International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

September 27, 2004

September 27, 2004





**  Global media find Bush's unwavering optimism in the face of "chaos" in Iraq "alarming."

**  Critics accuse the president of using UNGA "as a forum for electioneering."

**  To many, Bush missed an opportunity to end international "bitterness" over the Iraq war.

**  Some stress contrast between Bush's "self-congratulatory spree" and Annan's "bare truths."




'Willful blindness' to Iraq 'mayhem'--  Analysts worldwide scoffed at President Bush's "relentlessly unreal optimism," dismayed by his "upbeat, optimistic analysis" that seemed "disengaged" from realities on the ground; he "shocked everyone by insisting that everything was going well."  London's center-left Independent groused that instead of a "measured account of reality," Bush gave a "portentous and self-justifying speech brimming with clichés about freedom."  Echoing Muslim reaction, Riyadh's pro-government Arab News exclaimed Bush had "no hint of regret" or awareness that "far from dealing a body blow to terrorism" the Iraq war "ripped open a hornet's nest of ruthless...pointless violence."  The conservative Toronto Sun was a rare positive voice in defending Bush as "right on terrorism, Iraq or no Iraq."


A 'carefully tailored message' aimed at American voters--  President Bush's UNGA talk came across more as a "campaign speech" for domestic consumption than an address to world leaders.  "Campaigning to succeed himself," as one French columnist noted, he gave a speech "less to the international public than to the American voters."  Instead of delivering an "intelligent contribution" to the UN debate, Bush decided to "make a hard-line election speech" in front of the assembly," admonished South Africa's centrist Beeld.  It didn't matter that the assembly responded with "stony silence," observed the liberal Toronto Star; Bush was "pitching over their heads" to the American electorate.  A Palestinian writer quipped that the only thing Bush didn't do was "ask his international audience to cast their votes in American ballot boxes."


'Wasted opportunity'-- Though some appreciated Bush's "conviction" and "conciliatory tone" toward the UN, more faulted him for not seizing the chance to "repair relations with the rest of the international community."  Reflecting the common frustration, Italy's centrist Corriere della Sera explained that Bush "forgot that his lone charge on Baghdad has alienated" many and that an "isolated appeal" at this point is "not enough to recover the lost support."  The wounds are "far from healed," lamented a Belgian daily, with Spain's centrist La Vanguardia adding that the U.S.' "flagrant contempt of international laws is still an open conflict."  UNGA offered a "perfect occasion" for Bush to "win back...some degree of credibility and respectability," asserted UAE's expatriate-oriented Gulf Today, but "he sunk the a flood of stale repetitions."


Contrast with Annan 'could not have been sharper'--  Muslim and African writers compared Bush's "self-righteousness" and "arrogance" with UNSG Annan's "impassioned speech" and "clear indictment" of the Bush administration.  While Bush defended "American deception," Annan talked "bare truths."  Pakistan's center-right Nation declared Annan "was right in refusing to endorse the U.S. invasion" without UNSC authority.  Some Euro papers said the UNSG's remarks "proved to what extent the war in Iraq has poisoned international diplomatic relations."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Irene Marr


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.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  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 60 reports from 29 countries September 22- 26, 2004.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Bush Had Chance To Ask For Help But Chose To Preach"


The center-left Independent editorialized (9/22):  "Mr. Bush disappointed as he has so often before.  Instead of a measured account of reality in Iraq, he treated the ranks of national leaders gathered at the UN to a portentous and self-justifying speech brimming with clichés about 'freedom' and 'democracy' that glorified the American way.  From his opening greeting, when he welcomed his audience to the United States--technically true, but the UN is also diplomatic territory--Mr. Bush spoke from a presumed position of superiority to which he had absolutely no right.  Mr. Bush's willful blindness to the mayhem his war has wrought may be most charitably dismissed as electioneering, especially as his Democrat opponent had finally come out fighting only the day before.  But the UN General Assembly is not a forum for electioneering.  It is, as the Secretary General showed in his exemplary address about the rule of law, a platform to the world.  It offered Mr. Bush the chance to banish his image as a go-it-alone gun-slinger and admit in all humility that the U.S. needed help.  Regrettably, it was an opportunity he chose not to grasp."


"Time For Real U.S. Debate On Iraq"


The independent Financial Times commented (9/22):  "While Mr. Bush adopted an emollient tone towards the UN, an institution his administration so evidently mistrusts, the extent of the president's disengagement from the reality of a sinking Iraq is alarming....  The president chose to bracket Iraq with the only marginally less volatile situation in Afghanistan....  He professed to believe these two nations are becoming models for their regions.  But the future of these countries will ultimately depend more on challenging the relentlessly unreal optimism of these assertions than on believing them.  This, Mr. Kerry, after being evasive, long-winded and sometimes contradictory, is at last starting to do....  Mr. Kerry is also conclude that the invasion of Iraq was 'a profound diversion' from the struggle against Osama bin Laden and his terror franchise....  But his four-point strategy for Iraq is not convincing and the Bush camp is at least half entitled to respond that this is what they are trying to do....  Whatever the outcome of the U.S. vote, both sides need to do some hard thinking.  For now, however, the Democratic challenger's call for 'a great honest national debate on Iraq' is a welcome injection of seriousness into a campaign that has so far focused on the wrong war.  It is not before time."


FRANCE:  "Bush Tells Everybody What To Do"


Philippe Gelie commented in leading center-right Le Figaro (Internet version, 9/22):  "The beheading of the U.S. hostages in Iraq does not make George W. Bush waver.   Quite the contrary: in his vision of the 'global war' launched between Good and Evil, each new crime reinforces retrospectively his conviction that he was right contrary to those who accuse him of having invaded Iraq on false pretexts.   Yesterday, in front of the UN General Assembly, it was a U.S. president in the midst of an election campaign, therefore very keyed up, who told everybody what to do.   Certain of his cause, indifferent to criticism, he posed as the champion of liberty, defender of human dignity, and advocate of universal democracy, assuring the assembly with visionary tones: 'Our great purpose is to build a better world beyond the war on terror.... George W. Bush hardly harbored any illusions about his chances of convincing the audience of heads of state and government, who applauded him half-heartedly. The UN is seen by his administration as a coterie that is mostly impervious to the values of the United States and discredited by its chronic powerlessness to act.   Vice President Dick Cheney does not deny himself getting the audience to boo the United Nations during his election swings, hammering home the message that Washington does not need permission to use military force and does not intend to 'outsource its national security' to Paris or Berlin.   But it is never a bad thing for a president in an election campaign, particularly when accused of international isolation, to show himself in the company of the grandees of this world.   Six weeks away from the election, the incumbent president exercises perfect control over his campaign in this way....  He intended his final principle as much for his voters as for his international partners: 'The proper response to difficulty is not to retreat, it is to prevail.'"




