International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 10, 2003

March 10, 2003





  **  Papers worldwide worried that a U.S. attack on Iraq not sanctioned by the UNSC could mean "the end" of the United Nations.

  **  Many saw the outlines of a "new international order" emerging from the diplomatic struggle.

  **  Some feared the "new order" would mean a hegemonic, unstoppable U.S.




EUROPE:  Most see damage to UN if U.S. proceeds without second resolution--  Dailies held that the "arm-wrestling match" over a second UN resolution had "already caused damage" and left the UN "a victim."  Many doubted "whether the UNSC will survive" the coming "mega diplomatic debacle."  France's Catholic La Croix warned that "the specter of the League of Nations is haunting" the world body, even as Spain's conservative ABC criticized France for forgetting "that the U.S. is its ally."  Berlin's right-of-center Die Welt argued "it would be the end of" the UN if war occurred against its "declared will," preferring if need be, war without a second resolution.


AFRICA/ASIA:  War without UNSC's OK would 'seriously undermine' the UN--  Asian dailies agreed the U.S. has already "set a date" for war.  China's official People's Daily blasted the U.S.'s effort to find a "so-called legal basis" for its "illegal" use of force.  Many concurred that a war without the UN's imprimatur would be "morally indefensible," "lack international legality" and might "destroy...the UN Charter."  Japanese and South African writers, however, agreed with an Aussie tabloid's call for disarming Iraq "with the UN's sanction or without it."


MIDDLE EAST/SOUTH ASIA:  U.S. harming 'international legitimacy'--  Dailies from Muslim countries foresaw a world where "the remnants of state sovereignty will evaporate" if the U.S. can "bribe and bully weak nations" into supporting a new resolution.  Syria's government-owned Al-Thawra charged Washington was using "the colonial logic of aggression" to impose its "hegemony."  Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Yaum also criticized the U.S. effort to "shake the UN's cohesion."  Pakistani and Egyptian observers emphasized that anti-war protesters "are not defending Saddam" but rather "defending the entire world order."


WESTERN HEMISPHERE:  The UN 'in shambles' on the eve of war--  Dailies in Brazil and Argentina judged that by declaring he was ready to disarm Saddam forcibly without a new resolution if necessary, Bush had dealt "a hard blow" on the influence the UNSC has had "in the resolution of international conflicts" since the end of WWII.  Brazil's respected center-left Jornal do Brasil argued that "what's at stake now is the redefinition of the international order."  Chile's conservative La Segunda stated:  "A U.S. unilateral action would destroy the United Nations."

EDITORS:  Steven Wangsness and Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 69 reports from 40 countries March 8-10, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Long Division"


The conservative Times took this view (3/10):  "Without a second resolution, Mr. Blair will faces a serious revolt, far more problematic than any he has encountered since becoming leader....  The Prime Minister should be confident that the current storm, though turbulent, can be weathered provided that the diplomatic manoeuvres in which he is now engaged deliver international support for action and any subsequent military intervention is swift and victorious. would be foolish to assume that, once the conflict in Iraq is over, the divisions that it has laid bare will disappear.  U.S. action against Saddam Hussein should not be seen as an isolated adventure, but as part of an American foreign policy likely to be in force for a long time....  The proposed action against Iraq may be one of the earliest and most controversial examples of such a policy, but it will not be the last."


"Now Is The Moment Of Truth"


The center-left Independent argued (3/10):  "Tony Blair's prime ministership is not at that crisis pitch yet.  Nor is it likely to be, even if the Anglo-American text fails to pass the Security Council tomorrow....  Make no mistake, however, this is now extremely dangerous for the PM....  Since the start of the year, everything has moved against him.  Saddam is co-operating; not fully or immediately but enough to make it worthwhile to keep up the pressure.  The nightmare scenario of the failure to pass a second resolution is now a wakeful near-certainty.  And no one could fairly describe a French veto, which it seems Jacques Chirac would come to New York to wield in person, as unreasonable.  On the contrary, France has had the better of the argument....  It is too late now for Mr Blair to do anything much about his fate.  He sold the pass a long time ago, and to a bull-headed and diplomatically inept U.S. President....  Even if a compromise resolution is carried, it will lack moral authority....  Even if the fighting is over quickly and casualties are kept low...the risks remain.  While most Iraqis may be grateful for the lifting of Saddam's yoke, the scope for disaster in the post-war reconstruction of the country is great....  This is...the wrong war at the wrong time.  But even its most vociferous opponents must stand ready to help rebuild Iraq after the war."


FRANCE:  "Bush And The UN"


Left-of-center Le Monde held (3/10):  “President Bush is wrong when he says that the UN’s credibility can only be asserted by supporting war....  If war is decided in spite of the March 7 inspectors’ report...the UN’s authority will have been sabotaged....  If an arm-wrestling match is undertaken to force undecided weak nations to vote for war, the role of the UN will be distorted.  Yet this is what President Bush seems ready to do....  He has warned that even with a no vote, the U.S. will launch the war....  The aim of such a policy seems to be to take away the UN’s credibility.”


"The Future Of The UN At Stake"


Jean-Luc Macia maintained in Catholic La Croix (3/10):  “The worst possible hypothesis is haunting the world’s diplomats: with or without the UN, the U.S. and Great Britain will go ahead with a war.  What would the future of the UN be?  The specter of the League of Nations is haunting them....  The choice of a few nations and America’s desire to get rid of Saddam can turn the UN into the first and most symbolic collateral victim of the Iraqi conflict.”


