International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 18, 2003

March 18, 2003





** Braced for military conflict in Iraq, writers worldwide lamented that diplomacy had turned into a "fiasco" and forced the "unthinkable"; the U.S. and UK "going to war without the UN."

** While most criticized Washington's "devastatingly bad" diplomacy for failing to rally international support, many also conceded that blame is "widely shared."

** Analysts feared the war's "first victims" would be "the UN, NATO, EU and unity of the West."

** The Azores summit "symbolized" the "isolation" of Bush, Blair and Aznar, which some predicted could hamper post-war reconstruction.




EUROPE:  As deadline looms, a debate on war's 'legitimacy' and blame for Saddam, Bush and Chirac for 'failure of diplomacy'--  While a few outlets, including Paris's right-of-center Le Figaro, contended the war will be "based on solid legal and moral reasons" and that "Resolution 1441 is sufficient" to legitimize it, more argued that the conflict was "illegal."  Others chided the U.S. for replacing international law with "the law of the jungle" and "despotic diplomacy."  Many writers focused on "the failure of world diplomacy" to avoid a war that "should not be happening."  While some dailies criticized France's lack of "wisdom" and being at "fault" for the failure of a second UN resolution, many outlets took aim at Washington's "devastatingly bad" diplomacy and "bullying rhetoric."  A number, however, also recognizing the Iraqi dictator's culpability, allowed that "blame is widely shared."  Britain's independent Financial Times regretted that the "diplomatic fiasco" resulted in "a perfectly arguable case" against Saddam being "so mishandled" that world public opinion worries more about "the misuse of U.S. power" than Hussein.  A Belgian paper predicted that after the war, Saddam will have won "a sole victory...exposing America's isolation to the world."  Citing the potential for anti-Americanism, some German papers cautioned that a U.S. decision to "go it alone" was "likely to have even greater consequences for the U.S."


ISLAMIC WORLD/AFRICA:  Many assail 'unjust and immoral war,' Arabs feel 'targeted'--Most papers criticized the U.S.' "utmost hypocrisy" and rejected any "legitimization of this aggressive war."  Egypt's leading Al Ahram blasted the "pretexts for launching war," joining others in asserting that the U.S.' "unbridled unilateralism" will "effectively close a chapter on the principle of collective security and peace in the world as enshrined" in the UN.  Syrian and Moroccan dailies stated that Arabs are "targeted by this war" and warned that "what happens today in Iraq will happen tomorrow in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt."  A few said there was "still time to disarm Iraq peacefully" through the UN, with the independent Ghanaian Chronicle insisting the U.S. "still has time to retreat." 



ASIA AND PACIFIC:  Emphasis on 'thrusting U.S. unilateralism' and 'failure of U.S. diplomacy'-- Commentary highlighted U.S. "hegemonism and unilateralism," but many writers also speculated on postwar consequences now that the "charade is finally over."  The liberal Sydney Morning Herald noted "even a short war" will create "great uncertainties and dangers."  Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post wondered how a "splintered international community" will deal with postwar issues.  Many criticized the U.S.' "bully role" after it failed to "convince the UNSC to cater to its desires."  Liberal Tokyo Shimbun termed the U.S. decision to forgo a second resolution a "huge diplomatic blunder."


WESTERN HEMISPHERE: U.S. goals 'never clear,' Iraq part of 'design' to 'rebuild' world in U.S. interests-- While conservative Canadian dailies reliably came to Washington's defense, many writers in the hemisphere held that the U.S.'s "schizophrenic strategy" had "undermined" its attempt to gain global support.  Acknowledging that Saddam "bears the responsibility for the invasion," Toronto's leading Globe and Mail also criticized the U.S. for its "confusion of motives."  Judging the war "particularly unjustifiable," a Brazilian daily insisted that the reasons the U.S. has given for attacking Baghdad "are above all false."  Some outlets claimed the U.S. was embarking on a "dangerous redesign of the world," with Argentina's leading Clarin warning that Iraq "is an excuse to extend the arm of U.S. power in a strategic region."  Others bemoaned the damage to the UN.  Mexico's independent Reforma held that "sidestepping" the UNSC will be remembered as "an indelible sign of the barbarity of Bush, Blair, and Aznar."


EDITORS:  Irene Marr, Steven Wangsness, Ben Goldberg


EDITORS' NOTE:  This survey is based on 135 reports from 59 countries, March 16-18.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed by the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "How To Win The Peace In Iraq"


The independent Financial Times took this view (3/18):  "This war may be legal technically under [UN] resolutions including 1441....  But after the megaphone diplomacy, bullying and bad faith of recent weeks, it will proceed with hobbled legitimacy and be prosecuted by the narrowest of coalitions.  The measure of this diplomatic fiasco is that a perfectly arguable case about one of the most despicable dictators of modern times was so mishandled that public opinion internationally came to worry more about the misuse of U.S. power than about Saddam Hussein....  The most immediate challenge will be post-Saddam Iraq, where Washington will find that while its firepower can win a war, it needs staying power and allies to win the peace....  Beyond that, the two main ways in which armed intervention in Iraq might achieve post-facto vindication are if the U.S. and its (hopefully more numerous) allies start to mean business about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backing Arab democrats."


