International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 7, 2003

January 7, 2003




**  Year-enders portrayed the U.S.' willingness to go through UN channels on Iraq as the litmus test of whether Washington's "unipolar priorities" will trump "multilateral" concerns in 2003.

**  Some dreaded a "clash of civilizations" in the aftermath of the "coming war in Iraq."



EUROPE:  'We will pay dearly for Pax Americana.'  Several observers contended that Europe "will pay dearly" for not acting as a countervailing force to the U.S. on Iraq.  Many saw as a miscalculation the U.S. belief that "it can fight anti-American terrorism only by its [military] presence."  Eyeing Pyongyang's example, Rome's left-leaning La Repubblica worried that many nations will learn the lesson that "the price for maintaining some sort of sovereignty is to get weapons.”  Others saw inconsistencies in Washington's approach to civil liberties.  They charged that U.S. detentions and "secrecy" in its anti-terror fight undercut America's "mountains of appeals to morality and democracy."


MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA:  2002 'was a difficult year for Arabs.'  Some Arab writers bemoaned the current state of their nations, calling them "weak, dispersed, devoid of any respect" and "subject to pressures, blackmail...and the ugliest campaigns of misinformation."  Egyptian papers warned that attacking Iraq would create "regional chaos, division inside Iraq and anger in the region" and only worsen the "unwarranted clash of civilizations" that emerged in 2002.  Tanzania's Islamic An-Nuur said the U.S. "should not engage in destruction and at the same time pretend to be the repairman." 


ASIA-PACIFIC:  U.S. record on Iraq, Korea, Missile Defense panned.  Asian papers emphasized that "security will top the world agenda" in 2003, with many adding there is "not much to celebrate" at the end of 2002.  Many outlets joined moderate Tokyo Shimbun in calling upon the U.S. to "promote international cooperation" because the U.S. "cannot eliminate international terrorism by itself."  Several criticized Pres. Bush's global "one-man show" as the U.S. "mocks international law, ignores treaties and threatens to use nuclear weapons."  Seoul's conservative Chosun Ilbo declared that 2003's "greatest preventing the outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula," while the official China Daily depicted the "controversial" MD project as the only major threat to continued "significant progress" in Sino-U.S. relations.


WESTERN HEMISPHERE:  Administration's 'resolve' on terror, Iraq smacks of imperialism.  Writers south of the Rio Grande portrayed the U.S. as bent on getting its way internationally, cutting the ground out from under NATO and the UN.  A Trinidadian daily saw Washington reviving "gunboat diplomacy."  Only Canada's conservative National Post was buoyed by the prospect that the world might be "Saddam-free in 2003." 


EDITORS:  Gail Hamer Burke, Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 48 reports from 33 countries Dec. 24-Jan. 6.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 




BRITAIN:  "Bush Is Chief Architect Of A Year Of Woe"


Mass-circulation Mirror offered this view (12/31):  "One man symbolizes most of what went wrong in 2002. President George W Bush.  Having gerrymandered his way to power, he received the support of the world following the events of September 11 but has squandered all that trust.  He has proved to be...a stooge and frontman for the U.S. defence and oil industries.  Bush spat in the face of the rest of the world when it attempted to unite behind environmental policies....  He erected tariff barriers against other countries....   He escalated the U.S. military budget....  He shamed America’s reputation with the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and conducted a largely pointless military campaign in Afghanistan.  Over all this hangs the spectre of his current determination to wage war in Iraq to achieve 'regime change'.  How many lives will his blood-lust cost in 2003?  History will come to look back with horror on what Bush did in 2002.  Extraordinarily, the Financial Times newspaper now claims he deserves the title 'Man of the Year'.  That is laughable.  Most dangerous man of the year, more like.”


FRANCE:  "Wishes"


Left-of-center Le Monde opined (1/2):  “Yes, the United States is a hyperpower capable of militarily controlling the planet.  No, the fate of no one country should be dependent on this fact.  The international community, the UN, should be encouraged.  Europe must adopt a leading role in the bloody impasse that is the Middle East and more than ever assert itself in the Arab and Muslim world....  Yes, the threat of terrorism is a common menace, but it can only be fought through the solidarity of nations.”


GERMANY:  "The Great Misunderstanding"


Markus Ziener noted in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (12/27):  "[Since 9/11] U.S. politics has been moving between ‘crusade’ and ‘integration’ when discussing its future relationship with Islam.  But in cases where it cannot rely on a clear definition, U.S. politics is merely vague as with Saudi Arabia.  Following Iraq’s invasion, the U.S. forces were welcomed as protectors.  But 12 years later, they are considered out of place and almost detested.  Instead of withdrawing these forces a few years later, the United States has established itself on a permanent basis in Saudi Arabia.  Why?  Because the superpower thinks it can fight anti-American terrorism only with its presence.   But the possibility of the U.S. presence in the Gulf promoting anti-Americanism is a contradiction that the strategists in Washington do not realize.