"Racing Towards War"


Patrick Sabatier opined in left-of-center Liberation (3/10):  “In these times where the real threat is terrorism and WMD, those who aspire to be the masters of the world will discover, like Pyrrhus, that the answer cannot be purely military.”


"Life, Death And Veto"


Jean-Claude Maurice wrote in right-of-center Le Journal du Dimanche  (3/9):  “The answer is clear: short of definitive proof against Iraq and unless Saddam Hussein gives in to a blatant provocation, France will exercise its right of veto....  For France it is a question of principle, a question of morality....  If the U.S. decides on war in spite of the UN, it will have set a dangerous precedent for other crises in the making: Middle East, North Korea, India-Pakistan.  None of these conflicts can be solved unilaterally.  France’s strength lies in the fact that it is not defending a personal position, but that of an entire community.”


"The Destiny Of A World"


Michel Schifres judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/8):  “FM de Villepin’s address before the Security Council, more than any other, gave meaning to the fight against war and to the idea of finding a logic other than the logic of war....  What gave it weight was de Villepin’s concern for defining a doctrine and imagining ‘the destiny of a world in crisis.’  No one can say if his invitation to heads of state and government has a future.  In spite of a potential rejection by the U.S., such an invitation would offer a double advantage: finding a compromise at the highest level thus possibly steering away from a veto; and restoring the UN’s image.”


"A Worst-Case Scenario"


Patrick Sabatier opined in left-of-center Liberation (3/8):  “No matter what scenario is played out, there is the risk to the UN of ending up like the League of Nations....  There are basically two visions of the world confronting each other.  For the U.S., equilibrium, peace and security can be safeguarded only through military hegemony.  For France and others, peace and security can exist only through multipolar cooperation....  The U.S. can win the war without the UN.  It can also lose the peace if it isolates itself.  It is in America’s interest not to fire on the UN.  Unfortunately Washington appears ready to shoot.”


GERMANY:  "About America’s Power"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted on the front-page of center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (3/10):  “Those who are pushing the Iraq issue with such vigor in the U.S. administration have perhaps underestimated the resistance that is now mounting up against them.  According to all the statements we have heard from them...they probably don’t care....  But even among those who have a realistic view of the UNSC...Bush’s diplomatic sledgehammer will not create a consensus.....  The rift among the UNSC members is a fact which several parties tried to achieve....  It seems doubtful whether the UNSC will survive the coming weeks as a ‘living institution of global peace’ [Carter]....  America’s power in the world is involved.  That is the reason why the controversy is taking place with such intensity.  Irrespective of the outcome, the damage will be considerable”


"Diplomacy At Full Speed"


Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich maintained (3/10):  “The likelihood that France seconds another resolution in the UNSC is smaller today that in it ever was in the past....  French diplomacy continues to run at full speed....  President Chirac is trying to prevent a majority for the United States in the UNSC.  Only if he succeeds...would France be prevented from using its veto against its most important ally, since the implications of a veto would be devastating, not only for NATO."


"Who Owns The World?"


Nikolaus Blome argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (3/10):  “The UN with all its weaknesses and flaws is the only place where Americans and the majority of to each other according to clearly defined rules.  It would be the end of this place if there were war against the declared will of the UN.  In such a case, a war would be better without the UN having declared its will.”


"Last Chance For Reason"


Washington correspondent Malte Lehming filed the following front-page editorial for centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/10):  “The U.S. administration has now initiated the final ‘showdown’ in the UN Security Council....  At the same time, Washington announced that the outcome of the vote in the UNSC would be insignificant....  A diplomatic mega-debacle is in the offing."


"Blix Report"


Andreas Chichowicz commented on ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening newscast Tagesthemen (3/8):  “Blix mentioned progress, but not how Saddam Hussein can be urged to go.  This is something he did not have to examine, but this is the only thing in which the U.S. administration is interested....  The coming days will witness a hectic flurry of diplomatic activities whose outcome is clear....  I am afraid that the U.S. will win this battle about war.  But it will lose reputation by the way it treats the rest of the world.  This is a high price but not high enough for the U.S. president.  He already mentioned the leitmotif for a future unrestrained power policy:  We don’t need the permission of anybody.  Hans Blix can retire.”


ITALY:  "The Agony Of The Rules"


Boris Biancheri opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (3/10):  “To put it simply, the American line is this: 9/11 showed that our enemies can cause us huge damage; passive defense against these attacks is impossible....  Therefore, if a war is necessary, then a war shall be waged....  Perhaps, this goes beyond the UN principles, but this means that the UN is lagging behind the challenges of our time, while America isn’t....  France and Germany, and with some ambiguity Russia, are playing diplomatically....  They don’t have any doctrine on the new threats coming from terrorism and proliferation of WMD....  The old balances and rules no longer work.  But only the U.S. and the UK think they have the new ones.  If the challenge of our times marks the death of the UN, as it was in the past for the League of Nations, it will not be Washington to rescue the corpse.”


"The Two Fronts Dividing The West"


Vittorio Zucconi argued in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (3/8):  ”It is no longer two different resolutions or two tactics that are clashing at the UN....  It is two opposite and irreconcilable concepts on who should govern the world in the 21st century....  Indeed, when the bombs drop, not even the most capable diplomats will be able to pretend and say that everyone won as if everyone was right.  From this epochal clash, someone will necessarily be defeated.  Indeed, we already have the first victim: the UN."


