February 11, 2005
U.S. AND EUROPE 'ON SPEAKING TERMS' AGAIN AFTER RICE VISIT
** Rice made a "serious" bid to renew transatlantic cooperation during her European trip.
** Though Europeans are eager for rapprochement, media caution against "euphoria."
** "Fundamental" differences of approach remain over vexatious issues like Iran, China, ICC.
** Spanish papers blame Zapatero, Bush for Madrid's "exclusion" from trip.
Rice 'arrived with an olive branch'-- European dailies applauded the "clearly visible" intent of Secretary of State Rice to help mend the "crack in the transatlantic alliance" by "demonstratively" reaching out to European partners. France's left-of-center Liberation judged that Rice had not hit "a single false note" in her major speech in Paris, while a commentator for state-run France Inter radio concluded that "the very fact" that she chose to deliver it in Paris indicated "a desire to renew" ties with "Old Europe." An independent British paper, citing common global interests, saw an opportunity for the U.S. and EU "to bury their bitter acrimony over Iraq."
New wine in an old bottle?-- While mostly agreeing that Washington is "obviously...serious about its plan to repair the alliance," editorialists remained cautious and counseled against "euphoria over the future of transatlantic relations." Many, like the Netherlands' left-of-center Trouw, noted that "one swallow doesn't make a summer" and wanted assurances that Rice's "charm offensive" marked a "real change" in U.S. policies towards greater multilateralism and not merely a rhetorical, "tactical adjustment" by Washington. Some outlets expressed concern that Rice's "nice words" disguised a still-hawkish, "moralizing" U.S. foreign policy; after the Iraq war, "European suspicion runs deep."
'A deepening rift in values'-- After playing "her soft music" in Paris, observers said, Rice "went on the offensive" at NATO over Iran, Iraq and EU policy on arms sales to China, leaving "no doubts" the U.S. won't change policy "on decisive points." The list of contentious issues between the U.S. and Europe, noted Germany's center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine, "remains as long as it was before the secretary arrived." A French weekly complained that Rice "had barely landed in Europe" when she "launched into a violent diatribe against Iran just at a time" when Europeans are trying to negotiate with Tehran. Problems between the allies "were temporarily swept under the red carpet," said a Slovenian writer, but "the unresolved issues may sooner or later resurface and darken the sky above the Atlantic."
Spain pines, Turkey frets-- Spanish papers found it "significant" that Rice did not have time during her "long voyage" to visit Madrid; independent El Mundo called it "definite proof of the bad relations between Madrid and Washington." Editorials blamed Prime Minister Zapatero's "tactical mistakes" and Bush's "inflexibility" for Spain "being excluded" from the kind of "reconciliation" offered Paris and Berlin. Turkish analysts opined after Rice's visit that the U.S. was trying to "rebuild trust" with Turkey but fretted that Washington would make difficult "demands" of the country in pursuit of "its radical policies in the Middle East."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
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 82 reports from 25 countries February 5 - 11, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Hard Foreign Policy Choices Will Test Rice's Soft Words"
Philip Stephens commented in the independent Financial Times (2/11): "For all Ms. Rice's soothing words about the roles of the United Nations, NATO and the EU, she has been careful also to emphasize the utility of coalitions of the willing.... Iran, China, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and North Korea will all test Ms. Rice's optimism in coming months. When people want things to go well they generally go well, one shrewd European diplomat said of the past week. That should hold for Mr. Bush's visit to Brussels in 10 days' time. But the old Atlantic alliance of the cold war has passed into history. It will take more than words to build a new one."
"Rice Wows Europe -- But Charm Offensive Can't Hide Hardline"
Simon Tisdall opined in the left-of-center Guardian (2/10): "In a few breathless days, Condoleezza Rice became the Bette Davis of diplomacy. If this was a charm offensive, or what one official called a 'hug campaign', it worked a treat. After a long, trying estrangement, Europe felt loved again.... But her statements on key issues were strictly conformist, following well-worn first-term White House positions. If she has her own policy ideas, she kept them to herself."
"America Will Not Heal The Wounds With Europe Until It Accepts Some Home Truths"
The center-left Independent editorialized (2/9): "Throughout her speech, she perpetuated a strand of dishonesty that has permeated much U.S. (and some British) discourse about Iraq. We heard Ms. Rice, for instance, conflating the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq as though they were fundamentally one and the same. We heard her list Iraq and Afghanistan in a long line of popular democratic uprisings that included the civil rights movement in the U.S. and Lech Walesa's stand."
"U.S. Challenge To Europe"
The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (2/9): "In extending the hand of cooperation, the Secretary of State left no doubt about the magnitude of the task ahead. Comparing the terrorist threat to that faced by the West from Communism in the Cold War, she said that, while we had to deal with the world as it is, we did not have to accept it as it is. That was a direct challenge from an administration that believes in the transforming power of freedom to countries that appear to have lost their appetite for radical change. Miss Rice was gracious both in her prepared text and in answering questions, but it was clear that America would not be deterred from pursuing its goals, were her challenge to remain unanswered."
"Rice Reaches Out To Europe"
The independent Financial Times argued (2/9): "The invitation to partnership, to be sure, is an offer to join the U.S. in pursuing an agenda George W. Bush has already defined: the so-called 'forward strategy of freedom.' This strategy--reprised in the president's inaugural address--holds that the spread of democratic rights and economic opportunities is the best way to combat terrorism. Yet, as Tony Blair, UK prime minister, points out, there is no reason why European progressives should be hostile to this goal simply because it emanates from a right-wing U.S. administration."
"Teeth And Smiles"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (2/7): "President Bush's second term and Ms. Rice's new job offer the U.S. and EU a chance to bury their bitter acrimony over Iraq. Both have an interest now in seeking to maximize common ground on the world's trouble-spots through dialogue rather than glossing over their differences or, worse, resorting once more to unilateral acts."
"Behind The Smiles"
The conservative Times took this view (2/5): "The issue that concerned many EU leaders before Dr. Rice's arrival is how Washington intends to proceed towards Iran. To those given to selective interpretation, a U.S. army march on Tehran is now inevitable.... It is, though, nonsense to suggest that the U.S. is about to launch a war and unfair to pretend that it is not in dialogue with EU political leaders. Whether listening works both ways is another matter."
"Term Of Peace"
The center-left tabloid Daily Mirror judged (2/5): "[The] new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was in London yesterday at the start of a bridge-building exercise in Europe. As part of that she insisted there would be no attack on Iran. Though she qualified it by implying that the situation might change. It is true that appeasement always ends in disaster. But, as we are seeing in Iraq, so does unthinking, over-heavy military reaction."
FRANCE: "Condoleezza And Democracy"
Justin Vaisse observed in left-of-center Le Monde (Internet version, 2/11): "Condoleezza Rice delivered her speech at Sciences-Po.... Transatlantic reconciliation, cooperation, a new chapter in Franco-American relations, the past forgotten.... Yet even so the past, and the implicit criticisms it conveys, was not completely absent.... That is because its central theme, establishing a transatlantic partnership to promote democracy based on our shared values, also sounded as a subtle criticism of France. The overthrow of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, then the massive democratic mobilization of the Iraqis braving attacks on 30 January to go vote: is that what France wanted to prevent in 2003? However, it would be wrong to dwell on this aspect...because the secretary of state raised genuine questions.... She recalled that the United States and France, more than other nations, have inherited from the Enlightenment the faith in freedom and the universalism of democracy. The methods of the Bush administration can be questioned, but the neoconservative creed that democracy is for all peoples and all religions, is also ours.... To be sure, Condi Rice's speech, any more than that of Bush on 20 January for the inauguration of his second term, is not a realistic program of foreign policy. The American political and strategic interests will always thwart the cause of democracy. Yes, America must rely on nondemocratic allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, for example, to fight terrorism. But this dilemma is also ours: these doubtful allies are also France's, and we know by heart these choices of the lesser evil, these compromises that must be concluded with some of our close friends like Tunisia or Egypt. As a result, the real question is rather: what are the best policies to promote freedom? Condi Rice has laid out the American vision. It is up to us Europeans, and perhaps more particularly us French, to more clearly state our vision of the promotion of democracy, to be faithful to our ideals and more effective in the transatlantic framework."