"A Divided World On The Brink Of War"


The center-left Independent stated (3/18):  "The war that seems inevitable constitutes a failure of potentially catastrophic proportions, whose malign effects will fall first of all on the long-suffering people of Iraq....  We trust that the military commanders and their political masters will do their utmost to minimize the number of civilian casualties.  The sooner it is over, the sooner reconstruciton can begin.  That said, this war should not be happening.  Saddam Hussein could and should have authorized the disclosure of far more information than he did....  The failure of diplomacy is a tragedy, and the blame is widely shared.  President Bush and his administration have much to answer for.  Their rhetoric has seemed bullying, harsh,and intemperate....  After the U.S. must come France....  The failed UN resolution will go down in history as the fault of the French."


"The Loneliness Of Tony Blair"


The independent Financial Times argued (3/18):  "For Tony Blair the test could not be sterner....  Mr. Blair's job is on the line.  The chances are that he will survive but it is not a certainty.  Few doubt the momentous nature of these events.  Whatever happens, relations between Mr. Blair and his colleagues, and between him and the country, will never be quite the same....  He is to be praised for pushing a reluctant U.S. administration down the route of seeking a second UN resolution...[but] he made two strategic miscalculations.  He underestimated the influence in the White House of unilateralists such as Dick Cheney...and Donald Rumsfeld....  And he underestimated the determination of Jaques block a resolution that would lead inexorably to war."


"Today Is The Day When Everyone Must Show Their Cards"


The center-left Independent editorialized (3/17):  "For all the warmongering predictions, the emergency U.S.-British-Spanish summit held in the Azores yesterday provided a necessary opportunity to cool rapidly overheating hearts and heads. The worst possible outcome--a joint declaration of war on Iraq with immediate effect--was excluded early on....  Saddam Hussein had one last chance.  And not just Saddam Hussein, but the UN as well.  The three were left with a straight choice.  They could either amend their resolution so radically that it lost the one reason why they had tabled it--automatic UN approval for war--or they could withdraw it, announce the UN process deadlocked or redundant, and declare war on their own....  For Bush, the absence of a UN mandate would not have been, and would still not be, a great liability.  The faith of Americans in the UN's capacity to do anything is not great.  For Blair, however, it could make the difference between winning or losing party, parliamentary and public support.  By last week, the question of legality loomed so large that Britain had apparently sounded out the U.S. about possibly not taking part in combat operations at all....  The decision to continue working through the UN is the most heartening aspect of yesterday's summit.  Returning to the UNSC, with a new draft resolution if necessary, is by far the wisest course...and however urgently Mr. Bush wants a decision, it should on no account be rushed."


FRANCE:  "War And Peace"


Yves Threard commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/18):  “What will be remembered of the pre-war period?  First, the debate over the legality of this conflict and the conclusion that international law has but a relative value....  The other major story remembered will be the diplomatic duel between George Bush and Jacques Chirac, aided and abated by the press on both sides of the Atlantic....  Beyond the caricatures, the confrontation was between two opposite visions of the world."


"This Conflict Is Legitimate"


Bruno Tertrais wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/18):  “Iraq consistently and deliberately violated its obligations.… The war that is coming is the direct result of the Iraqi decision to pursue its confrontation with the international community.… While this war is dangerous, it is nonetheless legitimate.”


"Upsetting World Equilibrium"


Serge July maintained in left-of-center Liberation (3/18):  “A war without apparent motive, fed by messianism, launched by the hyperpower’s leaders after a diplomatic disaster, against the UNSC majority and international public opinion, in one of the most explosive regions of the world upsets the world’s precarious equilibrium and opens the doors to the unknown....  Bush Senior had respected the UN to a 'T.'  According to Bush Junior, the world is unipolar."


"A Terrible Waste"


Philippe Mudry observed in centrist La Tribune (3/18):  “The unthinkable has happened.  Two nations have decided to go to war without the UN’s support and in spite of a democratic ally’s opposition....  This alone is enough to characterize our changing times....  The U.S. can claim that its action is legitimized by Resolution 1441, but it will not erase from anyone’s mind that the failure of world diplomacy is its failure....  France did not have the wisdom, like China, to keep its voting intentions secret.  It is sure to pay dearly for its promise to exercise its veto.  Rebuilding trust will be difficult.”


"This Conflict Is Not Legitimate"


Bruno Frappat judged in Catholic La Croix (3/18):  “We are now on the edge of uncertainty, where only one thing is certain: today’s wars carry the seeds for tomorrow’s wars.  Victories are short-lived....  The leaders of a handful of democracies are on the brink of violently deposing a powerless dictator.  We hope they have weighed what it means to wage war.  Honesty forces us to say that when all is said and done, they have not convinced us that this conflict is legitimate.”