Gerard Dupuy wrote in left-of-center Liberation (9/22):  “At the UN, President Bush proved that autistic self-satisfaction remained America's dominant trait.  And it will remain so until November 2.  Iraq's road to chaos will also continue until then but also beyond.  Whoever becomes president will have the choice between maintaining anarchy in Iraq through the occupation and making things worse by withdrawing.  While Kerry has no miracle solution he can pull out of his hat, Bush is doing nothing more than hiding behind his flag.”


"President Bush Defends His Policy"


Gilles Biassette commented in Catholic La Croix (9/22):  “President Bush appeared less on the offensive than a year ago....  He tried to paint a reassuring picture of the situation in Iraq, holding on to a resolutely positive vision of a country on the road to progress....  He also tried to soften his image of a unilateral leader, insisting on the fundamental principals shared by the U.S. and the UN.”


"A Confrontation Between Bush And Annan At The UN"


Luc de Barochez observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/22):  “By calling for respect of the right of law in his remarks, Annan proved to what extent the war in Iraq has poisoned international diplomatic relations....  As for President Bush's address, it elicited much skepticism on the part of the diplomats listening to him.  The bitterness that dominated last year at the UN over the inability of multilateralism to prevail in Iraq has been replaced with concern over the chaos which is growing there.”


"Two World Visions"


Jules Clauwaert remarked in regional Nord Eclaire (9/22):  "Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush crossed paths in New York...but neither deemed it opportune to adjust his schedule so they could meet.  If a confirmation of what separates them were necessary--and it is nothing less than a vision of the world--they managed it beautifully....  Secretary General Kofi Annan...was not content to play the role of the indifferent spectator.  Recalling the right of law and that might does not make right, he summed up the extent of the disagreement which has also distanced him from the U.S. president.  But Bush didn't come to the UN to listen to Annan’s recommendations.  Campaigning to succeed himself, George W. Bush was in no mood to change one iota of a speech which was addressed less to the international public than to the American voters.  According to him, not only did he not have to justify a war, which is increasingly turning into a nightmare, he went further and said he would be thanked one day for bringing liberty to the Iraqis, as well as to the Afghanis.”


GERMANY:  "Truth Is Of No Use"


Washington correspondent Malte Lehming had this to say in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (9/22):  "Again, the U.S. president spoke at the United Nations, again he defended the Iraq war...but speech and reality are separated by a deep trench.  Chaos dominates in Iraq...and we cannot see a convincing strategy how to crush the revolt.  George W. Bush and Iraq:  the balance sheet is devastating.  Those who doubt it should talk to intelligence experts, study intelligence dossiers or follow the news on a regular basis.  The facts are available.  Even UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan could not avoid some sideswipes at the beginning of the UN General Assembly....  But sometimes it can be dangerous to tell the truth.  Sometimes people just don't want to hear it....  Now John Kerry has expressed his opposition to the war but of what use will...this be for the United States?... Bush has never lost faith in himself.  Kerry mentions Bush's mistakes, but has never been sure about what he should do next.  If the issue would be on November 2 to reward or punish Bush for his achievements, Bush would have no chance.  But more is involved:  the question whether Kerry would do better.  No politicians other than Bill Clinton warned his party friends.  He said:  'In times of crisis 'strong and wrong' would be better than 'weak and right.'"


"At Wit's End"


"Center-right Nordwest-Zeitung of Oldenburg noted (9/22):  "When the UN secretary-general strongly attacks the United States twice within a brief period of time, it is clear that the UN head is at his diplomatic wit's end.  Washington ignored all admonitions to resolve the Iraq problem together with the UN.  The fact that the U.S. president is now calling upon the United Nations to show greater engagement in Iraq has made Annan visibly angry.  Nevertheless, Bush's appeals are understandable.  Iraq's reconstruction is threatening to fail, and there is already a talking about civil war.  In this situation, the UN cannot refuse to cooperate.  Annan has to accept the U.S. request.  But he will take great care of not becoming a stooge for U.S. policy whose prime goal is currently the victory in the U.S. presidential elections."


"Still Need A Strong America"


Right-of-center Frankfurter Neue Presse (9/22) had this to say: "Kofi Annan is right when he calls upon the U.S. global cop to comply with the law, since there should be no power in the 21st century that does not stick to the law.  But the reverse thing is also true: There is no right without power.  Even the best law needs someone to implement it.  And this is why the UN (but also the Europeans) continue to need a strong America."


ITALY:  "The Big Chill With America"


Vittorio Zucconi commented in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (9/22):  “[UN delegates] no longer talk or listen to each other at the UN’s marble cemetery.  They hate each other.  At most they either fear or tolerate each other.  In a little over three years, we went from the moving speech delivered by Bush following the 9/11 attacks to Secretary General Kofi Annan’s well-mannered yet ferocious speech condemning the ‘arrogance of the strongest over the weakest.’...  It was enough to observe the applause given Annan while he condemned the American war and the violation of the rule of law and compare it to the deadly silence that accompanied Bush’s 30-minute speech to understand the incredible damage that this short-sighted and ideological presidency has inflicted on America’s image.”


"The Dual Amnesia"


Gianni Riotta remarked in leading centrist Corriere della Sera (Internet version, 9/22):  "Secretary General Kofi Annan appealed in his speech for the 'force of law' to prevent the violation of human rights, but he is forgetting that the diabolical festival of genocide, torture, and discrimination, from Darfur to Burma, is protected by the 'legality' of regimes that have a seat in the United Nations and that may even sit on the Human Rights Committee, as Sudan does....  President George W. Bush, too, was admirable when he evoked from the podium 'the young century of freedom,' and when he reiterated the fact that only countries where freedom and justice have put down roots can negotiate lasting peace accords. But what Bush forgot is that his lone charge on Baghdad has alienated too much sympathy from the United States' cause and that an isolated appeal in the midst of an election campaign is not sufficient to recover the support lost by pouring scorn on the United Nations when he called it a 'debating club.'...  The planet seemed to be divided into two satellites at the UN yesterday:   one that is small but bristling with television aerials, that is hypnotized by the battlefields in Iraq and by the presumed rights and wrongs of that campaign; and the other, a huge one but with no voice, that is preparing the history, the power, and the balances of a global economy capable of multiplying wealth, and gearing up for the crucial referendum:   Will the 'young century' be free or will it sink into the quagmire of a totalitarianism thinly disguised as civilization?   In ignoring this dilemma, the world's powerful wasted a precious opportunity yesterday."


