International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 7, 2004

July 7, 2004





**  Conservative, Eastern European papers assert summits fostered "reconciliation."    

**  NATO should be active in Iraq, which the world "cannot afford to ignore."

**  "Old Europe" opposes the U.S. effort to "drag NATO into Iraq." 

**  The "future of NATO" hinges on Afghanistan.




'A more cooperative transatlantic relationship--  Some Euro papers judged that the Dublin EU-U.S. summit in Ireland and the NATO summit in Istanbul provided "solid ground for cooperation and healed the split" within the West.  Hungary's liberal Magyar Hirlap noted that Europe and the U.S. are "destined to cooperate"; Italy's centrist Corriere della Sera added that "Istanbul crowns a path of rapprochement."  But leftist dailies said the "fairy tale from the Bosporous" had been "orchestrated" and that "much bad blood remains."  France's Liberation sniped that "NATO's sole interest today is to give political credibility to Washington's military decisions while curbing Europe's political autonomy." 


'The fight against terrorism...reaches far beyond the old continent'--  Pro-U.S. papers called on NATO to play a "real military role" in Iraq and in the war on terror.  Britain's Daily Telegraph opined that "there is absolutely no excuse for inaction now" because "a failure in Iraq will affect everyone."  Poland's liberal Gazeta Wyborcza agreed that "Iraq is the main battlefield for international terrorism," which remains the "biggest threat" to the West.  Turkey's mass-appeal Hurriyet added that "the fight against terrorism requires NATO to assume both military and political roles."  Conservative Spanish outlets agreed that NATO "should be an organization able to respond" to threats against its members such as terrorism.


'Opposition over Iraq remains'--  French and Russian dailies criticized President Bush's "somewhat underhanded" attempt to "pull the stubborn old Europeans into the Iraqi boat."  A regional French paper rejected Bush's alleged objective of putting NATO at the "service of a post-war Iraq that is as close as possible to a pax Americana" in the region, while Russia's centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta held that Washington views NATO transformation to mean "adapting it to America's needs."  India's centrist Hindu opined that the "only purpose NATO now serves" is to further U.S. "hegemonic interests."


'Afghanistan needs and should get more troops'--  Euro dailies warned that NATO "must prove" it can "safeguard a political and economic reconstruction process" in Afghanistan.  Germany's center-right Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung criticized Berlin for using its "half-hearted" effort in Afghanistan as an excuse against "stronger participation in a NATO mission in Iraq."  But other German and Bulgarian dailies explained that the "European dwarf" cannot send additional troops to Iraq because it is "so weak" militarily.  Berlin's right-of-center Die Welt concluded that Europeans "are not ready to increase their military capacities to the level of aspirations."


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 79 reports from 26 countries over June 26  - July 4 June 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.


EDITORS:  Ben Goldberg and Steve Wangsness




BRITAIN:  "Those 'Bitter Divisions' Over Iraq Remain In Place"


The center-left Independent editorialized (6/28):  "Bush arrived in Europe confidently declaring the 'bitter differences' over Iraq were over.  But all the sunny photocalls, bold rhetoric and vagueness of the document cannot disguise that he has been granted very few items on his original wish-list....  The tortuous negotiations over the wording of the pledge show just how much bad blood remains.  Chirac and Schroder, their eyes also fixed on the U.S. elections in November, feel inclined to give Bush only minimal support.  The divisions between most of Europe and America remain."


"Can NATO Restore Its Reputation In Iraq?"


The conservative Daily Telegraph had this to say (6/28):  "If, in short, NATO 'training' makes as little difference to Iraq as its peace-keeping forces have to Afghanistan...we will be faced yet again with the question, asked so many times since the collapse of Communism:  what is NATO for?...  The war against terrorism is indivisible from the defence of democracy that inspired NATO's original defensive alliance.  The two sides of the Atlantic partnership are supposed to legitimize each other:  in return for sheltering under the American military umbrella--as it still needs to--Europe provides grateful but not uncritical political support for the defence of freedom.  That exchange is now in danger of breaking down--partly thanks to the misjudgments of the Bush administration, but also because NATO's European bureaucracy and many of its member states have become infected with fashionable anti-Americanism.  It was perhaps inevitable that the alliance would find itself paralyzed during the Iraq war, but there is absolutely no excuse for inaction now.  NATO's future, as well as Iraq's, is at stake."


"Seeking Legitimacy"


The left-of-center Guardian held (6/28):  "Afghanistan needs and should get more troops, if its security is to improve before its scheduled elections later this year.  Iraq will not get troops but a symbolic NATO connection.  Whether that will be a help or not in Iraq over the coming months, and whether a commitment of this sort will strengthen or weaken a shaken NATO, remains to be seen."


"Future Of NATO Hangs On Its Help In Afghanistan"


Foreign editor Bronwen Maddox commented in the conservative Times (6/28):  "The summit will yield one answer, whether they like it or not.  If they drum up an adequate commitment to Afghanistan, NATO has a future.  If they don't, it doesn't."


"Troops On The Ground"


The conservative Times took this view (6/28):  "Britain and America have pushed for an indirect NATO role that France and its allies may find hard to refuse.  The aim is to train the new Iraqi Army and security personnel, a task of paramount importance if the interim government is to have the muscle to confront terrorism.  Having received an official request for such help, only those who want to see the coalition in disarray could oppose this vital step to underpin the transfer of security responsibility to Iraqis....  Success at Istanbul, however, will be measured not by such details but by an enlarged NATO's readiness to play a real military role where security is most fragile, rather than feigning a political consensus whose significance is purely symbolic."


FRANCE:  "Portuguese Representation For Europe"


Jules Clauwaert wrote in regional Nord Éclair (6/30):  “It would be useful for the Europeans to benefit from the post-NATO 'debriefing' in Brussels in order to reflect upon the implications of the transatlantic meeting that was dominated by President Bush’s primary objective: putting the alliance in the service of a post-war Iraq that is as close as possible to a pax Americana in the region....  From this point of view, Jacques Chirac’s response to President Bush’s outspoken opinion that Turkey is naturally a part of Europe that ‘this is none of your business,’ was definitely not the least commented upon development of the meeting. And even if the chaos that threatens Iraq clearly prohibits indifference, and even helps the new government reestablish a minimum of security, the wishes of the EU’s American ally will still not be taken as orders. This sentiment is largely shared among Europeans, even those who followed Washington’s hawks in their preemptive war against Iraq.”


"Bush Annoys Chirac"


Bruno Fanucchi noted in right-of-center France Soir (6/30):  “The NATO meeting ended on a cold, if not glacial note, between the French and the Americans. The first prickly issue that pitted the two presidents against each other concerned NATO’s role in Iraq....  An annoyed Chirac did not mince words when he gave his interpretation of Franco-American relations: ‘we are friends, we are not servants'....  Clearly France does not want to give in on any of the issues....  Another prickly question came up in President Bush’s speech while Chirac was already on his way out of Turkey. President Bush reiterated his position on Turkey and the EU, a position which had previously made President Chirac say, in essence, that Washington should mind its own busines.’”


"Bush Takes The NATO Summit Hostage"


Alexandrine Bouilhet in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/29): “The allies do not like surprises. Warned ten minutes before they entered the meeting room that the transfer of sovereignty had been moved up by 48 hours, the NATO members considered President Bush’s methods somewhat underhanded… By shifting the spotlight from Istanbul to Baghdad not only did President Bush win the prize for being the world’s greatest planner, he also managed to take the NATO summit hostage....  Once again President Bush has confirmed how little regard he has for this institution....  This media coup was able to partially obfuscate the meager pickings that the U.S. harvested from its allies in matters of military support for Iraq and Afghanistan.”


"Red Flag, White Flag"


Michel Schifres wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/28):  “President Bush is definitely full of surprises.  His pressuring Turkey to get a date from the EU regarding Turkey’s EU membership is astounding, even if his position on this issue is well known.  Still, the U.S. president cannot be unaware that this is an issue that annoys the Europeans....  While his putting the matter on the table so clearly has the advantage of clearing the air, it is the equivalent of waiving a red flag before publics which are already hostile to the U.S., in countries whose support Washington acknowledges it needs to stabilize Iraq.  In fact President Bush is permanently on a high wire.  On the one hand he is trying to prove, mainly to his constituents, that his country is no longer isolated.  On the other hand he must give tokens to everyone around to keep their support intact, a support that often has strings attached and which must appear stronger than it really is.  Because opposition over Iraq remains:  France prefers to work within a bilateral framework rather than within NATO....  But these reservations will not lead to a confrontation.  The role of diplomats and the purpose of these meetings are to find compromises so that no one loses face.  Especially since everyone appears to be eager to turn the page and to restore the transatlantic relationship.  This is all for the better.  Raising the white flag over the Atlantic was becoming urgent.”