"Those who equate terrorism with Islam make a great mistake.  Those who define an enemy according to what he is and not according to the things this enemy really does, are blaming an entire religious community.  The United States is surprised that its favorite country in the Islamic world, secular Turkey, shows little inclination to join a war against Iraq.  Why?  Because the Muslim Turks feel--at least indirectly--threatened by a United States that hardly makes any effort to differentiate [among Muslims].  And why do the Saudis, Egyptians, and Pakistanis not rebuild their state according to the Turkish example?  Because they resist Western pressure to adapt, a pressure to which they, but also Turkey, are exposed day by day, and which they make responsible for their own misery....  From the Muslim world's viewpoint, the list of Western deficits is long.  It begins with a decline of virtues and ends with its striving for hegemony.  But mainly one thing is important:  Societies that separate state from religion cannot be models for them.  This is the real, the big difference between the West and Islam.”


ITALY:  "The World Will Pay Dearly For Pax Americana"


Massimo L. Salvadori opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (1/2):  “The war that seems unstoppable against Iraq is being prepared with an ideological and media campaign that encompasses a mountain of edifying appeals to morality, democracy, and people’s rights....  The truth is that the war is coming soon...and it will be moved by the appeal of oil and the willingness to make a deep change in the balance of powers in the Mideast, putting Sharon’s Israel at center stage, and Bush’s America to protect everything.  There are no doubts, if Iraq were a sandy beach without black gold, no passion for democracy would move any warrior....  In any case, the United States will further strengthen its role as lonely super power aiming at establishing a Pax Americana and putting the world under the net of its more and more stringent intelligence.  The lesson that many nations will learn from all this is that the price for maintaining some sort of sovereignty is to get weapons.”  


"Economic Crisis And War, Bush Risks Everything Now"


Washington correspondent Bruno Marolo wrote in pro-Democratic Left party (DS) L’Unita’ (12/31):  “War, war.  Bush almost won’t talk about anything else.   During 2002 he played the same note, like an actor who knows very well which lines will prompt applause....   The American empire is ready to strike again with the President who has re-launched star wars.  The future, however, is full of risk.  2002 was the year of Bush, but 2003 could be the year of his defeats, if the U.S. economy continues to go from bad to worse and if the liberators of occupied Iraq find themselves dealing with terrorism.”


"Guns Between Saddam And Democracy"


Former Italian ambassador to Washington Boris Biancheri commented on the front page of centrist, influential La Stampa (12/31):  “Many believe that what Bush is pursuing in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf is not an ideal of democracy, but the defense of his own interests.  This is true and false at the same time: by exporting democracy, in fact, the United States would defend its own interests as well, including that of creating a stable and safe international community.  America, in fact, no matter what Italian pacifists may think, does not need wars in order to get richer, and knows how to get richer even in peacetime.  But it also knows that it can get richer if it is surrounded by free and democratic countries.   After all, it is with this two-fold strategy that the United States fought and won, luckily for us, in WWII and in the Cold War, without fighting.  Within this same framework--and the additional objective of defending America from terrorism--Bush’s ultimate goal is that of reconciling such diverse terms as Islam and democracy.”


 "America Is Aggressive, Europe Is Absent"


Former Italian ambassador in Moscow Sergio Romano opined on the front page of centrist, top-circulation

Corriere della Sera (12/31): "As in 2002, in 2003 as well we will talk a lot about Iraq, Palestine, North Korea, Afghanistan, Kashmir.  We will talk about 'American' problems, in which the European Union, so far, has played the role of the powerless 'observer' or the irrelevant partner.  I can easily imagine the nature of the debates.  Some will denounce the new American imperialism, others will claim that America is becoming dangerously aggressive and unilateralist.  Everybody will criticize or applaud as an observer, as is usually our habit.  Wouldn't it be about time to stop judging America?  Shouldn't we talk about Europe rather than questioning the United States' behavior?....  No European nation has managed to affect U.S. policy towards Iraq, to have an impact on the fate of Afghanistan, to bring the Palestinian drama to a quicker conclusion, or to use its embassy in Pyongyang to prevent the beginning of a new crisis.  Even France, when the United States finally decides to intervene against Saddam, will probably have to admit that its efforts at the United Nations have not changed the course of events.  This is the most important lesson for Europe in 2002.  There is a vacuum in international politics that the European Union cannot or does not want to fill.  To complain about America's exaggerated power is, therefore, only a pathetically useless exercise.... The arrogance of the United States is the inevitable result of European diplomatic confusion."


BELGIUM:  "Europe Has A Role To Play"


In a front page editorial making a balance sheet of the year 2002 and speculating on what 2003 might be like, chief editor Beatrice Delvaux in left-of-center Le Soir wrote (12/31):  “The defense of democracy, the progress of science, and the future of a civilization cannot be the monopoly of a single power which claims that it is acting for the sake of the entire world.  That is why, in the coming weeks, leaders and international organizations, especially European ones, will have an essential role to play, having to give their opinion on a war in Iraq.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "American Dilemma"


Frantisek Sulc commented in center-right Lidove Noviny (12/31):  "The American internal dilemma characterized by the clash between the 90s and the era after September 11 is the reason why Americans have problems communicating with the world and searching for common ground and appropriate policy at the same time.  This is often reflected in a negative assessment of the United States in the world.  The U.S. is more and more perceived as a unilateral superpower that will always act as it wants and which one has to keep an eye on.  Therefore the White House and Congress can explain...and present evidence supporting their statements, but they still meet only mistrust....  This situation probably doesn't have a technical solution.  Nevertheless, it is essential…to comprehend that the clash between global and national interests really exists....  The clash has to be minimized, for example, by ceasing to differentiate between American and global in (international political) efforts."


