloc, is of course long gone.... Museveni needs to lay indisputable claim to
being a political reformer, and regional peace builder the way he has with
AIDS. By failing to win on these two
fronts, and clinging only to his anti-AIDS/HIV thing, Museveni has allowed
himself to become more like the head of a big NGO, than the president of a
nation. He only invites
people--including the Americans--to lean on him to open up the job for someone
who can fill the vacuum he has created."
ZIMBABWE: "Liars Like
Bush Annihilate Themselves"
Ruling ZANU-PF weekly mouthpiece The People's Voice
criticized (7/13): “Since when (has)
Britain and the U.S. started caring for the human rights of
Zimbabweans.... The U.S. and Britain
waged a war for regime change in Iraq in order to have monopoly over that
country’s oil. Now they are shifting
their attention to Zimbabwe, which they would like to rule through pseudo
democracy.... The reason being touted to
the world in Zimbabwe is that there are human rights violations when infact
these two western leaders (President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair) are against black ownership of land.... The calls for regime change in Zimbabwe are
aimed at achieving the reversal of the land reform program so that Western
individuals and institutions have direct and indirect control of the
resource.... Bush and Blair should be
reminded that whatever they do, Zimbabwe will always and forever be for
"Time To Set Road Map In Motion"
The pro-government weekly Sunday Mirror opined (7/13): “U.S.
President George W. Bush left Africa last week after making
significantly progressive statements on the resolution of Zimbabwe’s political
stalemate. His endorsement of the
African initiative on Zimbabwe was the final confirmation to all those who
expected and actually agitated for a more muscular approach to the country’s
protracted impasse that only Africans and Zimbabweans in particular were better
placed to sort out the country’s challenges....
The country must now put into motion its road map for a transition out
of the current impasse without getting obfuscated by academic and irrelevant
demands that do not serve the interests of the nations.”
"Zimbabwe: The Messages From The Mbeki/Bush Meeting"
The pro-government weekly Sunday Mirror asked (7/13): “But, was there a ‘climb’down’ on the part of
the U.S., as claimed in some official circles here in Zimbabwe? No.
There could have been no ‘climb-down’ if there had been no ‘climb-up’ in
the first instance. For, the position of
both the U.S. and Britain on the question of Zimbabwe had been stated quite
clearly by the American Assistant Secretary of State, William
Kansteiner...following the visit to Harare on 5 May, 2003, by the three African
Presidents, Mbeki, Obasanjo and Muluzi.
Both expressed confidence in this 'African initiative.'... So, if there had been a ‘climb-down,’ it was
in May, 2003, after which the burden was firmly on Mbeki’s shoulders. That Bush would so unequivocally re-affirm
that...is only a pyrric (sic) victory for those in Zimbabwe who are gloating
over what they perceive as another defeat for the MDC (Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC); in reality, it is a major challenge for Mbeki in particular and a
loud warning for Harare.”
"Bush Roadshow Deflates MDC"
The government-controlled weekly Sunday News editorialized
(7/13): "Thank goodness the U.S.
overlord did not come to Zimbabwe. If
Mr. Bush had visited us, self-respecting Zimbabweans would have been
uncomfortable to shake hands with a man whose hands are dripping with the blood
of innocent Iraqis. Warmongering
cowboys, as epitomized by Mr. Bush, often display enormous and self-evident
contradictions. The U.S. leader claims
that Zimbabwe is a dictatorship and that the countries he has visited in his
roadshow are democracies. Ask yourself
whether Uganda--a country that is virtually a one-party state and has murdered
thousands of innocent civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo while
plundering that country’s diamonds, cobalt and other resources--ranks higher in
the democracy stakes than Zimbabwe. How
is that possible?.... While the Bush
administration used its roadshow to peddle the usual anti-Zimbabwe rhetoric,
Africa ignored this cheap politicking and actually elected President Mugabe
vice-chairman of the African Union at the...summit in Maputo. In bestowing this post of immense
responsibility upon President Mugabe, the continent has sent a bold message to
the world that the sovereignty of Africans will not be determined by warmongering
"Read Our Lips: Change Is Around The Corner"
The independent weekly Standard commented (7/13): “All the signs both at home and on the
diplomatic front indicate that change is around the corner.... Given the level to which Zimbabwe has sunk,
it makes sense to choose a route that will avoid further damage. That, in our opinion was the rationale behind
President Bush putting his weight behind President Mbeki’s hitherto ineffective
diplomatic overtures. It is clear that
Bush and his advisers such as Colin Powell, feel that Mbeki’s ‘soft’ approach
to Mugabe is bearing fruit, albeit after such a long and laborious
process. While we might not be privy to
what exactly transpired when the two leaders met, it is quite evident that
Mbeki must have convinced Bush that indeed change was on the way in Zimbabwe.”
"Let’s Re-examine Ourselves"
The government-controlled weekly Sunday Mail contended
(7/13): “American President Mr. George
W. Bush’s five-nation tour of Africa has come and gone.... For Zimbabweans the visit turned out to be
more significant than most people would want to admit. For over two years opposition politicians and
so-called civic organizations have performed all sorts of theatrics to demonize
President Mugabe and his government. All
these were meant to attract the attention of the British and the Americans,
particularly Mr. Bush. But after Mr.
Bush’s visit to Southern Africa, where he all but conceded that President Thabo
Mbeki and his colleagues know best how to handle the challenges in this region,
notably those in Zimbabwe, we expect to see a change of attitude among those
elements that thought otherwise."
"Bush's Statement A Shift In U. S. Policy?"