"NATO’s Role"


Patrick Sabatier remarked in left-of-center Liberation (6/28):  “Seen from Washington, NATO’s sole interest today is to give political credibility to Washington’s military decisions while curbing Europe’s political autonomy.  For Eastern European countries, NATO is no more than life insurance....  The Atlantic Alliance is being robbed of its meaning.  At the same time everyone is scrambling to find a future for NATO through peacekeeping missions, first in the Balkans, in Afghanistan and now in Iraq.  These changes are loaded with consequences which the Europeans accept with difficulty.  But accept they must for fear of breaking up the American and European defense structure.  Meanwhile President Bush has expressed his (electoral) desire to overcome 'the bitter divisions' caused by his policy.  The Europeans know that it would not be wise to let Afghanistan or Iraq plunge into chaos, a fertile ground for terrorism.  But NATO must not be sidetracked into preventive wars, like the one in Iraq, which we know is based on an erroneous and dangerous U.S. strategy.”


GERMANY:  "Beyond Europe"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/30):  "There are hints that the Bush government is rediscovering the value of the organization, but a marked tendency towards bilateralism still predominates.  It makes no sense for America's European partners to complain as long as they encourage this practice:  They don't meet their obligations and are looting military budgets.  More and more European members say goodbye to those who have military capacities.  Thus, NATO's solidarity is undermined from two sides, despite threats that would require unity....  To analyze, decide and act together is the way that can secure NATO as a 'partnership of convenience' between North Americans and Europeans.  It would be the correct political approach to cope--together--with today's crises, although it does not aim at the core problem of serious differences in military forces."


"The Coalition Of Hesitators"


Jacque Schuster opined in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (6/30):  "Despite crises and wars, Europeans are not ready to increase their military capacities to the level of their economic power and international aspirations.  They have understood that NATO will only survive if it uses its forces wherever they are required.  But they are not willing to establish the strength appropriate for their responsibility....  If this continues, the U.S. will totally lose interest in the alliance.  Most Germans might not care about it.  The argument that NATO holds together our community of shared values politically and psychologically does not impressed them.  Nor does the achievements of the Cold War or the security of the continent, which is still guaranteed by America, mean a lot to people.  There is a misconception of their own power and a longing to show to the American superpower that the European dwarf can do it alone.   Anyway, you just can no longer convince people, not even by telling them what would happen if there was no America:  Europe would become the main target for Islamists.  In the case of war Europe would be in a wretched state.  A massive armament program would only help in the short run, because Europeans are dying out.   This hardly seems to horrify any European government.   There is only one conclusion:  It does not look good for NATO and transatlantic relations."


"The Giant And Many Dwarfs"


Thomas Gack argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/30):  "The results are poor.  The NATO summit was unnecessary and took place at the wrong time.   Foreign Ministers could have agreed what the 26 state leaders came up with in Istanbul.  There was no dialogue with the countries in the Mediterranean--like any attempt to get closer to the Arab world has become difficult, because of the situation in Iraq.  The alliance is being equated too much with its largest and most powerful member, the U.S....  The alliance remains divided in a small group of war opponents, such as France, Germany and Belgium, and a larger group of coalition partners with troops in Iraq.  Particularly countries from Eastern Europe believe in the U.S.  They think that the politically and militarily undecided Europeans cannot guarantee any security.  The alliance has become more American, because the number of American friends has grown and because Europeans are so weak."


"Only Small Results"


Center-right Nordwest-Zeitung of Oldenburg editorialized (6/30):  "At least one person did not want to euphemize the results.  It does not make sense to claim that the differences are over, said British PM Blair at the NATO summit in Istanbul.  Indeed, the partners of the alliance have not achieved unity, but only small results.  French President Chirac had another opportunity to sharpen his image as Bush's toughest opponent… We could be amused over this hostility, if it would not effect transatlantic relations.  Bush has not yet lost the elections.  The alliance faces some tough months."


"Only A Trick?"


P. Kapern commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (6/29):  "If NATO announced on its Istanbul summit that the number of reconstruction teams would be increased to five, this would only be a trick, since existing teams will be divided and get a new door sign.  This is all on which NATO's leaders agreed.  But NATO will send an additional battalion to Kabul to safeguard the elections.  Karsai will be keen to see whether NATO will keep at least this promise.  And we can be keen to see when NATO will begin to prepare its withdrawal from its unresolved affair in Afghanistan, for as things are, the stabilization and the democratization of the country will fail....  The Alliance must clearly make up its mind on its purpose, its funds, and its ends.  If this self-finding process does not take place, the time of the potentially most powerful alliance in the world will expire."


"Those Who Used Tricks In Istanbul"


Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/30):  "Everyone likes Afghan President Hamid Karzai....  But why do the great leaders treat him so badly?  For many years, Karzai has traveled all the important countries asking for more soldiers for his country....  Now in Istanbul, NATO leaders proudly announced an increase in ISAF...and the sending of new PRT's to the provinces.  This sounds like a resolute decision that is urgently necessary, since the first free elections will take place in Afghanistan in September and more soldiers are needed to safeguard these elections.  But little substance seems to hide behind this promise.  [NATO] deceives and plays tricks and pretends that it is unable to count up to 10,000 in the Hindu Kush, since almost half of the new soldiers is not to be send to the country but kept in the background for emergency situations.  And nobody knows where the other forces are supposed to come from.  Chancellor Schroeder refers to the 'limits' and said the promises were rather 'abstract.'  But to put it clearly: this is evidence of ignorance and arrogance."


"Artificial Delight"


Center-right Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung judged (6/30):  "If the artificial delight at the unity displayed at the Istanbul summit has faded, NATO must quickly answer the question of how it wants to make the Afghanistan mission a success.  If it continues its course in such a halfhearted should better think of terminating the mission....  All indications are that NATO agrees on a lethargic 'stay-the-course' policy.  The reason for this is obvious: Some strong NATO partners, including Germany, are using their engagement in Afghanistan as an argument against a stronger participation in a NATO mission in Iraq.  Unfortunately, they are damaging with this position the current political development in Iraq.  At the same time, they nurture doubts about whether NATO is still willing and able to serve the international community of nations to assert UN resolutions."


"Lowest Common Denominator Summit"


Jochen Clement commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (6/28):  "It was supposed to be a summit of reconciliation and consolidation, but it turned out to be a summit of needle pricks and the lowest common denominator.  The fact that the U.S. created faits accomplis with an early transfer of power in Iraq and that it informed NATO on the events only after it took place, is a needle prick toward NATO that is supposed to be based on partnership....  Then it was not so important that Chancellor Schroeder...said that one must learn from the Iraq affair that it is necessary not only to win wars but also to win peace.  This is a truism whose formulation the U.S. could consider a needle prick in its direction....  This was a summit in which the lowest common denominator is as low as never before in NATO's history....  If this is to be the imprint for NATO's future, then its survival crisis is programmed."


"Old Distrust Revived"


P. Engelke said on regional radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (6/28):  "The Americans determined the topics in Istanbul--this is not a fine move.  In this situation it will be of no use if the German side does not emphasize this so much and assures that the time for an early transfer of power was simply ripe.  But a U.S. policy according to the heave-ho method is provoking the old distrust towards Washington.  The U.S. demonstrated what it is all about.  The message is clear:  if it is unable to prompt NATO to send forces to Iraq, then it wants at least to determine the agenda....  What is happening in Istanbul are power games at a high political level.  But these power games will not help any one.  From a realistic point of view, NATO would not be able to assume a considerably greater role.  NATO's soldiers would always be considered the extended arm of Washington....  There is already enough to do for the Alliance: Afghanistan and Iraq as parallel missions would be too much for NATO.  The United States knows this, but it is interested in something else.  It wants to pull the stubborn old Europeans into the Iraqi boat, but they adamantly refuse to join forces and are only willing to offer their small finger, while the U.S. wants the full hand.  This is why we cannot speak of a cohesive summit in Istanbul."