RUSSIA:  "Bush As Sure As Ever About His Iraq Move"


Sergey Chirkin noted in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (9/23): "With the U.S. elections a few weeks off, the President, while addressing the UN General Assembly, was campaigning.   No wonder Bush had no doubt about having been right in deciding to invade Iraq without a UN mandate."


"Nothing Personal"


Mikhail Zygar commented in business-oriented Kommersant (9/23):  "Yesterday's speech, better than anything else, characterizes the U.S. President.  Funny, facing those presidents, prime ministers and diplomats, George Bush started with 'Welcome to the U.S.'   Of course, he did not mean to offend anyone or show who was the boss in the house.  It is just that the address was for a different audience.  Visiting the U.S. at the height of the election campaign, you have to bear with what comes with it.  The speech was nothing out of the ordinary.  The President said about the same in Florida and more recently in New Hampshire."


"Part Of Election Campaign"


Aleksandr Andryukhin said in reformist Izvestiya (9/23):  "George Bush spoke of terrorist acts in Iraq, Russia, Spain and Israel, linking them all together.  The President's idea of cohesion and collective responsibility in the fight against terrorism was clear to all, as was the fact that, six weeks before the U.S. vote, his speech was part of the election campaign."


AUSTRIA: "The Will To Act And The Readiness To Compromise"


Foreign affairs writer for mass circulation daily Kurier Stefan Galoppi commented(9/22):  "U.S President George W. Bush is convinced that extremists could be neutralized through more prosperity and freedom after the American model. The U.S would be prepared to take the lead in this respect. This sounds fascinating but apparently does not work in practice.... UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on the other hand, sees the remedy against permanent crises and extremism in the strengthening of international rights and adherence to all UN resolutions. This idealistic approach does not pass the test of reality either.... It goes without saying that global threats such as terrorism, decades-long, hardened conflicts and the gap between rich and poor are only to be met through global cooperation. For this one would probably have to combine the American will to act with the readiness to compromise as it is manifest in the fundamental concept of the United Nations.


"Nothing But Words"


Senior foreign editor for centrist daily Die Presse Anneliese Rohrer opined (9/22):  "Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan always finds the right words. And just this is his problem and that of the UN - the right words, but ultimately nothing but words....   Annan does not have concrete power to push things through. That is true. But he is also not really proactive, to use a new catch phrase. He is not someone who urges and pushes, although he could afford to act this part in his second term. The world is certainly not keen to hear always the same complaints, even if these are uttered in ever so gentle a tone."


BELGIUM:  "U.S. Foreign Policy"


Lode Delputte wrote in independent De Morgen (9/23):  "Bush's speech in the UN last Tuesday was filled with self-righteousness: the war in Iraq was the only right decision, he said, and it fits in the worldwide war on terror.  The U.S. and its allies are right; the others are wrong.  In Bush's speech--not destined for the world but for the electorate at home--there was no indication at all that Washington might re-legitimize the UN....  What has become clear in New York?  That the wounds between the U.S. and the world are far from healed.  On the contrary, now that chaos in Iraq and in some other parts of the world are immense and that, except a major part of the American public, virtually everybody understands that Bush is part of the problem--rather than part of the solution--the international community appears to be launching new initiatives to make dialogue and diplomacy prevail over war.  An example is the old but very contemporary ambition of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India: they want a permanent seat in the UNSC.  The way the UNSC is composed today--WW II victors and Cold War antagonists as permanent members--no longer reflects geo-political reality in 2004.  More weight for other superpowers in the world's main security organization would force Washington to reckon with the world.  In the interest of the world and their own even the Americans should not be opposed to that."


CROATIA:  "Bush's Lessons To The UN"


Foreign Affairs Editor Jurica Korbler concluded in Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik (9/23):  "To comment that Iraq, as Bush claims, is on its way to democracy and freedom has become somewhat distasteful, because a country in which [there are] fifty casualties a day isn’t news any longer certainly isn’t a country which is sailing towards democracy....  America and the UN have not moved far beyond problems which have dragged on since before the intervention in Iraq.  While the U.S. still believes that it has to lead the world fight against terrorism, based on its own criteria, the United Nations firmly believes that not a single country has the right to lay claim on the leading position in this, undoubtedly difficult, fight.”


DENMARK:  "Bush Goes Courting At The United Nations"


Ole Damkjaer opined in center-right Berlingske Tidende (9/22):  "It was a much less aggressive and more conciliatory U.S. president who yesterday asked the UN nations to help Iraq back onto its feet.  It is uncertain whether this request will fall on receptive ears, for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan used his address to once again brand the Iraq war as illegal....  Bush...defended the invasion from two other perspectives:  first, that the Iraqis have been freed from a brutal dictator--something that only very few people will dispute.  Second, that the Iraqi regime supported terrorism--and this is such a broad formulation that it can also cover the Palestinian groups with which Saddam Hussein sympathized....  President Bush's motives for adopting a more conciliatory tone toward the United Nations are clear.  He knows that the United Nations must become a real player in Iraq if the circle of violence is to have any chance of being replaced by the peaceful and democratic developments that are crucial to the history books' judgment on the Iraq war....   Bush [used] his address to urge the UN to support democracy in Iraq.  This could be a battering ram to open the way for democratic developments throughout the Middle East and a setback for the terrorists, was President Bush's sales pitch.  The near future will show whether this is something the skeptical countries in the United Nations will listen to.  But it is worth noting that the speech UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had made before President Bush mounted the rostrum was devoid of any direct calls to the countries of the UN to back the mission in Iraq."


FINLAND:  "Debate Over Legality Of Iraq War Continued At UN"


Leading daily, centrist Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (9/23): “There was not a shadow of doubt of the justification or success of the invasion in [President] Bush’s mind, when he addressed the UN General Assembly onTuesday.  Once again, he described the cosmic fight between good and evil, in which good will prevail and democracy will emerge both in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only enemy was well known.  The word ‘terrorism’ with its derivatives appeared 24 times in his fairly short speech.  The President’s speech was only ostensibly directed to the world leaders at the General Assembly.  Only few were likely to have taken it seriously.  The true audience were the American voters, who will decide the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in early November.”