BELGIUM:  "Iraq Crisis"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn judged in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (3/10):  “This crisis it is no longer about Iraq only.  Iraq and Saddam are the cause of a revolution in worldwide relationships.  Nobody will shed a tear if Saddam disappears--the earlier the better.  If military action is necessary for that, so be it.  But, the question is: who gives permission?  Should it be the UNSC...or can the strongest nation decide alone?  That is a fundamental question....  If the U.S. is allowed to attack Iraq pre-emptively, why shouldn’t China do the same in Taiwan?  Why shouldn’t India attack Pakistan to prevent it from testing missiles?....  Why is there a firm strategy against Iraq...while North Korea, which has nuclear weapons, is handled with velvet gloves?...  (The message is) that it is important to have nuclear weapons as soon as possible because, in those circumstances, America does not dare to do anything.  All dictators have understood that very well.  Before the first shots are fired, the Iraq crisis has already caused damage.  There are no winners.”


IRELAND:  "Ultimatum For War Opponents"


Center-right Sunday Independent maintained (3/9):  "At issue is Iraq's willingness to accept the will of the UN, and disarm.  But equally at issue, is the UN's own ability to enforce its will....  For the French to claim that peaceful disarmament is now working, while largely ignoring how that limited level of cooperation has relied wholly on military pressure to underpin the diplomatic effort, is somehow disingenuous....  Iraq has now been given an ultimatum.  It has 10 days to disarm....  That is not just putting it up to Saddam Hussein to accept....  It is also putting it up to those (such as France, Russia and China) who now oppose American-led military action, but who have already voted for Iraq's full compliance with the UN under the resolution (1441) they supported last November."


MALTA:  "Unsure How To Tackle Saddam"


The English-language independent weekly The Malta Independent on Sunday commented (3/9):  "The international community is no closer to arriving at a compromise on how to force Saddam Hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction....  The likelihood of a second UN Security Council resolution being approved by the necessary nine votes is doubtful and then there is the possibility of a French or Russian veto.  Ideally, a compromise should be reached between the two sides in which a new reasonable deadline is set out for Saddam to disarm, failing which would lead to military action.  On the other hand it is possible that the U.S. and Britain will...unilaterally go on to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime [without a second resolution].  Given the international political climate, this is a very risky option to pursue, and we hope that such a scenario can be avoided."


NETHERLANDS:  "No Legitimacy"


Influential independent NRC Handelsblad editorialized (3/8):  "It would set an outrageous precedent if America would attack a sovereign state preemptively and without UN approval.  For what would prevent other countries from doing the same?...  The fact that the situation got to this point in the first place is because Saddam refused to cooperate with the UN weapon inspectors....  Washington can be blamed for wanting to start a war in an explosive region without a clear and broadly understood reason....  The unwillingness of France, Germany, Russia, and China to meet the U.S. wishes reflects the understandable frustration about the surplus of American power and the ease with which Bush and Co. had earlier passed over the international community."


NORWAY:  "Bondevik’s No To War"


Independent VG commented (3/10):  “[Prime Minister] Bondevik answered a clear Yes to VG’s question on whether he is willing with regard to Iraq to break Norway’s loyalty to the USA....  It will be a wide-ranging change in Norwegian foreign and security policy if Norway opposes the USA and Great Britain on the question of disarming Iraq.  If the U.S. goes to war, it will happen because the country knows the peace and security of it and its allies are threatened.  If Norway goes in opposition to the U.S., then we are breaking with the foremost guarantor of our peace and security....  If the Government now should tie Norway to countries like France and Russia, in opposition to the U.S. and Great Britain, it will be the same thing as defining the country’s foreign policy anew....  We have great respect for the motives that lie behind the PM’s opposition to a possible war in Iraq.  But we hope that he has clearly grasped the ramifications of the position that he now suggests that Norway should assume.”


"Fatal For The UN"


New York correspondent Eva Bratholm commented in the Labor party Dagbladet (3/10) :  “The UN’s authority can be changed when this week is over....  The world’s only superpower has tweaked the nose of the UN and has taken matters into its own hands.  The UN sits again as the one really disarmed....  Should the U.S. manage to press for 9 votes and no veto, the situation is not really much better.  The UN will then be a scapegoat for a war that almost the entire world is against....  The villain is the United States.  The country has actively undermined the UN’s prestige by first asking for the Security Council’s support and then saying that it does not matter.  To be fair, other UN countries have also contributed to the world organization’s catastrophic situation.  Resolution 1441...was adopted unanimously November 29....  At that time everyone was so relieved that the U.S. had chosen to come before the UN that hardly anyone fully thought out how the end game would play out if Iraq could be able to comply.”


PORTUGAL:  "The Last Cards"


Deputy editor-in-chief Nuno Pacheco argued in influential moderate-left Público  (3/10):  "It is certain that Bush will get to war as he got to the White House: by wearing out his opponents.  Defeated but not convinced that this hotly defended preventive war will be, by itself, the best solution to the Iraqi problem.  Tomorrow, in the UNSC, the final cards will be played."


"Washington And Paris: Poker"


Senior editor Jorge Almeida Fernandes offered this view in influential moderate-left Público (3/9):  "Paris, Moscow and Beijing want to avoid a crisis in the UN.  It remains to be seen whether Bush wants to.  In that case, France will have fallen into a trap.  If the war goes well, France will be marginalized in the Middle East.  If it goes badly, it will be 'blamed' by the Americans.  Paris, however, is betting on the Americans needing Europe and the UN to manage the wasp's nest of the post-war....  War might still be the subject of a compromise, because no one defends Saddam Hussein's Iraq.....  The outcome of this arm-wrestling match will design the contours of the international order in the coming years.  But the margin for compromise is already very narrow."