NORWAY:  “A Turn Of The Year On The Edge Of War”


In the newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (1/2) Foreign Affairs Editor Nils Morten Udgaard commented: "Bush, and several of his advisers like VP Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, have a  great sense of the U.S. unilateralism.  But so far have they followed the UN position.  And it has up to now given good results:  Saddam Hussein is politically more isolated that ever....  Never have the Americans met a Security Council that gives them more solid support....  If Bush in this situation chooses not to pursue political cooperation with the four big powers at the UN and with other U.S. allies in the world, there will be a dramatic breach with the line of alliance that has secured American leadership after the war....  Colin Powell...has put his trust in the UN, and now has an experienced Republican Senator, Richard Lugar at his side....  Richard Lugar succeeds the ultra conservative Jesse Helms--and tells us that a strong, open and cooperative USA is by no means a thing of the past.”


"A Year With Terrorism"


Independent Dagbladet maintained (12/31): At the turn of the year we can sadly enough state that the putting out of action of the Taliban and some of the al-Qaida's cells in Afghanistan did not stopped the terrorism in the world....  The Bush administration has declared war--an untraditional war, but still a war--against terrorism and countries that helps the terrorists.  It seems to be insufficient, and probably also a false clue."


"The Threat Of War Darken The Year"


Social democratic Dagsavisen held (12/31):  "At the last turn of the year the Americans had almost gathered the world opinion in the war against terrorism.  At this turn of the year the population in most democracies turn their backs on the Americans. The United States has itself and its arrogance to thank for that."


PORTUGAL:  "We Don't Know"


In his daily back-page "Trying to Understand" column in respected center-left Diário de Notícias, former PSD (center-right) Finance Minister Francisco Sarsfield Cabral opined (1/2):  "Washington guarantees [us] that Iraq has WMD, but hasn't proven it.  Just as it hasn't proven that al-Qaida has links to Saddam.  Is this a question of confidential material that the American intelligence services cannot reveal, or is the American government purely and simply lying, as has happened so many times in the past--for example, during the Vietnam War?....  We don't know.  In fact, we don't even know if an attack on Saddam will contribute to containing terrorism--or if, on the contrary, it will dynamize Islamic terrorism.  Like we don't know how much oil counts in Bush's decisions....  Or if the proclaimed American intention to democratize the Arab countries is sincere.  Citizens in a democracy have never been as far from power on life-or-death questions as they are today.  Secrecy itself in the fight against terrorism does not justify everything."


SLOVENIA:  "Frogs And War Have To Be Boiled Slowly"


Left-of-center Delo published this view (12/31) by its U.S. correspondent Ervin Hladnik Milharcic:  "By the end of the year there are many things that have become self-evident, things that we couldn't imagine at the beginning of the year.  America has successfully repeated the experiment with a frog and boiling water.  If you put the frog in a boiling water, it will jump out even before it will touch the water, but if you put it carefully in the cold water and put the pot on a slow fire, the frog will not notice temperature increasing and will swim happily until it will became a frog's soup.... 


"At the beginning of the year the American political water was just warm enough.  It was boiled by flourishing of the American nationalism.  Americans were even prepared to put the Constitution in brackets for a while on behalf of the national defense....   In January they got the first chance.  In the military base Guantanamo, Cuba, the American army built the prison for the prisoners of al-Qaida and of similar organizations....  On the way it became obvious that in the U.S. people of Arabic origin are arrested without anyone knowing their name....  War in far-off countries again became the way of life.  In spite of the fact that neither Iraq, Iran or North Korea had anything to do with September 11, it was obvious that United States is using the terrorist attacks to settle the old accounts.  The majority of the countries said they will not cooperate, but that was on the beginning of the year....  In few months Bush achieved the impossible.  First he broke the democratic opposition in the Senate and he got the mandate from the Congress that he can start the war against Iraq by himself if the UN resists.  Together with the United Kingdom, he then enacted a UN resolution.  He got the control over the White House and both Houses in Congress.  The day after Christmas Bush ordered the mobilization of 50,000 American soldiers....  At the end of the year, it's not a question of [if there will be] war but when.  The question is only if Germany will cooperate in it."


SPAIN: "The Echo Of 9-11 And U.S. Supremacy"


Conservative ABC reflected (12/30): "The year which is now ending has confirmed that we live on a new stage--in a world of uncertainty in which new problems have bloomed without the old ones having been solved, in which the Unites States has risen to the category of an Empire (without territory) thanks to its hegemonic power that it exercises without complexes and with an unquestionable vocation for leadership which is sometimes badly used, and little understood.... The widespread feeling that there will be war has taken much U.S. attention, so that extremely dangerous flanks to world peace have been left exposed....  The threats, however, have created a movement towards international cooperation which has produced more changes in one year than in the previous decades.... In this state of affairs, the UN in the Iraqi crisis is playing for its very existence.  Whether this institution strengthens its position as arbitrator in international conflicts, or rather, loses its value through a hypothetical, unilateral action by the mega power, will depend on Washington."