Left-of-center (Swedish-language) Hufvudstadsbladet noted (9/23):  “The principal line [of President Bush’s speech to the General Assembly] was as arrogant as it has been.  He occasionally got all tangled up in his rhetoric.  When he decided that ‘we know that dictators will quickly opt of aggression, while free nations strive to resolve their difference by peaceful means,’ there were most certainly many in the audience who wondered which category the United States belonged to.  The same risk of misunderstanding appeared when he accused ‘the dictators’ of believing that ‘torture and murder are fully justified when they serve the purpose they declare.’  Or when he said (in connection with cloning humans) that ‘no human life must be destroyed in order to profit somebody else’s.’”


HUNGARY:  "Bush Received Quiet Applause"


Top-circulation left-of-center Nepszabadsag editorialized (9/22):  "The Bush speech was meant primarily for a domestic audience and did not contain any new initiatives. It attracted a lukewarm reception, while Kofi Annan cautioned the President that the [U.N.] members were equal.” 


IRELAND:  "Old Divisions Remain"


Conor O'Clery filed for the center left Irish Times (9/22):  "Yesterday at the United Nations Mr Bush expressed his rationale for ousting Saddam Hussein in rather different terms to a silent audience....  There was understandable scepticism among the statesmen and diplomats in the UN General Assembly about the US going to war ‘for the sake of peace’. Nor, diplomats noted, was there mention of the weapons of mass destruction....  There was also some appreciation of the softer image Mr Bush portrayed compared to previous appearances.... The old divisions remain between the US and European countries such as Germany and France. It was never likely that Mr Bush would win new allies yesterday, given that the U.S. presidential election is only six weeks away.”


“A Defiant Bush Defends Iraq Policy Before UN”


The center-left Irish Times in an article by Deaglan de Breadun stated  (9/22):  “In a defiant speech at the UN General Assembly, President Bush defended his administration's policy in Iraq, claiming the country was on the path to democracy and setting an example to others in the Middle East....  He sought to broaden the debate beyond immediate security issues....  Responding indirectly to a claim by the Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, that the Iraqi war was illegal under the UN Charter, Mr Bush pointed out that Saddam Hussein was warned of ‘serious consequences’ of his defiance of Security Council resolutions.”


NORWAY:  "Bush Made Election Speech At The United Nations"


Morten Fyhn wrote in newspaper of record Aftenposten (Internet version, 9/22):  "Yesterday President George W. Bush tried to show American voters that he is willing to cooperate with the United Nations--on certain conditions.  It is no secret that the influential neoconservative forces in the President's Republican Party feel deep contempt for the United Nations....   The Bush administration's principal leaders have made it clear often enough that they see no reason to seek UN approval for the use of military force when they consider it necessary....  The fact that he is more positively disposed toward the United Nations is being used against Senator John Kerry in the election campaign.  As if this were something worthy of criticism.  But yesterday, from the speaker's rostrum at the UN General Assembly, President Bush refrained from chastising the organization.  Instead he gave the impression of a kind of regret that the U.S.-led coalition was more or less forced to go into Iraq because the Security Council was unwilling to follow up on its own words that there could be serious consequences for Saddam Hussein if he did not comply with the UN demands.  The contrast with Secretary General Kofi Annan could not have been sharper.  Only a few days ago Annan reiterated that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was in contravention of international law....  Bush paid no attention to the criticism from Annan.  Precisely six weeks before the presidential election in the United States, he had come to the UN to deliver a carefully tailored message that was addressed first and foremost to American voters, and only to a lesser extent to the UN member nations....  If we are to judge by the restrained and polite applause he received from the UN General Assembly after he had finished his address, a reasonable assumption is that the majority would have voted for John Kerry if this were possible."


SPAIN:  "The Entelechy"


Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (9/22):  "It's ironic that Bush used UN resolutions, repeatedly not complied with by the Iraqi dictator, as his argument to justify the invasion of Iraq without the UN Security Council's consent. The flagrant contempt of international laws demonstrated by Washington's action is still an open conflict, which the U.S. later tried to correct with the approval of resolution 1483 to legitimize and confirm the invasion, and to let Washington, with the complicity of London, establish an iron strong political and military control in Iraq....  Annan and Bush, as well as...Zapatero who gave a speech calling for the need to respect international law and democracy in the fight against terrorism, are actors in the same performance where the real issue is that 59 years after the UN Charter's approval, the dream of an international system able to direct conflicts through legal and diplomatic means is still an entelechy." 


"The Force Of Dialogue"


Left-of-center El País observed wrote (9/22):  "In a clear contrast with his predecessor, Zapatero believes it is necessary to look at the roots of terrorism to eradicate it....  (Zapatero's) difference with Bush wasn't only about Iraq, but also about the peace process among Israelis and Palestinians.  For Bush, (peace) will only be obtained from deepened reform in the Arab world, while Zapatero and the rest of the Europeans believe that the way must be exactly the opposite.  The contrast between the words of a government (Zapatero's) that presents itself as the one from an 'old and diverse country with different languages and traditions' and Aznar's (previous government's) arrogant image of a single Spain is spectacular.  But, will this new willingness be enough in a time when, as Zapatero recognizes, 'humanity is not giving us many reasons for optimism?'  Time will say.  For now, the discourse in Spain and its image has turned 180 degrees." 




ISRAEL:  "No Word On Disengagement"


Diplomatic Correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in left-leaning, independent Ha'aretz (9/22):  "U.S. President George Bush's speech in the UN General Assembly opening did not supply any news regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The issue was raised only at the end of the speech after global terror, Iraq and Sudan's crisis, the war on AIDS, and human cloning.  And when he finally spoke about his demands from the Palestinians and the Israelis, the president repeated phrases he used in previous speeches with minor adjustments.  The interesting part in Bush's speech is what wasn't mentioned in it:  Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.  The president just ignored Israel's leading diplomatic move despite the fact that he publicly expressed support for it in the past.  It seems that standing on the UN podium, an organization that sanctifies international cooperation and the majority of its members disapprove of Sharon and his initiatives, the Americans prefer not to encourage a unilateral move."