"An Alliance Of Problems"


Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/29):  "On paper, NATO achieved a respectable result in Istanbul....  It is important that NATO did not close its eyes to the most important security problems in the world.  But this is the end of the positive side of the balance sheet.  On the debit side we still have enormous residual burdens: the Iraq war and the U.S. understanding of the Alliance have destroyed the political nature of NATO. There is no real consultation and decision-making process.  The enormous political gap between the U.S. and Europe is impeding any kind of cooperation, and when it comes to the assessment of the most important global policy questions--the crisis in Iraq and the fight against terrorism--the Alliance is disintegrating into several factions.  Since NATO has achieved its original goal, since the Cold War is over, the Alliance unites only its former strength.  Since then, America goes its own way, while Europe neglects its security.  In the long run, this is too little.  It is true that the Istanbul summit improved the mood, but it did not initiate a trend."


"Rift Over U.S. Moves"


Right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung editorialized (6/29):  "Especially because of the rift over the U.S. moves in Iraq, NATO is imploring in its 'Istanbul Declaration' cohesiveness, and it states that terrorism and the spread of WMD have changed the security situation.  NATO is determined to 'answer' this threat wherever it appears.  This is the crack in the door in which not only the U.S. president wants to put his foot when it comes to calling upon the Europeans to do their duty, for the fight against terrorism is a problem that reaches far beyond the old continent."


"A Fairy Tale At The Bosporus"


Christian Wernicke held in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/28):  "At the NATO summit, George Bush and Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroeder and Jacques Chirac will orchestrate harmony, as America and Europe did in Ireland over the weekend.  With a few decisions on Iraq, the Balkans, and Afghanistan, the want even must create the impression that their NATO is still alive.  This may been enough to heal the cracks until the U.S. elections, but at the latest at the end of the year, the tensions that are pulling at NATO will come to the fore again.  For example Iraq:  it is certain that Washington will soon ask for greater assistance, including for allied forces.  At the latest then the Alliance will face its endurance test, which will only be postponed in Istanbul....  Or the example of the Balkans:  in Kosovo, helplessness prevails.  Neither Washington nor Brussels know what to do in the region.  Or Afghanistan:  many EU governments do not have the courage to tell their citizens what they must expect:  more money for international missions, more dangers away from home and also more casualties.  The new Atlantic spririt:  a fairy tale from the Bosporus."


"Strategy:  Luck"


Malte Lehming contended in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/28):  "Both summit meetings, the one in Ireland, and the one in Istanbul are overshadowed by the U.S. election campaign.  For the White House the main issue is to find a minimum consensus.  The motto is:  avoid a new controversy.  This creates a breather for the Europeans from the U.S. energies that pushed them over the past two years:  Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism, increase in defense budgets, Iraq, modernization, enlargement.  Will calm now prevail?  Hopefully not, for all NATO members must be aware of the fact that their capacities stagnate, while problems escalate....  America's army is fully involved in Iraq, while it is even too much for NATO [to stabilize] Afghanistan.  It is hardly able to offer more forces for a global safeguarding of peace.  The Alliance is united but at the same time paralyzed to catch up with  developments.  It is moaning under the burdens of the presence, and has lost a look to the near future....  George W. Bush will be satisfied and hope that chaos will come to the fore only after the U.S. elections.  Strategies, perspectives?  These are things of the past.  The Alliance is pinning its hopes on a new factor:  luck."


"Cheap Election Campaign Maneuver"


Joachim Zepelin declared in business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (6/28):  "As a matter of fact, the state leaders planned to avoid a discussion over the main issue in security policy of the past two years:  the situation in Iraq and a possible NATO contribution to stabilize the country were not on the agenda....  But now only one issue will be discussed in Istanbul:  Iraq.  The reason is not the current development in the country, but rather the U.S. election campaign.  The U.S. president needs the discussion, since the Americans have lost confidence in the Iraq war....  And President Bush's great problem is the damaged relationship with his allies, whom he easily alienated....  If NATO hoisted its flag in Iraq, Bush could book this move as a success in his struggle votes....  But a far-reaching official NATO mission in Iraq would not only be superfluous but would even be counter productive....  It would be much more important if NATO did justice to its responsibility in Afghanistan....  In Afghanistan in particular, NATO must prove that it is able to safeguard a political and economic reconstruction process in a reliable way....  Bush's move to transfer greater responsibility to NATO in Iraq may be understandable from the calculations of an election campaigner, but the Alliance should not allow anybody to drag it even more into this adventure, which can no longer be won militarily anyway."


ITALY:  "NATO’s Alchemies"


Franco Venturini concluded in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/29):  “All day long the allies expressed great satisfaction for the handover of power in Baghdad which took place two days ahead of schedule in order to catch the guerrillas and terrorists off guard, and caused everyone to forget about the unrelenting Euro-American disagreements of the past. But this lasted for only a few hours. While it’s true that the trans-Atlantic climate has changed and that Istanbul crowns a path of rapprochement that went through the UN, Normandy and the G-8 Summit in Sea Island, it is also evident that what NATO approved on the banks of the Bosporus is a compromise that had to be vague in order to be unanimous.”


"Allies Divided On Use of Troops" 


Andrea Bonanni wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/29):  “NATO has agreed to help train the new Iraqi security forces, but have yet to decide, how, where, and in what capacity they will do so....  The truth is that NATO continues to be the target of a two-fold distrust.  On one hand, the Bush administration keeps coming back to NATO in an attempt to end their international isolation while still refusing to accept the political conditions that this multilateral forum entails. On the other hand, the Europeans who opposed the intervention in Iraq are pretending that NATO is still relevant, as they don’t want to further sour relations with the U.S.  Yet they also don’t intend to give the American president any political cover only four months until the elections.  It is unlikely that Bush will be able to obtain anything more than he has already managed to get from the Europeans in the run-up to the November elections.  Behind the conciliatory overtures, vague promises, and declarations of good will, true differences remain. The rudest wake-up call for the Americans came at the hands of French President Jacques Chirac.  Not only did he insist NATO “has no authority” to intervene in Iraq, he stated that the training of Iraqi troops is the duty of 'a single nation,' and rebuffed an American request that the NATO Response Force be sent to Afghanistan, he has also scolded Mr. Bush for his interference in European Affairs.


"At The Istanbul Summit, NATO Looks At Iraq"


Alberto Pasolini Zanelli held in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (6/28):  “It is a summit of ratification and promises.  But, perhaps, it also gives the opportunity for a change, in one of the most difficult moments for NATO after the Cold War.  For the first time, NATO leaders are in Istanbul mainly to talk about two countries that have nothing to do with NATO’s present borders....  In Bush’s plan, and with the full support of the NATO Secretary General, the European heads of state and government should acknowledge that the concept that 'out of area' operations are no longer just a possibility, but a reality.  Today in Afghanistan, and tomorrow in Iraq.”


"Iraq:  Only Trainers From NATO"


Alberto Flores d’Arcais noted in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/28):  “NATO trainers will go to Iraq and Iraqi officers will also be trained in NATO countries.  In the end, this will likely be the compromise formula to which the U.S. and its faithful allies, with the UK and Italy on the one side, and the ‘old Europe’, embodied, once again, by France and Germany on the other, will give their ‘yes’ new Iraqi PM Allawi’s request....  Indeed, the NATO countries could not remain indifferent to his requests.”


RUSSIA:  "NATO Winks At Russia's Worries"


Vladimir Kuzar observed in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (6/30):  "NATO officials stint no words, praising cooperation with Russia....  But they prefer not to notice Russia's concern over NATO enlargement and calls to build up confidence."


"Chirac Turns Against Bush Again"


Artur Blinov said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/29):  "The summit began with bravura statements about NATO members having at last overcome their differences over the war in Iraq, thereby settling the worst conflict in the 55-year history of the Alliance.   But that was jumping to conclusions, as shown by the follow-up discussion.  Many, primarily the Americans, were surprised by the French and German leaders strongly objecting to attempts to drag NATO into Iraq de facto."


"NATO Has A Lot On Its Hands, Besides Russia"


Aleksey Lyashchenko asserted in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (6/29):  "While Russia-NATO relations seem to be in a slump politically, that does not apply to their military ties.   Obviously, the Alliance does not have much time for Russia these days, its hands full of problems requiring an immediate and radical solution.   One can see that best from actions by NATO's Secretary-Generals.   Lord Robertson was a frequent guest in Moscow, whereas Jaap de Hoop Scheffer holds improving relations with the U.S. as the topmost priority....  Basically, reconciliation took place in Dublin, with the sides building bridges at the U.S.-EU summit last week.   With NATO and the EU having basically the same membership, peace and concord must have been restored by now."