ISRAEL:  "The New Emperor"


Editor-in-Chief Amnon Dankner wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (12/31):  "Today...George Bush is the U.S. president charged with the duty of waging a war as Emperor of the world, as the leader of the only superpower....  George Bush is 2002's man of the year and is expected to be the man of next year.  The man who this year prepared the U.S. for a large offensive, will start directing it in an impressive way in the coming year.  What will happen after the big task is carried out?  How will the United States come out of this struggle, how many scars will mark her, what price she will have to pay?  This remains to be seen.  But it is almost obvious that like other lone superpowers before her, she will be confronting an increasingly stronger adversary: China, whose economy and army are growing in an impressive way.  But such a contest is most likely to become another president's business."


WEST BANK:  “Principles Of Revolution And Basics Of Policy”


Rajab Abu Sarieh opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (12/31):  "On the eve of the new year and in preparation for war against Iraq, American President George Bush has said that during the year 2003, his country will confront the dangers posed by Iraqi WMD.  Meanwhile, the Israeli side, which is awaiting an extremist government to take over next month, is preparing to use the war on Iraq to achieve its aggressive goals....  Afterwards, Israel will be prepared to carry out a comprehensive incursion into Gaza and expel the Palestinian leadership.  It will also attempt to complete massive collective transfers in an effort to undermine the issue of a Palestinian state forever.”


EGYPT:  “International New Year And Open Possibilities”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram carried a comment from Dr. El-Sayed Amin Shalaby stating (1/1):  “The most dangerous development in 2002 is that Sharon was able to convince the American Administration that Palestinian resistance to occupation is terrorism against the Hebrew state....  However, two main developments happened: one is the international community’s success in returning the Iraqi issue to international jurisdiction so that dealing with this issue must be within the international community; and second, the U.S. declaration of a partnership with the Middle East (MEPI)....  Thus, 2003 agenda is fraught with explosive, interacting issues....  All possibilities are open.  An American strike on Iraq means regional chaos, division inside Iraq and anger in the region which will be nourished by radical powers which hate the U.S. and moderate regimes in the region.  The impact of the war globally will depend on its range....  If the U.S. campaign fails, it will shake the U.S.’ status globally and domestically....  Consequently, will the U.S. give Sharon a free hand concerning the transfer of Palestinians and then toward Hizbullah and Syria, or will the U.S. contain Sharon?....  As to the last, observers warned that if the war against terrorism extends, the confrontation between Islam and the West will be more dangerous...and U.S. attempts to contain the hearts and minds in the region will be more difficult.”


"New Hopes With A New Year"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (1/1):  “We are bidding farewell to a year that witnessed tragedies and disputes around the world where thousands of civilians fell, apart from the victims of hunger and AIDS.  The Palestinian issue remains unsettled...thousands of refugees are living in harsh circumstances due to civil wars...globalization has risen in harshness...and an unwarranted clash of civilizations emerged after September 11, 2001....  Still the UN. fails to carry out its role in maintaining international peace and security....  Despite all, there is hope that we'll witness in the New Year a just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli issue where the Palestinian people enjoy their full rights, the violence stops, and the Iraqi issue is settled peacefully without slipping into a war that destroys everything.”


JORDAN:  "The Dance Of The Slaughtered Bird "


Dr. Nabil Al-Sharif, chief editor of center-left, influential Al-Dustour, wrote (12/31):  "Let the revelers indulge in their revelry, and let them forget that when the hands of the clock embrace each other at midnight, this embrace marks the birth of a new day, for which we are not prepared.  We receive it weak, dispersed, and devoid of any respect, as we are driven, by those who bear ill will towards us, to our sealed fate.  Let the dancers dance at midnight, for who knows, their dance may be the twitching of the bird after it has been slaughtered.”


"Good-bye To 2002"


Prominent daily columnist Uraib Al-Rantawi wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (12/31), "As we say good-bye to 2002, we try to discern the features of the region as they were drawn in the MEPI.  At the same time, many of our leaders feel their heads and their plush thrones, on which they have sat for decades.  They feel the winds of change blow in their faces, some from within, but the more fierce ones come from outside.  To move forward, they will need to abandon the system of monopolies and privileges.”


"Rubber Stamp Allies"


Taher Al-Adwan, Chief Editor of independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm wrote (12/31), “The Arab shift to the former ‘imperialist enemy’ and declaring him a friend of democracy and freedom, and patron of peace in the Middle East is all understandable.  What is not understandable is that most Arab states behave like a blind ally, or even a rubber stamp that approves whatever Washington wants, even if that is killing Arab interests, violating Arab security, liquidating the Palestinian cause, and destroying Iraq. In South Korea, by contrast, there is an ally that is not blind, and not a rubber stamp.”


MOROCCO:  "Happy New Year Mr. Bush!"


This  front-page op-ed by Dr. Faycal Bouhelal appeared in Government coalition, French-language Istiqlal party L'Opinion (12/29):  "New Year festivities will soon be celebrated. Some will look forward to this event with joy, but others will expect horror and worries. The others are us! Namely, the Arab world, as Iraq will be surrounded by thousands of U.S. military forces to invade and kill people who have not done anything wrong and yet are being punished. If President Bush gives orders to carry out this unjust and crazy attack, he will be marked in the history of the modern world as being the bloodiest and the meanest person the world and the United States have ever known... while Israel is a state that is well protected, armed and financially helped by the United States.”