"Condi Rice: The Charm Number"
Olivier Weber contended in right-of-center weekly Le Point (Internet version, 2/11): "The Bush II doctrine is...a subtle mix of encouragement for aspirations to freedom and interventionism.... In this American-version train of history, Paris is invited to play, alongside the United States, a role of locomotive. It is up to France to impose its own speed, and part of the itinerary. Of course, this outstretched hand comes at a time when Washington is seeking to get out of the Iraqi quagmire with its head held high by heavily arming the forces of Iyad Allawi, its Baghdad protégé, while the toll of...attacks continues to rise. The misunderstandings and tiffs of yesterday, in the eyes of the White House, are all the more superfluous.... The Bush-version crusade for freedom is not yet seen in the same terms in Paris. That being said, there is a genuine opportunity to write a new chapter. Paris has sometimes seen a unilateralist desire in the American crusade for democracy. This time, Condoleezza Rice preferred to speak of a new partnership. And of future fruits. The harvest, the head of American diplomacy promised, will be abundant. Under the aegis of Washington."
"A Magisterial Lecture"
Bruno Frappat judged in Catholic La Croix (2/10): “A magisterial lecture is useful only if it is followed by a practical session. This goes for Secretary Rice’s speech at Science Po...where she developed President Bush’s messianic doctrine.... The principle is freedom. The tool: partnerships.... But the absolute principle fails when geographical variables are practiced: tyranny in Iran, but not in Libya? Tyranny in Syria, but not in China?... America’s strategic doctrine is the exact opposite of the UN’s universalism and multilateralism, with alliances built ‘a la carte.’ At times it will be a large alliance, at others a restricted circle, depending on the situation and the interests at stake. This is the prerogative of the mighty: to call on the others only when they cannot do otherwise. American-style partnership has two pillars: the conviction of being right and the knowledge it is all-powerful. The partners have a choice between being obedient or pretending to protest. A great lecture indeed.”
"Pressure On The Europeans"
Alexandrine Bouilhet argued in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/10): “After playing her soft music in Paris, America’s chief of diplomacy went on the offensive in Brussels...raising issues of dissension such as Iran, Iraq and the embargo against China. Washington thinks that on these three issues Europe is too soft, too complaisant, in short not aggressive enough. Her comments about Iran are a severe lesson in diplomacy addressed to France, Great Britain and Germany.... Later, Secretary Rice voiced Washington’s concerns about the lifting of the embargo against China.... She pressured the EU, reminding its members that the lifting of the embargo was 'very ill-perceived' by the U.S. and Japan.... But in spite of the pressure, the EU is ready to go ahead (with lifting the embargo) after President Bush’s trip.”
Patrick Sabatier argued in left-of-center Liberation (2/9): “Condi Rice, the noted concert artist, performed her European diplomatic gala without a single false note. From ‘a new chapter’ to America’s desire of ‘a strong Europe,’ she played all the scales.... But as they say in America, ‘she talks the talk, but will she walk the walk?’ There is no doubt that her boss, President Bush, has set as his second term's priority the need to repair the diplomatic china he broke during his first term. Nevertheless, we can wonder whether he has really converted to multilateralism and dialogue, or if instead he has just made a tactical adjustment born out of his difficulties in Iraq. The quality of ‘the new chapter’ announced by Secretary Rice will be tested by U.S. actions in the Middle East and elsewhere, Iran, Kyoto, China, where Europeans and Americans differ.... We must not forget that if Secretary Rice took, in Paris, the appearance of a dove, she also knows how to fly among the hawks.”
"In The Name Of Reconciliation?"
Thomas de Rochechouart opined in right-of-center France Soir (2/9): “The tension born from the war in Iraq and the Boeing-Airbus confrontation has been forgotten.... The single word Secretary Rice likes to repeat is ‘reconciliation.’ The deterioration in Iraq seems to have convinced Washington that the world’s number one power cannot do without its allies.... President Bush’s desire to achieve a democratic Greater Middle East seems stronger than ever. This cannot be done without Europe’s, and therefore France’s support.... And so we wonder: is Secretary Rice’s visit a true reunion or a false reconciliation? One thing is certain, this visit has helped to lessen the tension.”
"Rebuilding A Relationship"
Michel Schifres concluded in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/9): “For once we will all applaud the staging. Secretary Rice’s reconciliation show is most welcome. The fact that Franco-American relations are ‘making a new start’ as FM Barnier said can only be music to everyone’s ears.... Especially to those who would like to see an end to murderous little phrases. Both sides needed to bend a little to end a quarrel that could only bring unpleasantness.... Times have indeed changed: Secretary Rice no longer believes in ‘punishing France.... 'Between the U.S. and Europe she sees only ‘a shared future'.... Working together to re-enforce transatlantic ties, opening a new chapter in the Euro-American alliance are today’s agenda. The change is real and the progress so major that the warming of relations appears to be a priority for the second Bush administration.... Just as President Bush needed no one to go to war, he needs his allies to achieve peace. But he has in no way decided to amend his policy. There was in his inaugural speech and in Secretary Rice’s policy remarks that same messianic approach.... The best possible example of renewed transatlantic ties would be if in the Middle East both the U.S. and Europe were to weigh in with their own individual allies to achieve peace. More than a speech, this would rebuild a relationship.”
"Turning The Page"
Jules Clauwaert wrote in regional Nord Éclair (2/9): “The young America just reminded old Europe, tempted to forget its past and its duties, that the fight for the rights of individuals and of peoples is never finished. It was won by the West, at the end of the Cold War, because citizens took the lead in the revolt--in Gdansk, in Berlin, and elsewhere.... The message from America is clear.... If there have been differences over Iraq between the U.S. and what George W. Bush now calls ‘our European friends,’ it is necessary to forget them quickly and to turn the page.”
"The Same Policy, But With Intelligence"
Jean-Claude Kiefer stated in regional Les Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace (2/9): “Even the most reluctant (of America’s allies) would be hard pressed to refuse (further alliance) at the risk of being marginalized. For Paris, which harbors some geopolitical aspirations, to be so isolated would be a nightmare.”
Gerard Dupuy maintained in left-of-center Liberation (2/7): “Reality, as sad as it has often been of late, has had a great part to play in putting the pieces of the transatlantic relationship back together. The intervention in Iraq may not have turned out exactly as the Americans had hoped...but the success of the elections has served to convince the staunchest anti-Bush Europeans, starting with the French, that their boycott of the process was in vain.... But even if the family feud ends, we should guard ourselves from sentimentality after having been over-dramatic for so long.... A smiling Miss Rice will be in Paris like a dove of peace...but was there ever really a war between us?”
Bernard Guetta told listeners on state-run France Inter radio (2/7): “The very fact that [Rice] chose Paris for this speech marks a desire to renew with 'Old Europe'.... Indeed, the relationship between Europe and the U.S. is also evolving.... Even if the U.S. has not adopted the idea of multilateralism, it has come to the realization that it has never been so unpopular as today...and not just in the Arab world.... America’s image has suffered and its image is as important as its military might. George W. Bush has decided to soften the edges and hold out a conciliatory hand.”
"Its Your Turn At Bat, Ms. Rice"
Gilles Delafon editorialized in the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (2/6): “Tuesday, Condoleezza Rice will be in France and she has chosen Paris to give the key speech of her trip. We can but praise this desire to communicate, even if fundamentally, there are still a number of issues to settle.... France and Europe now have to seize the hand that is being held out to them.... Unfortunately, old habits die hard. She had barely landed in Europe when Condoleezza Rice launched into a violent diatribe against Iran just at a time when London, Paris and Berlin are attempting to negotiate with Tehran to put a stop to its nuclear program.... Ms. Rice will have to choose between the efficiency of realpolitik and haphazard ideology. Because of her privileged relationship with George Bush, she has all of the cards in her hand.”
"The Pianist Of Bush 2"
Jean-Claude Kiefer concluded in regional daily Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace (2/7): “As for the relationship with 'Old Europe,' the EU is not in a position to challenge American leadership but would simply appreciate it being more discreet, more respectful and...friendlier. This is the not-so-subliminal message that Berlin, Paris and even Ankara are trying to pass on to Condoleezza Rice, and by extension to George W. Bush."