"A Phony War"


Charles Lambroschini maintained in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/17):  “After the Azores summit it is a phony war that is in the making.  Even before the first strike, there is already talk of the post-war.  America’s victory is a fait accompli...even if the GIs will suffer in their battle for Baghdad....  According to Washington’s scenario, Iraq will be turned into a federation...where, tension having subsided, oil and money will flow to finance a market economy, thus insuring Iraq’s prosperity.  From this model, a virtuous contamination will spread to other regional theocracies....  The Americans will not be the first invaders to think they are liberators....  George W. Bush may soon discover the tragic truth of all empires.  There are no easy answers to difficult questions”


GERMANY:  "Hour Of Untruth"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (3/18) editorialized:  “The war supporters in Washington consider the current tensions in the UNSC as well as in the EU and NATO long overdue reactions to the tectonic changes of 1989 and 2001.  For those who want the UN to disarm Baghdad, the U.S. decision to go it alone in Iraq marks a turning point in international law and politics.  If the Bush administration goes to war in the name of the international community, which is refusing to play along, then the hour of truth in Iraq is bound to deteriorate into a unilateral demonstration of U.S. power.  Bush’s historic decision for war will be remembered as the hour of untruth.”


"Diplomacy And Despotism"


Bernd Ulrich judged in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/18):  “President Bush is putting together a track record even worse than Chirac’s.  His administration has made so many mistakes that it is hard keep them all in view....  If there is any overall framework behind U.S. policy, it is the plan to democratize the world via despotic diplomacy.  This method has made it impossible for the world to understand the U.S. rationale."


"Against Global Opinion"


Center-right Stuttgarter Nachrichten (3/18) had this to say:  “Even before we can complain about the disaster of war, we must attest that President Bush’s diplomacy was devastatingly bad....  That is why Bush will lead war not only against Saddam Hussein but also against global opinion--and this is likely to have even greater consequences for the U.S.  The last global power, the mother of all Western democracies, against global opinion; this too, is a disaster.”


"Failure Of Diplomacy"


Center-right Ruhr Nachrichten of Dortmund (3/18) argued:  “The failure of diplomacy has two main reasons:  the first is called Saddam Hussein...and the second is called George W. Bush.  Since the anniversary of 9/11, his administration has acted at least in a grossly negligent manner and deliberately maneuvered itself into a position in which war is the only way out.”


"War Will Be A Pyrrhic Victory"


Juergen Burchardt said on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (3/17):  “President Bush wants and has always wanted this war...and he will certainly win it, but it will become a Pyrrhic victory.  The president will win this battle, but he will lose more than he has lost thus far.  The picture of the 'ugly America’ will be revived again, even though we thought it had finally disappeared.  He will put the transatlantic Alliance at risk, and we will finally hear that the strength of the law, of international law, will be replaced with the law of the jungle." 


"War Is Imminent"


Centrist Stuttgarter Zeitung (3/17) argued:  “The war is imminent.  But even before the first shot has been fired, the first victims are also clear.  They are the UN, NATO, the EU and the unity of the West.  People no longer talk to each other, but the two sides are gathering in their camps, the hawks on the Azores, the war opponents in the UNSC.  Nobody is honest.  All sides lie and act as hypocrites.  The Azores Summit has prepared the war, even though we heard before that these were the final diplomatic initiatives to save peace.  And the war opponents presented a new timetable for the weapons inspectors at the last moment knowing quite well that new timetables would make war in the heat impossible.”


"Before The War"


Karl Grobe noted in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (3/17): "George W. Bush proclaimed a week of decision, as if much could still be decided.    The way President Bush is using to find justifications for the war, which was decided long ago, resembles more the activitiesof pool-sharks than the methods of seriously thinking lawyers orpoliticians.  But Bush's Paladins Tony Blair and Jose Aznar are in amuch more serious dilemma:  They are far away from a majority in their peoples than the Azores are from the continent.  The three are mainly interested in saving their political careers and the rest of reputation they still have at home."


ITALY:  "The First Victim"


Sergio Romano commented in centrist Corriere della Sera (3/18):  “Diplomacy surrendered and the UNSC is now ‘closed for war.’...  If the conflict will be short and have positive consequences...the UN will be seen as an inept organization, which is unable to face up to its international responsibilities.  But if the war is long, bloody and full of unpredictable consequences, it will have the opposite effect.  The UN will be able to boast of being the only institution where crises can be dealt with and solved through negotiation, political pressures and international controls....  The post-war...might be much more tormented than the Americans expect....  Indeed, it will not be enough to reconstruct Iraq.  It will be necessary to reconstruct Europe.  And we should write on its stemma, if it will ever have one, the motto ‘never again as in Iraq.’”


"A Failure With Many Responsibilities"


Aldo Rizzo opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (3/18):  “War is always a failure of politics and diplomacy...and the coming war on Iraq is no exception to this rule....  Politics and diplomacy failed, in the first place, because of the Iraqi dictator....  Then, because of America itself, of the Bush administration, of an America that reacted to the 9/11 trauma believing it can decide world destinies...and finally, because of those European nations...France above all, that, instead of conditioning the offended superpower by offering some wise suggestions, irritated it more and more by getting involved in a competition for power within the West."


"In The Worst Way"


Stefano Silvestri commented in leading business  Il Sole 24 - Ore (3/18):  “Now it is time for war.  The international community got here in the worst way: not only is it divided, but it is also confused by the tactical contortions of the main protagonists."