WEST BANK: "George Bush: Elections Speech At The UN"


Rajab Abu Sariya commented in independent Al-Ayyam (9/24): "Perhaps while delivering his speech at the UNGA, President Bush was aware that he was also addressing his voters in the same language that would influence them and favor him.  He took the international approach to reach the ballot boxes by showing his successful ability to lead the entire world and not just the U.S….  In an attempt to avoid many countries’ demand for a definition of terrorism that includes state terrorism such that practiced by Israel, President Bush went further by asking his audience, representing the peoples and nations of the world, to define security in a new way that goes beyond the national framework and establishing a global security order led by the U.S….  The only thing Bush didn’t do was ask his international audience to cast their votes in American ballot boxes, given that as long as the results of the American elections determine international politics as a whole, it would be the whole world’s right to get involved in these elections by voting to choose who will be the president of the world.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "'Success'" in Iraq"


The pro-government English-language Arab News held (9/23):  "Virtually anyone with the slightest understanding of Iraq’s unfolding and worsening tragedy must have listened to President George W. Bush’s address to the UN with utter disbelief and incredulity. His upbeat, optimistic analysis of the 'success' of the U.S.-led invasion bears no resemblance to the realities on the ground....  Washington’s ill-prepared military blundering and lack of postconflict planning has created far more problems than existed in the first place.  Nonetheless, as he addressed the UN, Bush clung tenaciously to the tissue-thin camouflage concerning the scheduled Iraqi elections as proof that the country is firmly on the road to freedom, peace and prosperity. On the other hand, no longer in the hectoring war-leader mode of demanding the international community back his planned invasion, this week Bush appealed to UN members to back the war against oppression and violence....  What was so breath-taking about this performance was that there was no hint of regret, no obvious awareness that what the president had done was to make much worse the problems that he set out to solve when he ousted Saddam. Far from dealing a body blow to terrorism, Washington’s invasion of Iraq has ripped open a hornets’ nest of ruthless, pitiless, pointless violence....  Since he could not crow about real achievements, the president chose to ignore the unfolding disaster of his policies and pretend that Iraq was on course for the January elections as if he believed that once the Iraqi people have spoken at the ballot box, the men of violence and evil will shrug their shoulders, go away and give up.  His reasons are obvious. He has an election to win in November. He cannot admit to being wrong....  Bush is trying to...simply hold things together until Americans cast their votes....  This is in truth the most extraordinary exercise in damage limitation."


"President Bush' Contradictions"


London-based, pan-Arab Al-Quds Al-Arabi commented (Internet version, 9/22):  "In his speech to the UN yesterday, U.S. President George Bush made what it was described as a rare criticism of the Jewish state when urged a halt to settlement [activities] on occupied Arab lands and an end to the cowing of the Palestinian people.  But this is not the first time he makes such criticism; he said the same thing many times before, but nothing has ever changed on the ground."




ALGERIA:  "Bush Played On The Emotion of September 11 Attacks"


Influential French-language La Tribune ran a front-page commentary by its editor-in-chief, Hassen Bachir Cherif asserting (9/23): “For Bush’s arrival, New York was reconfigured yesterday into a city in a state of war.  The security, which verged on being excessive, was present everywhere to watch over the security of the President of the United States.  It can be said that the 70 heads of state attending the opening ceremony of the 59th UN session received in an aggressive fashion a...West Point-style war course on the new world as desired by the current tenant of the White House.... In the middle of an electoral campaign, George W. Bush almost considered his presentation at the UN as a meeting in a federal state, Ohio or Alaska.... The U.S. President marvelously played on the emotion of the September 11 attacks and the Beslan tragedy.  The war leader, the world gendarme, the God chosen to fight against terrorism is his unique creed and the barometer of his audience on the eve of November 2.  For Bush, there is America, its allies, and others.  In plain language, he throws out his road maps to world leaders gathered under the UN emblem since he is assured a second term.”


"Disagreement Between Bush And Annan"


A commentary in El Watan, one of the most influential French-language dailies, which is owned by journalists and the sister newspaper to the Arabic El Khabar, stated (9/22): “The 59th session of the UN General Assembly, which opened yesterday (September 21) in New York, has accentuated the disagreement between the United States and the UN regarding the War in Iraq.  The American President, George W. Bush, took the opportunity offered him to speak at the United Nations to respond to the criticisms of Kofi Annan.  The UN Secretary General described the war in Iraq last week as being ‘illegal’ and opposing the UN charter.  In a speech given before more than 90 heads of state, George W. Bush defended the war against Iraq by affirming that the coalition led by the United States had respected ‘the fair requirements of the world’ towards Baghdad.  Convinced of having made the right decision in attacking Baghdad in March 2003 without UN approval, Mr. Bush added that the United Nations had to ‘do more’ to reconstruct a ‘democratic and free’ Iraq.”      


JORDAN:  "U.S. President's Fallacies"


Influential, center-left Al-Dustour editorialized (Internet version, 9/22):  "One should examine very carefully President Bush's speech, especially when he talked about human dignity, war on terrorism and democracy in the region but forgetting that he was, at the same time, supplying Israel with WMD....  Bush's speech contained many fallacies....  Iraq has experienced the 'democracy' of the president, as well as his notion of dignity and humanity.  However, for our part we beseech God Almighty that his goodies will not be exported to other countries!"


SYRIA:  "U.S. Models"


Izzeddin Darwish observed in government-owned Tishreen (9/23):  "In his UNGA address President Bush said that Iraq and Afghanistan will be two models for the Greater Middle East and that they are on their way to freedom and democracy.  Iraq, which Bush has presented as a model of U.S. democracy, has made people in the region hate Western democracy and damn the moment they wished for it....  The Israeli model which the U.S. is presenting is disgusting.... It is noteworthy that US policy-makers pay no attention to the reaction of people in the region.  There is no one in the world who hates democracy. But everybody is against democracy if it is on the U.S. model in Iraq and Afghanistan."


"Statements And Actions"


Hanan Hamad argued in government-owned Tishreen (9/21):  "President Bush's statements in the UNGA meeting about new international initiatives he intends to offer show the big gap between actions and words....  Bush's talk about economic prosperity, freedom, and more hope in the world cannot be taken seriously at a time when the world feels significant American pressure on the international organization and its bodies to blackmail international decisions and turn them into an easy tool to impose unfair sanctions or interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign and independent states."


UAE:  "Annan And Bush's Opinions Differ"  


The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News contended (9/23):  "At the opening of every new session of the UNGA it is customary for the Secretary-General to address the delegates....  Aside from the Secretary-General, whose time is not restricted, about the only other leader given carte blanche is the president of the U.S., who usually follows the Secretary-General.  What an interesting contrast in world views were presented to the gathered assembly....  Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed the view...that those who enforce the laws must be expected to abide by them, which was seen as a none-too-subtle reference to the present American administration's view that laws are for everyone to follow, but themselves (having been observed to cast aside the Geneva conventions regarding prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq). Following on from Annan's recent comments about the war in Iraq being 'illegal' there can be little doubt that in the eyes of many Americans, doubtless including the Bush administration, Annan is gradually losing favour.  Quite contrary to Annan's point of view was the address by American President George W. Bush. He took many delegates by surprise by claiming the war in Iraq is being won--most observers would disagree on that. Bush also admitted there had been mistakes in Iraq--most observers would agree to that. And then named the clincher, a turnabout from his address to the assembly last year when he implied they were toothless. Bush called upon fellow members to join in and help the US help Iraq--nearly all members felt disinclined over that."  