GERMANY: "The [New] Chapter"
Jasper von Altenbockum opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/10): "The new chapter on transatlantic relations may carry new names, but we cannot read too much in it.... The file of covered, open, and circumvented bones of contention remains as long as it was before the secretary arrived. It ranges from Kyoto...to Iraq. Neither 'diplomatic' or multilateral declarations from America change this, nor attempts from Paris and Berlin to interpret Washington's gestures of smile as a chance of U.S. foreign policy. Even the discussions that Secretary Rice conducted in Brussels speak for a new beginning, only the old-fashioned certainty to be somehow dependent on each other, be it in Afghanistan, Kosovo or Iraq. To build a new chapter on this may result in a change of the old style. But it is exciting only because we do not yet know whether that was all."
Joachim Zeppelin opined in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (2/10): "The fact that the new U.S. secretary of state is touring Europe and offering a new partnership to the secessionist governments in Paris and Berlin is more than a gesture. Obviously Washington is serious about its plan to repair the alliance. But there are not many alternatives either.... The Rice visit offered indications that there could be a real change of policies in Washington. She demonstratively reached out to the Europeans, emphasized a joint basis of values and offered the courted partners joint formulations in international politics. Measured against the unshakable self-certainty of the past years, such phrases sound revolutionary. Obviously George W. Bush needs the Europeans to implement his plans only halfway.... But euphoria over the future of transatlantic relations would be too early. We still remember the president's ideological-missionary understanding of policy.... But the sketches of a pragmatic change in Washington are visible. This opens new chances since nothing intensifies bonds more than joint projects. If these new openness is confirmed during the Bush visit in two weeks, the Europeans should not hesitate. They should make generous offers for cooperation and set conditions in a self-confident way."
"Rice Breaks The Ice"
Business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf argued (2/10): "Two weeks before President Bush's trip to Europe, Condoleezza Rice initiated the long-expected thaw. Her appeal to the 'old Europeans' contains the clear commitment to partnership with a strong Europe. But these words must now be filled with contents. The United States must prove that it really takes Europe seriously and the EU must prove that it really fits the costume of a 'global player.'... The next test case will be Iran.... Thus far, Rice's charm offensive in Europe is a full success, but it is not enough to cut a good figure in Brussels. Only if the new secretary of state is able to assert this policy in Washington, can the thaw be a lasting thaw."
"Only One Direction"
Martin Winter had this to say in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (2/10): "The leitmotif for the U.S. rapprochement to the European critics is: let's look ahead. Secretary of State Rice suggests a 'new chapter' in relations, but what does this mean? Thus far, we only see the current predicament, which is responsible for the new U.S. direction. After the debacle in Iraq, the U.S. administration is beginning to understand the practical limits of its possibilities and to reassess the value of partnerships.... Of course, those who want to heal them should not pour salt into transatlantic wounds. But a stubborn ignorance of problems will not help either.... There will be no reconstruction of the West, about which [Foreign Minister] Joschka Fischer is dreaming, if the partners push aside their conflicts. Rice will embark on the false course if she calls upon Europeans to push aside the problems.... Those who believe that old friendships can be revived if the problems in the Mideast and Iraq have been resolved are harboring illusions. Transatlantic conflicting lines sit deeper. It is President Bush's principle approach to resolve many problems in global politics that creates so much difficulty for the Europeans. Those who have followed the secretary's 'good-mood' mission across Europe must wonder what is the substance behind the nice words? It is right that Europe must urgently do something to show that it will not continue to sulk but that is willing to improve relations, but what does America? Rice left no doubt that the United States will not change its policy in decisive points.... If Bush is really interested in a sound partnership with Europe, he must explain whether the phrase that 'Europe and the United States can build a safer world' is more than a new bottle for old wine."
"A New Beginning"
Peter Sturm judged in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/9): "Time will tell whether the discussions over Europe and America will turn into a dialogue and whether both sides will again talk more about each other. Seen from this angle, it was wise to deliver the speech in Paris. In this respect, France and the United States can take each other on any time. That is why both states should consider it an obligation to restore something like an Atlantic community. We hardly dare to remind all sides involved of the fact that it were France the United States which were the carriers of the ideas whose distribution President Bush is now calling for. But today, there is no more room for romanticism. There are differences of interests but also fundamental differences of opinion. But the way in which they are exchanged should be altered. Political, everyday life could demonstrate that this could be easy. Despite all its rhetoric about freedom, the Bush administration will not be able to act according to its principles. It is one aspect to propagate a positive goal and to meet with insurmountable obstacles in everyday life, and it is a different aspect to surround oneself with potentates of all shades in order to avoid the 'suspicion' of coming under the influence of the United States. This is a problem not only for France, but France in particular is faced with this problem, since all leaders since de Gaulle reclaim a position in the world that was no longer covered by reality even 50 years ago. A chance for a new beginning would be possible if all sides involved attested good will to the other side. In order to do this, they should accept simple truths. The enemies of freedom, and the example of the kidnapping of foreigners in Iraq are evidence of this, do not make a difference between 'good' and 'bad' people from the West. An overall agreement is in the interest of either side of the Atlantic. The one side should not attempt to give partners orders. The other must bid farewell to megalomaniacal projects like the establishment of a European 'counter power.' Unity makes strong."
"Cement For A Fragile Alliance"
Christian Wernicke opined in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/9): "America's seemingly new longing for Europe--no one but Condoleezza Rice could better orchestrate this new love story.... The nice words, the kind gestures--all this creates the impression as if George W. Bush and his allies want to revive the homely atmosphere from the past...but 9/11 then revealed how fragile the old order was.... In the meantime, both sides have realized that they need each other: the Europeans have learned that they will miserably fall apart as soon as they make a stand against the United States. And the Americans learn in Iraq that even 180,000 forces are too weak to create a 'new order' in the Middle East. Sound common interests should unite the West. And the consequence should be deeds. By February 22, when President Bush comes to Brussels, Americans and Europeans must find an understanding of what problems they want to tackle in the future, for instance, to press Israel and the Palestinians to make peace on the basis of the roadmap.... But the real test is Iran.... The fact that Secretary Rice did not mention Iran with one word in her speech in Paris is a bad omen. It would be wise if the United States and the EU together sought a peaceful way out. The region could profit from it...and nothing would be more useful for the transatlantic harmony than such a success."
Centrist Badische Zeitung of Freiburg had this to say (2/9): "Politics also mean orchestration. Who knows this better than the Americans? That is why Secretary Rice's European trip followed an ingenious plan. In Berlin, it was necessary to make clear that the United States does not consider Germany, despite its criticism of the Iraq war, as unreliable an alliance partner than France. Paris, in turn, was chosen for a keynote address. By doing so, Rice conceded France a political, leading role in the EU, but, at the same time, she recognized that Washington must gain the support of the government in Paris if it wants to breathe new life into the transatlantic partnership."
"Let Us Be Friends Again"
Christoph von Marschall opined in a front-page editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/8): "Condoleezza Rice's six-day trip across Europe and the Middle East is not a pure offensive of charm. Praise and criticism are carefully distributed. Therefore, we are well-advised not to have too much confidence in the harmony headlines of the Schroeder-Rice meeting. These headlines are to prepare George W. Bush's visit to Germany, but the mood of a nation cannot be changed so easily. According to a recent poll, 70 percent of Germans think the United States plans an attack on Iran, and it will be of no use that Rice emphasized again and again that this is the time for diplomacy. Following the Iraq experience, suspicion runs deep. For many Europeans, Bush's 'freedom' sounds like a threat to attack; they translate 'diplomacy' as a last warning, and 'not to give up all options' as the announcement of a military strike. All this reveals the fear that the world is exposed to isolated American decisions; not even the friends in Europe can exert any influence. Rice seems to have understood this, but what about the president? The chancellor will have to test it in Mainz.... But the decisive test will be Iran.... The United States, Europe and the IAEA agree on the goal: Iran should not get nuclear weapons, which it could direct against Israel. In this respect, Germany has a special responsibility.... But what would happen if Europe's efforts fail? It was not possible to coax something out of Rice and her delegation. But unlike in North Korea, UN sanctions could be effective in Iran, since the economy is internationally dependent, and the people unwilling to accept misery, provided, Russia and China do not use their right to veto [in the UNSC]. And even in this respect, Schroeder with his special relationship could help. The chancellor wants greater international responsibility? Rice made an offer."