The government-controlled Chronicle judged (7/11): "United States President, George W. Bush
this week performed a quick climb-down from his earlier anti-Zimbabwe rhetoric,
but analysts say he must now match his public statements with practical
measures to normalize diplomatic relations with Harare.... But political analysts interviewed yesterday
were quick to point out that the government should give it time, as the U.S.
President's words might fail to translate into a shift in his country's policy
"Visit Gives Bush Rude Awakening"
The government-controlled Herald argued (7/11): "United States President Mr. George W.
Bush's image making visit to Africa suffered a major setback when he openly
expressed confidence in South African President Mr. Thabo Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe. Mr. Bush's statements were in sharp contrast
to his and that of his Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell's earlier statements
urging South Africa to exert more pressure on Zimbabwe to have a transitional
arrangement in place.... Mr. Bush's endorsement
of Mr. Mbeki as an 'honest broker' in Zimbabwe fell short of admitting that he
had been misled about the real situation prevailing in the country.... Cautious of not treading on an unpopular
track, Mr. Bush found himself with no option but to back down from his previous
hard-line stance towards President Mugabe....
But Mr. Bush's public support for Mbeki's Zimbabwe policy appeared to
mark a personal defeat for (Morgan) Tsvangirai (MDC leader), who has criticized
the South African leader for 'choosing to be in solidarity with a dictator."
"Where Will Tsvangirai Turn To Now?"
Independent Daily News commented (7/11): "South African President Thabo Mbeki's
words are coming back to haunt us. The
resolution of Zimbabwe's problems lies squarely with Zimbabweans. United States President George W. Bush
implicitly endorsed this view when he met with Mbeki on Wednesday in South
Africa.... Where will Tsvangirai turn to
now that Bush has embraced Mbeki's position?
In other words, Bush has told Tsvangirai to deal with Mbeki."
"Bush Putting Up A Façade"
Taungana Ndoro surmised in the independent weekly Financial
Gazette (7/10): "It’s folly for
Bush to think that he can solve Zimbabwe’s problems via South Africa. President Thabo Mbeki’s position on that one
is very clear - leave Zimbabweans to solve their own problems, period! The only logical thing for Bush to harangue
about is Mugabe’s asylum in South Africa.
Mbeki should simply be persuaded to offer Mugabe asylum just as
Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo offered Charles Taylor of Liberia. If Bush’s visit to Africa was really in
earnest, he would have been in Harare today urging talks between the ruling
ZANU PF and the opposition MDC. Zimbabwe
is drowning in economic debris and all Bush can do to help is watch from a
distance and try and push Mbeki to the forefront of maneuvering an amicable
settlement for the beleaguered Zimbabweans.
The problem is that there is nothing at stake for the Americans in
Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is not Iraq. It does not have oil.... Therefore, there is no chance in hell for
Zimbabwe to tempt the Americans’ insatiable taste for oil. We do not have weapons of mass destruction
either.... Americans will be
Americans. If their interests are not
threatened, then they have no interest in any other venture - not even the
"Bush Must Demand That Mbeki Act On Zimbabwe"
Independent Daily News editorialized (7/9): “We totally agree with Bush on one count, and
that is that regional powerhouse South Africa must abandon its ineffective
policy of so-called ‘quiet diplomacy’ and lead the way in pressuring President
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party to abandon ruinous policies that have
brought this once prosperous country to its knees. Bush must not be swayed or blackmailed by the
usual cheap accusations of racism or arrogant imperialism by President Mbeki
and others...who...are only interested in buying more time for Mugabe and his
administration. [Bush] must take comfort
in the knowledge that the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans...support his call
that Zimbabwe return to democracy. We
urge Bush to use his immense influence to pressure Mbeki to stop covering up
for Mugabe. Bush must tell Mbeki what
all of us have tried to tell the South African leader but in vain. That is that Mbeki should vigorously lead the
Southern African Development Community and the rest of the international
community in demanding that Mugabe step down to pave the way for a transitional
government that will be tasked with organizing fresh and truly democratic
elections in Zimbabwe.”
"Bush Must Tell Mbeki To Act Decisively On Zimbabwe"
Joseph Whande argued in the independent Daily News
(7/8): “Both George Bush and Thabo Mbeki
must be warned not to continue using Zimbabwe as a playground where
international norms, laws, human rights and other practices are disregarded at
will. This has to stop and Bush must
make it clear to Mbeki that if he does not want to uphold internationally
accepted mediation practices, he should leave the Zimbabwean issue to people
who would like to resolve the problem....
Bush must...be reminded that the people of Zimbabwe have long lamented
how Mbeki is a stumbling block to our own efforts to correct the bad situation
in our country.... Apart from Mbeki’s
cowardice in confronting Mugabe, what we are seeing is a deliberate policy by
South Africa to strengthen their economy at our expense.... The person [Bush] should get tough with is
Mbeki. Make him play his role as
responsible regional leader, a role befitting the president of South Africa.”
BRITAIN: "Why Liberia
Is Not Somalia"
Independent weekly Economist argued (7/19): "At a time when America's forces are
sorely stretched, Liberia is surely the last place a wise president should send
them. Such thoughts doubtless occurred to
Mr. Bush when he discussed Liberia with Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general,
this week.... Liberians, by contrast
[with Somalis], are possibly the most pro-American people on the planet, and
are begging the Americans to come and restore calm to their shattered
nation.... The alternative is merely to
provide logistical help to the Nigerians, This would be better than nothing,
but it would stir awkward memories. The last time Nigerian peacekeepers came to
Liberia, in the mid-1990s, they showed an alarming tendency towards organised
crime.... Still, an American-led force
would be much more likely to bring peace to Liberia, and so to West
Conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (7/10): "Mr. Bush's visit to South Africa has
proved deeply disappointing, and the reason lies on the host nation's
doorstep--Zimbabwe. Washington has led
us to believe that it was taking a stronger line against Robert Mugabe...but
after...yesterday, Mr. Bush described the South African president as the 'point
man' in the international community's dealings with Zimbabwe. In other words, Mr. Mugabe can continue to
have no fear of censure from his African peers."