 "Losing On World Stage"


The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf Today opined (9/23):  "The opening of the UNGA presented a perfect occasion for U.S. President George W. Bush to win back at least some degree of credibility and respectability in front of the world by accepting the reality around him. But Bush sunk the opportunity without a trace in a flood of stale repetitions. The person whom the world listened to on the day was not the head of the world's sole superpower, but the head of the world body--UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. While Bush defended American deception, Annan talked bare truths....  It would have been too presumptuous to expect Bush to come to the UN and own up all that has gone wrong in Iraq and elsewhere because of his administration's failed visions. Nevertheless, the world expected him to at least accept the realities in Iraq, where death and destruction go unhindered and a nation lies shattered beyond recognition. Instead, Bush shocked everyone by insisting that all is going to be well with the world and peace and stability will soon return to Iraq....  What shocked most was the way Bush treated the world stage as his election platform....  There was no mention of the growing uncertainty in Iraq, the disgraceful abuse of Iraqis by American soldiers....  On the very same platform last year Bush ridiculed the UN by declaring that the U.S. has the right to do what it thinks is right without listening to what the world body had to say....  Annan's opening speech was in sharp contrast to Bush's self-congratulation spree....  Annan had never sounded so harsh before....  But, the man who everyone thought would answer at least some of the issues that were raised disappointed them by ignoring the issues altogether and picking on what was most convenient to him."




PHILIPPINES: "The Sad Truth, And Half-turths"


The editorial of the independent Philippine Daily Inquirer stated (9/26):  "Last week, at the annual opening of the U.N. General Assembly,...Bush presented a campaigner's vision of a free and democratic Iraq...suggesting that Iraq is well on its way to becoming a shining example of democracy in action.  The sad truth is, Iraq today is capable only of inspiring fear: fear that American stubbornness and stupidity will make a volatile Middle East even more unstable, and terror-sticken nations even more unsafe....  Iraq is descending into chaos -- and nations as a consequence are less secure....  Bush also finessed the reason for invading Iraq in the first place.  There are only two of three brief mentions of weapons of mass destruction.  But the destruction of the hated Saddam regime is played up for paragraphs on end.... The result of American unilateralism, of going it alone with a few token allies, is Bush's pathetic half-truth: The United States did find more evidence of Saddam's cruelty, but not a single evidence of any WMD.  Now half-truths are useful lies; they are a diplomat's stock in trade.  That is partly why Bush's speech at the United Nations met a cold reception.  He was lying through his teeth, before an audience familiar with both his lies and the conventions of lying.  They saw through him."


"Directed To The U.S. Electorate"


Luis Teodoro wrote in his column in the liberal Today (9/25):  "To make it appear that U.S. intervention is and would be a force for freedom, the Bush speech painted a picture in Afghanistan and Iraq contrary to the perceptions of many of the world's peoples and the experience of independent and observers and journalists....  As far as his audience -- the leaders and representatives of countries, many of whose populations oppose the U.S. policy of preemptive war -- was concerned, Bush might as well have been talking about another planet....  His address was obviously directed to the U.S. electorate, which will go to the polls on November 2....  To further convince the electorate to reelect him, Bush used the U.N. as a forum to once more argue for regime change in 'failed states that harbor terrorists.''"


THAILAND: “All Must Respect The Rule Of Law”


The lead editorial in the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English language Bangkok Post read (9/24): “Thailand must respond to the United Nations secretary-general's call on the international community to restore respect for the rule of law at home and abroad. Though Kofi Annan did not single out this country, the government could do with reminding of the need for redress.... Mr. Annan's emphasis on respect for the rule of law at home and abroad is seen as largely directed at the United States....  The accents on the rule of law and reform resonate in a world of protracted conflicts and fierce competition.  Mr Annan holds that progress on the rule of law ultimately depends on our collective conscience.  The same could be said of reform of an organization that needs moral and actual clout.”




PAKISTAN:  "President Bush’s ‘Trend Setting’ Address To The UNGA"


An editorial in Lahore-based independent Urdu-language Din read (9/23):  "In his trend setting address to the General Assembly’s 59th session, President Bush once again made a futile attempt to defend the Anglo-American war on Iraq and convince the international community.  However, in the same address he has, for the first time, asked Israel to stop work on new Jewish settlements and to demolish those built unlawfully. This statement is being termed as a small U.S. effort to win over the hearts of the Muslim world as Israel has never been addressed like this by any U.S. administration at the UN forum....  For the success of its campaign against terror--in which the U.S. seeks Islamic states’ support and participation--it is necessary that cooperation be mutual.  Expecting support from Muslim countries but not doing the same in return will not prove fruitful."


"Bush’s Empty Words"


The center-right national English-language Nation asserted (9/23):  "Bush’s discourse was devoid of conviction and replete with general statements that sound hollow in the context they were made and principles that stand in sharp contrast to what his administration was doing on the ground.  Would not the remark, 'dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace' recoil on the hawkish Washington?....  Annan was right in refusing to endorse the U.S. invasion of Iraq without the obligatory authority of the UNSC....  His stress on maintaining the rule of law was a clear indictment of the Bush administration, which would like to be free of such constraints, following a law that serves its purpose and disregarding another that does not suit it."


"Bush Defends Iraq Invasion"


An editorial in the English language Daily Times (9/22):  "President Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq in a speech on Tuesday to the United Nations, urging the world community to turn its attention to the fighting the war on terrorism and humanitarian concerns.  He told a subdued UN General Assembly session that the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein delivered the Iraqi people from 'an outlawed dictator.'  Two years after he told the world body that Iraq was a 'grave and gathering danger' and challenged delegates to live up to their responsibility. He urged the world community to 'fight radicalism and terror with justice and dignity.'  Bush said that terrorists believe that 'suicide and murder are justified....  And they act on their beliefs.' “This month in Beslan, we saw once again how the terrorists measure their success in the deaths of the innocent and in the pain of grieving families,'  the president said.  'The Russian children did nothing to deserve such awful suffering.'