Dietrich Alexander had this to say in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/7): "The new U.S. secretary of state does not like to lose time. Polite phrases are not her cup of tea. Condoleezza Rice's feat corresponds to her nature. Her language is committal, her judgment clear and sometimes she even lacks diplomatic restraint, which makes thinks more complicated instead of making things easier. For the old Europe she had nothing but praise and it is clearly visible that her boss in the White House plans to reactivate relations with France and Germany.... Only the sideswipe at Russia is causing some irritation.... But while Bush is trying to create the impression of giving multilateralism a greater scope of action during his second term, his secretary of state moves around in global politics with a strong, moralizing undertone. With respect to Moscow, she may be right, but it would be better to admonish others who enjoy great leniency from Washington and hide behind their own geo-strategic indispensability: for instance, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Egypt. A moralizing undertone has always created dilemmas for Washington because it cannot be kept up. In such a situation, the term 'double standards' quickly spread; it comes along with end of credibility and reputation."
Business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf noted (2/7): "Secretary of State Rice achieved her most important goal. Like a whirlwind, she swept through EU capitals and expressed everywhere Washington's willingness for closer cooperation; and she made no difference between pro- and anti-Iraq war countries. On both sides of the Atlantic all sides involved are working on filling up trenches.... But one thing became clear: Rice is the personified offensive of charm, but during each station of her trip, she made clear that the Bush administration is not willing nor does it see the need to apologize for its foreign policy over the past four years. On the contrary.... Her clear statements show the Europeans what they can expect in the coming four years. There will be a new transatlantic debate about whether democratic values should be spread with belligerent means. This will force the Europeans to go on the offensive themselves. If they want to prevent a--in their opinion--false U.S. policy, they must prove that they can be more successful with a 'more civilian' approach."
ITALY: "Tehran’s Nuclear A Thorn In Side of U.S.- EU Relations"
Martino Rigacci wrote in Rome’s center-right daily Il Tempo (2/10): “It was a trip to revive relations. However...Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Brussels confirmed that Iran’s nuclear plans might poison both George W. Bush’s upcoming European mission and, after the Iraqi rift, transatlantic relations. Tehran’s nuclear ‘dossier’ was an issue that accompanied the U.S. secretary of state’s tour in Europe all along.... Supported by France, Great Britain and Germany--as well as by EU High Representative Javier Solana--the EU is leading a tough diplomatic intervention to resolve the issue of Iran’s enriched uranium program.... The problem is that the means used to reach the objective are quite different: diplomatic means on the part of Europe, and the U.S. exerting pressure, which could even imply a military action, an option which Rice declared, ‘is not on the agenda,’ for the time being.”
"In Search Of A New Order"
Maurizio Molinari wrote in centrist, influential La Stampa (2/9): “Confident of the success obtained in Baghdad...American diplomacy is operating on a double track: it is quickly pushing the Middle East toward peace, reforms and democracy, as well as redefining NATO’s role well beyond Europe's geographical boundaries. The goal is to turn the Euro-American alliance into a laboratory for a global democratic revolution to fight tyranny, terrorism, WMD, poverty and diseases like AIDS.... America considers Europe a fundamental partner in facing responsibilities tied to the war on terrorism.... In order to meet the challenge, Europe must demonstrate that it shares with America something beyond the common interest to put aside the rifts caused by Iraq. Behind the White House’s moves is the conviction that ‘history does not make itself’--as Rice said yesterday in Paris--‘it is made by men.’ The American bet on the possibility to change the status quo is what brought about the toppling of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat’s departure and the defeat of the armed intifada.”
"If Europe Goes Back To Being The U.S.’s Indispensable Ally"
Former Ambassador to the U.S. Ferdinando Salleo contended in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (2/5): “The Iraqi adventure has made the United States realize that without Europe its plans for stabilization and democratic progress would require immense sacrifices; Europe needs to strengthen its political rapport with America as it begins to give birth to its constitution. [The agenda] for the short term includes the Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian developments, the imminent Iranian crisis, the slow and difficult exit from Iraq; North Korea and nuclear proliferation; Russia’s evolution and the stability of Central Asia. There’s certainly enough on the agenda for ‘indispensable allies’ to work together.”
"The EU Bets On A Common Atlantic Strategy"
Marta Dassù in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/5): "To European critics, Bush II is above all a fortunate man. Beginning with Arafat’s death and the Iraqi elections, he seems to have been miraculously saved: despite errors in Iraq, the Middle East is coming along.... The time has come for Europeans as a whole to bet on the potential success of an American strategy that may also become an Atlantic one.... Things should improve for Europeans: Washington seems to be giving Europe greater weight; the State Department's new team (Rice, Zoellick, Burns) is one of the best we’ve seen in years.... Europeans must understand all the implications of a world that has stopped being eurocentric. And while they wait for Bush to arrive in Brussels, they must admit to one thing: good fortune counts in foreign policy, but it must also be helped along."
"A Thaw Between EU And Bush"
Claudio Rizza observed on the front page of Rome's center-left daily Il Messaggero (2/5): “Hopes for change were never higher. Condoleezza Rice arrived in Europe with an olive branch...to pave the way for Bush’s trip in late February. Two turns of event contributed to accelerating and encouraging the process--Abu Mazen’s succession of Arafat, and the quick resumption of talks between him and Sharon.... The surprising outcome of the Iraqi elections added fuel to the desire to mend relations with Washington.... The most fervent opponents to the war in Iraq, France and Germany, understand--following Bush’s triumph in the U.S. elections--that the time has come to end the first long phase of clashes, and to begin act 2 of the post-war.... It’s no coincidence that Rice, Bush’s loyal spokesperson, will deliver her much-awaited speech in Paris. In politics, and even more so in diplomacy, these choices can count much more than a simple speech.... In one month we will know how and to what degree the rift between the U.S. and the EU was mended.”
RUSSIA: "America Turns Around To Face Europe"
Sergey Strokan held in business-oriented Kommersant (2/10): "By sending two key cabinet members to Europe on a diplomatic mission, U.S. President George Bush wants to mend the Iraq war-shattered fences before he goes overseas himself. As the Old and New Worlds are moving on converging courses, Russia is going to have to prove its commitment to the 'common values.' Rice's visit to Brussels yesterday and meeting with the French political and intellectual elite in Paris the day before attested to a desire on both sides to turn over a new leaf in their relations."
Vadim Markushin argued in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (2/10): "There was nothing new in the Rice speech. George Bush has more than once called upon his European colleagues to renew friendship. What's more, to believe George Bush, the good old days are back and the West is united again. That sounds like wishful thinking, of course, as we hear his secretary of state tell Europe what it should do for the good of all."
"Rice Quotes U.S. Founding Fathers"
Maksim Chikin wrote from Paris for reformist Vremya Novostey (2/9): "It sounded academic. Rice spoke at length about good things, democracy and freedom, and a bad one, terrorism. As she droned on, five or six times she quoted the United States' founding fathers, referring to a need to help win freedom where it is lacking so that people there can build effective societies. This is where the Europeans disagree with the Americans, rejecting their idea of forced democratization."
"Bad News For Russia"
Yuliya Petrovskaya said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2/9): "The welcome the U.S. secretary of state was accorded in Paris was warm, if not friendly. But then, President Jacques Chirac has always been courteous, even with the lady from the close circle of a president known for his 'wrong' view of the world.... The choice of Paris for Condoleezza Rice's first major foreign policy speech was not fortuitous. She urged Europe to forget differences over Iraq and join the United States in spreading democracy across the world. This is bad news for Russia, at least for its Kremlin part."
"Russia, The U.S. Are Allies"
Nataliya Ratiani and Aleksandr Chkheidze pointed out in reformist Izvestiya (2/7): "After the almost three-hour long 'light and fine' dinner, it became clear that, despite a divergence in some areas, Russia and the United States were allies in the principal ones. For the sake of future allied relations, Rice and Lavrov, just as they ate the dinner, managed to gloss over the differences on some key international and bilateral issues."
"Focus Is On Lack Of Democracy In Russia"
Yevgeniy Grigoryev wrote on the front page of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2/7): "A lack of democracy in Russia, Yukos, Ukraine and Georgia were at the top of the agenda.... As the Western media chose to focus on democracy, Russian diplomats were concerned over Washington's close attention to the CIS (NIS countries) in the first place. Based on the things emphasized by Ms. Rice, the Americans will come up with specific proposals, including the demand of a settlement in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, at the February 24 meeting between Vladimir Putin and George Bush."