"Africa Needs More Than American Might"
Clare Short opined in independent Financial Times
(7/8): "Is Mr. Bush's visit a sign
that his administration will take Africa more seriously? This is difficult to believe given his strong
aversion to nation-building. His first
test is the demand for U.S. peacekeepers in Liberia. And Liberia, founded by American
philanthropists for freed slaves and their descendants, is a special U.S.
responsibility.... The cynics believe
that the main reasons for the Bush administration's interest in Africa are the
large deposits of oil in Nigeria and Angola....
The Bush administration is so deeply unilateralist--even when it comes
to development efforts in Africa--that I am fearful they will seek to make
deals to secure oil interests and fail to back the patient, long-term work
required to build effective government and basic services for local
people.... What Africa wants to know is
whether Mr. Bush has the wisdom and patience to support a united international
effort to end conflict and support the building of competent, modern states
capable of promoting the locally led development that Africa needs."
FRANCE: "The U.S. Is
Making Headway In Its Involvement In Liberia"
Julia Ficatier commented in Catholic La Croix (7/22): “During his visit to Africa George W. Bush’s
statements regarding Liberia were constantly contradictory. On the one hand he claimed that the U.S.
could not disperse its troops around the world and on the other hand he
stressed the fact that he was deeply concerned by the situation in Liberia. In fact it is only because the Economic
Community of West African States and French Foreign Affairs Minister de
Villepin put pressure on him that President Bush has begun talking about
possible American involvement in an international peace keeping intervention in
"President Bush Chooses To Rely On Nigeria"
Julia Ficatier opined in Catholic La Croix (7/11): "Anglophone Nigeria, which is embedded
in Francophone Africa, has become the object of Washington's closest
attention. The explanation lies in one
word: oil.... Nigeria is one of the most
favored African nations when it comes to Washington, in spite of the complex
military relations linking the two countries.... At times, oil-producing Nigeria has become a
more-than-cumbersome friend for the U.S.
In spite of this, Washington has asked Nigeria for help in handling the
Liberian crisis.... Washington's policy
towards this African giant fluctuates with America's interests: Muslim
extremism is today part of the entente between Abuja and Washington. Each side is worried about terrorist groups recruiting
young Muslim extremists from Nigeria, hence Washington's interest in
"Bush In Africa”
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (7/9): “Since the end of the Cold War the U.S. has
largely neglected and forgotten the African continent...which no longer offered
any strategic advantage.... Africa
suffers among many other things from a lack of governance, hence the
interventions from Great Britain and France in the recent past, and maybe
tomorrow Washington’s intervention in Liberia.... More than any other, the Bush administration
was opposed to a targeted aid program for African nations. The discovery that terrorist networks were
using these 'delinquent’ states everywhere in Africa is what has altered America’s
perspective. In the wake of 9/11,
America's presence in Africa will not be a luxury.”
Troops Cannot Create Stable Societies By Firing Guns"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau judged (7/16): “Unless someone begins the process of
pacification, Africa will remain a source of political trouble. Millions of people will try to escape it in
the hope of finding a better life.
London, Paris, and Berlin have understood this reality, and now Washington
has followed suit. UN Secretary General
Annan was pleased that President Bush said the United States was willing to
start a limited campaign. The case of
Liberia underlines what risks and uncertainties come into play in such
missions. Paradoxically, everyone in
Liberia - from rebels to President Taylor - welcomes U.S. involvement, a sign
of how much chaos reigns.... In the end,
foreign troops cannot create stable societies by firing guns. This task ultimately has to be tackled by the
Africans themselves, which can still take a very long time."
"Five Days, Five Countries, Five Mistakes"
Michael Bitala opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(7/14): “A week ago, many people hoped
that the U.S. would increase its engagement in Africa. President Bush had announced that his country
would play an active part in the peace process in Liberia, he pledged
assistance in the fight against AIDS and held out the prospect for a decade of
close cooperation.... These
announcements alone were enough to ease tension in Liberia.... Bush had conveyed in his speech the
impression that a U.S. intervention was imminent. It was assumed that the president would
announce the decision during his trip....
Now, after his return home, nobody believes any more that the U.S. will
seriously support Liberia.... One has to
ask oneself what did Bush really want in Africa; seldom has a visit been so
empty of contents. In three of the five
countries he visited, the focus was on the fight against AIDS.... His compassionate words had barely died away,
when the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the promised financial aid and
approved only two thirds of the funds....
Bush also failed to admonish the South African government for its policy
on AIDS and its failed quiet diplomacy strategy concerning Zimbabwe--he even
praised the government for it.... Although Uganda has withdrawn from the Congo,
it still leads a proxy war there against Rwanda with the help of Congolese
militias. Bush, nevertheless, called on
Uganda’s President Musoveni and lauded him as a good statesman. Nor did Bush voice any criticism of Nigeria’s
government although President Obasanjo was recently confirmed in office by
means of massive electoral fraud.... The
only ones, who can really feel better after Bush’s visit, are the presidents of
the five countries he visited. They can all
carry on as before.”