SOUTH AFRICA:  "Another Wasted Opportunity"


The centrist Cape Times observed (9/23):  "Bush failed to seize the opportunity at the repair relations with the rest of the international community.  He pointedly failed to express any contrition for going almost single handedly into Iraq last year....  The Middle Eastern country is perilously close to descending into anarchy.  Bush...insists...'We are winning’....  But Annan was having none of that....  It was gratifying to see the UN so boldly declaring its intention to reclaim its status and authority as the authentic representative of the international community....  The U.S., and particularly Bush, needs to recognize this.  Being the sole superpower does not entitle it to disregard the views of the rest of the world and behave like a playground bully.  It is that arrogance that plunged it into an ugly war in Iraq, and which turned the world into a far more dangerous and polarized place....  The UN still has a central role to play in world affairs.  It is within the U.S. power to assist that process.  Will it make the right choice this time?”


"Nations Not United"


Balanced Business Day stated (9/23):  "Annan made an impassioned speech....  Where Annan was beseeching and anguished, Bush was buoyant and hopeful.  Where Annan was scolding and forlorn, Bush was unperturbed and confident....  The U.S.’ position as the only remaining superpower has inured it from criticism and introspection.  Far from dealing with the problem Bush gives the impression of a person who fails to notice there actually is one.  The instability in Iraq and Afghanistan may be passing events, but then again they many not.  In either case, ignoring the problem must be hugely dangerous....  The only solution is to convince the U.S. that adhering to international law is in its own interest....  If the U.S. continues to hold prisoners for years on end without trial and to abuse those prisoners it does hold legally, it cannot hope to shift global public opinion in its favor.  If the U.S. is going to support international conventions in only a vague and general sort of way, it will ultimately lose the ‘war on terror.’  It is as simple as that.”


"Bush At The UN"


Afrikaans-language centrist Beeld remarked (9/23):  "Instead of delivering an intelligent contribution to the debate over the future of the UN President...Bush decided to make a hard-line election speech in front of the UN....  The American president has knowingly fallen into a rut by reducing the complex world in which we live to a very simple formula--to actually view each situation through ‘terror tinted glasses.’  It would have been unrealistic to expect that Bush would recognize his Iraqi mistake shortly before the election, but, in this regard, there was all except modesty in his speech." 


NIGERIA:  "The Challenge Facing America"


Olu Obafemi commented in the Lagos-based independent tabloid Daily Sun (9/23):  "In the face of America's self-righteous, grand-standing definition of terrorism, the issue of equity and justice as precondition for democracy becomes the challenge America faces in the 21st Century.  The challenge therefore is to revisit the perception of democracy, global peace and economic progress through a balance of diplomatic, educational, legalistic and ideological re-assessment of the relationship of America with the rest of the world, especially the Third World, where terrorism seems to have been conveniently zoned.  The question of poverty, disease, ignorance and the general living condition of people across the world requires greater attention from those who would lead the world, rather than a selective disbursement of state-sponsored terror as a way of quelling terrorism."




CANADA:  "What President Bush Didn't Say To The UN"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (9/22): "U.S. President George W. Bush was on his best behaviour yesterday before the United Nations General Assembly. The UN, he said, was a wonderful organization involved in good works. The U.S. and the UN, he said, share the goals of freedom and the promotion of human rights. He was there to ask for help. Although he touched on several points - AIDS, the murderous campaign in Sudan - his mind was on Iraq. He was there to justify the invasion of that country - the removal of a brutal dictator, the prospect of liberty for Iraq's people - and to request more assistance in rebuilding the nation.... There is no question that rebuilding Iraq is crucial -- both for Iraqis and for the region. Similarly, there is no question that, by charging into Iraq without a postwar strategy, the United States found itself in a shooting gallery from which there is no clear exit.... The administration is compromised by its rigid certainties. It continues to shrug off the news that Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda weren't in league.... [T]he world has a great stake in seeing that Iraq does not collapse and that Iraqis live to enjoy the freedom so long denied them. But UN delegates may be forgiven for listening to Mr. Bush's ringing words with the wish that a more thoughtful leader were delivering them."



"Kerry's Iraq Blast Fires Up U.S. Race"


The liberal Toronto Star remarked (Internet version, 9/22):  "U.S. President George Bush pulled no punches at the United Nations yesterday.  He defended his war on Iraq as a blow to an 'outlaw regime' and terror.  He implicitly rebuked the UN for going easy on Saddam Hussein.  And he assured anxious Americans that 'freedom is finding a way' in the war-torn country, amid the terror bombs, grisly beheadings and gunfire.  And if the General Assembly reacted with stony silence to Bush's appeal to stay the course in a war that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan deems illegal, it scarcely mattered.  Bush was pitching over their heads to a domestic American electorate that had heard Sen. John Kerry a day earlier savage Bush's leadership, and credibility.  Bush's hope of re-election rides on blunting Kerry's attack before it does Bush real harm with voters who have good reason to question his handling of the Iraq file."


"Bush Is Right On Terror"


The conservative tabloid Toronto Sun had this to say (Internet version, 9/22):  "When it comes to fighting global terrorism, George Bush has it right.  As the American president told the UN General Assembly yesterday, terrorists must be fought and not appeased....  You'd think this would be a given, but, unfortunately, asking the UN to fight terrorism is like asking wolves to guard the chicken coop.  Too many of the UN's 190 member states either turn a blind eye to terrorism, blame the U.S. for it, or, worst of all, are sponsors of terrorism themselves....  Like Bush, we believe there is no way to reason with a mind that can launch a 9/11, or bomb, shoot, kidnap and behead civilians.  Or, kill schoolchildren, as he noted in invoking the horror of the slaughter in Beslan, Russia....  At a time when the question of whether certain groups and individuals should be described as 'terrorists' as opposed to 'insurgents' or some other euphemism inspires endless navel-gazing in the media, including (especially?) in Canada, Bush is refreshingly blunt....  We're not arguing that the history of U.S. intervention in the Mideast (along with that of many other countries) has been spotless, or that it can never be revisited.   But we think it's absurd to argue that people who murder civilians with the goal of establishing hardline religious theocracies modeled on the late Taliban regime in Afghanistan, can ever, or should ever, be appeased.   Which is why Bush is right on terrorism, Iraq or no Iraq."