"Russia Not A Top Priority"
Oleg Komotskiy opined in reformist Novyye Izvestiya (2/7): "The first foreign tour of Rice in her new capacity shows that relations with Russia are no top priority for the United States."
"Summit Unlikely To Be Friendly"
Mikhail Zygar said in business-oriented Kommersant (2/7): "As expected the meeting was tough.... The Ankara talks confirmed that the Bratislava summit will not be friendly at all, and its tone is likely to be tense."
AUSTRIA: "Double Message"
Foreign affairs editor Livia Klingl wrote in mass-circulation daily Kurier (2/10): “The official reactions to Rice’s speech were positive: Jacques Chirac spoke of a ‘constructive dialogue’ with the U.S. and niceties came also from Brussels. Behind the scenes, the statements are less friendly. To put the different interpretations in a nutshell: nothing new from the Wild West--the U.S is leading, the Europeans are supposed to march along for the sake of a good cause.... How little the actual substance of transatlantic relations has changed could be gathered from an interview Ms. Rice gave to her boss’ mouthpiece, Fox News. There, the Europeans were once again bashed for not having told Iran clearly enough that they meant business. The prompt reaction from the Europeans at the NATO meeting: more assistance in Iraq. No, thanks.”
"Soft Tone, Old Quarrel"
Independent daily Der Standard took this view (2/10): “While Washington’s tone has become softer at times, the fundamental difference of opinion with regard to politics and power in international relations that separate many of the European states from the U.S. government has remained.... The problem is this: a large number of Europeans do not even understand the ‘burden’ that Washington is urging them to take upon their shoulders. With the exception of hard-core allies like Britain’s Tony Blair and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, the Europeans are not prepared to follow the black-and-white world vision of the Republicans.... Subsequent ideological corrections, the arbitrary exchange of arguments--war against the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction yesterday, global proliferation of freedom today--this is the second flaw that impairs transatlantic relations today: a large part of Europe continues to doubt that the Bush administration is sufficiently credible.”
"Just A Curtsy"
Foreign affairs writer Friederike Leibl commented in centrist Die Presse (2/7): "It is a clever move on the part of the U.S. to begin its rapprochement with Europe with verbal disarmament. Through the U.S administration's Old Testament-like rhetoric, its rough categories of good and bad, black and white has made the people, in parts of Europe, so over-sensitive as to make it next to impossible for them to deal with the facts in an unprejudiced way. However, the foreign policy developments of the last few months are likely to have also led to a reconsideration of attitudes on both sides of the Atlantic.... This does not really change the different convictions--however, there is now a certain agreement as to the differences. This seems paradoxical only at first sight. Different opinions do not necessarily have to stand in the way of common action--if the ways of proceeding complement each other.... This possible cooperation, however, can only work if the nice words that come from across the Atlantic are not being followed again by deceptive maneuvers. Is the goal perhaps really to pacify Europe while the hawks in Washington have already begun to brood over military attack plans against Iran? The uncertainty remains. Leaving the symbolic meaning of her visit aside, Condoleezza Rice, during her European tour, made U.S. priorities clear: U.S. interests may not be neglected in the attempt to improve the relations with Europe. This comes into play in the case of the Europeans' much-criticized lift of the arms embargo against China, for instance. Here, Washington is going to pursue a hard line, Rice announced. A curtsy is by no means the same as getting on one's knees."
BELGIUM: "Condi Rice Understands Europe"
Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert wrote in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (2/11): “When Condi Rice preferred Paris over Brussels to hold her major speech she did not do that because she does not understand Europe--but because she understands it very well. By doing that she knew that she would make more diplomatic gains in France--that troublesome but important ally--than with a star performance in Brussels. As long as that is the situation, mega entrepreneurs like Bill Gates will continue to come to the Commission, but ministers and prime ministers will continue to go to the respective EU capitals. That means that the Europeans should not complain about the divide-and-rule policy of their partners. The latter simply go where the power is--European or national.”
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn remarked in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (2/11): “Nobody can deny that the evolution is positive. The elections in Iraq and the thaw in the Israeli-Palestinian relations have a positive impact on the European-American relationship. Equally important is the fact that the Americans have learnt that they need allies. Iraq has shown the limits of their power.... However, the relationship is not perfect. The Iraqi crisis has not been forgotten. That war has shown that part of Europe has its doubts about the legitimacy of America’s military power and that it does not agree with the way Washington uses it. Perhaps, Iraq did not cause a gap, but it has exposed the lines of division. What's more, a new crisis about Iran is in the air. Washington says that it will not act for the time being, but it does not have a lot of patience. That may cause a new clash because Europe--including the British--does not want a new conflict. The acute crisis with North Korea may also damage the relationship. Europe and America know that they need each other. They remain friends, but that does not mean that they want and think the same. Actually, that is not necessary either.”
"Disagreements Continue Behind Closed Doors"
U.S. affairs writer Lieve Dierckx observed in independent financial daily De Tijd (2/11): “There is no doubt that both the Europeans and the Americans want to solve the difficult international problems. However, during Rice’s visit it became clear that both parties disagree deeply on how they should deal with the dossiers. That was clear not only behind closed doors, but also in front of the cameras. First, there is the question of Iraq. The Americans want the Europeans to become more involved in this dossier by, for instance, sending troops to Iraq--so that Washington can start the withdrawal of its soldiers. However, most European countries do not want to fulfill that American desire. At maximum, they are willing to contribute their share by training Iraqi legal experts and policemen. The possible lifting of the European arms embargo against China has also caused sour remarks these last few days. The main disagreement, however, is probably caused by the Iranian question. The Europeans are trying to convince Tehran through diplomatic means to stop its uranium enrichment program. The United States prefers a much tougher approach and pleads for sanctions against Iran. The (U.S.) even does not rule out a military action in the long term.... Despite Rice’s recent efforts the water between the United States and Europe remains very deep. It is very much the question whether Bush and Rice really intended to build bridges or simply wanted to keep up the appearances.”
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: "The Lady's Initial Moves"
Edis Mesihovic had this to say in pro-SDA Jutarnje Novine (2/9): "To sum up, it is obvious that Rice's first appearance indicates that U.S. will conduct a much more aggressive policy in the diplomatic arena. Many will grieve over the days of General Powell, who was moderate and open to compromise. We can only expect from his successor an announcement that Tehran is out of line and that her boss, President Bush, is preparing his armada for new bloodshed."
CROATIA: "New Maximalism"
Kresimir Fijacko argued in Zagreb-based, government-owned Vjesnik (2/7): “If we stand away a bit from the usual diplomatic phrases, one could say that American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ‘slapped’ her Russian colleague Sergey Lavrov in Ankara, lectured his country, and unusually clearly showed what America wants and how it intends to get it. Politically speaking, George W. Bush and his secretary of state have reached for maximalism as their utter mantra in American relations toward the world, obviously giving up the mythical idea of building consensus--significant guideline in international relations of previous, even not so distant times.... That’s correct, but Condoleezza Rice has now placed this alliance on new foundations, based on which America patronizes Russia and lectures it, just like the ‘slapping’ in Ankara is turning into a very interesting overture into the Bush/Putin summit.”
"An American In Paris"
Vinka Drezga remarked in Zagreb-based, government-owned Vjesnik (2/10): “Rice understands that the road to a renewed American-European alliance leads through the hardest point, Paris. One has to take into consideration at the same time that Iran and China are open points of dispute between the U.S. and other Europeans, not just Paris. Unlike Americans, Western Europeans are mostly in favor of diplomatic handling of the Iranian nuclear program, and have no problems with renewed sale of arms to China. It will be clearer after the forthcoming Bush/Chirac meeting how these differences will be overcome.”