ROMANIA:  "The Next Resolution"


Political analyst Ion Cristoiu commented in the centrist daily Jurnalul National (3/10):  “The United States wants to turn the meeting in which the next resolution on Iraq will be discussed into a sensational demonstration regarding the uselessness of the Security Council and the anachronism of the UN.  A demonstration targeted not at the international public, but at the American public....   The world--the U.S. leaders want to point out--needs quick action, aimed at destroying any terrorist plan.  Under such circumstances, a Security Council which votes for a delay will be proven absolutely useless.  Which, in the end, is the hidden goal of the American administration.”


SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:  "Disputable Justification For Aggression"


Pro-government Politika carried this opinion of Belgrade Professor of International Law Zoran Vucinic (3/10):  "The UN Charter, article 51 says explicitly that states are entitled to individual and collective self-defense only in case of armed attack on their territory.  The strategy of preventive self-defense, i.e., preventive attacks, is contrary to contemporary international law and represents an act of aggression....  The U.S. being the biggest power can do as it wishes, because no one can confront it for the moment, not even the UN.  Does it mean that other countries have the right to use the same strategy?  Did Yugoslavia for example, have the right to protect its security by a preventive attack on Albania, which at that time offered strong support to Albanian terrorists in Kosovo?   The answer is negative...because in that case interventions would be undertaken based on personal criteria and could be misused."


SPAIN:  "The World That Is No Longer"


Left-of-center El País argued (3/8):  "Between the U.S. leaders, with their obscenely arrogant policy, their constant erratic dodges and their lack of professionalism, and European ones, with their disunity, their hypocrisy, their inability and their permanent attitude of a 'little know-it-all,' we have been plunged into the gravest security crisis since the end of World War II....  Now, only a rapid military intervention and a reasonable postwar scenario can save us."


"The Final Battle Of Diplomacy"


Independent El Mundo published this commentary (3/9):  "All [of the countries that have a vote in the Security Council] would rather have an agreement between Paris and Washington: for Bush because it seems the only way to stop a veto, and for the rest because it will avoid the division of the Council about the legitimacy of the war and the alienation of the United Nations.  But it seems too late for that....  Today, the center of the diplomatic battle is not Iraq, but the principles that will guide the international system after 9/11.  The unilateralism and policy of preventive war approved by the United States...means the destruction of the 'United Nations system.'"


"France's Place"


Conservative ABC held (3/10):  "Allies [show support], above all, in the bad times.  France seems to have forgotten--or at least at times has difficulties in showing it--that the U.S. is its ally....  In the end, the clash that Paris is creating, is not only with the United States, but also with South of Europe.  Do Putin and Jiang Zemin offer Chirac more credibility than Aznar, Berlusconi, Durao...or Tony Blair?...  France should make an effort to make more visible the ties, ideals and principles that have made of it a reference point in the world and in history."


TURKEY:  "This Is The Last Week"


Yasemin Congar argued in mass-appeal Milliyet (3/10):  “It seems very unlikely that the war can be stopped at this stage.  The Bush administration is not going to change its policy, even though the French-led split at the UNSC signals a potential risk of polarization within the Western world....  The U.S. will use the next couple of days in efforts to convince the six ‘undecided’ members of the UNSC....  Yet the fact of the matter is that Washington’s focus is not on the opposition at the UNSC anymore, but is more concerned about the war and post-war possibilities."




ISRAEL:  "War And Its Critics"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/10):  "What's at stake for the U.S. and the West at large in the confrontation over Iraq is not just that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, worrisome though this is.  It is that Iraq's 12-year flouting of its cease-fire obligations has called Western resolve and credibility into question, as have the games played by France and Germany over recent months in the Security Council....  This newspaper is convinced that deposing Saddam by force is morally and strategically the right thing to do, though [it] does not discount the very real risks such action poses.   But beyond these risks lies the far graver peril of yet again persuading bin Laden and his minions that the Atlantic Alliance is a house divided against itself, that a French president can be counted on to hold a Texan president in check, and that future acts of terror will not be met by the most furious reprisals.  It is this peril that, against all cavil and self-doubt, the West must confront and overcome."


EGYPT:  "Nero Burns The World"


Salama Ahmed Salama wrote in leading pro-government Al Ahram (3/10):  “Clearly, the American administration no longer sees a use for any discussions as it has decided to strike Iraq.  No one expected Washington to act otherwise.  The Administration has grown deaf to the most world opinion....  It is taking a great risk, which may destroy the international system and UN....  Bush appeared nervous and full of the arrogance of power when he proceeded to the sudden press conference, which followed the UNSC session.... He is the Nero of the modern age who does not care about burning the world or the UNSC.”


"Solution From Within"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Abdel Moeti Ahmed judged (3/10):  “The [only] solution, which is timely that a group from inside Iraq plans a coup to overthrow Saddam’s regime, to open the way to the establishment of a free democratic regime, which would include all Iraqi factions and political trends, and would work on implementing U.N. resolutions and spare Iraqis a destructive war in which thousands of innocent civilians would fall.”


"The Time For Talking Is Over"


Opposition Al Wafd columnist Nabil Zaki argued (3/10):  “The victim [Iraq] confronts an enemy which is neither looking for weapons of mass destruction nor worried about a lack of democracy in Iraq.  It is only seeking to establish a new Roman Empire to control the world militarily....  Naïve people thought Iraqi regime change would prevent war but, as Bush and Rice have confirmed, that is an illusion.”