Mohamed El Gahs, editor-in-chief of pro-government, French-language Liberation, commented (12/31):  "The human decadence that is called ‘globalization'....  We have long expected this century and the millennium with it, and we were wrong to have so many illusions.  The previous one ended with cynicism and cruel vacuity.  Its unique 'thinkers': the fanatic and the zombie.   Its ultimate voices: heinous sectarianism and gaping consumerism.  Its major temples: Kabul and Wall Street.  Its limitless horizons: Fascistland and Disneyland.  The clash of ignorances was inevitable....  Hope, however, has a face...American.  Ah, yes.  It wasn’t evident seen from the climate there, but the most prestigious American stars have dared to reject war against the Iraqi people.”


SYRIA:  "The Future"


Columnist Nabil Saleh commented in government-owned Tishreen on (1/6): "Our subject today revolves around the future of America's relations with Arabs. Details have been leaked about an American program to change the Middle East (i.e. MEPI), or shall we call it a plan to restructure the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The U.S. wants to export democracy to us in return for our oil.  The Arab intelligentsia will have one of two bitter choices: either to stand with local (Islamic) conservative fundamentalists or to support this American colonialist modernization project.  The intellectuals of the future will probably mark this as the second Arab awakening, after discovering that we are already importing everything from America, even the new Islam  as Mr. Nihad Awad from CAIR has pointed out.   'Can we imagine what the future non-American world will be like?  What will the destiny of the UN be?  Undoubtedly the conflict will escalate to a clash between China and the U.S. after the U.S. finishes deploying its bases in China's neighbors.  As for the UN, its destiny will be sealed if America is not able to draw it into a strike against Iraq.  If it is drawn (into the conflict) then it will turn into an organization of satellite countries; otherwise it might be replaced by a new grouping of non-aligned countries with America, Britain and Israel on one side and the rest of the world on the other side."


"Looking For Crises"


Ahmad Hamadeh noted in government-owned Al-Thawra (12/31):  "Year 2002 was a difficult year for Arabs.  They were subject to pressures, blackmail, threats and the ugliest campaigns of misinformation and distortion.  Arabs have changed in the U.S. media and political dictionary into criminals, while Israeli thieves and butchers have become victims of the alleged Arab terrorism.  Instead of conducting lengthy discussion about the nature of terrorism, sources and causes, the U.S. administration started shuffling cards and turning facts upside down and forging facts claiming that Israel is defending itself while Palestinians are terrorists who should be punished....  The kitchen of U.S. policy can only be fired up by Israeli fingers.  The last product of these fingers is the so-called roadmap, which Palestinians do not know which course to go to get their rights.  The U.S. veto has always blocked any Security Council resolution to denounce Israel's crimes.  As for the war catastrophe which the U.S. is planning against Iraq, its goal has become obvious, namely to occupy Arab oil resources and to redraw the map of  the region to reconcile it with the interests of the U.S. and Israel alone."


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  "Reviewing 2002"


Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab editorialized on (1/1):  "During 2002, we did not see serious Arab efforts to achieve democracy and build institutions of civil society, except in one or two places in the entire Arab world.  Political tranquillity is dominant, thus, opening the door for external interference, the most significant of which is Secretary of State Colin Powell's initiative for democracy in the Arab world."   




CHINA:  "Sweet  And Sour"


Ding Gang and Yuan Peng commented in the official Communist Party Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (1/1):  “Washington has crossed China off its list of enemies....  The biggest change in coverage of China in the U.S. press in 2002 was that the China story topics were more comprehensive...more positive and objective.  The positive changes can be found in the remarks and policies by current and former U.S. senior administrative officials such as Bush, Powell, Rice and Kelly....  The reasons for the change lie firstly in the significant change in U.S. judgment about external threats....  9/11 forced the U.S. to focus its defensive targets on terrorism, ‘the Axis of Evil’, as well as religious extremists.  Secondly, China and the U.S. have found a path to co-existence after 30 years’ of run-ins.  Also it has something to do with China getting more mature in its U.S. policy.  The voices from the right-wing anti-China forces have gotten softer in the past year.  Meanwhile, we should note that some key issues in China-U.S. relations are not solved yet.  The hawks in the U.S. have not given up their strategy of considering China as the enemy.  As Ambassador Lord, former U.S. Ambassador to China said, the China-U.S. relationship is ‘both sweet and sour.'"


"Security Will Top World Agenda" 


Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, observed in the official English-language China Daily (1/2):  "In 2003, the international community will attach greater importance and pay more attention to security issues than the economy.  And the right-leaning currents of thought will push many countries into adopting a foreign policy that is inclined towards self-protection.”