"The Mask Of The New Emperor"


Vittorio Zucconi wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (3/17):  “During the shortest and most useless summit in history, George Bush was talking and moving as one who had been dragged to the Azores by Blair, as one who could not wait to leave and settle the accounts with the French, the UN, the Iraqis and to issue an ultimatum, speak to the nation, probably as early as Tuesday night, and unleash his legions....  This summit is only the admission that even the biblical God of Bush’s Armageddon needs men like Blair, Aznar, the Portuguese, the Angolans, the Cameroonians and even Berlusconi, since there will be a post-war, a reconstruction certainly much more difficult than the ‘cakewalk in Baghdad’ and there will be the need for the UN, as Bush admitted by throwing a last bone to the French who want to participate in the ‘banquet’ of democratic Iraq....  And not only his future is at stake--which we may not care too much about--but the future of his nation and of the countries who, with fingers crossed, rely on George Bush.”


"The United Nations And Saddam’s Hours Are Numbered"


Cesare De Carlo remarked in conservative, top-circulation syndicate Il Resto del Carlino/La Nazione/Il Giorno  (3/17):  “The ultimatum which emerged from the Azores Summit is not for the Middle East’s evil one, the Saddam Hussein who is accused of having re-armed himself with WMD.  It was instead (intended for) the UN.  By tonight the 15 members of the UNSC will have to say who they side with: with the U.S., Great Britain and Spain, who presented the latest resolution on Iraq’s disarmament, or with the dictator.  If they don’t do this or if a vote is not cast, the diplomatic agony will still come to an end.  Bush, Blair and Aznar will give the real ultimatum: Saddam will have a couple of days to reveal where the weapons are stored and to leave.  Nothing less than his head will be able to thwart military action and save the Iraqis from the horrors of a war.”


RUSSIA:  "Yankees And Markets Thirst For Blood"


Reformist Vremya Novostey held (3/18):  "Because of Saddam Hussein, the world has been changing right before our eyes.  Everybody seems oblivious of NATO....  The breaking at the seams.  The UN's future does not look bright, either....  It is hard to imagine a concerted effort within NATO.  The recent allies, France and Germany, have virtually been added to the 'axis of evil.'"


"End Of Diplomacy"


Reformist business-oriented Kommersant opined (3/17):  "The outcome of the summit was clear even before it began....   The importance of the summit is not reduced to its decisions alone.  It is also a grandiose PR action to show that the leaders of the 'strong-willed states,' doomed as their efforts were, had worked to the last, determined to use only diplomatic means."


"A New Transatlantic Coalition In the Making"


Reformist Vremya Novostey commented (3/17):  "Formally harmless, the Azorean accords, in principle, clearly aim to replace what the bellicose Troika views as an ineffectual Security Council with a flexible Transatlantic coalition that might eventually grow into an international security body....   Saddam cutting up his combat rockets and declaring martial law all at once looks surreal.   Similarly, the multi-thousand antiwar demonstrations in many countries have much of the Don Quixote attitude."


ARMENIA:  "Armenia And The War"


Radical oppositionist Aravot had this to say (3/18):  " It is obvious that the U.S. will ignore the opinion of the international community....  It will happen this way because a country that seeks international superiority has decided that this is the only right and fair decision."


AUSTRIA:  "Shirking The UN Security Council"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer commented in liberal daily Der Standard (3/18):  ”Despite the fact that Bush’s address has made it clear the U.S. and its allies will launch a military strike against Iraq without UN Security Council authorization, there is no doubt either they will continue to cite the UN and UNSC Resolution 1441 as justification....  The absurd thing about the situation is is also true that the UN weapons inspections...did produce results.”


"Trouble Brewing"


Chief editor Andreas Unterberger stated in centrist daily Die Presse” (3/18):  “We can’t rule out the possibility that the Americans might be able to pull off a speedy and successful military operation without painful side-effects, which would make Bush the glorious liberator of Iraq.  However, it is much more likely that the result of this crisis will be something like global lawlessness with ‘collateral damage’ on all sides....  Is Saddam Hussein’s demise really worth all that?”


BELGIUM:   "American Isolation"


Chief editor Jean-Paul Marthoz maintained in independent La Libre Belgique (3/18):  “This war does not have much to do with the international legal framework that the parties claimed they would respect.  The objective of this conflict is to fundamentally reshape the world order....  The disavowal of the UN, the disagreements among Western countries, and the feeling of powerlessness of public opinion will not be without consequences.  Saddam Hussein will probably be defeated, but, before, he will have won the sole victory of his unworthy reign, that of exposing America's isolation to the entire world.”


"New Rules"


Chief editor Yves Cavalier held in financial L’Echo (3/18):  “There is henceforth a new rule in international law: in order not to be contravening a recognized authority, it is sufficient not to ask for its opinion."


BULGARIA:  "War Was Unavoidable"


The centrist Standart editorialized (3/18):  "The U.S. and its allies are hours away from military action against Baghdad.  This was unavoidable, because the UN turned into a gabfest....  In fact, America proved to the world that it is the moral superpower and is uncompromising with terrorism.  There are times when war is the lesser evil.  It is high time for some Bulgarian politicians to realize this.  This is the moment of truth for them, too."