CYPRUS: "Watching Over The New Order"
Haravghi, mouthpiece of AKEL communist party, judged (2/6): "Secretary Rice's tour of European countries, Turkey and the Middle East attracts great interest, but also serious skepticism about U.S. intentions and objectives. This tour is taking place in the aftermath of President Bush's tough threats against Syria and Iran, which he said would have the same or a similar fate as occupied Iraq. The White House's female hawk (Rice) will be supervising the new order imposed by the planet's command (White House) and will reformulate U.S. positions about the planet's course. She will certainly sound out the intentions of U.S. allies on whether they are willing to follow their own plans or follow the U.S. into new wars against states that seem to have open accounts. Rice's contacts in Ankara are of special interest for Cyprus having in mind Turkey's strong reaction to the Kurdish rise in northern Iraq and especially Kirkuk during the recent parody elections.... It is certain that the Cyprus issue will not be high on the agenda of the two allies. However, the U.S. counts a lot on Turkey's assistance about its future expansionist plans. Rice will most likely ask for the use of Incirlik base for any...surgical strikes against Syria or Iran and it is certain that Turkey will negotiate this very hard in order to gain benefits. If the U.S. does not back down from its position about post-election developments in Iraq, it is very likely that Cyprus will be the easy victim of intolerable pressure, having in mind the very hostile British position, but also Rice's recent statements. The U.S.-imposed new world order will have to be toppled through the constant struggle of peoples who should stop apathetically monitoring U.S. plans for the creation of a new protectorate."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Despite Warm Smiles NATO Crisis Continues"
Lubos Palata opined in the center right Lidove noviny (2/10): "Even though President Bush could hardly have appointed anyone less acceptable for the Germans and the French than Condoleezza Rice, she managed to sail through Europe with a bright smile on her face. She, in turn, was given small but gratifying tokens of favor by the NATO allies. The 1,050 Iraqi soldiers that NATO will train is a number slightly smaller than terrorists might kill in the same time, but it certainly is a nice reconciliation gift. The NATO partners are giving their partnership another go. The truth of the matter, however, is that the views on the use of preemptive measures against rogue countries are still fundamentally different on both sides."
"Rice Made Things Only Partly Clear"
Jiri Roskot opined in center-left Pravo (2/7): "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice used her first trip to Europe to try to turn the page after disputes surrounding the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq.... Her offer of serious and realistic cooperation has evoked a positive response in Europe including the problems associated with stabilization of Iraq.... However, Rice, in the spirit of Bush's inauguration speech about spreading freedom and democracy, also accused the regime in Iran of preventing its citizens from pursuing their future and called for internal political changes...which does not seem to be too diplomatic from the head of U.S. diplomacy. However, everything has its order and everything is a question of priorities. It would be to the detriment of both transatlantic partners if their relations would again be affected by disputes over the best way to proceed."
"Rice Gave Europe A Chance"
Pavel Masa commented in center-right Lidove Noviny (2/7): "New U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice...allegedly came to Europe to 'open a new chapter.'... It seems that the future will not bring a repetition of thrillers when decisions about the war in Iraq were made...when the mixed cacophony of voices from both doves and hawks was sounding from the White House. The energetic secretary Rice, unlike Powell, does not hide, however, that in her conception war and diplomacy are complementary lines and hesitation does not belong in her vocabulary.... With Rice at the negotiating table, many will lose reason to smile...because the message she brings to Europe is not a conciliatory offer to 'forget and start over' but it could be translated instead as, 'You have one more chance, but we must act quickly.'"
DENMARK: "Europe Eager To Grasp Rice's Outstretched Hand"
Svenning Dalgaard wrote in independent Børsen (2/7): "Condoleezza Rice's speech in Paris tomorrow could be a critical turning point in relations between Europe and the U.S. The Europeans are ready to grasp any outstretched hand from Washington. Chirac has declared the Iraqi elections a success--an indication that he wants reestablish cordial relations with the U.S., while Germany wants, more than anything else, a permanent seat on the UNSC."
FINLAND: "Rice’s Work Begins In Positive Atmosphere"
Social Democratic Demari editorialized (2/10): “Secretary Rice’s foreign tour has achieved two main goals. The United States is perceived, after a long while, as the supporter of a positive move in the Mideast peace process. At the same time, relations with Europe--and particularly with France and Germany--have improved. Next, exceptionally high expectations will be attached President Bush’s visit to Europe later this month. A successful visit requires that the talks between the leaders produce important common views on how to deal with global crises and on cooperation in international organizations, particularly the UN. For a small nation such as Finland, it is important that the transatlantic relationship is constructive. And that Russia, too, is engaged."
Liberal-leaning Magyar Hirlap editorialized (2/7): “In Washington, an ally is one who is there for better or for worse, but especially for worse; in the French and German dictionaries, the definitions are somewhat more tinged: they also include some sort of equality, a sort of back and forth loyalty.... This time, no tougher controversies can be expected, as Europe will likely be more courteous with the new American secretary of state.... Moreover, in principle there is nothing wrong with America’s plans--why would he who calls himself a democrat would question that spreading democracy is good, and self-appointed leaders of zero legitimacy are bad?... Europe--and within that, Hungary--ought to be playing a tactical game--as it is the only realistic option. For instance, the slogan 'spreading democracy yes, war no' sounds quite good.”
Foreign affairs writer Eva Elekes held in left of center Nepszava (2/7): “Rice’s European negotiating partners hope that behind Washington’s smile offensive there are genuine intentions, and that it is really ready to improve transatlantic relations that deteriorated in the wake of the war in Iraq. A promising sign is that the secretary of state got on well not only with the British prime minister, who is the number one ally of the United States, but also with the German chancellor, and she will most likely have talks in a good spirit with the French president, too. The European leaders are also determined to seek consensus with the Bush administration prolonged for the next four years.... As regards the substance [of relations], one should not expect too much. In Bush’s and Rice’s world atlas the most often-turned pages are those of the Middle and Central East, and the leaders of American foreign policy will be less influenced by Europe’s concerns and considerations.”
IRELAND: "Europe And The U.S."
The center-left Irish Times observed (2/10): “The tone and content of this message from the new Bush administration to European leaders is strikingly different from those we became used to over the last four years. On the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court, Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on the place of force, law and religion in international affairs there has been a deepening rift in values and interests between transatlantic allies. To this list may be added current disagreements over how to respond to Iran's nuclear program, the falling dollar and China's request for an end to the EU's military embargo against it. Alongside that, there is a profound falling-out between U.S. and European public opinion.... Ms. Rice is setting the scene and the agenda for President Bush's visit to Europe later this month.... There is clearly a realization in Washington that such objectives cannot be achieved by U.S. power alone--and certainly not only by military means. Soft multilateral power is also required to achieve them in tandem with allies. The transatlantic divergence of values and interests has gone too far to be repaired by rhetorical means alone, without being matched by a real change in behavior. The French foreign minister, Mr. Michel Barnier, went out of his way with President Chirac to welcome Ms. Rice's new message and pledged to pursue a new relationship. But he made the important point that alliance is not the same thing as allegiance. A new relationship will have to be built on a more equal basis, respecting differences of interest and capable of withstanding robust debate and raucous disagreement, as on Iraq, Iran, the dollar and China. It is much too early to say with any certainty that this can be achieved. But there is certainly a willingness in Europe to explore how transatlantic relations can be repaired by joint action and realistic dialogue. A more mature relationship along these lines is well worth the effort required.”
NETHERLANDS: "Tone Of Condi Rice Surprises Europe"
Left-of-center Trouw commented (2/10): “Europe was pleasantly struck by the conciliatory words of the new U.S. secretary of state, although ‘one swallow does not mean that summer is here.’... Rice is Bush’s trailblazer and if a true change of course in the relations between Washington and Brussels is in the air, Bush will want to announce that himself when he comes to Europe in two weeks’ time.”
NORWAY: "The U.S. And Europe Are On Speaking Terms Again"
The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (2/11): “After the new U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has spent a week visiting Europe and the Middle East, it is clear that the United States is back on speaking terms with all of Europe after a bitter diplomatic feud before the Iraq war two years ago.... Only the actual cooperation in the period ahead can provide answers to the question of how much political will is behind these general requests. Here, two issues will be especially important: first of all, the U.S. will to have genuine and honest discussions on what the right direction is--for Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians--and not just a requirement that others have to follow the United States.... The most important issue is now the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.... The United States and leading EU countries fear the same thing will happen in Iran [as in North Korea]. Here France, Great Britain and Germany have negotiated strict international control with Iran’s nuclear program, but have not yet shaped a policy for what they will do if Iran declines this type of control. That’s when things get serious--and that’s when true cooperation with the United States becomes decisively important.”