"Nations Co-operate More In An Eventful, Volatile Year"


The official English-language China Daily noted (12/31):  "Significant progress was made in the constructive relations between China and the United States, featuring close contacts and high-level exchanges.  And across the board, consensus was reached on a series of important issues concerning the promotion of bilateral co-operation....  The major concessions Russia made on the key nuclear weapons issue and other problems failed to prevent the United States from going ahead with the development of its national missile defense (NMD) system, a controversial project which will reinforce U.S. nuclear superiority.  In mid-December, Washington announced that it intends to proceed with the deployment of the NMD system.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Not Much To Celebrate"


The independent English-language Standard editorialized (1/1):  "The world stock markets have ended a third consecutive year of losses while the global economy enters 2003 weighed down by the threat of war with Iraq.  The World Bank warned recently that the lack of a strong driver this year raised the risk that the world economy could slip into recession.  That driver is still the U.S. economy and, in turn, U.S. consumers.  But how long can U.S. consumers go on spending?  According to Federal Reserve data, consumer debt stands at around U.S. $1.7 trillion (HK$13.26 trillion).  There comes a time when debt has to be paid back.  On the world political stage it is a one-man show with U.S. President George W. Bush holding center-stage.  In the audience sits the international community in silence.  The only bright light, at least if you believe the figures, is China where most of the economic indicators point to strong growth going forward."


JAPAN:  "President Bush Needs To Rethink The U.S.' Real Responsibility"


Moderate Tokyo Shimbun observed (1/1):  "The U.S. will not be able to earn the respect of the international community even if it destroys all of Iraq's suspicious facilities.  A victory by force will not guarantee the admiration of the world.  Washington needs to promote international cooperation in the fight against terrorism because the U.S., despite its military superpower, cannot eliminate international terrorism by itself.  The U.S. should exercise its political influence in bringing peace to the Middle East without excessively sponsoring Israel.  President Bush should not always simply choose between good and evil when he deals with international affairs.  Instead, he needs to rethink what he should do to fundamentally break the chain of retaliation and to ensure peace and stability for the entire world.  It must be the U.S.' responsibility to eradicate poverty and prejudice that could be a hotbed of terrorism."


SOUTH KOREA:  "2003, Year Of Integration, Change And Peace"


Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (1/1):  “The greatest challenge we face as we welcome a new year full of changes and uncertainty is preventing the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula while persuading North Korea to promptly give up its nuclear program.  The key to stopping war lies in the method we choose.  Dialogue is necessary, but it can be effective only when it is backed by strong deterrence and commitment.  The most important factor at this point is reaffirmation of U.S.-ROK cooperation.  With reports of ‘tailored containment’ coming from the U.S. and Korean President-elect Roh Moo-hyun expressing skepticism over the effect of such a policy, there are signs that the two countries may be experiencing ‘abnormal currents’ in their relations.  Thus, bilateral policy coordination has become an urgent task....  The ROKG must also consider national security and national interests in its relations with the U.S.  Although we should re-establish U.S.-ROK relations, the process should not shake up the alliance, which is based on USFK presence.  We simply cannot fill the security loss that would stem from USFK withdrawal.”




INDIA:  "Past Continuous"


The centrist Pioneer editorialized (1/1):  "Even if the 'coming war" in Iraq is the most anticipated event of 2003...the year that ended had skewered unipolar priorities facing multipolar checks and balances.  The U.S. could not but realize that, but for its Anglo-Saxon backers, nobody else's heart was or is really in it.  Its relations with the rest of the world swung from the post-9/11 emotional high to a year-long interrogation of the replacement of Usama bin Laden with Saddam Hussein as global bogeyman.  And rightly.  For, if there is an unfinished task of 2002, it is that war on terror the U.S. itself declared from the rubble of ground zero in New York.  And if anyone was proved wrong at the time Islamic radicalism asserted itself in crash-and-burn savagery, it was those who had announced the end of history over the hearse of communist Russia.  India...has realized Almaty's anti-terror vow can achieve little in the face of Western double standards.  It has watched Pakistan get away with nuclear blackmail and barter and 'axis of evil' member North Korea being handled with diplomatic kid-gloves.  India has much to do in 2003 to further safeguard security and economic interests, whether or not Iraq is the new theatre of war.  If the war goes wrong, 2003 will see a massive churning of international relations.  If it goes right, it will boost Islamic radicalism, with destabilizing effects on Arab countries.  Either way, the focus will shift back to the free world having to finish what it has left incomplete.  Either way, those truly, indeed civilizationally, committed to the war on terror will have been right."


PAKISTAN:  "On To The Year 2003"


An op-ed by Shahid Javed Burki in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn (12/31) said, "For a democratically elected government, managing relations with America will pose an especially difficult problem. But this relationship will need to be managed in a way that keeps Washington interested in Pakistan's economic and social development.  A country in Pakistan's situation--a country short of the resources it needs to invest to promote development and a country that must look for markets for the products it wishes to export--must find a way of working with the world's only remaining power.  At the same time, the United States' interest in Pakistan and in the region in which we are situated must be accommodated without sacrificing our sovereignty and strategic interests.  Balancing these two objectives will pose a challenge for the Jamali administration."


"Why Not America Bashing?"