Pro-government, aggressive Al Akhbar warned (3/9):  “The international farce has gone too far.  The U.S. threatens to go to war in Iraq without a UNSC resolution....  Who threatens American security, Saddam or Bush?....  The entire world is against this war.  Though the U.S. discounts Iraq, it is impossible to discount the majority of the world’s nations....  September 11 made Americans lose their minds....  World War II was but a toy compared with the upcoming World War III.  The world is full of WMD....  We are not defending Saddam; we are defending the entire world order....  Americans who advocate war are returning history to barbaric ages...and reason must prevail....  War is not a baseball game.”


WEST BANK:  "American Underestimation Of International Legitimacy"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (3/10):  "The remarks of Condeleezza Rice, in which she reiterated the readiness of the U.S. to wage war against Iraq without the approval of the UNSC, reflect the position of the Bush administration....  This administration is seeking to snatch a new resolution from the UNSC, authorizing the use of power even though the majority of the international community is against such a position....  [Rice's] remarks undermine international legitimacy.  The Bush administration is presenting to the world the worst model of a superpower, which should have reinforced the basis and principles of international legitimacy, putting an end to the double-standard policy it practices.”


SAUDI ARABIA:   "The Concealed Agenda"


Jeddah's moderate, Al-Medina editorialized (3/10):  "President Bush has declared that the time is near to settle the Iraqi crisis by military means.  In fact, he was actually announcing the near demise of the UNSC and international legitimacy....  A sad end, which will spare no one, including the American people, whose security President Bush claims he is protecting [while ignoring] every American value and tradition for their sake."


"The UN Prevails"


The English-language pro-government Saudi Gazette remarked (3/9):  "The United States, the self-proclaimed citadel of the Western civilization, is trying to bribe and bully weak and poor nations to support its devastating war plans.  On the eve of the UN debate, President Bush demanded at his rare press conference a division in the UN to see who was standing where.  A veiled threat is manifest in this demand....  Therefore, the efforts of France and other nations to avoid the war are not only understandable, they are commendable."


"A Grave Precedent "


Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum editorialized (3/8):  "The potential American war against Iraq can only be explained as proof of superiority and a unilateral striking force in the world....  This is required to shake the UN's cohesian and convert the international organization into a irrelevant one, without any authority."


SYRIA:  "An Oppressive Logic"


Mohamed Khair al-Jamali commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (3/10):  "Anyone who reads the draft U.S.-British-Spanish resolution with its ultimatum on Iraq realizes that this draft resolution was formulated by an oppressive logic in line with the law of jungle where power has the upper hand and the strong swallow the weak, devoid of any ethical and logical rules governing public behavior....  This logic is similar to the colonial logic of aggression, brutal force, and threats as a means to impose an aggressive power's hegemony over people and rob them of their wealth."


UAE:  "No To War" 


Influential, pan-Arab Al Khaleej observed (3/8):  "France, Russia, China, Germany, and all Arab and Islamic Summits say:  'No to War.'  People around the world had and are still having anti-war demonstrations.  Despite all this, the only thing that the U.S. can think of is fabricating excuses for its attacks against Iraq....  George Bush's remarks (indicating) no requirement for international authorization confirm this.  The burglary begins with the assassination of international legitimacy, which has always been the case in Arab issues.  What is happening in Palestine and will happen in Iraq are good examples of that."


"Bush's Cowboy Mentality"


Dubai-based business-oriented Al Bayan editorialized (3/8):  "President Bush announced: 'if we need to take any action against Iraq, we definitely will, without UN approval.'  The right translation of this is:  if the UN does not abide by our orders and does not approve the killing of Iraq, then there is no need for it [the UN] and every member should just leave New York and go back to where s/he came from."




AUSTRALIA:  "Plea Time Has Past"


Popular tabloid Daily Telegraph opined (3/8):  "Critics of President Bush were quick to point out after his press conference yesterday that he had not provided any new evidence to support military intervention in Iraq....  They missed the point.  That moment has passed; there is no necessity for such evidence as the Iraqi leader is in defiance of UN Resolution 1441....  His goal is to achieve peace through the disarmament of Saddam--by force if necessary--whether with the UN’s sanction or without it....  As time runs out for Saddam to prevent a war it is an argument that requires no further embellishment.”


CHINA:  "International Law And The Iraq Issue"


Jiang Guoqing commented in official Communist Party-run People’s Daily (Renimin Ribao) (3/10):  “The U.S., the U.K. and some other countries are attempting to attack Iraq without a UN authorization for war.  Apparently, there is not any legal basis for such a so-called self-defense action....  UN Resolution 1441 does not grant any country the right to launch a unilateral war on Iraq.  Even if the inspectors’ report shows that Iraq does seriously violate the UN Resolution, it should be determined by the UNSC whether or not to take further actions....  Some Western countries led by the U.S. wantonly misinterpret the regulations concerned in the Charter of the UN, seeking a so-called legal basis for their illegal use of military force....  The behavior of these countries is in keeping with their traditional invasive policy under the guidance of colonialism and the demand of power politics.  However, this kind of behavior goes opposite to the fundamental principles of international law.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "War Date Has Been Set; Bush Makes The Last Call"


Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times held (3/8):  "Prior to Blix issuing his Iraq weapons inspection report, Bush hurried to make remarks resembling a declaration of war for two reasons.  First of all, Bush has already set a date for the war and the countdown has started.  He will not allow any diplomatic procrastination.  In the past few weeks, Bush's reasons for attacking Iraq were challenged by France, Germany and Russia.  Even the Turkish Parliament refused to let U.S. troops in.  Many people doubt that the U.S. plan to attack Iraq may be postponed....  Secondly, the U.S. has suffered setbacks in its diplomatic efforts.  Many Americans have begun to question an attack against Iraq.  In such a less-than-ideal situation, Bush knows well that in the long run he will not only lose the support of his people, but he may even lose his chance to be reelected.  After setting the date for the war, Bush's remarks yesterday were a warning to his allies, telling them not to make any more noise.  They should either support the U.S. or shut up."