"Election Campaign Overture"
Business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf argued
(7/11): "It is still one year
before the presidential elections but George W. Bush, who feels well in the
White House, is already now seeing to it that he can stay there more than four
years.... Even Bush's ambivalent
position toward Liberia can be interpreted as an election campaign
maneuver. He raises hopes for vigorous
assistance among the people in Liberia, while the people at home will certainly
honor his hesitance to send GIs to another risky mission."
"Bush Hesitates, Taylor Plays Tricks"
Michael Bitalla noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (7/9): "Again, President
Bush called upon Liberia's president and war criminal Taylor to leave the
country, but the only thing he otherwise said was that he had a good discussion
with African leaders on Liberia, and that a decision on military intervention
in Liberia has not yet been made. Bush's
attitude is understandable since Secretary Rumsfeld does not want to send even
more soldiers on dangerous international missions. But this hesitance will strengthen Taylor
even more. Taylor said that, as long as
U.S. forces have not arrived, he would not leave the country. But who else could force him to leave the
country? Taylor obviously feels that his
chances to stay in power are on the rise again.... The Americans are now in a fix because of the
Liberia problem. Without a decision,
Taylor will not move. If they reject the
mission, the war criminal continues to remain president. If they approve intervention, they must begin
a dangerous and long-lasting operation.
If the U.S. soldiers withdrew after a brief period, there would be no
peace in Liberia and then the whole mission would be in vain."
Malte Lehming suggested in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (7/8): "It is likely that
President Bush will send soldiers to Liberia, but he does not feel well. All parties involved in the civil war
advocate a U.S. involvement.... In
addition, the French (in the Ivory Coast), and the British (in Sierra Leone)
demonstrated how easily pacification successes can be achieved with moderate
means in west African trouble spots.
Nevertheless, the U.S. mission would not be very popular. In conservative circles, humanitarian
intervention is considered a luxury, which the country cannot afford in view of
the global terrorist danger.... In addition,
there is the specter of an historical analogy: Bush Sr. also won a war in Iraq
and then the economy collapsed, and he got entangled in Somalia. Then he lost the elections. Bush Jr. wants to avoid the mistakes of his
father. But he also wants to do what is
necessary. Sometimes this inner
dichotomy is painful."
"The Looted Continent"
Michael Bitalla opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (7/8): "Charles Taylor is
one of the worst African war criminals...and now he is simply stealing away
into exile in Nigeria and leaves a totally ruined state.... But Liberia is only a tiny, maybe not even
the worst, piece of the horrible puzzle.
In the center we have Congo, which is also in ruins.... The African continent has reached a critical stage,
and the destructive activities of looters have reached a preliminary
peak.... The rest of the world, tired of
the wars, disasters, and diseases in Africa has not shown any interest in the
disintegration of the African continent.
But now, when entire regions have collapsed, the international community
is wondering what it can do, how the total collapse can be prevented. As an answer it sends a few forces to the
Congo, and maybe to Liberia. But
intervention forces, moral appeals, and speeches on democracy and human rights
will be of no use. Even the U.S.
president will not be able to embellish this picture."
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine commented
(7/4): "If Charles Taylor were to
cease being president of Liberia, nobody would be sorry to see him go.... If the community of nations--by, e.g.,
dispatching American troops--now contributes to having Taylor removed from
office, it should ask itself beforehand what or whom it wishes to see in his
place.... If it is not clear whom one is
dealing with, every intervention force must be prepared to provide stability
for a long period of time--in a country that has been torn by strife for
years. The intervention may even help
the Liberians, but after the event nobody should be surprised if the
intervention claims victims and another quasi-protectorate is born."
Torsten Krauel contended in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (7/4): "In principle, a U.S.
intervention in Liberia is only logical....
The intervention would lift the odium from the White House that it
intervenes only when its economic interests are at stake. Practically, however, a military intervention
for human rights’ reasons sets a precedent, which can become risky for
Bush. If he saves people for their own
sake in Liberia, why does he do this in Congo, Sudan, or Zimbabwe?"
ITALY: "A Rain of Bombs –
A Massacre In Liberia"
Massimo A. Alberizzi noted in centrist Corriere della Sera
(7/22): “The civil population which had
previously demonstrated in favor of the Americans and for their immediate
deployment, yesterday showed all of its resentment against Washington’s policy:
thirty some corpses were laid out in front of the U.S. legation’s door and
slogans were chanted.... But the
intensification of fighting has provoked a slowdown in the decision-making
process in Washington that has not yet given a definitive ‘yes’ to sending its
troops. The U.S. military would
supposedly represent the backbone and coordination of an international
peacekeeping contingency.... UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan appeared on television to make an appeal to all
governments, but particularly to the U.S. government: ‘Intervene immediately
with a peacekeeping force in order to prevent another massacre, before it’s too
"Liberia In Chaos, It's Civil War"
Domenico Quirico stated in centrist, influential La Stampa
(7/22): “The United States has granted
40 members of the Navy Special Forces to the hopes of the Liberian population,
which is invoking the help of its ‘American brothers.’ The fighting on the streets of Monrovia is
raging.... Not even the mortar fire on
the U.S. Embassy, where U.S. citizens and journalists took shelter, served to
dispel American doubts, which risk getting bogged down in a slaughterhouse that
dangerously resembles Somalia. The city,
which has a certain experience with massacres, resembles more and more a
monstrous tangle of clashes, looting and atrocities.”
President Will Go Into Exile"
Boris Volkhonsky commented in reformist business Kommersant
(7/8): "The U.S. will effectively
gain full control over the diamond-rich region, and in the absence of President
Taylor, the country's new government will inevitably be formed by the rebels. But only those of them who will swear an oath
of allegiance to the Transatlantic master."