"NATO Reform"


Aleksey Bogaturov held in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/28):  "The seven new members, supporting the Iraq adventure, are surely elated over having acceded to the Euroatlantic strategic community.  As in 1990, the 'European juniors' still see NATO's chief mission in protecting them from Russia.  Not so Washington.  In the past 14 years it has come to see things differently, convinced that it doesn't pay to spend money on the organization unless it serves the U.S.' global ends.  Much is being said about NATO transformation.  Although it is a single word, the interpretations are plenty.  The Americans use the word reluctantly.  Not that they dislike transformation--they have long been working on it.  Quietly.  The Republicans don't discuss their actions with partners.  This is the way 'unilaterism' works.  To Washington, NATO transformation means adapting it to America's needs.  Its priorities include gaining ground in areas rich in energy resources and putting itself in an advantageous position vis-a-vis countries, primarily China and Russia, that can get in the way."


"Bush Builds Bridges"


Andrey Zlobin wrote in reformist Vremya Novostey (6/28):  "The U.S. and Europe have finally resolved their differences on Iraq, according to U.S. President George Bush.  In Ireland, Europe and the United States agreed to support the UN's efforts to rebuild Iraq and hold elections there not later than January 31, 2005.  They also pledged themselves to ease Iraq's foreign debt.   The Bush visit to Ireland was very brief, as he was on the way to Turkey for the NATO summit.  But the White House thinks it the most productive since Bush took office.  While in Ireland, George Bush caused a diplomatic commotion, when he expressed himself on the Union's internal matter, urging talks on Turkey's full membership in the EU."


BELGIUM:  "U.S.-EU Relations"


Luc Van der Kelen stated in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (6/30):  "Portuguese Barroso's nomination as president of the European Commission and the deafening silence of the member states at the NATO Summit in Turkey reflect the fundamentally changed balance of power on our continent.  In practice, the EU was a French-German alliance.  Even (in an EU of) fifteen states the French and the Germans prevailed.  That has changed now, after the enlargement with ten new member states.  The British have found major new allies in the East.  During the Soviet dictatorship countries like Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states had a lot of admiration for London and Washington--symbols of the freedom that they were seeking.  Like a modern Trojan horse that pushed them straight into the arms of Bush and Blair....  The new balance of power was also evident at the NATO Summit in Turkey.  The American President gave his European allies instructions and a lesson in European history.  Turkey must join Europe, Bush lectured, and he even knew why: because the EU must not be a Union with one single religion....  The European leaders listened.  Only French President Jacques Chirac had the guts to stand up and say to Bush: 'is that your business?' and 'shall we tell you have you should deal with Mexico?'  The Americans won't bother much--since Chirac does not have sufficient divisions.  The others listened and remained silent--as vassals do when the sovereign speaks.  Nothing in Europe will be the same as before."


"NATO Summit"


Willy Vandervorst commented on public broadcaster RTBF radio (6/28):  "The NATO summit in Istanbul is the summit of NATO's 'recovered unity.'  This is what diplomats and experts are saying.  But the distrust--as shown by late last week's difficult negotiations on the possible training of Iraqi soldiers and policemen--highlights that disagreements have not disappeared.  Beyond the smiles and the inevitable conventional statements, the situation in Iraq continues to oppose several European countries to Washington.  George Bush was dreaming that the Atlantic Alliance would take over in Baghdad.  Brussels, Paris, and Berlin continue to say no.  It is out of the question to plant NATO's flag in Iraq, Paris is for instance saying.  The 26 heads of state and of government are therefore expected to announce that NATO will coordinate Iraqi police and military training.  But this agreement will probably remain vague.  For instance, it is not expected to stipulate where this training will take place, i.e., in Iraq or out of the country.  That will enable everyone to save face and NATO not to lose its."


BULGARIA:  "NATO Countries Kissed And Made Up"


Leading Trud remarked (6/29):  "The most fundamental and most important result of the NATO summit is that the Alliance put a polite end to the split in the euro-atlantic relationship, which appeared a year ago because of Iraq.  The Summit coincided with the early handover of power in Iraq....  The most important agreement reached between the NATO member countries was the decision to get the Alliance involved in the Iraqi conflict via training of the Iraqi security forces by NATO experts.  However, this is a very broad and general decision. In Istanbul the NATO member states decided to expand their presence in Afghanistan too. But it was also an 'in-principle' decision. What we need to do now  is to figure out what our commitments will be in both Iraq and Afghanistan."


"The Big Winner"


Socialist-affiliated Duma applauded (6/29):  "The year-old split between continental Europe and the Anglo-Saxon NATO members over the war in Iraq has been overcome in Istanbul....  A reasonable solution of the crisis has been found--Iraq is the challenge, which the modern world cannot afford to ignore.  In the end George Bush seems to be the big winner.  Four months before the presidential election in the U.S., he eliminated some of the Democrats' strongest arguments concerning the relationship with the traditional U.S. allies.  One thing is not clear yet--how did Iraq benefit from the Summit?"


"Reaching For Unity In Istanbul"


Financial Pari maintained (6/29):  "The most important aspect of the Summit in Istanbul is that, with regard to Iraq, no new splits have appeared despite the fact that only 16 out of 26 member countries continue to have troops there.  Moreover, the NATO leaders demonstrated unity, which is very important for NATO's image at the moment.  The political arguments proved to be stronger than the purely military arguments.  This is probably the best that could have happened in Istanbul, having in mind that with the limited numbers of their armed forces, most of the NATO members would be hard pressed to send additional troops under joint NATO command."


"Who Is Trying To Split Up The EU And Why"


Nationalist, anti-U.S. Monitor commented (6/28):  "Could the U.S. and EU overcome their considerable differences?  Probably they could, but with great difficulty and on certain, hard-to-accept conditions for both sides.  These are:  America to choose diplomacy before war and Europe to support diplomacy with a reasonable use of force.  So far none of these two have been applied.  If the U.S. continues to fuel the splits in Europe, America will not be able to count on its most important ally in the beginning of the 21st century, while the ambitious European project will become highly questionable."


"Re-Birth Of The Euro-Atlantic Ties"


Center-right Dnevnik observed (6/28):  "The U.S.-EU summit showed that the misunderstandings between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean in the last two years are not something that cannot be solved....  Good will was demonstrated at the beginning of the month at the Normandy celebrations as well.  Apparently, the Euro-Atlantic ties are about to get a new start.  If not for the emotional commitments, then for the common interests."


HUNGARY:  "Battle Of Presidents"


Gyorgy Fodor asserted in liberal Hungarian-language Magyar Hirlap (6/30):  “American Presidents usually act like this, it seems: they offend European politicians from time to time and the way they express their opinion is as if they were giving orders.  The duel of President Bush and President Chirac has become a bit ironic and insulting. The French President issues public statements on behalf of the 25 EU members as he were the one and only spokesperson for all of them, while Europe continues to claim global responsibilities on the only superpower of the world, the United States. Chirac is convinced that the interest of the 25 EU members is always superior to the interests of the United States and that he is the one to tell the United States what global cause the EU stands up for.  Washington is now rubbing shoulders with the Arabs and the Muslims just to regain their good intent they lost towards the U.S. because of Iraq, one could say.  The Bush-Chirac quarrel is just an example [of the conflicts].  But there are many global issues that require cooperation and joint efforts, such as terrorism, AIDS, world economy, the environment and the issue of wars.  The EU and the U.S. are destined to cooperate, so in Afghanistan, as in the Middle East.”


“What Is Exactly NATO Needed For These Days?”


Pro-government left-wing Hungarian-language Nepszava said (6/30):  “President Chirac was right [giving a critical remark to Bush]. It is easy for Bush to say what he said about Turkey’s EU membership.  Because as soon as Turkey is admitted to the European Union the European, not the American, taxpayers will have to pay the huge amount of due contribution into the common EU budget.  President Bush though has his own arguments. He can remind [the EU] the Turkey was a strong bastion of defense against the Soviet Union’s expansionist ambitions before. Ankara as such was defending Western Europe.  So how can Europe return the favor?  The European politicians are divided in their opinion.  NATO’s biggest problem is still the fact that after the collapse of the Soviet Union a real enemy is missing, which would serve as a real purpose for NATO’s existence.  The Islam terrorists are not [an] enough [purpose].”