TAIWAN:  "Comment On U.S. President Bush's Remarks"


Centrist, pro-status quo China Times commented (3/9):  "Using force [against other countries] must at least meet the fundamental justice; that is, a country has the right to defend itself against invasion or under the UN authorization.  But no country has the right to use force against others simply in an attempt to protect its self-defined 'national security.'  No one in the world doubts that the U.S. will win the war against Iraq, but that is exactly and especially why the U.S. must not fight a war without a just cause....  In case of a French and Russian threat of veto, Bush said the U.S. was prepared to act on its own whenever necessary without the UN support.  His statement indicates that the U.S. will unilaterally destroy the binding of UN Charter.  For a country that has once spared no effort in safeguarding the UN spirit, this seems extraordinarily ironic.  In the world's eyes, what will be the difference between the U.S. action and that of Iraq?"


JAPAN:  "Iraq In Apparent Violation of Resolution 1441"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri declared (3/9):  "The U.S., Britain and Spain on Friday proposed a March 17 ultimatum for Iraq to comply fully with disarmament calls.  The UNSC should adopt the resolution to put Baghdad on notice that time has already run out.  Iraq has yet to fulfill its responsibility to prove that it is compliant.  Even 12 years after the Gulf War, it is obvious that Iraq has not carried out its obligation to destroy its WMD.  Even if the resolution is vetoed, the U.S. has declared that it will launch an attack against Baghdad.  This would lead to an abnormal situation in the Security Council.  Such being the case, the Council would not be able to deal effectively with the DPRK, which has resumed its nuclear weapons development program.  The North's nuclear armament would pose a serious threat to Japan's security. Given this, it is only natural that Japan should ask the UNSC to adopt the new resolution, while declaring support for its ally, the U.S."


INDONESIA:  "March 17 Ultimatum For Iraq"


Independent leading Kompas commented (3/10):  “That Washington and London are becoming more impatient with diplomatic processes was shown in their March 7 ultimatum...for Iraq to comply with the UN request to disarm within ten days.  These are probably the final days of the diplomatic phase....  For the U.S., it has apparently become fixed that Iraq is a dangerous terrorist regime and, therefore, has to be disarmed.  What is not less important is that implicitly, or explicitly, as President Bush said, the disarmament must be accompanied with a regime change.”


MALAYSIA:  "UN Reveals U.S. Falsehood"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian editorialized (3/10):  "After failing in its attempt to convince the world that Iraq has been attempting to build WMD, the U.S. and its ally have resorted to lies about Baghdad's nuclear weapons program.  Based on all this it is clear that America and Great Britain are running out of reasons to attack Iraq.  The false accusation by America is similar to the one it gave for the Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964 (which brought about the involvement of American troops in the Vietnam War).  Unfortunately the Arab nations are not united nor powerful enough to counter these bluffs and ruses, but Russia, German, China, France and the Third World nations are still managing to hold Bush and his administration back."


SINGAPORE:  "Mind The Fallout" 


The pro-government Straits Times noted (3/10):  "Last Friday's UNSC meeting was a sad day for the international community, especially small countries.  More than anybody else, it is they who will suffer if the Security Council's credibility and effectiveness are impaired.  The permanent five's bull-headedness, their diplomatic brinkmanship, their shortsighted plottings have brought matters to a dismal pass.  There is now a strong possibility that when the U.S. launches its invasion of Iraq, it will do so without the authorization of the Security Council....  The U.S. may find itself using force despite a clear UNSC vote rejecting the option. Such an occurrence cannot but seriously undermine the UN, calling into question its legitimacy and credibility....  This issue goes beyond Iraq, and concerns the future of the international system as such....  Washington has got word out that it would go to war immediately if the Council rejects a second resolution. Before Mr. Bush decides to do this, however, he should consider the impact Dr Hans Blix's report has had on global opinion....  Holding out the hope that Iraq might be disarmed peacefully, Dr Blix said inspections could be completed in months....  Mr. Bush must beware giving the impression that he cannot wait to go to war."


SOUTH KOREA:  "Military Action Against Iraq Is A 'Ruthless Crime'"


Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun observed (3/8):  "Even though there is no denying that...Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, the U.S. move to invade Iraq is just as ruthless a crime....  The U.S. must resolve the Iraqi issue through diplomatic means, not military means that will claim innocent lives."




INDIA:  "A Positive Assessment" 


The centrist Hindu opined (3/10):  "With the heads of the UN weapons inspection teams making an assessment that Iraq's cooperation...has now become active, even pro-active, the rationale for a U.S.-led military strike...has been severely undermined....  Blix and El-Baradei have decried the practice followed by Washington of declaring that its own intelligence agencies have found evidence of Iraqi misdoings without passing on such information to the U.N. agencies concerned....  The U.S. is not likely to be diverted or distracted from its purposes by the reports submitted by the U.N. teams....  Given its declared intent of bringing about a regime change in Iraq, it would appear that Washington...would thereby provide the justification for the initiation of military action against it....  It is extremely unfortunate that the slide towards a military confrontation appears to be taking place without the global community being given the opportunity to seriously consider all aspects...of a war."