AUSTRIA: "The American
Gerhard Plott argued in liberal Der Standard (7/16): “Without a doubt, Liberia’s ruler Charles
Taylor is a 'bad guy.' The tyrant is one
of the worst violent dictators in Africa....
Surprisingly enough, it is exactly this criminal who is now getting U.S.
President George W. Bush into a dilemma.
Taylor wants to relinquish power in Liberia if the U.S. sends in enough
troops to guarantee order in the country after he has stepped down. This sounds sensible enough, as otherwise a
new outbreak of violence and anarchy would be unavoidable in a country torn by
long years of civil war. But for Bush,
there is a catch: He wants peace, but he also wants to avoid a long-term
mission for U.S. soldiers in the chaos that is West Africa.... Bush’s problem is that he cannot use the
defense of U.S. economic interests as an argument: There is nothing to be
gotten out of Liberia, and many years will pass until African oilfields outside
Nigeria will be economically exploitable for the U.S. The moral aspect of
freeing a country from a tyrant does not seem to carry enough weight in
Liberia’s case.... What would come after
Liberia? The superpower would have to
establish order all over Africa, the problem of North Korea would have to be
tackled – the world’s policeman would be working flat-out. George W. Bush cannot possibly want that....
The U.S., who has troops stationed on every continent, is in danger of
overstraining itself – the only superpower in the world seems to have exhausted
its limits. But then maybe the U.S. will
realize that it could also safeguard its interests without massive military
action, for instance by combating world poverty. But that would be ‘nation building’, and that
"The Empire Is Reaching Its Limits"
Thomas Vieregge opined in centrist Die Presse (7/16): “Donald Rumsfeld’s military commitment is in
danger of getting out of hand.... All of
a sudden, U.S. troops are supposed to sort out conflicts everywhere – even in
the African bush, where Washington’s national interests are not in the least at
stake. However, President Bush can
hardly wriggle out of a certain historical responsibility in Liberia, given
that the country was founded by freed American slaves.... But what if the crisis in Korea will
escalate? What, if military action in
another of the world’s trouble spots will become necessary? Did not Rumsfeld, with utter conviction, set
up the doctrine that the U.S. must be capable of waging two wars at the same
time? Well said, for sure. But the American empire is reaching its
limits. Its capacities, both military
and financial, are almost exhausted. Not
even a hyper power can afford to continually pump millions and millions of
dollars into its military. The defense expenses are pushing the American budget
deficit to record heights. Especially
before an election year like 2004, the American people will have little sympathy
for this fact. Without involving other
nations, such sensitive military missions cannot be handled successfully – an
insight that might come too late for the Bush administration.”
"Bush Goes To
Josef Kirchengast wrote in liberal Der Standard (7/4): “The U.S. has a historic and moral
responsibility for Liberia.... President
George W. Bush’s imminent first trip to Africa...is seen as the first stage of
a new, intensive involvement of the U.S. on the black continent.”
IRELAND: "Crisis in
The center-left Irish Times
editorialized (7/21): “The 1,500-strong
contingent is supposed to lay the basis for a fully-mandated UN mission once
peace has been restored and its success is widely seen as predicated on a U.S.
contribution, albeit small, which has been pledged by President Bush in the
last few days. Mr. Bush, however, says
he will not send troops until Mr. Taylor goes into exile, while the latter says
he will not go until troops arrive.... The
dangerous limbo in which Liberia now finds itself is likely to spark further
bouts of looting and killings by the uncontrolled, heavily armed, drug-crazed
thugs who plague the battered country.
Every step of the peace process has been dogged by delay.... The U.S. has a special relationship with the
country which owes its existence to the assisted resettlement of freed slaves
in the middle of the 19th century. Its
forces will be warmly received, unlike in Iraq, and its involvement will be
seen internationally as an important and welcome signal of willingness to work
in a multilateral security framework.
And Mr Taylor's departure after eight years in office will not come a
day too soon. A brutal and corrupt
megalomaniac, who has stoked the bloody chaos in his own and neighbouring
countries, his immediate exile is his country's only slim hope.”
"The US And Africa"
Center-left Irish Times held
(7/10): "There are fears throughout
the continent at the U.S.' heavy-handed unilateralism and that the President's
rhetoric of concern masks another, less than benevolent, agenda. Mr. Bush could dispel some doubts by
committing U.S. troops to a UN peacekeeping mission in war-ravaged Liberia, by
leaning on the governments of Rwanda and Uganda to end their bloody involvement
in the Democratic Republic of Congo, by dismantling trade-distorting farm
subsidy regimes, and by massively increasing aid.
KOSOVO: "UN, A Castle In The Air"
Avdullah Bytyci noted in pro-LDK,
mass-circulation Bota Sot (7/14):
“The U.S. and its allies' war against Saddam Hussein (who possessed WMD)
has inevitably raised these questions: What would be the UN role in the global
scene in the future? Will UN be able to
intervene in world conflicts, such as the one in Bosnia and Kosovo, or to oust
regimes like that of Robert Mugabe?
History has shown that the United Nations is not capable of doing any of
those.... With respect to the Liberia
conflict, the world is looking to the United States instead of the UN to
intervene.... Today the UN is rather
like a castle in the air. Glass palaces
in New York are only able to guide resolutions for problems such as AIDS,
malaria or child protection, but not conflicts of a higher level.”