"The Flaws of the Iraq Show"


Center-left daily Sega held (3/18):  "The Iraq show has one basic flaw.  The world's gendarme, who is planning to lynch Saddam, exudes no noble airs....  A strong and sincere cause is usually contagious.  Bush's cause is not contagious, obviously and this is why it eroded so quickly at a very early stage.  Behind the militarist rhetoric, the American and European intellectuals smelled oil and corporate interests, and behind the hatred for Saddam they recognized the characteristic trait of President Bush's family."


"The Drums Of Peace And War"


Center- right, pro-West daily Dnevnik held (3/17):  "Even though  most world leaders claim that the peaceful resolution of the  Iraq crisis is still a possibility, few of them actually believe it.  The division in the UNSC and the international community itself doesn't bode well for the final diplomatic push.  Both camps--of war and  peace--are beating their drums and the noise prevents them from hearing  each other.  The result is a real dead-end--a war without UN sanction would complete the split in the Western world, and postponing the war would only strengthen Saddam's positions."


CROATIA:  "Countdown of Cataclysm"


Rijeka-based Novi list commented (3/18):  ““Countdown of Cataclysm.”It still remains to be seen what kind of Pandora’s box is being opened with the fact that America, with its aggressive solo, is destroying the United Nations and knocking down the international order, established after the Second World War.”


"Will Americans Remain Alone?"


Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik carried an editorial by its Foreign Affairs Editor, Jurica Korbler stating (3/17):  "Americans continue to believe that they are leaders in a mission called fight of extermination of global terrorism.  Bush doesn't have time for nuances.  He has spent too much of it in a diplomatic ping-pong which has brought to a stalemate, and (permanently) sharpened relations with the European allies, France and Germany.  Now, Americans are requesting decisiveness and alignment, and most frequently getting lots of questions from its partners, question they themselves do not have answers to....  A task which reminds us of balancing on the wire lies before Americans:  go forward, not fall down, and be applauded at the end.  By renouncing its allies, they are risking to remain alone, which would be fatal for the fight against terrorism, and dangerous for the world order."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Bush’s Legitimate Future"


Vladimir Votapek of the Czech Institute for International Relations opined in center-right Lidove Noviny (3/18):  "With the approach of war in Iraq, the world community is faced with the basic question of whether or not one country or a group of countries has the right to impose its worldview and rules of behavior on another....  With increasing globalization...for better or worse, we are dependent on each other.  Therefore, to avert our eyes from a problem neighbor, like Iraq, is a mistake that we have to avoid.  We might not like a world that has no room for traditional national sovereignty, but we would be fools to ignore it."


"Czech Interests in Iraqi Crisis"


Adam Cerny commented the centrist Hospodarske Noviny (3/18):  "When diplomacy fails, force comes into play.  The fact that the UN Security Council will not vote on the new resolution on Iraq shows that the members of the key UN institution failed to resolve the biggest crisis in current international relations.  It poses a question that goes beyond a problem of a dictator who does not comply with UN resolutions, and that is who and how will be solving similar problems in the future.  The Czech Republic seeks both to maintain good international relations as well as to abolish dictatorships worldwide.  It seems now that these two are in contradiction.  It's in the Czech interest that this contradiction is resolved as soon as possible."


DENMARK:  "Ultimatum"


Center-left Politiken asserted (3/17):  "The U.S., Britain and Spain did not just give Saddam Hussein an ultimatum yesterday, they gave an ultimatum to the entire United Nations....  The attitude expressed by the three countries is arrogant and short sighted.  The U.S., Britain and Spain do not seem to care about the damage they are doing to the U.N. system.  Despite its deficiencies, the U.N. has managed to maintain some kind of world order."


GEORGIA:  "Naïve Policy Toward Iraq"


Political columnist Giorgi Khelashvili wrote in the opinion piece on the front page of Georgia's left of center, liberal opposition  24 Hours (3/17): "After Iraq, Iran may become the Bush administration's next target and Georgia -- its military bridgehead....  Democratic forces in Georgia's opposition give unequivocal support to President Shevardnadze's stated pro-American stance.  This is absolutely natural: freedom of speech in Georgia, if anything, owes to the U.S. Government's assistance. Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that common democratic ideals remain the cornerstone of the U.S. foreign policy as long as they concur with Washington's interests.  Whenever there is a choice to make between democracy and America's interests, Washington always leans in favor of its interests, which does not run counter with the international politics at all.  The U.S. will definitely redefine its foreign policy priorities after the Iraq war. It's clear now that recognition of democratic values will not be enough to seek America's support  (most democratic countries like France and Germany 'let the U.S. down' at the very critical moment) and democracy will be superseded by loyalty.   In the Georgian context, we all know who is 'loyal' but 'undemocratic.' 'Loyal' President Shevardnadze, with the help of the Americans based in the country, may hold on to his position after 2005 too, especially, if Bush administration keeps the office."


HUNGARY:  "Time Has Run Out"


Oszkar Fuzes argued in leading Nepszabadsag (3/18):  "The entire risk of liberating Iraq is a burden on the shoulders of the United States.  That is why Washington is so irritated by any reluctance [and] ... so happy about receiving every gesture of support.  There is no stance of  ‘neutrality’ today.  That is why the White House is going to remember for long about who said and did and what over the past five months."