IRELAND:  "New Realities After The Summit"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (6/28):  "The EU has become an important international actor.  It now must work together with the U.S. as a true partner on a more equal basis politically as well as economically.  The summit outcome reflects these new geopolitical realities. Its timing 15 months on from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which led to a deep rift between most transatlantic governments and peoples, gave it unusual political importance, with the Bush administration seeking to mend fences with European allies as the tide of U.S. military supremacy, unilateralism and pre-emptive war which defined it recedes.  As a result, substantive agreements on the Middle East, Iraq, combating terrorism and deepening economic relations were reached, along with commitments to work together on HIV/AIDS, Sudan/Darfur and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction....  The results...clearly register a shift towards a more cooperative transatlantic relationship, based on a more realistic attitude by the Bush administration on the need for it in an election year....  The summit has put EU-U.S. relations on a more even plane after an exceptionally difficult period of tension.  Mr. Bush has failed to secure an EU or NATO agreement to put more troops in Iraq; but there is a willingness to train police and security forces and a mutual realization that neither EU or U.S. interests would be served if the new interim government collapses before elections next January."


"Ahern Wins Triple Crown"


The center-right, populist Irish Independent commented (6/28):  "Praise must go to President George Bush for his response to criticisms of ill-treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.  He repeated his own abhorrence of the horrific practices which have been uncovered.  But he has yet to reverse U.S. breaches of international law.  He proceeded directly from Ireland to Turkey for a more difficult negotiation.  The future of NATO is in the balance.  The Americans want alliance troops policing Afghanistan and training the new Iraqi army.  The Germans say no.  Their misgivings are very widely shared.  NATO's difficulties are not a present Irish concern.  But the wider defense question will become so, and soon.  The roles and relationships of NATO and a future EU defense system will have a great bearing on the peace of the continent and in other areas in which European troops are committed.  Ireland cannot remain aloof."


"Bush Visit--Summit Ends In Triumph For Ahern"


The left-of-center Irish Examiner observed (6/28):  "President George W. Bush left the Dromoland summit conscious of the serious concern the majority of Irish people harbor towards the war in Iraq and American treatment of prisoners there.  That concern was firmly conveyed to him by President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach (prime minister0 Bertie Ahern in the course of the EU-U.S. summit, although he may also have been made aware of the depth of feeling throughout the country because his presence occasioned the biggest security operation ever mounted in the State....  The summit was a remarkable success, marking the end of Ireland's EU presidency in a manner which had characterized its efficiency for the past six months....  It was a personal triumph for Mr. Ahern.  Having overseen the enlargement of the EU during his presidential term and negotiated final agreement on the first EU constitution, he saw the Dromoland meeting effect a strengthening of EU and U.S. relationships.  Bitter differences over the war in Iraq have been largely put aside to forge a concerted international support for the emerging democracy....  The accord achieved in Dromoland will at least ensure the international community is as one in supporting that nascent government, which is likely to face a civil war if faction fighting continues to escalate."


NORWAY:  "NATO And Norway Between A Rock And A Hard Place"


Janne Haaland Matlary commented in newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (7/1):  "NATO is Norway's basis for security politics, now more than ever. While the EU develops its own security policies, NATO is in a new and more uncertain situation than before....  Norwegian politicians must speak openly about how NATO is being marginalized and internal conflicts in the organization....  Two dangers threaten NATO today...the U.S. considers NATO as a toolbox to be used as a supplement to its own forces....  The second danger regards French and German thinking, especially the French....  It is a problem for Norway if NATO becomes a toolbox for the U.S., and it is a problem for us that the EU plays an increasingly more important role in security politics."


"Hesitant NATO Behind America's Iraq"


Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten editorialized (6/30):  "The resolution [about Iraq] after the summit was unclear with regard to the time period, scope, location and the amount of effort NATO will provide....  The U.S. wish, supported by the new administration in Baghdad, for NATO troops in Iraq is rejected in key countries like France, Germany and Spain. It is as if the whole world...awaits what will happen in Iraq, while the election is coming closer in the U.S....  In such a situation it is correct of Norway to answer yes to contribute to the training of Iraqi soldiers....  It is in Norway's own best self interest to contribute to maintaining the modest agreement over Iraq that still exists within NATO."


"NATO Remodels The Front--And Covers Up The Cracks"


Ulf Petter Helstroem remarked in newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (6/28):  "At the current summit in Istanbul there will be a growing understanding that none of the allies can afford NATO failing completely--yet.  In the meantime the EU is becoming an ever more important competitor for NATO in regard to European security politics."


"Atrractive Facade"


Independent VG held (6/26):  "France and Germany...are not the only NATO countries that think that the U.S. is eager to have a greater commitment from the rest of the alliance in order to improve its own possibilities of retreating....  In spite of differences of opinions, in all the most important capitals on both sides of the Atlantic there seems to be an agreement that NATO must remain a credible and powerful organization. Afghanistan might just be the test of this....  Here, the Europeans must accept a large part of the blame, and it doesn't help to criticize the Americans for gross setbacks elsewhere in the world."


POLAND:  "The Alliance With Iraq"


Robert Soltyk concluded in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (6/28):  “NATO is expected to help train Iraqi security forces, and that’s the least that the Alliance--expanded to 26 countries--can do.  The future of NATO is being shaped in Iraq not in Afghanistan, as some of the Europeans opposed to Bush are claiming.  Iraq is the main battlefield for international terrorism.  With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR, terrorism is the biggest threat both to the U.S. and Europe.  If NATO is not there, how can it be a credible guarantor of transatlantic security?  What use is a scarecrow if no one fears it?  Also those who were against the war--and had their reasons--should now support the interim government in Iraq.  It wouldn’t be a boost to reelect Bush, but a response to the Iraqi authorities which France and Germany supported when they recently voted for the UN Security Council resolution.”


PORTUGAL:  "Fifteen Months"


Jose Manuel Fernandes contended in influential, moderate-left Público (6/29):  "The [NATO] allies were [once] so divided on the Iraqi question that there were moments when it was impossible to find any common ground.  Now, after the symbolic meeting of the leaders of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. on the beaches of Normandy to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the decisions taken by NATO yesterday in Istanbul show that those on bad terms yesterday are able to work together today...because the allies understand that the destiny of Iraq affects everyone, not just the United States and its allies of the past year.  A failure in Iraq will affect everyone, not just Washington or London."


ROMANIA:  "Categorical Opposition"


Andreea Bratosin stated in influential Adevarul (6/29):  “France, Germany and Belgium are all opposed categorically to any decision that would  officially commit the Alliance (NATO) in Iraq.  Even the sending of trainers to Iraq was considered by Paris, Berlin and Brussels as a sign of NATO involvement in the Iraqi conflict.  These countries agreed to train Iraqi troops, but not on Iraqi territory, only in other areas.   Even if the Americans and British wanted to discuss the possibility of NATO taking over control in the Polish sector in Iraq, nothing was discussed about this in Istanbul.  Even from the preliminary talks at the ambassadorial level by foreign and defense ministers, it was obvious that no consensus would be reached.” 


SLOVENIA:  "Remote Threats And Nearby Danger"


Radovan Kozmos remarked in left-of-center Delo (6/30):  "The most common answer to the question what NATO will do after the fall of the Soviet empire has been that it will transform itself from a tool for reaching a single goal into an entire toolkit from which...the most effective tool will be chosen for achieving a specific goal. The idea was often tested in the past decade, but the results were unexpected....  In the case of the Balkans, it turned out that the trans-Atlantic brothers-in-arms had problems even agreeing about when to open the toolkit. When it was finally opened, they began to argue about which tool to use. And it was also revealed that almost no tool was as effective as expected. Despite certain attempts to sharpen and strengthen European military power, it is still rather blunt.  During this time, the U.S. was persistently increasing its military superiority. Under George Bush's leadership, it haughtily turned down assistance offered by NATO first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq. The United States changed its mind later...and offered NATO a peacekeeping role in Afghanistan. In Iraq...Washington would gladly have let NATO play as big as possible a role. But 'old' Europe...was firmly opposed.  What is the proof that NATO is uniform and effective? Judging from the Istanbul Summit, there are only two indirect proofs: Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Afghanistan, the Alliance has demonstrated political and operational uniformity; in the case of Iraq, political diversity has been demonstrated, but also some activity....  NATO will increase its presence in Afghanistan to 10,000 men....  Almost 30,000 policemen and soldiers protected the Summit in Istanbul. Providing for security still begins at one's own doorstep."