"Wages Of War" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer declared (3/10):  "It is becoming increasingly clear that nothing is going to stop the United States, Britain, Spain and their allies from taking military action against Iraq, and that such action will be taken without sanction from the UNSC....  Three developments leave no one in doubt about the intentions of the U.S. and its allies.  The first is last Friday's ultimatum to Baghdad by Washington, London and Madrid....  The second is President Bush's declaration that he would drive Saddam Hussein out of power with or without sanction from the UNSC.  The third is the U.S.' rejection of the report by UN Chief Weapons Inspector Blix....  A war undertaken without the UNSC's sanction will not only lack international legality but will also be morally indefensible....  The U.S. and its allies will doubtless win the war against Iraq, but their waging it unilaterally will leave them isolated in a bitterly divided world."


PAKISTAN:  "The State Of The United Nations"


Lahore's Daily Times editorialized (3/10):  "A lack of trust in, and finally disobedience of, the United Nations would be defiance of international law itself.  The remnants of state sovereignty will evaporate and only the writ of the powerful will run in the world.  The global protest against President Bush is not a vote in favor of Saddam Hussein; it is a vote against the disorder that an attack on Iraq will bring about.  Inside the Security Council, too, the resolve to disarm Iraq and make it safe for the region is quite evident.  But there is realization too that an attack at this stage will unleash a bigger disorder."




CAMEROON:  "What Will Be Cameroon's Choice?"


editor Thierry Ngogang opined in Yaounde's pro-opposition French-language Mutations (3/10):  "In Paris, even if they appear serene about having majority support on the Security Council in favor of a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis, they do not want to take any chances.  Paris is concerned that in the case where the future of Iraq was to be determined by votes, America is more than ready to use all means necessary to get the nine votes that are needed to gain the approval from the UNSC.  Paris does not want to use its veto against a second resolution for diplomatic reasons.  U.S. lobbying towards the undecided becoming more and more intense, especially as we know that last week, U.S. President George Bush had a telephone conversation with President Biya."


SOUTH AFRICA:  "War Looms"


The liberal Mercury commented (3/10):  "War is a drastic way to discover the truth.  It would inflict casualties on the long-suffering Iraqi people, as well as on the invading armies.  It could cause geo-political turmoil, and not just in the Arab/Islamic world.  The future of the UN would be called into question if the U.S. and Britain invaded without specific UN sanction.  It could also mean the disintegration of NATO and the EU--more chaos in an already chaotic world.  All parties need to walk the extra mile for peace in the next seven days."


"It's Come Down To war"


Liberal Sunday Argus declared (3/9):  "Nine days to war; that's the ominous implication of the new British-American ultimatum to Iraq laid before the UNSC....  Many people could be forgiven for becoming blasé over endless U.S. and British war talk....  How tragic it would be if a conflict that divides the world anew was precipitated by a timetable devised by Pentagon generals for whom war in March is more convenient than waiting until all peaceful options have been exhausted.  At the same time, it must be admitted that the war rhetoric and relentless pressure from Bush and Blair have born fruit as Iraq increasingly co-operates with UN weapons inspectors....  Without the specter of utter military defeat facing him, it's unlikely that a tyrant such as Saddam would have become so accommodating.  But...American and British war talk has been so shrill and their mobilization so intense, that perhaps only war can save them from the embarrassment of being seen to cave in to Saddam.  How tragic if war broke out merely to save George Bush's face."


UGANDA:  "Let The War Games Begin"

Austin Ejiet opined in the independent Monitor (3/9):  "So what’s [George Bush] waiting for?  Let the games begin and we have our fun.  I agree with the president: the United Nations is an ungainly but costly anachronism, which has passed its sell-by date by at least three, may be four decades.  Koffi, grab your Nobel Peace prize and get out of there....  The dangers of a world government...[in Roman times] were the possibility of getting a mad emperor at the helm.  The dangers of modern mad Emperor have never been demonstrated more palpably than during the last few weeks.  President George W. Bush: in God’s name pull back from the brink.  Would you kill half a million women and children just to get at one aging, half-crazed general?  Beware the Ides of March!"

ZIMBABWE:  "Iraq (U. N.) Debate:  Warmongers Shamed Again"

The pro-government weekly Sunday Mirror thundered (3/9):  "After the latest presentation by...Hans Blix and his colleague Mohamed El is clear that the U.S. will not get the 9 votes they require for a moral victory on their proposed new U. N. resolution for war on Iraq....  But, even as Powell and Bush continued to peddle the tired assertions that Iraq is hiding some WMD, the two UN inspectors reiterated that they had so far not found any such weapons....  In the final analysis, the main message from the UN inspectors on Friday was that Iraq had started to cooperate with U. N. Resolution 1441 as indicated by the on-going destruction of its long range missiles.  The majority of the 15 members of the UNSC therefore feel that Iraq does not pose an immediate threat either to the U. S. or to the world and therefore should be disarmed peacefully.  On the other hand, the U. S. and Britain are now clearly being perceived as the warmongers and the real threat to world peace.” 