IRELAND:  "On The Brink Of An Unacceptable War"


The center-left Irish Times held (3/18):  "A United States led war against a great failure of politics and diplomacy.  It flies in the face of the majority on the United Nations Security Council....  This is, therefore, an unacceptable war of highly doubtful legality and legitimacy.  It will endanger the international order which the United Nations was created to protect."


LITHUANIA:  "War May Ruin Even The Most Accurate Plans"


Political observer Richardas J. Krickus wrotew in leading Lietuvos Rytas (3/18):  "The United States will be guided by the 'fair war theory,' according to which the civilians are not killed deliberately.  However, there can be more civilian casualties simply because Saddam is planning to locate his military force and objects in the densely urbanized areas, even in some mosques.  American military planners believe in quick victory.  The sooner the war finishes, the less casualties will be incurred to both sides.  However, we cannot disregard the words of the 19th century Prussian military theorist K. Von Clausewitz: Some unanticipated things can be expected in the havoc of war."


NETHERLANDS:   "Support"


Conservative De Telegraaf editorialized (3/18):  "The [Dutch] Cabinet rightly so supports the U.S. and its allies in a political sense now that the war is fought based on solid legal and moral reasons.  The fact that it refuses to provide a military contribution is weak.  For the war is the logical consequence of the fact that Iraq has been violating UN resolutions for twelve years."


"In Several Days"


Centrist Algemeen Dagblad argued (3/18):  "President Bush explained to the nation and the world why his administration no longer believes in diplomatic efforts to try to disarm Saddam Hussein.  Within several days the first bombs will cause devastating destruction....  No matter how regrettable this is, it does not come as a surprise.  Ever since his appointment as President...Bush and his policy makers in the White House haven't let the world tell them anything.  The leaders of the only superpower...think it is their task and their authority to set the standards in the world.  The big question is what is next on the agenda: North Korea, Iran, or....  It is alarming that Bush only finds an organization such as the UN important when it agrees with Washington plans.  When it does not then the UN is simply pushed aside."


NORWAY:  "Bush Goes To War Without Support"


The independent Dagbladet commented (3/18):  "We have no sympathy for Saddam Hussein, but fear the high price that the Iraqi population will have to pay if the war starts. This war cannot get any form of Norwegian support.”


"The USA’s New World Order"


The social democratic Dagsavisen took this view (3/18):  "Deterrence works against a country with a traditional despot like Saddam Hussein.  That this well-tried and well-functioning strategy now is abandoned in favor of a ‘preventive’ war fairytale has with good reason frightened most of the United State’s traditional allies....  But an easy American victory also has a side that is not pleasant.  This will give the hawks in the Bush administration grist for the mill, and they will soon start to look for the next war target.”


POLAND:  "It Is Up To France And Russia To Act"


U.S.-based correspondent Krzysztof Darewicz commented in centrist Rzeczpospolita (3/17):  “The Sunday summit in the Azores...has not resulted in sending an ultimatum to Iraq but to the UNSC.  It testifies well about Bush, who apparently recognized that saving the skin of Blair and Aznar is worth a couple extra days....  Now it is up to France and Russia to make the move. They should seriously consider whether it is really worth sacrificing--in the name of some particular interests--their relations with the U.S. and its allies, as well as the cohesion of the transatlantic ties and the prestige of the UN....  The Americans and the British can hardly be criticized for lacking finesse, but to continue fruitless bargaining with the UN is detrimental to everyone--except Saddam.  Which means that it is time to put cards on the table.  Let Saddam finally know that, in the clash between democracy and dictatorship, democracy must prevail.”


PORTUGAL:  "Luso Neutrality Has Come To An End"


António Ribeiro Ferreira declared in respected center-left Diário de Notícias (3/17):  “The war against Iraq will be an important step, perhaps even decisive, for peace in the Middle East and the creation of a new world order, more just and effective in the defense of liberty, civilization, democracy and human rights.  The Atlantic Summit held in the Azores is a landmark for this future....  Diplomacy and multilateralism can’t be allies of dictators who threaten the world with WMD and acts of terror.  The military intervention against Iraq will mark the camp between those who are guarantors of world security and those who prostrated themselves to blackmail in the name of a false pacifism....  Today is the day of truth for the 15 members of the UNSC.  The war will follow within moments.”


"The Last 24 Hours"


Editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes noted in influential moderate left Público, (3/17):  "The presupposition of [Resolution 1441] was that it would be followed by a second deliberation, in which the UNSC would specifiy targets, dates and methods for 'serious consequences.’...  The architecture of this diplomatic process was engendered by France.  It was France which proposed two resolutions....  It is good to recall these steps, before analyzing the significance of the Lajes summit [which gave] 24 hours more to diplomatic efforts.  But only 24 hours more....  [War will signify] the loss of authority of a UN which is deadlocked and impotent....  One thing is certain...Saddam has arrived at the end of his road."