Domen Caharijas wrote in left-of-center independent Dnevnik  (6/30):  "Slovenia will participate in the training of the Iraqi security forces. No matter how evasive Prime Minister Rop's answers...the fact is that Slovenia will participate in the normalization of the situation in [Iraq] after America's military-political episode. Also, as a NATO member, Slovenia 'continues to support' the role of Poland in Iraq.  Why are we not involved in the way the Prime Minister keeps explaining?  The basic fact should not be forgotten that the Americans transferred authority to the Iraqi government, but this does not mean that they will withdraw their troops....  The troops will not be under the Iraqi government's command. Hence, what we have here is just a difference in meaning between 'international presence' and 'occupational forces'....  Many believe that this is an unnecessary 'trip' Slovenia has made and that it should instead increase its role in the Balkans....  From the viewpoint of Slovenia's strategic goals [its involvement in Bosnia] is definitely more important than its training of Iraq's security troops.  However, NATO's plans are clear....  It is no longer needed in Europe, so it has to move its 'business' to...the Middle East....  It seems that NATO will follow the American model of spreading democracy and increasingly direct itself toward the Middle East in the war against terrorism."


SPAIN:  "NATO's Road To Nowhere"


Business-oriented Expansión editorialized (6/30):  "Bush has not been as successful as he hoped in his intent to legitimize his Middle East strategy to the American people....  He is leaving Istanbul with his hands almost empty since NATO has eluded its responsibilities in the Iraqi conflict.  Perhaps what is most worrisome is that he has made patently clear yet again that although everyone seems to be in agreement about the problems' diagnoses, very serious differences remain about how exactly to tackle them....  NATO has lost a golden opportunity to regain a geostrategic consensus, to pull itself back together for good after the identity crisis it suffered when the Cold War ended, and reinvent itself as an effective instrument for combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism....  Zapatero also missed his golden opportunity....  Constrained by domestic commitments, he has elevated the Iraqi conflict to a non-negotiable level, which appreciably lowers his margin of maneuverability in foreign policy matter and isolates Spain from the most important geostrategic negotiations....  At least Bush has been able to reestablish his links with the Old World."


"Summit In Istanbul"


Centrist La Vanguardia stated (6/28):   "The real test of the state of transatlantic relations is the result of...the NATO Summit in Istanbul....  The measure [for NATO role in training Iraqi security forces]...represents a modest collaboration of NATO in the face of the U.S. desire for more direct involvement in the Iraqi hornet's nest....  The other center of attention of the NATO summit will be the stabilization of Afghanistan....  A failure on Afghan soil would put into doubt NATO's ability to respond to new scenarios."


"A Breather For Bush"


Conservative La Razon noted (6/27):  "Has the U.S. made a fundamental mistake by asking NATO to train the new Iraqi forces?....  The European members of NATO, who in this context have few problems in moderating the traditional U.S. leading role in the Alliance, have a unique opportunity to restore confidence to the Iraqi people.  How well we do this will determine the EU's role in the Middle East and whether the experience serves as an example to promote democracy in Arab countries of the region."


"Istanbul, Zero Hour For NATO"


Conservative ABC declared (6/27):  "NATO might be very well laying the foundations of its definitive crisis if, at the Istanbul Summit, it continues to wallow in self-complacency....  Istanbul should leave self-satisfaction behind.  It's true that NATO isn't what it used to be...but it is far from becoming what it should be, an organization able to respond to the threats that put at risk the security of its members, starting with international terrorism....  If NATO wants to remain relevant, it must have the capability to be used, and used efficiently....  Today, few signs allow one to think that these conditions can be satisfied, but if NATO does not finally go to Iraq, it will have decided to become an organization of marginal importance.  The strategic future does not wait nor forgive mistakes."


SWEDEN:  "An Alliance Adrift"


Mats Wiklund observed in Stockholm-based independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter (6/29):  "The fact that the new government took over two days before the appointed time speaks volumes of the situation in Iraq....  Formally, the occupation is over. In reality, they are far from being masters in their own house.  There is no other possibility. The Americans will stay a long time after free elections are held. It will take time before the Iraqis themselves are ready to maintain law and order.  To be sure, the NATO countries have agreed to assume joint responsibility for training Iraqi forces. But the watchwords of the Istanbul summit cannot conceal the fact that the split between Europe and the U.S. remains. France, Germany, and Turkey oppose the alliance's sending troops to Iraq. NATO's influence and credibility have been greatly weakened.  That bodes ill. Like the EU, NATO has expanded to the east. At the Istanbul meeting, the seven new members from the Baltics and the Balkans participated for the first time. For them, with their recent experience with dictatorships and military threats, the reduced credibility of the military alliance is particularly troubling.  When NATO expansion began, the cynics claimed it was an American strategy to help them dominate the alliance and get their way more easily. The more the alliance grew with members that were militarily weak, the less the U.S. would have to care about competing ideas.  This criticism has been strengthened since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. American security policy has left very little room for views from allies. Many NATO countries have felt isolated and humiliated.  That is an important explanation of the current differences. But it is unreasonable to place all the blame on the U.S...  Europeans must accept their responsibility in Iraq. Otherwise, American politicians will soon begin dismissing them as strategic partners.  For decades, the trans-Atlantic link has been crucial to peace and security. The threat and mission has changed since the Cold War. NATO can still play a key role in shaping the new world order, but only if Europe and the U.S. begin pulling together and look after their common interests."


TURKEY:  "NATO's New Role"


Sami Kohen opined in mass-appeal Milliyet (6/29):  "President Bush announced the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq during his speech to NATO allies yesterday. The news agencies reported news of the authority transfer from the US to the Iraqi Interim Government right after the speech. This news surprised the NATO administrators and member country leaders while they were preparing to discuss the role of NATO in Iraq. One official said the allies were not pleased that they had not been informed before the announcement. This action by the Bush Administration has been interpreted by the allies as a sign that the US is determined to continue its unilateral policy. A high level official said the transfer of authority is an opportunity for NATO to establish a presence in Iraq. Who will train the Iraqi security forces, where will that training will take place, and for how long?  These questions will be discussed in upcoming days at the technical level. Turkey is expected to join is this training effort. President Bush voiced his expectations on this issue during his meetings in Ankara. It is likely that the training of Iraqi security forces would take place in Ankara. Up to now NATO has avoided playing a role in Iraq, largely because of French pressure. There is still some reluctance for a broader military role or for the presence of NATO forces in Iraq. However, with yesterday's limited declaration, NATO has agreed to play a role in Iraq. According to one diplomat, this could be the first step.  Depending on the situation, other steps could follow that would lead to a more active engagement."


"Yesterday Was An Important Day"


Fehmi Koru commented in Islamist-opinion maker Yeni Safak (6/29):  "We have to see the picture correctly:  the U.S., through UNSC resolution 1546, finally met the demands of Germany and France for establishing international legitimacy in Iraq.  During the G-8 summit, the U.S. gave a general picture of the new framework it is planning for the Middle East.  The EU summit in Dublin helped the U.S. eliminate some of the problems between the EU and the U.S.  The declaration that came from yesterday's NATO summit was written very carefully to eliminate French and German objections.  The U.S. took a step back by putting the sovereignty issue on the table.  But will NATO countries run into Iraq immediately, or will they wait for the results of the U.S. elections?  If a particular country is going to be saddled with this task, which country will it be?  In any event, yesterday was an important day for the world."


"A Meeting Well Worth The Trouble"


Gungor Mengi wrote in mass-appeal Vatan (6/29):  "The Istanbul summit provided solid ground for cooperation and healed the split within NATO. As soon as NATO gets involved in Iraq directly, which will happen upon the invitation of the Iraqi government, the US will not be the only player in Iraq.  This could be the beginning of a fair and promising process for a solution. There have been initial signs of this process already.  For example, the PKK was immediately added to Iraq’s list of terrorist organizations by the new Iraqi government....  The NATO summit ends today, but the results achieved in Istanbul were well worth the pain experienced by the city’s residents. The summit not only produced important decisions on Iraq, but also contributed to Turkey's EU vision."