"Bush Meets Reality"
Newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (7/14): "President Bush would not further
promise that Washington would go into the breach for a peacekeeping force to
Liberia. The caution can perhaps be
blamed on the...experience the U.S. has had with military interventions, both in
Afghanistan and in Iraq. But at the same
time Bush must do something to bring an end to the bloodshed in Liberia if the
rest of Africa shall believe his assurances that he is a ‘compassionate
conservative,’ and that this will lead to practical assistance and aid. Bush
has already done something;...of course it is not enough.... George W. Bush has made headway since he
became President. The Africa trip may
have opened his eyes to [the fact] that America’s, and thereby the whole
world’s, security is dependent upon the U.S. using its economic power for
economic and social development in other places, and not only for high
POLAND: "Africa Does
Not Like Westerns"
Wojciech Jagielski opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(7/9): "President Bush’s African
trip - apart from the mandatory ceremony of expressing emotions and making
promises - will differ from that of, for instance, Clinton. It will stir up
stronger emotions. With the exception of
Liberia, whose residents have been praying for years for an American military
intervention like the one in Afghanistan or Iraq, Bush’s America is disliked in
Africa. African leaders have never been
fond of American presidents pontificating about how to implement human rights
or the rule of democracy. Bush’s
predecessors would do that in a more subtle way. Bush doesn’t beat around the bush and is
therefore perceived in Africa as arrogant.
Africa has also never agreed to the American military operation in
Iraq.... President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa will surely not join President Bush in criticizing President Robert
Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Unlike the American
President, Mbeki does not like westerns, but believes in the effective charm of
diplomacy, which lets the loser save face and protects the winner from
pride.... Mbeki believes that neither
sentimental compassion nor pontification, but rather well-understood
cooperation with this continent, that will save African countries from the fate
of becoming 'failed nations' - breeding ground for terrorists, the fight
against whom President Bush sees as the mission of his presidency."
SPAIN: "Bush's African
Conservative La Razon editorialized (7/13): "Bush has
been crystal-clear in his warnings: the U.S. won't allow any African
country to turn into a shelter for
terrorists.... There is reason to
believe that Washington is worried about the control of Chad, Guinea and
Nigerian oil.... Additionally, the U.S.
would obtain a great strategic position if its troops intervened in...Liberia
and if it created an operational base that would multiply the U.S. military
capacity in a continent where Islamic radicals are winning ground in the midst
of confusion and misery."
Democracy In Africa"
Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet editorialized
(7/8): "President Bush's travel to
Africa is more important than most people may think.... Africa is an inseparable part of the global
network. Developments in Africa have
inevitable effects on the rest of the world...and many of the leaders who
President Bush will meet can play important roles to help to bring about
solutions of the many existing problems.
President Bush should clearly state what he expects from them.... More countries should copy President Bush's
position that economic assistance should be linked to a certain level of
democracy. The best contribution by the
U.S. and the West would be opening domestic markets rather than increasing
economic assistance and President Bush might take the lead in this regard. Unfortunately the Liberian crisis likely will
overshadow other issues. In Liberia
there are calls for a U.S. peacekeeping force.
Should an intervention have the support of the Liberian people, President
Bush should consider such an action since this would be an important effort for
SAUDI ARABIA: "Double
Jeddah's English-language Arab News commented (7/16): "It cannot be easy being a superpower.
You are damned if you do; you are damned if you don't. Certainly, that is what the Bush
administration must feel over international pressure to deploy troops in
Liberia. As it decides what to do, the
irony will not have escaped it that many of the voices calling for U.S. troops
to go to Liberia are the same ones that opposed U.S. troops going to Iraq. Nor is a UN resolution apparently necessary;
no one seems to think it important any more....
There are double standards at work....
It indicates that, for all the criticism levied against them on Iraq,
the world still wants the Americans to play the role of global
policeman.... The only way to avoid such
double standard...is by having a standing international peacekeeping force
directly answerable to the UN and ready to spring into action when the UN
secretary general orders it.... If American
troops are to go, they should only do so as part of a larger multinational
force, and sanctioned by the UN, which is what will probably happen because it
is what President Bush happens to want as well."
ALGERIA: "Bush In
Africa: One Visit Many Questions"
French-language independent L’Expression stated (7/9): “Since yesterday, the American President has
lived as an alien in a foreign continent.
So what could Africans expect from the United States? Yesteday, U.S. President G. W. Bush arrived
in Dakar and took part in a summit along with eight West African
Presidents. The president of Guinea not
only participated in the summit but also took the opportunity to encourage
President Bush to lead the efforts of International Forces in Liberia. Consequently, a team of American experts
arrived in Monrovia last Monday; their mission is to evaluate the humanitarian
situation and to examine the need for the use of military force.... The American President acknowledged his
intention to promote his country’s efforts to provide assistance in the African
war against AIDS and the continent’s attempts to accelerate widespread economic
development. He also expressed his
enthusiasm to bolster existing cooperation in the fight against
terrorism.... Some observers expressed
their surprise in seeing Bush focusing on Africa while Iraq, peace in the
Middle East, and North Korea, continue to monopolize his foreign agenda.”