"Rice And The Bomb"
The newspaper of record Aftenposten noted (2/5): “Iran is becoming perhaps one of the most difficult international questions. Fear is rising that a future nuclear bomb in the hands of fanatic hands may have its origin in Iran. The United States has never completely ruled out the potential use of armed force against nuclear plants in Iran, but has also supported the EU’s diplomatic work in Tehran.... A disagreement [between Europeans and Americans on Iran] is visible. At the same time Rice stresses that Europeans and Americans are working toward the same goal, and says that now diplomatic measures will be brought in. The harsher U.S. tone could help the Europeans somewhat in the negotiations, but could also strengthen an Iranian wish for nuclear weapons. It is an incredibly demanding balancing act, one which more than anything else requires close political cooperation between the EU and the United States.”
Francisco Sarsfield Cabral opined in center-left daily Diário de Notícias (2/8): “The first visit abroad by the new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is, not by accident, a trip to Europe and the Middle East where the outlook has become less gloomy. Today, C. Rice will speak about transatlantic relations--in Paris. [Should this event be considered] a provocation to France, which opposed the invasion of Iraq? No: only a further signal that the foreign policy of Bush’s second term will be more pragmatic and consensual.... Bush’s rhetoric deceives those who don’t see a change in [his] foreign policy.... The change is discerned in details such as the nomination of Rice, her pledge to improve relations with Europe and even the fact that [during the Senate Confirmation Hearings,] she evoked the roles of Truman and Dean Acheson in the construction of alliances to contain communism sixty years ago.... Has Bush been converted, therefore, to multilateralism? Not really. He merely collided with the reality [of the international situation] and realized that military power cannot accomplish all.... There has not yet been a European response. Lifting the arms embargo against China was a mistake. Treating Iran, a large producer of petroleum, with indulgence after it affirmed it had a nuclear program for peaceful ends could turn out to be another misstep. More positively, however, several European countries will participate in the training of the new Iraqi army. It would be lamentable if the Europeans let slip this opportunity [to achieve] transatlantic reconciliation.”
ROMANIA: "Difficult Sales Job"
Foreign policy analyst Simona Haiduc opined in financial daily Curentul (2/7): "After only five days and several thousand kilometers already traveled, the American secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has discovered how difficult is to 'sell' the policy of the United States under the spotlight, instead of dealing with it behind closed doors. Showing a likable smile and an irreproachable elegance, Condi adopted, during her first tour as the chief of American diplomacy, a self-control that impressed many. The conclusion of the political analysts is: mission accomplished."
SLOVAKIA: "Rice Arriving And Wants To Be Liked"
Miloslav Surgos noted in influential, center-left Pravda (2/10): "Condoleezza Rice arrived in Europe with a clear goal--to reduce the abyss between the United States and its European allies, which had been caused by the war in Iraq. As a fledgling secretary of state, she can claim her first minor success in office. All countries of the North Atlantic Alliance agreed on the training of Iraqi police officers and Rice was delighted. Europeans can also rejoice. The times when Washington spoke about an old and new Europe are gone and the hostile attitude toward 'uncomprehending' France and Germany has disappeared as well. Americans have also come to terms with the fact that the European Union wants to lift the arms embargo against China, even though this does not fit into their plans at all. However, U.S. foreign policy has only changed style. Rice has never admitted that U.S. positions were, in principle, wrong. On the contrary, she is calling on Europe that the joint position should be the one from the United States. This is evident from the warnings being given to Iran. The Americans gave Europe a chance for a diplomatic attempt, but if it fails, they will not ask it permission for their own solution. The biggest disputes between the two sides of the Atlantic are a thing of the past, but problems remain. Although the first woman of U.S. foreign policy wrapped her statements in the cloak of accommodating diplomacy, that is about all. The core of U.S. policy remains the same."
SLOVENIA: "See You In Next War"
Bozo Masanovic wrote from Brussels in left-of-center Delo (2/10): "The period of transatlantic tension...has evidently made way for political interests of short memory. Condoleezza Rice was entrusted by Washington with patching the disagreements between partners, the same Condoleezza Rice who had--as a White House advisor--insisted that 'France had to be punished, Germany ignored, and Russia pardoned' for opposing the intervention in [Iraq].... As expected, the unfavorable wind from the Atlantic has changed in George Bush's second term. Not as a result of successes in the stabilization of Iraq by the self-appointed coalition, but...because of the...Administration's pragmatic realization that NATO...and the EU have to be drawn into...Iraq.... In Brussels, relief has overshadowed sober warnings that, before the meeting with the Europeans, [Rice] had not mentioned the burning issues...[such as] Iran, Syria, selling weapons to China and the Kyoto Protocol.... Less than two weeks before President Bush's visit...the problems...were temporarily swept under the red welcome carpet being prepared...by the institutions in Brussels. However, the unresolved issues may sooner or later resurface and darken the sky above the Atlantic."
SPAIN: "The U.S. As The Engine Of Change"
Former editor Carlos Mendo wrote in left-of-center El País (2/11): "[Secretary Rice's] message was of noonday clarity. The United States intends to continue acting as the engine of historic change, using its power--'the power of ideas, not of force,' in her phrase--to spread freedom and democracy throughout the world.... Rice asked for the help of the European allies, but made it clear that the U.S. is determined to wage this fight, alone or accompanied, as it did in the last century against militarism, fascism and communism.... Why follow them? Only those who think it's more comfortable to forget, because this better serves their own myopic interests or their chimerical illusions of grandeur, forget. The truth is, despite the reprehensible events of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, despite its periodic support for repulsive military dictatorships because of the Cold War, the extension of the ideals of democracy and freedom in the world since the end of World War II would not have been possible without the decisive contribution of the American people.... If we go back only 20 years, without the decisions of Ronald Reagan, George Bush 41 and Bill Clinton, the Soviet Union would still exist, German reunification would not have happened, and the genocide in the Balkans would have continued.... Is the oratory about freedom and democracy new? It's so 'new' that it goes back to the Declaration of independence."
Left-of-center El País editorialized (2/10): "Rice put a good finale to her first tour as the Secretary of State yesterday, made with tact, but without giving ground. However, the new and warmer transatlantic breeze does not eliminate the deep differences on Iran, the possible lifting of the embargo to sell arms to China by the [EU] Twenty Five, and Washington's opposition to the International Criminal Court's investigation of the genocide in Darfur.... The continuance of Rumsfeld at the Pentagon does not augur well that Rice will be able to keep her promise of a return to the preeminence of diplomacy in the foreign action of the Bush administration. It does not seem either that Europeans, in general, have been converted to the new creed of the Republican president. But the fact that Washington is getting involved in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians again opens what Rice has described as 'common opportunities', and not only threats anymore, for the U.S. and Europe.... Despite the brief and cold meeting between Rice and [Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel] Moratinos in Brussels yesterday, both agreed the visit by the Spanish minister to Washington next spring. And Rumsfeld and [Defense Minister Jose] Bono agreed to the reactivation of the high-level bilateral committee. Talking is always good. And then, judging based on facts, more than on words."
"The Olive Branch"
Centrist La Vanguardia took this view (2/10): "Inevitably, the speech pronounced in Paris by the brand-new U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was highly rhetorical and sparing in details, but the very fact that it took place and the city where it took place have a powerful symbolism.... One must go from speeches to facts, and skeptics say that, in Rice's words, there were not the least mention to the Kyoto protocol, the International Criminal Court, the situation in Iran or the development of events in Iraq, all of them issues where the U.S. and the EU have different points of view."
Left-of-center El País observed (2/8): "The rhetoric has changed. The weapons have not been silenced, but diplomacy has returned, although Rice has been prudent regarding Iran.... The long voyage to London, Berlin, Warsaw, Ankara, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramala, Rome, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg shows a rapprochement with Europe and a return to Middle East. Rice is sowing seeds that George Bush can harvest during his trip to Europe at the end of this month. This administration won't be involved as thoroughly as Clinton's was in the peace process, but it will impel it and it will avoid giving Sharon a carte blanche.... Rice is participating now out of the desire for reconciliation that prevails among some. But it's significant that in her long voyage she has not had time to come to Madrid, and that at this time, neither is an interview between Bush and Zapatero in Brussels planned.... These slights have a certain air of childish punishment. They don't recognize the efforts that Spain is undertaking in Afghanistan, or its will to train Iraqi security forces. Neither does it take into account that, in the end, without Spain giving up some leeway in a foreign policy that had been dangerously narrowed by Aznar, pragmatism should prevail."