"Expectations From The NATO Summit”


Ferai Tinc contended in mass-appeal Hurriyet (6/28):  “The U.S.-EU summit set the scene for the Istanbul summit.  NATO is developing a new identity based on the emerging needs of the post-Cold War era.  The Istanbul summit is going to define this identity.  The new identity not only brings a variety of military and political missions to NATO, but also requires a greater contribution from the alliance’s members.  As proven by the Afghanistan experience, the fight against terrorism requires NATO to assume both military and political roles and to increase its contribution of finance and supplies....  President Bush expects to achieve collaboration between the U.S. and Europe, particularly on Iraq.  That means NATO intervention in Iraq, which has been a goal of Washington for some time.  John Kerry has been accusing Bush of alienating the U.S. in the international arena.  If NATO action in Iraq materializes, President Bush will be able to gain an important advantage in the upcoming elections against Kerry.”


"Enough Of Being A Good Boy"


Gungor Mengi argued in mass-appeal Vatan (6/28): “The NATO summit is the venue where the alliance is to redefine itself.  Terrorism is a major issue at the summit, which brings Turkey to the frontline.  The redefinition of NATO will certainly bring some consequences with it, such as the fact that the Turkish 3rd Army Corps has already  become a NATO army and it is quite possible soon to be called for duty in Afghanistan.  Turkey, among all the NATO members, is the closest one to the ‘fire.’  Now is the time for us to stand up and make our dignified presence in the alliance felt.  Being a good boy is not a bad thing, but we should not be a stupid boy!...  Both Sezer and Erdogan brought up the PKK issue to President Bush and complained about unmet U.S. commitments.   President Bush, in return, noted the transfer of authority to the Iraqi government and talked about cooperation with the new government on this issue.  This is not a respectful answer to Turkey’s sensitivity, and not a realistic answer either....  Bush has been fooling Turkey on the fight against the PKK for the past 12 months and now he simply cannot say ‘this is not my issue any more.’  One wonders if the Bush administration plans to use the PKK issue as a trump card to establish a relationship between Turkey and the Iraqi government.  If that is the real intention, it is risky and very bad.”


"Bush Fooled Ankara"


Sedat Ergin noted in mass-appeal Hurriyet (6/27): “One of the reasons that the U.S. president declared war against Iraq was to end the possibility that Iraq would become a base for terrorism.  The PKK was considered as one of the terrorist organizations there, and Washington listed it as a terrorist organization on its annual list....  President Bush and other administration officials repeatedly assured Turkey that they understood Ankara’s sensitivity regarding northern Iraq and pledged that the area would not be a haven for terrorists....  Four months ago, the State Department promised a letter from Secretary Powell to reiterate the U.S. commitment about eliminating the PKK threat.  As you read this column today, such a letter has never arrived....  The gist of the problem is the U.S. unwillingness to have a conflict with PKK, and the shift in U.S. priorities due to broader security problems in Iraq....  President Bush, in an interview prior to his trip to Ankara, made it clear that the PKK issue will be dealt in cooperation with both the Turkish and Iraqi governments.  This is not a normal statement--it is almost a kind of confession.  It looks as if Bush is telling us that 'the ball is not in our court any more--it is in the hands of the interim Iraqi government.'  It is now a serious question how sincere President Bush will be during his talks in Ankara after making such a negative impression on the terrorism threat faced by Turkey.”        




WEST BANK:  "NATO Summit And The Greater Middle East Initiative"


Ahmad Majdalani opined in independent Al-Ayyam (6/30):  "The position of some European countries, including France, Germany and Spain, against an official NATO involvement in Iraq, is based on their recognition that this involvement is motivated by President Bush's election campaign needs.  President Bush wishes to use the favorable positions of the G-8 and NATO on Iraq in order to prove to the American public opinion that he has not been isolated and that he is indeed working jointly with the allies.  At this stage, President Bush is badly in need of conveying this message in order to refute claims by his Democratic opponent...who has accused him of being isolated by the international community."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Why Do They March?"


Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (6/27):  "There are usually demonstrations prior to any European-American political gathering.  Demonstrations are mainly against the American policies, which provoke most of the nations, regardless of their culture and political leanings....  Iraq is number one on the agenda of the upcoming European-American summit in Ireland.  The irresponsible American actions in Iraq proved that America committed a mistake by invading Iraq.  The American war on Iraq escalated the hatred against America, not only in the Islamic world, but also among its allies... These demonstrations reflect a global viewpoint that shows the international rejection of the American policy.  A person is able to distinguish between what is true and false about American policy."  


SYRIA:  "Istanbul Summit:  A Cloning Of U.S. Failure"


Ahmad Hamadeh held in government-owned Al-Thawra (6/30):  "The NATO Summit has failed to settle differences between the US and its EU allies over the occupation of Iraq. This was obvious in President Chirac's statement that intervention in Iraq is none of NATO’s business....  The summit also has failed to settle other differences, on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the war on terrorism and the Greater Middle East Initiative. This proves U.S. isolation in the world. The European view of reform projects, democracy and human rights does not correspond to the American view. Europeans, including Turks, received these projects with reservation, confirming that reform in the region requires settling the Arab-Israeli conflict and that it should stem from the will of the peoples in the region.  The Europeans' refusal to be dragged along behind US policy is caused by US insistence on violating the international resolutions... and also by the European conviction that the Bush Administration is no longer capable of leading NATO because it does not believe in the participation of others."


"Istanbul Summit And Challenges Of The Iraqi File"


Hamed Houran commented in government-owned Al-Ba'ath (6/28):  "Certainly the Iraqi crisis will be at the top of the NATO summit agenda....  There are countries like France and Germany that still do not support a NATO role in Iraq....  The utmost they agreed upon is to train Iraqi officers in neighboring counties, but will not send any troops to Iraq.  Undoubtedly such stands do not please the U.S. and Britain.  Will President Bush be able to make the NATO immerse in his policies, which are described as erroneous even by Americans themselves?  There are voices in America underestimating the NATO role.  Wolfowitz believes that the NATO power has remarkably decreased recently.  Does this opinion reflect the NATO's true capability?  Is the NATO refrain from responding the U.S. administration's demand on sending troops to Iraq is caused by the Administration's ignoring its allies and taking unilateral steps on the issue of Iraq as Senator Carl Levin stated?"


"Clues Of International Rejection"


Ali Nasrallah wrote in government-owned Al-Thawra (6/28):  "The common denominator among demonstrations in Ireland, Ankara and Istanbul is its obvious rejection of the U.S. policy so as to make the U.S. realize the catastrophic consequences of its wrong strategy of containment and hegemony either by its direct pressure and blackmail, or by its threat to use force....  The U.S. administration must understand the causes of its failure in getting the support of its NATO allies for its policies in Iraq and must explore the reasons of its antagonizing world peoples by its policies. Will the Bush administration do what it should do, or does it still insist on its false statement that the increasing hatred for its policy is caused by the level of technical and industrial progress?"




AUSTRALIA:  "Trade Offers EU Chance To Lead"


The business-oriented Australian Financial Review stated (6/28):  “Slowly but surely, the icy coolness the Iraq war introduced into the transatlantic alliance between the United States and Europe has begun to thaw....  The alliance dialogue has begun to regain a sense of normalcy and mutual respect.  The communiqué endorsed by U.S. President George Bush and the leaders of the European Union in Ireland on Saturday signaled a clear joint interest in putting the Iraq strains to one side and re-energizing the relationship in areas where the combined resolve of the U.S. and Europe can be a powerful force for solving the world's problems.  No issue is more important--nor cries out as much for leadership by the world's most powerful economies--than confronting the threat of rising global protectionism....  Without a strong commitment by both to phasing out their farm protection, Doha is a dodo.  If backed by strong action, the communiqué’s goal of achieving, by the end of next month, a framework agreement for  the revival of the Doha round would be confirmation of the value of transatlantic cooperation.  It would show it is possible to have powerful disagreements and still have an alliance worth sustaining.”


CHINA:  "Bush Asks For Reinforcements From NATO"


Wu Yun and Xu Jie maintained in official Communist Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (6/30):  “It is a well-known fact that the U.S. is NATO’s ‘leading ram’.  It seldom humbly asks other members to support it on certain issues, but the Iraq issue has greatly changed the U.S. attitude.  The root reason is that the U.S. will hold a presidential election this year'....  Once Iraq does not succeed in having peace after the power transfer, it will definitely become a heavy burden for Bush’s re-election campaign....  Seeking help from Europe is undoubtedly a step toward ‘saving the situation with an alternative.’”


CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS):  "Leaders Of Europe And The U.S. Are Back On The Cooperation Track"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (6/29):  "In the EU-U.S. summit in Ireland, all previous ill will between the EU and the U.S. seemed to be removed.  They shook hands by putting aside the debate over the Iraqi war....  EU-U.S. relations seem to get better because Europe and the U.S. still see each other as the most important strategic partners.  In the meantime, the U.S. started to see the importance of EU and NATO.  European countries have also found that they cannot set themselves against the U.S.  Terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have become the 'challenges' that Europe and the U.S. have to face.  All these challenges require cooperation of both sides across the Atlantic.  The first meeting after the new round of NATO's eastward expansion may bring about more opportunities for Europe and the U.S. to improve their relations."


"Bush On Vital Mission To Win Turkish Support"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (6/28):  "The stakes are high for U.S. President George W. Bush in meeting Turkey's leaders this week.  NATO, to which Turkey belongs and which is holding a summit during Mr. Bush's stay, is under pressure to prove its relevance in the post-cold war era.  The meetings should result in pledges to train security forces for Iraq as well as expand NATO's presence in Afghanistan.  But this will not disguise a transatlantic rift that has yet to heal as a result of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq last year, despite strong European dissent, nor will it settle internal questions about what NATO's mission should be now....  As the only Muslim country in NATO and as one of the largest, most modern Islamic democracies in the world, Turkey ought to stay engaged.  For the U.S., the backdrop includes this week's transfer of sovereignty to a new government in Iraq and the worsening security that accompanies it.  A NATO presence in the country will be crucial, not only to the prospects for stability but to the very success of a process that envisions free elections in the country by the end of January....  The sooner peacekeeping and policing takes on an international face in Iraq--and the sooner Iraqis are able to take responsibility for it themselves--the likelier elections can take place on time, and in safety.  Commitments from NATO and Turkey will be vital.  The alliance's internal disarray and domestic Turkish opposition might make unqualified support difficult, but the hurdles must be overcome."


INDONESIA:  "Bush Invites European Union And NATO To Help In Iraq"


Leading independent Kompas commented (6/28):  “President Bush apparently did not want to waste the opportunity to meet with EU and NATO leaders last week to get support for his policy in Iraq....  The EU and NATO might also have an interest not to allow the problem the U.S. has in Iraq to be protracted.  But in this context it makes more sense that it is the U.S. government, President Bush in particular, that has more interests in involving EU and NATO in Iraq reconstruction after the transfer of sovereignty on June 30....  If EU, and later NATO, could provide assistance to Iraq, then this would substantially [and positively] affect Bush, just when public polls are showing that support for him is dropping pending the upcoming November election.  In this context, we can see that the many initiatives he makes on Iraq have two faces.  On one hand, the initiatives are truly aimed at restoring and rebuilding Iraq with support from international allies.  On the other hand, they are also used to restore his political posture that has been badly damaged by his policy in Iraq.  It is also apparent that although as an individual the U.S. leader could be tarnished, U.S. powerful status can still contribute to restore his posture.”




INDIA:  "Transatlantic Ties" 


Vaiju Naravane judged in the centrist Hindu (6/30):  "This past week, first at the EU-U.S. summit in Ireland and then at the NATO meeting in Istanbul, President Bush made desperate efforts to present what was in fact a failure as an unqualified success. In that he has been aided and abetted by both NATO and the EU, which camouflaged reticence over Iraq in terms so vague and ambiguous that the U.S. could claim to have received support....  Bush wanted NATO to be involved in Iraq, howsoever symbolically, so that when the time came, when Iraq was totally out of control, the organization could be asked to step in and help under U.S. command....  Allied leaders opened the door a crack, by agreeing to help the new interim government in Baghdad train its security forces. But they disagreed over whether to send troops to Iraq to do so. Differences over whether NATO will train Iraqis inside or outside Iraq were left unresolved, underscoring the fragility of the consensus.  The deliberately vague wording of the declaration allowed the members of the Atlantic Alliance to show a common front and post a minimum consensus on the Iraq dossier over which there are deep divisions. These attempts to put up a united front aimed at covering up the fracture in the transatlantic relationship fooled no one. The West clearly faces a dilemma. No one in Europe wishes to be seen to be obstructing progress in Iraq. At the same time, there is so much antipathy towards President Bush and his unilateralist approach that leaders in Paris do not wish to be in any way instrumental for his re-election. Bush's post 9/11 unilateralist approach and his administration's arrogant style have only exacerbated an old problem. Many European leaders are suspicious and resentful of Washington's manipulative proclivities and have expressed deep concern over America's unilateralist approach and the implications of U.S. hegemony.  Iraq has further highlighted Washington's divide and rule game by playing off Britain and the East European nations against Europe's Franco-German core....  As an alliance, NATO no longer serves European interests since the security threats within Europe appear to be well and truly dead. The only purpose NATO now serves is that of furthering the U.S.' hegemonic interests.  Unfortunately for Europe, leaders such as Britain's Tony Blair, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi as well as others from Eastern Europe, continue to believe that their continent's future well-being lies not in the emergence of a strong unified E.U. with an independent defense and security policy, but in continuing to be a U.S. protectorate."




CANADA:  "NATO Summit Leave The Allies Adrift"


David Rudd observed in the centrist Winnipeg Free Press (7/4):  "Hopes that the early handover of power to an interim Iraqi government would enhance the willingness of allied nations to render meaningful assistance to Iraq's reconstruction were dashed this past week in Istanbul. Members of NATO failed to agree on a motion put forth by Washington and London that would have made the training of Iraq's security forces a central mission of the alliance. Adding insult to injury, U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lost a battle to deploy the NATO Response Force (NRF) to Afghanistan to bolster security in advance of that country's first democratic elections in September....  Behind the political tug-of-war lurks yet another round of plotting and intrigue. The Bush administration's appeals for unity have been carefully crafted to recruit the support of allies who, although nervous of Washington's intentions, were traumatized by the souring of relations before and after the war and are now eager to see things return to normal. The early handover of power and the call for help by Mr. Allawi's government were clearly intended to broaden international support for Iraq's reconstruction. To Paris, such moves must have seemed little more than a continuation of Washington's efforts to divide and rule European public opinion--and a way to extract America from the mess it had created. Far from a vigorous forum on how best to promote long-term peace and security in Iraq, the summit should be regarded as a thinly veiled game of diplomatic one-upmanship. This time, it was the French position (shared by Germany) that prevailed. With NATO all but sidelined, Mr. Chirac boosted prospects that the much-discussed European Security and Defence Policy would finally be forged among the anti-war allies and gradually displace the Atlantic alliance as the preferred vehicle for regional security....  NATO was established in 1949 to shore up Western democracy by keeping totalitarianism at bay. Today, the allies agree that this is the ultimate goal in the struggle against terrorism. Ideally, discord over Iraq should not cause the leaders of the great liberal democracies to lose sight of this. In reality, they may be starting to."


ARGENTINA:  "NATO Shuns Bush With Lukewarm Commitment On Iraq"


Business-financial Ambito Financiero held (6/28):  "Today NATO...won't yield to the U.S. request for military involvement in Iraq and, instead, will barely promise to suggest its member-states to cooperate in the future training of Iraq's armed forces.  At yesterday's preliminary meetings, NATO's 26 members reached an 'initial agreement' in this sense, contradicting what President Bush has repeatedly requested this past month:  that NATO send troops to Iraq....  This summit--called two years ago with the purpose of welcoming the seven new Eastern members--will also seek to recreate the damaged unity between Europe and the EU and reinforce its role in the global fight against terrorism, particularly in Afghanistan.  Bush...seems to have ruled out the idea he launched at the beginning of June, of NATO's future and direct implication in Iraq."


"Europe Endorses Bush On Iraq"


Daily-of-record La Nacion stated (6/27):  "President Bush proclaimed in Ireland the end of  Washington's 'bitter differences' with Europe on the war of Iraq after the EU expressed its support for the request of Baghdad's authorities asking NATO for urgent military assistance....  The declaration is a victory for Bush, because 19 of the EU countries are NATO members and this major support might bear fruit, in a specific agreement in Istanbul, in favor of Baghdad's request.  Nevertheless, EU support as well as NATO's eventual 'yes' are far from Bush's initial plan:  the deployment of NATO troops in Iraq to fight the rebels, jointly with Iraqi forces."



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