"The World Has Been Put On Hold"


Editorialist Mario Roy wrote in the centrist La Presse (9/22): "Less than two hours after the opening of the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, it became clear: the sole subject that each person on this planet had in mind - except Darfur, maybe - was and continues to be Iraq. It was also clear that from now until November 2, the day of the American presidential election, nothing is going to move.  No opinion is going to evolve.  Neither on the side of Secretary General Kofi Annan and the European 'camp of peace.' Nor in that of the American administration, with George W. Bush remaining anchored in his certitudes.  The world has been literally put on hold....   The violence in Mesopotamia has clearly gone beyond the level of resistance or guerilla revenge to enter in what must be seen as the start of a bona fide civil war. In short, a full-scale nightmare. Exactly what the CIA predicted, in a memo presented to the White House in July as one of three possible scenarios: the worst, the scenario of catastrophe.... In fact, is it a coincidence that Mr. Bush introduced a new word yesterday in the idyllic description he always draws of a now democratic Iraq? Indeed, this time the President talked about a 'federal' state. This could be the sign of a new awareness that the country may not survive intact the shock treatment that has been inflicted upon it for the past 18 months."


"If UN Can't Keep Peace, Who can?" 


Under the sub-heading, "Relying on the United States to be the world's policeman doesn't serve the world or the U.S.," the middle-of-the-road Times Colonist of Victoria remarked (9/21): "Without any representation of the Islamic community on the Security Council, it's not surprising that many in the Muslim world feel no compulsion to take orders from the UN. So how does the world deal with states that are manufacturing what might become weapons of mass destruction? How does it deal with intransigent governments that condone, or promote, genocide? And how does it restore peace where nations that have intervened have become bogged down in a war with no end in prospect? The brave answer sought by Annan is to rebuild the UN's ability to respond effectively and with the force of international law behind it.  Last week, the secretary general came right out and said what he has been careful to avoid saying since the invasion of Iraq -- that it was illegal under the UN charter.  Annan's that no invasion should have taken place without the sanction of the Security Council..... Relying on the U.S. to do what the UN was meant to do is criticized by those who believe it is not in the interests of internationalism. It is also criticized by Americans who believe it's not in the national interest. Somehow, the interests of humanity itself are forgotten. That's what the world leaders should be talking about in New York this week."


ARGENTINA:  "A Strategic Move"


Eleonora Gosman, leading Clarin Sau Paulo-based correspondent, observed (9/23):  "During his last meeting with journalists before returning to Brasilia, Foreign Minister Amorim reiterated in New York what President Lula said: 'We have a strategic alliance with Argentina.' He said this in response to a question regarding the possible reaction of the governments of Argentina and Mexico at Brazil's joint initiative with Germany, Japan and India to launch their mutual support initiative in search of permanent seats at the UN Security Council. With his declaration, Amorim confirmed a political certainty. The decision to build G-4 is a prerogative of the Lula administration, and it has nothing to do with the relationship between Brazil and Argentina... said a qualified diplomatic source. Brazil will allegedly support the rotational presidency of Argentina at the Council.... Brazil is aware that democratizing the UN isn't a task you can accomplish overnight. But it's also true that diplomacy and the Lula administration follow a key principle: the present political issues that will be the seed for tomorrow's results. After the war in Iraq, the expansion of the UN may eventually strengthen Brazil's position in favor of peace.  This is the thesis defended by Brazil and, following that principle, it has already received endorsement from France, Russia and China, plus that of Great Britain."


"Bush Asks For More Support From The UN" 


Alberto Armendariz, New York-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (9/22) "In the opening ceremony of the UN General Assembly debate, President George W. Bush defended the war in Iraq and called the 191 members of the UN to help in the reconstruction and security of the country while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan condemned the abuses from U.S. troops and, in veiled criticism of the U.S. foreign policy, warned that 'no one is beyond the law'.... The duel of words at the UN General Assembly podium took place one week after Annan termed of 'illegal' the U.S. attack against Iraq, which unleashed an irate reaction from the members of the Bush administration and the governments that joined the campaign aimed at overthrowing the strong man of Baghdad. Yesterday, the head of the White House not only did not apologize for having invaded Iraq without the UNSC's approval and with the excuse that Baghdad had WMD - which were never found - but also defended his action and called all countries to cooperate in the fight on terrorism and in 'the advance of rights.'"


BRAZIL:  "Half Truths"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (9/23): "George W. Bush's speech at the UN, the main purpose of which was to defend his foreign policy, contained various untruths in regards to U.S. recent military actions and their consequences.... When he maintained that freedom is finding its way in Iraq, Bush omitted the fact that chaos is prevailing in all vital sectors of the Iraqi society.... Bush failed to mention the fact that rejection to U.S. policies has never been so high throughout the world, as recent polls have shown. It is natural that the president defends his policies, especially in an electoral period. But we have to recognize that Bush is abusing his right to change the truth."


"Good Performance In The UN"


An editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo opined (9/23): "The world will be a better place to live in when a U.S. president reads in the UN a speech like the one the Brazilian chief of government addressed to the UNGA opening session. Principally because he would display the active adherence of the world's most powerful nation to a joint project aimed at changing the current unfair international economic relations. This, for the time being, is little more than a chimera, as one can deduct from Washington's glacial reaction to the initiative by Brazil, France, Spain and Chile for the creation of a world fund to fight hunger and absolute poverty."


"Urgent Debate"


Independent Jornal do Brasil editorialized (9/22):  ”Even though it walked the diffuse frontier separating good intentions from the obstinate and risky attempt to delineate the image of leader of world leader of poor countries, President Lula’s speech at the UN General Assembly stressed a fundamental agenda for world peace, democracy and social justice....  The asymmetric outcomes of social growth and the excessively timid reduction of hunger and disease indicators, when added to the appearance of successive conflicts, confirm the current limitations of institutions such as the U.N., the IMF and the World Bank, among others....   [S]ociety has dramatically changed (since the UN’s foundation) and the community of nations today is very different. Just take a look at the innumerous never fulfilled Resolutions or those voted for merely by domestic motivations of some of its main member-countries.… There are a great many analyses reaffirming the economic, social inefficiency – especially for the poor countries – of the (economic) patterns suggested by the IMF.  Therefore, President Lula’s call for a change is not unfounded.…  Although the mistakes of such institutions are utilized by bad rulers to justify their domestic failures, it is convenient to stimulate the debate.”


CHILE:  "Attack On Poverty"


Government-owned, editorially independent La Nacion (9/22):  “’Hunger kills 24,000 people a day and 11 children die every minute,’ said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the inauguration of the Summit on Hunger and Poverty....  In fact, hunger and poverty are the real weapons of mass destruction of our times.  A billion people worldwide survive on less than a dollar a day and millions of children die from lack of health care, water, housing, and food.... The summit concluded with a statement signed by 113 countries.... To realize the demands in the statement, industrialized nations must firmly commit to help those regions of the planet in dire need.  This is about globalizing solidarity, which calls for consistency in upholding democratic values, social justice, and development.” 


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