"Condoleezza Rice Goes By"
Independent El Mundo commented (2/5): "Significantly, Spain has been excluded from Rice's long agenda, which is definite proof of the bad relations between Madrid and Washington.... The withdrawal of the Spanish troops from Iraq after the arrival of Zapatero to the presidency of the government has caused a breaking-off that already exceeds the limit of the advisable. The tactical mistakes of the socialist government in making the U.S. accept the withdrawal from Iraq and the inflexibility of a Bush who seems to enjoy himself with his signs of indignant hardness are threatening to leave Spain as the great European victim of the war. Because, in fact, if the invasion of Iraq smashed to smithereens the window of relations between Europe and the U.S., the Atlantic axis started to repair the broken glass a long time ago, while between Madrid and Washington pieces remain on the floor.... Spain risks remaining alone if it clashes with Washington, moves away from London, and does not find a space in the Berlin-Paris axis. Europe and the U.S. are condemned to get on well with each other. Showing a new willingness, Rice started her tour by affirming that attacking Iran is not 'in the agenda' of the U.S. ... However...the boycott of the ICC, which is not recognized by the U.S. for fear that it might take control of its troops abroad, is a sign that, for the only superpower, there are issues that remain being only of its own concern."
"To Go By"
Conservative ABC judged (2/7): "The U.S. has decided to execute its worldwide leadership in another way. The experience of the crisis in Iraq and the deficient management of the Iraqi postwar period has caused the new administration to reconsider its foreign policy.... Condoleezza Rice's tour through Europe is part of this strategy of gestures that looks for the American rapprochement with the European countries that were responsible for the transatlantic mix-up two years ago over Iraq. In this sense, the assured reconciliation with the so-called German-French axis will give backing to the turn in foreign policy that the United States is trying to start, involving Germans and French in joint planning for the Middle East from which, unfortunately, Spain will be excluded due to of the lack of intentions by a socialist government that went instead for electoral gestures."
TURKEY: "Condi Is Trying To Conquer Hearts"
Sami Kohen commented in the mass-appeal Milliyet (2/10): “Can we talk about the repair of ties between France and the U.S., especially the recent statements regarding ‘a new stage in relations’ and ‘working together.’ By looking at statements from Condoleezza Rice during her European tour, including in Berlin and Paris, we can conclude that the in the transatlantic alliance is the process of being repaired. Secretary Rice rushed to Europe right after her confirmation, giving a strong indication of the U.S. desire to repair ties.... Yet it remains to be seen whether statements by Rice actually indicate a genuine policy change in the Bush Administration. Nevertheless, it is plausible to think about a change. The same is true of Europe, particularly France. Paris seems to be more flexible and realistic on the Iraq issue than ever before.”
"A New Chapter?"
Hadi Uluengin commented in the mass-appeal Hurriyet (2/10): “It was interesting that Rice talked about ‘opening a new chapter’ shortly after she started her Paris visit. Her approach might be an indication of a more flexible policy line in the second Bush administration. At this stage, deeds are needed more than the words in order to believe that this is the case. It is certain, however, that there is in both the U.S. and Europe the desire to open a new chapter.... Secretary Rice very rightfully highlighted the common values shared by America and Europe, which put her diplomatic approach onto the right track. As the U.S. and Europe prepare for a new chapter in their ties, another brand-new chapter has appeared in the Middle East. The Israel-Palestine peace is good news for the whole world and for the relationship between the U.S. and Europe.”
"The Messages From Rice"
Cuneyt Ulsever remarked in mass-appeal Hurriyet (2/7): “The Rice visit indicated that the second Bush administration is trying to rebuild trust with Turkey.... The Rice message in Ankara can be summarized as follows: the U.S. is looking for Turkey’s help for its radical policies in the Middle East, including in Iran, Syria, and Palestine. The Turkish help support should be direct and clear. If Turkey chooses not to do that, then we cannot help Turkey on issues such as northern Iraq, Kirkuk, Cyprus, the EU, and even the IMF. The Turkish government is going to face many challenges in this new period.”
"Is Turkey Becoming A Central Base?"
Mustafa Balbay argued in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet (2/7): “It was interesting that Rice started using rhetoric about a ‘strategic relationship’ with Turkey.... Rice explained U.S. expectations in a...detailed way. Among others, she made the following chilling remark: ‘Turkey and the U.S. will share mutual interests in the future as well.’ Given the American plan to reshape the Middle East, it is not hard to predict what kind of ‘mutual interests’ we are going to share. In the new period, the U.S. will likely impose demands on us and manage to get what it wants. Turkey will likely continue to assume out-of-area responsibilities such as the one in Afghanistan. Turkey will continue to be presented as a model for the Broader Middle East. In this context, the U.S. will focus on making the Turkish system more ‘moderate.’ Turkey will assume even more of a role if things go very wrong in Iraq. In the event of negative developments in Iraq that threaten Turkey’s interests, we will be given ‘tranquilizers’ instead of having the problem solved.”
"A Very Important Visit"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in conservative Turkiye (2/7): “The Rice visit had a message: the U.S. will pressure Iran to give up support for terrorism support and its nuclear plans, or else there will be consequences. Rice wanted to see if Turkey is ready to meet its obligations as an ally if and when needed by the U.S. In the event that Ankara does not support U.S. policy, there will be an American alliance with Kurdistan and Armenia.... The U.S. is asking for a sprit of strategic alliance from Turkey, while hoping for understanding from Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the event of a U.S. action against Iran and Syria. Otherwise, the U.S. is determined to bring democracy to these two countries by using its own resources.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "U.S. Swings Back To Diplomacy"
Washington correspondent Tony Walker observed in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (2/11): “It seems that the Bush administration has recognized that it cannot remake the world, or even a small corner of it, without international cooperation and consensus. Even the vilified French are being treated more gently, although it is not clear that the talking heads on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel have got the message from the White House since the schoolyard jokes about France and its leaders persist. Rice herself appears to have undergone a conversion on the road to the Quai d'Orsay. It was not long ago that she was telling people that in post-Iraq diplomacy the American approach should be to 'forgive Russia, forget Germany, ignore France.' (sic) Now, it seems, reality has begun to sink in at the same time as the influence within the administration of the so-called 'crazies', the neoconservative fire-breathers like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, has waned.... What has emerged this week certainly appears as if America has resolved to engage across a number of fronts in ways that it eschewed in Bush's first term, when he acted like a gun-slinging Wyatt Earp of the international arena with a couple of deputy sheriffs in tow. The question is whether the administration will sustain its newly embraced and late-blooming multilateralism or whether this is simply a passing moment before it reverts to its gun-slinging mode.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "Reconstructing Across The Atlantic"
Vaiju Naravane wrote in the centrist Hindu (2/11): "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice extended an olive branch to the French, saying the time had come to open a 'new chapter' in transatlantic relations damaged in the wake of the war on Iraq.... Dr. Rice's trip was precisely timed and aimed at giving the message that Europe continued to remain a major plank in President George W. Bush's foreign policy. Iraqi elections and the fig leaf of 'democracy' in that battered country made it easier for the French to receive her with open arms. The French establishment is ecstatic at this new turnaround in relations.... The Iraq war marked a turning point in transatlantic relations. But differences over the war only hastened a process that had begun with the collapse of the Soviet Empire. The real source of transatlantic conflict is America's role as a global hegemon and the accompanying power imbalance between America and Europe. U.S. foreign policy pundits feel that America's hegemony is unlikely to be either curtailed or threatened.... President Jacques Chirac's renewed calls for an independent defense capability within Europe that fell on deaf or indifferent ears a year ago are receiving greater attention now. Mr. Bush's policies and personal style, the way he puts forth his views, his religious fervor, and his simplistic worldview have aggravated the existing fissures between Europe and the U.S. The U.S. misadventure in Iraq, now largely seen as a failure, and preparations for a distasteful and unwelcome strike against Iran or Syria, have begun to turn the tide against blind adherence to its dictates."
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