TUNISIA: "Bush in
Africa: Between Saving The Continent’s Interests And The U.S. Ones"
Editor Jamelddine Ben Abdessamad commented in
independent French-language weekly Tunis-Hebdo (7/7): "If President Bush intends to really
proceed in Africa, he should ‘stabilize’ the continent as he said in his
declaration that peace and security are a priority for Washington. In principle, this requires another military
commitment beside the Afghani and Iraqi one though it is a delicate and very
difficult decision to be made by the President himself as the presidential election
draws near. This visit is certainly not
meant to help Africa out. It is because
America has not accepted the decision of the EU to intervene directly in some
conflicts without referring the decision to NATO or to the American
administration. Hence, the fact of being
present in this part of the world has become a necessity to America. Is it a good choice to try to resolve all the
problems of the world together without a deep and open consultation with the concerned
countries? Some politicians see that
this American unilateralism will engender frustrations with unforeseeable
consequences.... The results of
President Bush's visit to Africa could help Africa if the U.S. administration
decided to respect its commitments and did not oppose directly or indirectly
any other country’s contributions in Africa.”
"Liberian Crisis Tests U.S. African Policy"
Pro-PRC Macau Daily News remarked in an editorial
(7/16): "The U.S. administration
recently adjusted its Africa policy and is stepping up intervention in the
drawn-out Liberian crisis. Prior to
President Bush's Africa trip this month, the White House issued an ultimatum to
Liberian President Taylor, urging him to step down within 48 hours. Now the U.S. is studying the possibility of
sending a small force to Liberia to supervise U.N. peacekeeping forces. It had seemed the U.S. would not hesitate to
use force to reestablish stability in Liberia and its neighbors, in the process
rebuilding its influence and power in Africa.
African countries had high hopes that the U.S. would send troops to
Liberia. As time passed, however, Bush's
tone changed. When answering questions
during his African tour about whether the U.S. would play an active role in
managing the Liberian crisis, Bush replied ambiguously, saying, 'We will
participate. We are discussing to what
extent we will participate.' He
stressed, 'We will not spread U.S. troops too thin.' Bush decided that any peacekeeping troops
deployed to Liberia should be the responsibility of African nations. The U.S. will only provide assistance to
'help Africa train peacekeeping troops.'
In other words, the U.S. is not willing to become involved in the
Liberian civil war, which is affecting so many countries."
Opportunity For Bush"
Leading independent Kompas commented (7/7): “Liberia could become an opportunity for the
U.S. to show the world, after its invasion of Iraq, that it still has the will
to take part in international institutions such as the UN.... Here a sensitive issues lingers on because the
U.S. wants the decision on whether to send forces there to be based fully upon
the U.S.’s own assessment...not depending on what other countries think about
the U.S.... If Bush’s travel in Africa
is only symbolic in nature, it will not be as significant.”
JAPAN: "Remote Goal Of
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (7/11): "President Bush's visit to African
nations has brought this subcontinent's long-standing plagues of internal
(tribal) conflicts, poverty and epidemics into the limelight again. Both self-help by the African nations and
international assistance are necessary to fight these problems that have been
left unresolved. As if to coincide with
the U.S. President's Africa visit, discussions are under way at the UN and in
the U.S. to send U.S. peacekeepers to Liberia, where nearly 200,000 have died
in a civil war since 1989.... Neither
the U.S. nor the rest of the world community has been eager to send
peacekeepers to deal with conflicts that have been continuing in more than 10
African nations. The United Nations
Development Program has been fighting an uphill battle against rampant African
poverty. Advanced nations need to extend
economic assistance to African nations, while opening their doors further to
Reliant On U.S. Military Prowess"
Alex Magno commented in the independent Philippine Star
(7/17): “There is no disagreement over
the necessity of sending in an international security force to end the
bloodshed in a country that failed. But
no one else wants to commit troops and underwrite the costs of pacifying a
country that might not be worth the expense.
And so George W. Bush…now reluctantly decides to intervene. That decision is compelled by obvious
humanitarian considerations.... Even as
he does so, the Coalition of the Willing does not seem to be behind him in this
lonely chore. This is not part of the
campaign against international terror.
All this involves is the woefully unromantic job of cleaning up a place
littered by internecine warfare in a society with too many guns but too little
food to go around.... It might seem odd
to denounce Bush’s decision to go into Liberia as yet another instance of ‘U.S.
imperialist intervention.' But one does
not know the depths of illogic that the passionately anti-American peaceniks
are capable of plumbing.... Maybe this
time around, with the humanitarian issues too glaringly clear, the peaceniks
should instead direct their noisy marches at those democratic and humane powers
that refuse to budge in the face of calamity.
The burden of rescuing societies that fail ought not to be borne by the
U.S. alone. The world has become too
reliant on the military prowess of the U.S. - a military prowess that is
condemned when deployed but sorely missed when kept at home.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople observed in the independent Manila
Bulletin (7/9): “Considering all the
challenges to the U.S. arising from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as North
Korea, the international clamor for the U.S. to intervene in Liberia...may be
the last increment of U.S. patience wearing thin.... But I guess President Bush has no
choice.... The need to face the
challenge of the tragedy in Africa, a humanitarian catastrophe unprecedented in
history, simply confirms the belief expressed by some political scholars that
America has become the ‘indispensable nation'.... While the Philippines and ASEAN diplomacy are
fully supportive of Africa in the United Nations, it will take the U.S. as the
‘indispensable nation’ to mobilize global support for peace and development in
THAILAND: "U.S. Ready
To Flex Muscles In Africa"
Rachan Husen argued in conservative Siam Rath (7/4): “Looking at Cowboy Bush’s July 2 statement
that 'President Taylor must step down’, one can assume that the U.S. will
certainly invade Liberia should the current situation does not improve in the
next few days.... It also looks like the
U.S. will go it alone to show its might....
U.S. deployment of troops to Liberia to ‘put things in order’ would be
tantamount to returning Liberians to slavery.... The best option would be to send in international
peacekeeping troops. Otherwise, Liberia
would be another example of U.S. violation of international charters on the
pretext of legitimacy.”