An op-ed by Dr. Moonis Ahmar in the centrist national News maintained (12/31), "Whether it is Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine, America's way of dealing with all such case studies has been irrational and counter-productive. There is still time for Washington to rethink its post-9/11 foreign policy agenda because of the alienation of the vast Muslim world and the rise of anti-Americanism. As perceived in some circles, if Muslim bashing continues to be the hallmark of Washington, the end result will be further justification for America bashing. Before anti-Americanism takes a violent turn and is extended beyond the Muslim countries or Muslim populated areas, the Bush administration should try to restore its image and credibility, particularly among the Muslims by withdrawing the conditions of registration, fingerprints and other measures, which create insecurity and hatred in the Islamic world. Certainly, the United States is not liked in some non-Muslim countries also, but it is the Muslims who dislike the arrogant and unjust approach of the Bush administration against Iraq, Palestinians and various Muslim groups fighting for their rights."


"2002:  When The U.S. Ruled The Roost"


The Karachi-based independent national Dawn held (12/31), "Without openly challenging the might of the U.S., some powers have gradually come closer to each other during the course of the year. The animosities of yesteryear are now receding in regions which do not fall in the American sphere of influence.  China and Russia are showing signs of a detente, while the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has brought Moscow and Beijing together on the same platform as four Central Asian republics.  In South-East Asia, the ASEAN members are consolidating their alliance economically and politically. In Europe, the EU, which agreed to admit another 10 countries to its fold, has begun to assert an independent (with the exception of Britain) line on Iraq.  If America continues to provoke the rest of the world by its arrogance, this process of regrouping of forces could escalate and alter the configuration of power in world politics in the years to come."




KENYA:  "World Records Major Democratic Gains"


Jonathan Power wrote in the Independent, left-of-center Nation (1/6):  "It always feels nice to open a New Year with good news.  But that indeed is the message on the democracy front this week.  It began in Kenya with the recent defeat of the hand-picked candidate of the autocrat of Kenya, Mr. Daniel arap Moi.  On December 30, the election winner Mr. Mwai Kibaki took over as president and there have been hopes that this clever ex-finance minister is skilled enough to start to put the country back on its feet and to release the wealth of talent and energy that it has in abundance."


NIGERIA:  "Diplomacy, Not Hostility"


The Lagos-based independent newspaper Daily Independent opined (12/31), "The world ought to find America's penchant of arrogating to itself powers to determine benchmarks for weaponry in other nations and to dictate global response against perceived infringement unacceptable.  The arrogance exhibited thus far by the Americans in the cases of Iraq and North Korea have only dimmed the prospects of global peace.  When President George Bush warned a fortnight ago that the U.S. would retaliate with nuclear weapons against any country that attacks its (U.S.) forces with biological or chemical weapons, he was unwittingly instigating arms race, what his immediate predecessor worked tirelessly to prevent.  The American leader needs to speak the language of peace, of conciliation, not war, as has become characteristic of him."


SOUTH AFRICA:  "New Year Hopes And Fears"


Liberal Cape Times predicted (12/31):  "It was the year...the South African economic pointers suggested better days ahead for this country, if not for the international community, as war clouds gathered over Iraq....  The seeming inevitability of an American invasion of Iraq overshadowed all discussion of the prospects on the world scene for 2003.  The economic fall-out would harm international trade but this country, remote from the centre of disturbance, and with sound fundamentals in place, was better equipped than most to expand its economy."


"U.S.  Still Needs Support"


Columnist William Saunderson-Meyer cautioned in the liberal Star (12/28): "The United States will continue to ignore the reservations of allies, which will further undermine the long post-Second World War trend to internationalism through the United Nations....   U.S. unilateralism, as personified by Bush and his rampant Republican administration, must also put strain on the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom... Whatever the limitations of these attempts at international brokering of consensus, they are ultimately the best chance for the world of containing conflict.  While it is true that U.S. military dominance will enable it to triumph in unilateral actions for the time being, history tells us that it cannot be forever."


TANZANIA:   “America Should Be Safe For The World"


Weekly Kiswahili-language Islamic An-Nuur editorialized (12/27):  “There are Muslims from various countries who have been given an opportunity to visit the U.S. all expenses paid for by the government of that country, especially after President Bush declared his Crusade.  Some Tanzanian Muslims are among those that have been accorded this opportunity.  At the same time, the American government has been hosting Iftaars during the past month of Ramadan at the White House, at various government offices in America and at its Embassies abroad....   As we write opinion piece, hundreds, if not thousands of Muslims have been arrested and detained in America through the implementation of the U.S. Patriot Act.  Now, if this is your interpretation of what terrorists are, why go to all the trouble of hosting Iftaars for us?  To deceive Muslims?  And if America is oppressing its own Muslim citizens inside America in this manner, would it have compassion for a Tanzanian Muslim?  But more importantly, if this is what the U.S. Patriot Act is doing to American Muslims, in what kind of situation will Tanzanian Muslims find themselves, when President Mkapa signs the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law?...  During his time, Hitler felt that he would not be safe until he had exterminated the Jews.  Today, America also feels that for it to be safe, it has to annihilate terrorists.  But the ones that are seen to be annihilated are Muslims.  But the prayer of the world to the Lord their Creator is that, America should be safe at home.  It should not engage in destruction and at the same time pretend to be the repairman.”