ROMANIA:  "American Dice Rolling"


Political analyst Octavian Paler wrote in centrist, independent Cotidianul (3/18):  "I think that the American dice are now rolling toward three possibilities:  1. America will no longer share the leadership...becoming the uncontested leader of the world.  2.  America will win the war in Iraq, but it will lose the war in Europe....  3.  If the ultimatum by the White House...does not intimidate the Security Council enough to make it offer the UN flag to American troops in order to be taken to Baghdad, the future of the UN will be uncertain.  If it is intimidated, the UN will probably become an annex of the State Department in the future.”


SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:  "From Azores To Belgrade"


Independent, liberal Danas wrote in a commentary (3/17): "There is a similarity between what's happening in the Azores, where the U.S., the UK and Spain prepare for war and an attack on Iraq, and with the situation here where in last few days there is no peace although there is no war....  First, for a moment, the assassination in Belgrade moved the world's attention on Iraq to second place. Then, angry opponents regarding the Iraq issue - France, Germany, Russia, the U.S. and the UK - gathered in one place, at Belgrade's New Cemetery.... This faced them with the reality that the world is a global place. Maybe this was a result of a miscalculation of those who organized the assassination...who thought that the powerful ones in the world are occupied only with Saddam Hussein. In this, they [the assassins] were 'supported' by those in the EU, Council of Europe, who discussed that here in Serbia, reformers are only an unimportant minority without massive citizen support who want to return to the past and who do not want to connect to the world... The world's officials on Saturday expressed a sort of repentance because they did not believe local democratic figures about the dangers of the power of organized evil.... The new phase in cooperation between Serbia, Europe and the world is surely something good but also terrible because it was paid by the Premier's life. However, at this new beginning of an eventual new phase of reforms, we should have no illusions about the world's readiness to help Serbia. Everything will depend on what Serbia will look like tomorrow."


SLOVENIA:  "One Plus One Makes War"


Left-of-center Delo judged (3/18):  "The United States experienced a diplomatic defeat in the Security Council....   The Americans demanded the impossible.  On one hand, they claimed that the laws of the Security Council were absolute and that they would carry out the Security Council resolutions at any price.  But, when the Security Council declined to approve war, [the Americans] decided that its resolutions were unimportant. They demanded courage from the Security Council, but withdrew when they had to confront it."


SPAIN:  "1441 And International Legality"


Conservative ABC held (3/1):  "In a strictly legal sense, resolution 1441 is sufficient legal cover for an armed invasion....  In no case was it possible to admit that there has been 'full cooperation' with the UN by the Iraqi government.  Therefore, once a 'demonstration of motive' has occurred, the legal consequence follows, in order to make effective, by coercion, the mandate contained in the resolution."


"Bush Gives Up the Diplomatic Channel"


Independent El Mundo expressed this view (3/18):  "Bush's words only underscore that he has never been truly interested in Saddam's disarmament, but that what he really wanted was Saddam's downfall in order to set up a protectorate in the region....  The bet is risky and Bush could ruin his reelection aspirations if war gets complicated.  Blair has already started to pay a high price....  The Popular Party is much more united around Aznar, but it will also probably pay a high electoral price because of this support for war."


"War Council"


Left-of-center El País opined (3/17):  "George Bush and his two best servants, Tony Blair and José María Aznar, laid down an ultimatum yesterday from the Azores not only to Saddam Hussein, but also to the UNSC....  The three participants, as well as their Portuguese host, consider that 1441 gives them legitimacy in the use of force.   But the text of the resolution was a compromise, which specifically eliminated the automatic use of force....  It is an insult to the concept of international legality to maintain, that basically, a second resolution doesn't matter....  Aznar perhaps has forgotten that this Bush Administration has said that the 'mission determines the coalition' and not the opposite.  Once this mission is over, he can dump this coalition....  The meeting in the Azores has served to unveil the decision of Bush to wage an arbitrary war which could have been avoided with more patience if the object of the U.S. had really been to eliminate WMD.   But the object is something else--to force a change of regime, predictably at a high cost of life and suffering for many innocents, to occupy a strategic country to get its oil and to remake the region, including a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians."


"Atlantic Commitment"


Conservative La Razon observed (3/17):  "The summit celebrated yesterday in the Azores not only was the signing of the death certificate of the UNSC as a player in the current crisis in Iraq, but also an affirmation by the world's only superpower that it is not going to compromise its security for any other type of economic or political interest....  The importance of the matter surpasses the current scenario of the Iraqi conflict.  A new alliance is being created....  This decision, which leaves France and Germany without options for a negotiated way out, will of necessity change the internal equilibrium of the European community, even if the consequences will not be seen in the short term....  There is no doubt that the foreign policy of the [Spanish] government has placed [Spain] in a group without fissures and with a very clear perception of what the new international relations will be.  Aznar is not taking just a personal or partisan gamble.  Wrong or not, he has made a Decision of State of unprecedented significance."


SWEDEN:  "The End of The Rat's Play with the Cat"


The conservative Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (3/18):  "Last night's American ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, forwarded by President Bush, was the inevitable consequence of the division in the Security Council, which has been primarily caused by France's deceitful threat to use its veto....  [Saddam's] threats to use weapons against innocent people all over the world substantiates the legitimacy of those who ultimately would take action to finally disarm the rogue regime in Baghdad."