PAKISTAN: "Peacekeeping in Liberia"
The Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language
Dawn held (7/8): "Both sides
in Liberia say they would welcome a U.S.-led force. Faced with such unanimity, the Bush
administration should strongly consider acting.... Even a small and short-term U.S. deployment
could do a disproportionate amount of good....
Without foreign intervention, renewed warfare and a humanitarian
catastrophe appear likely--and any intervention will be far less likely to
succeed without American troops. At a
time when many people around the world are questioning U.S. foreign policy,
Liberia offers an opportunity for the United States to show that it is still
prepared to use its power for more than narrow self-daffiness."
CANADA: "A Catalogue Of What Ails Africa"
Mario Roy wrote in centrist French-language La Presse
(7/5): "Large demonstrations have
occurred in front of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia...where people held up signs
saying ‘U.S., help us!’... Over the past
decades, the Americans have grown accustomed to being told to solve everything
but not to get involved anywhere. This
time they have the indisputable duty to intervene on behalf of a population
that came in part from their midst."
"Who Will Save Liberia?"
The conservative National Post opined (7/5): "The West can help stabilize Liberia and
other African trouble spots.... But
given that foreign troops will likely be called upon to keep the peace in
Liberia for years to come...the bulk of the force should come from the United
Nations, other Western nations, and Nigeria and South Africa.... Mr. Bush should make clear that he is willing
to help jump-start the region's attempted rehabilitation. But he should also leave no doubt that
neither his country--nor any other--can make Liberia's problems go away
And Business In Bush's Key Tour Of Africa"
Paula Lugones argued in leading independent Clarin
(7/7): "Today, President Bush kicks
off a tour of Africa that promises to be very controversial.... The tour was carefully designed: Bush will
avoid the most controversial spots and will highlight 'success' stories. This is why he'll go to Senegal (which has a
democratic tradition), South Africa (the biggest U.S. trade partner in Africa),
Uganda (that managed to control aids with certain success) and Nigeria (that
has set aside coups.)... He will
therefore avoid Liberia, for example, a country that for the past few weeks has
been in the loop because its president, Charles Taylor, was prompted by the U.S.
to leave power in order to appease its ongoing civil war. Taylor resisted the
measure, but finally accepted Nigerian President Obasanjo's offer of political
asylum. He didn't specify when and where
he'll bow out, but at least, it was a gesture aimed at removing a heavy
obstacle from Bush's tour."
"White Man's 'Mission'"
Claudio Uriarte held in leftist Pagina 12 (7/6): "Is President Bush's new target (Liberia
and Africa in general) a new weapon of mass destruction, regarding the poor
state of the economy, or does it effectively mark a new strategic
re-orientation?... Given the presence of
terrorism in Africa, Bush's election advisors suggested he toughen his stance
on Liberia.... So now, winds of a
possible U.S. intervention are blowing.
And this intervention will apparently be part of an international
intervention that includes Liberia's closest neighbors: Morocco and South
Africa. From the start, it seemed an
empty gesture, similar to the poor intervention in Somalia and other
'humanitarian interventions' of the Clinton era - Haiti and Bosnia. But we may be at the doors of a staged
scenario, with election and propaganda purposes...similar to Bush's inflamed
war rhetoric against Iraq. Given the
similarity of the scenario, issues may eventually develop quickly. And the key question has to do with the role
played by South Africa, which will most likely oppose the strengthening of U.S.
presence in the region."
MEXICO: "Liberia, The
Adolfo Aguilar Zinser noted in independent Reforma
(7/18): "They sent a 30-strong
military reconnaissance team a few days ago to Liberia. They were greeted with cheers by
Liberians--something the Americans are not used to.... The Liberians have long been considered as U.S.
stepchildren, but in reality they are orphans because U.S. policy towards that
country has changed constantly....
Nevertheless, the Liberians pin their hopes on the U.S. The United States fears that a situation
similar to Somalia could evolve in Liberia over the long run. Consequently, one condition for participating
in a peace-keeping force is a genuine commitment by all parties in the conflict
to a ceasefire as well as reaching political agreement for a transition
government.... The issue of Liberian
President Taylor's immunity is yet another problem to be resolved. In any event, it is still unclear if the
international community, the U.S., and the Liberian actors have the long-range
vision to begin the country's reconstruction, to provide for the basic needs of
the Liberian people and to establish sound political structures leading to free
and democratic elections."
ECUADOR: “Yankee Come Home!”
Carlos Alberto Montaner opined in leading centrist El Comercio
(7/13): "World public opinion was
not ready to watch large groups of protesters urging U.S. military intervention
in Liberia to end the civil war affecting that country. They weren’t requesting UN, NATO, Russian or
European troops or troops from the African Union. They wanted the Yankees, why?...because it is
evident that the U.S. has the military power and the economic capacity to
separate the warring sides, reestablish order, organize the bureaucracy and
jump start the country. It remains to be
seen if in this case (the U.S.) has the will to do it.... The U.S., especially after September 11,
feels a pressing need for leadership....
The U.S. has not only extraordinary power, but its citizens do not have
any problem in using it. Which leads us
to the acceptance of a very uncomfortable point for the many anti-American
groups populating the universe: nations
or groups facing conflicts expect relief and assistance to mitigate their woes
from only that country (not from any other)....
In reality, this asymmetry is not an advantage but a terrible and costly
responsibility. The position of Brazil,
a territorial giant the size of the U.S. or Japan, the second economy of the
planet is much more comfortable because it is not seen as a factor for
international stabilization or pacification.”