September 27, 2004
BUSH UNGA SPEECH: 'ELECTIONEERING' ON THE WORLD STAGE
media find Bush's unwavering optimism in the face of "chaos" in Iraq
Critics accuse the president of using UNGA "as a forum for
many, Bush missed an opportunity to end international "bitterness"
over the Iraq war.
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 opportunity...in a flood of stale
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)
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.
"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 right...to 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
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
"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
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."
"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."
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
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
"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."
"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."
"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.”
"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
"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
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.”
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."
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
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
"'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
"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."
"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.”
"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
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."
"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
"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
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
"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
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.”
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
team...in 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
The centrist Cape Times observed (9/23): "Bush failed to seize the opportunity at
the UNGA...to 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."
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."
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
"If UN Can't Keep Peace, Who
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 point...is 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."
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.'"
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."
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.”
"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.”