CANADA: "Saddam-Free In 2003"


The conservative National Post editorialized (12/24): "Resolution 1441 appears to have thrown Saddam's regime into a sort of existential crisis: Iraqi mouthpieces are running hot and cold, alternating between gestures of defiance and good faith. On Monday, for instance, Iraq shot down a U.S. surveillance plane.  But just the day before, an Iraqi official invited the CIA to join UN inspection teams.  The reason for this confusion is that Saddam has no good options.  On one hand, he knows that his regime will be destroyed if he defies the UN's newly dispatched team of inspectors.  On the other hand, he also cannot bear to abandon his WMD programs.  That would mean giving up his distant but unforgotten dream of becoming Middle Eastern overlord, a fate akin to soul-death for an inveterate hegemonist like Saddam.  And so, Saddam is playing for time....  Mr. Bush has been patient: Throughout the crisis, he has consistently respected the timetable set by the United Nations.  This disciplined approach has paid dividends in the form of support--or at least a lack of significant opposition--from Russia, France and China."


MEXICO:  “Zero Hour/The Political Agreement”


Roberto Orozco Melo stated in conservative independent El Siglo de Torreon (1/6):  A regional war, in the Middle East, could turn into the Third World War.  The wolf’s motives are economic interests, specifically the control of petroleum.  Currently, on this day, tens of people die in the conflict areas without knowing the cause of their sacrifice.  The majority vote in the United Nations, in favor of the most powerful country in the world, which wants us to believe that reason is on their side, but the inference is false....  In a menacing world environment Mexico has become a pawn that moves in favor of the United States.  This is due to its geographic location, its condition of weak neighbor, lately subordinated by the multiple economic and political engagements agreed upon during the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid and the presidencies following it.  If during the Second World War President Avila Camacho was forced to commit himself in favor of the western allies, now Vicente Fox is compelled, by a survival instinct and national convenience, to do the same."


CHILE: "Winds Of War And Uncertainty For 2003"


Leading circulation, popular La Tercera commented (12/29):  "George Bush's resolve to use military power in support of American objectives and to eradicate all terrorist cells to prevent future attacks, makes war against imminent conflict....  This war has been so widely announced that financial markets have already incorporated part of the consequences....  The scenario would, however, become gray if the war extends, the region destabilizes, and terrorism recrystalizes."


ECUADOR:  "The World's Sheriff"


Quito's leading centrist El Comercio stated (1/1):  "Is he a rancher born in Connecticut, living in Texas, famous for being tough and for being uninformed about geography, or is he a leader of the same political stature as FDR and Abraham Lincoln?...  Catapulted into the spotlight by the brutal attacks in New York and Washington, Bush is now determined to finish the business that almost 12 years ago his father did not want to or could not finish--topple Saddam Hussein.  At the end 2002 and with the approval of the NATO allies, the monarchies from the Persian Gulf, and above all, the UN, Bush Jr. has become a sort of the master of the most powerful nation on earth....  What can we expect with Bush?  The only certain thing is that he will seek reelection in 2004."


JAMAICA: "USA:  Traveling Alone In 2003?"


Professor of International Relations at the University of the West Indies, Stephen Vasciannie argued in the moderate, influential Daily Gleaner (1/6): "Will the country opt for isolationism, preferring to build a Fortress America, concentrating inward without much regard to international prospects and realities? This is hardly likely: bearing in mind the lasting impact of September 11, and the prominence of inter-State coalitions in areas such as anti-terror, drug interdiction, as well as peace and security, the Bush administration will certainly be active in the international arena this year....  Unilateralism is a tempting option for America....  So, for some, including many within the United States, the decade-long triumph over communism should remain the springboard for the single-handed dissemination of American values throughout the world.”


TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:  "Dangerous Development In World Politics"


David Abdulah wrote in the liberal Newsday (12/31)  "The first issue is of course the policy position of the United States with respect to what it considers to be its energy security.  This is the policy that is driving the U.S. to war with Iraq and encouraging the destabilization of the Chavez government in Venezuela.  In the short term the U.S. policy is having the effect of pushing oil prices higher.  The plan however, is that in the medium term pro-U.S. governments in Venezuela and Iraq would result in lower energy prices and a weaker OPEC....   This signals a renewed and very dangerous development in the arena of world politics.  The Bush edict that he 'who is not with us is against us' is now no longer just a threat, it is being backed up with active attempts to remove governments of countries who dare to disagree.  This is not a new U.S. policy. The 20th Century was full of examples of U.S. 'gunboat diplomacy'.  However, if the decade of the '90's (the Clinton years) was characterized by the U.S. portraying itself as an upholder of 'democracy', the Bush presidency has removed all the illusions.  It's back to old-fashioned imperialism....  The re-energized imperialism thrust is being played out at several levels, the military being but the most obvious.  There is also the economic and in particular the thrust towards making the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) a reality by 2005.  Nor should we discount the diplomatic.  In this regard the U.S. must have been extremely distressed by the meeting in Havana and convened by the Cuban government to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Cuba-Caricom relations.  It is to the credit of our Caricom Heads of Government that they not only attended in such large numbers but also re-affirmed their commitment to strengthening even further relations with Cuba."



Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere
January 7, 2003 LOOKING BACK AT 2002, LOOKING AHEAD TO 2003

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