ARGENTINA:  "Washington Harasses The Collective Security System"


Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading Clarin observed (3/8):  "By warning that the U.S. needs 'no permission from anyone' to attack Iraq, President Bush inflicted a hard blow on the influence the UN Security Council has had in the resolution of international conflicts since the end of the Second World War.  With his warning, President Bush harassed the whole collective security system....  This time, Washington did nothing else but warning that multilateralism only works if it serves the U.S. interests."


BRAZIL:  "On The Verge Of War"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (3/8):  "The date for the war against Iraq has already been set....  If the superpower has already announced that it will go to war with or without the UN's endorsement, it will not be diplomatic debates that stop the U.S. bombings....  Without a relatively strong UN, Washington will depend increasingly on its own military power to maintain its hegemony.  All indicates that the world is on the verge of a war with its chief multilateral organization in shambles."


"Brazil Should Support An Ultimatum To Baghdad"


University Professor Alfredo Valladao wrote in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (3/9):  "Only the extremely innocent and naive can believe that Baghdad's tyrant has not hidden the weapons he tried to obtain for decades....  If Brazil wants to cooperate on finding a quick, peaceful solution that also upholds the legitimacy and the role of the UN, it should actively associate itself with those who propose a new resolution aimed at establishing a firm date for the Iraqi regime to comply fully with the UN's decisions."


"Victorious Way Out"


Right-of-center O Globo editorialized (3/9):  "If he would give more time to Saddam and the U.N.--and be satisfied in seeing Iraq disarmed--Bush would show he comprehends exactly the role of the U.S. in the world....  By demonstrating power--both with muscle and will--he can defeat the enemy...without taking a single shot, without throwing a single bomb.  What more efficient show of superiority and moral authority could the U.S. President want?"


"Decision Taken"


Respected center-left Jornal do Brasil argued (3/8):  "What's at stake now is the redefinition of international order established after WWII.  If the U.S. turns its back on the Security Council the U.N. will implode.  As interested as Brazil is in a peaceful end to the conflict, it should maintain its position in the sense of preventing the deflating of the U.N."


MEXICO:  "The Boldness Of Fighting For Peace"


Victor M. Perez Valera wrote in business-oriented El Universal (3/7):  "We should decidedly support president Fox's choice for peace during these hard times.  Those who say that if Mexico does not vote in favor of the war then it is not a friend of the United States do not understand the meaning of friendship.  Cicero wrote in his famous dialogue on friendship that its first rule was not to ask your friend to do immoral acts, and not to perform immoral deeds because your friend asks you to."


"Bush: More Battles Lost"


Left-of-center La Jornada editorialized (3/7):  “George Bush has already lost important diplomatic battles before the beginning of the war.  The most important thing for our country is the failure of the U.S. President in his attempt to blackmail Mexico with respect to Iraq.  We have to congratulate President Fox and demand that national authorities maintain that position before the UN Security Council (because) when the time comes, we have to reject massive bombing on Iraqi cities made in the name of the international security and American safety."




Adolfo Gilly held in the left-of-center La Jornada (3/7):  “Perhaps the Mexican vote in the UN Security Council will not be important if we do not know how the other countries opposed to the war will react.  That vote is indeed important to Mexico.  It is not just about principles and constitutional law, it is a matter of interests.  If the Mexican government protects its position and independence, it will refuse to be an accomplice of the massive destruction of a country that is already exhausted by the blockade, and by his dictator....  In this case the Bush administration will take reprisals against Mexico....  But the one that takes them will suffer also.  The United States needs Mexico because all of Latin America is resisting, and also because Mexico could support it with resistance in the name of his own interests.  If Mexico and Chile refuse their vote, Chile, Brazil and Mexico, would align, and there would be many ways of discussing and negotiating the future of all before the dominant power.  If the Mexican government votes with the United States, it will not be able to declare itself as an innocent actor in this ugly experience.  It is necessary to have the courage of saying No.”


CHILE:  "Iraq: Last Chance"


Conservative Santiago  La Segunda editorialized (3/07):  "It is urgent and necessary to reach an agreement to stop the war through disarmament, but leaving the possibility for military intervention with United Nations support if disarmament does not occur....  A U.S. unilateral action would destroy the United Nations....  Chile cannot exclude itself from the problem...and must now help in drafting a resolution that combines the principles that it upholds with a realistic assessment of what is truly at stake."


 "Peace is the Way"


Santiago's leading financial daily Estrategia ran this op-ed by Senator Antonio Horvath (Independent) (3/10):  "By not yielding to U.S. pressure, Chile might be risking its free trade agreement and commercial ties with that country, but economic issues and moral and value issues are not the same things.  What is at stake for Chile is our future multilateral relations."


BOLIVIA:  "Against All Odds"


The La Paz left-leaning daily La Prensa maintained (3/9):  "President George Bush is guilty of arrogance, an arrogance that is in keeping with stupid kings from antiquity.  He is deaf to the world clamor to stop the war that, against all odds, he wants to pursue in Iraq."


EL SALVADOR:  "War Imminent"


Top-selling moderate daily La Prensa Grafica editorialized (3/7):  "The case of Iraq is a phenomenon without precedence in the last decades....  President Bush said before the world, 'We are in the final stages of diplomacy.' ...  In other words, there will be war, and for political and climactic reasons, it will have to be soon.  This will be the first war within the new scenario of the post-Cold War period....  It is necessary to emphasize two facts: the strategic fracture of the allied bloc and the phenomenon of very generalized resistance against the war.  One does not know what will come of this crisis.  In any case, the map of international relations is no doubt experiencing an unprecedented change."


Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home