"The Warlord George W. Bush"


The Social Democratic Stockholm tabloid Aftonbladet contended (3/18):  "President Bush's short address last night was not just a declaration of war, it was also a farewell to common international law....  The UN would be drained of power, just as the ideologists of President Bush wish.  Thereby will the common struggle against terrorism will be weakened, although this was President Bush's main argument for the new war enterprise....  Bush's new world order is frightening and ominous."


TURKEY:  "Declaring The Loser"


Fehmi Koru argued in the Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (3/18):  “The war-mongering trio did...not get any support for their war project except from each other.  This is clearly a defeat....  If they begin the war as they now threaten to do, the very first bullet will turn the U.S. and UK into defeated powers in the eyes of the world.”




ISRAEL:  "George Schwarzenegger"


Hemmi Shalev wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (3/18):  "It should be assumed that Israeli public opinion will know how to cope with tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties, more than the American public opinion will.  Two years of atrocious terror have blurred the few feelings Israelis still had; Arab corpses, even those of old people and children, no longer disturb anyone.  For perfectly legitimate reasons, most Israelis tend to identify with Bush's war, like saints whose job is done by others--the hell with the cost, mostly if the other side pays it....  [Anyway,] now that the die has been cast, even Bush's staunchest opponents should pray for a good ending, a powerful, swift and elegant victory, according to the best of tradition.  Bush's diplomatic achievements in recent months indeed constitute evidence that he is no big genius, but...he is what we have and he'll have to bring victory."


"What We Are Waiting For"


Alex Fishman remarked in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (3/18):  "President Bush's speech...moved the Middle East out of the twilight zone of the drawn-out waiting period and into a clear situation of war.  Now it is only a matter of hours....  Meanwhile, the Americans are trying to make up for their disgraceful conduct in the UNSC by building a Hollywood diplomatic drama geared to enlist public opinion at home.  The drama build-up began at the summit in the Azores islands, which looked like a poor-man's Yalta summit, progressed with an American-British show in the UNSC corridors, continued with the cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street and peaked last night with Bush's speech.  Thus far, Bush's drama has borne fruit: he crossed the 60 percent approval rating at home."


WEST BANK:  “Inevitable War”


Hafez Barghouti commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (3/18):  "War might flare up at any minute today or in a week.  The countdown for war has already started....  But time is not an issue anymore; war is inevitable....  I believe that once war is over, the world will not be any safer.  Quite the opposite, it will be more explosive, and violence will rise....  Saddam’s reign may end, but a new era, no less volatile, will begin, leaving the next American President with a strenuous inheritance to deal with.  But why?  It’s because Bush the son, like his father, has made attacking Iraq a main task of his, for if he dares to open the Palestinian portfolio, he will lose.”


"Who Can Stop The War?"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (3/17):  "In their summit held yesterday, President Bush and the prime ministers of Britain and Spain...reaffirmed that the U.S., the world’s superpower, insists on going forward with its hostile and destructive war against Iraq.  The summit clearly reflects the collapse of the UN’s role and the possible beginning of a new phase in international relations, one that is controlled with power of hegemony.”


EGYPT:  “Bush And Moral Obligation”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama observed (3/18):  “The most recent of Bush’s and Blair’s pretexts for launching war on Iraq is the declaration of their having a ‘moral obligation’ to save the world from the evil of Saddam’s WMD....  This is utmost...hypocrisy....  Obviously, Bush and Blair’s vision of evil is unique and contrary to all the recognized religious references of the World Council Churches, the Pope...and...Al Azhar....  No one can cure President Bush of his moods of faith...which lately have emerged...under the influence of a fanatical bunch of hardline Zionists encircling the White House.”


 "Iraq And The UN Are Victims Of The Coming War"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram opined (3/17):  “The countdown for the American-British war against Iraq has started....  President Bush...criticized...UN weakness and failure to intervene....  Launching war in light of broad official and public international opposition is a real defiance of the UN and of the world and international legitimacy.... The pretext of UN weakness is not a strong enough reason to invade an independent state....  The UNSC had conducted enough discussions and measures to settle the Iraqi crisis without war....  The victims of this war...include not only the Iraqi people, who have been suffering from the unjust blockade...but also the entire international system established after WW II and its legitimacy.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "This War Lacks Credibility"


Hussein Shobokshi commented in Arab News (3/18):  "George W. Bush has been on a mission to get rid of rogue regimes in the name of his war on terrorism.  That mission, while noble in its objectives, lacks credibility and legitimacy.  The main reason for that is its failure to address the criminal record of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister.  For those who realize the special relationship which exists between the neocons who have taken over the American foreign policy and Israel, it should not come as a surprise when Sharon goes out on a killing spree every week to murder women, men and children without encountering the slightest criticism.  Despite these atrocities, Sharon is still being rewarded morally and financially."


"Truth and Objectivity are the First Casualties Again"


London correspondent Noel Rogers opined in the Saudi Gazette (03/18):  "Perhaps America and Britain's greatest failure has been their inability to establish a clear link between Saddam's regime and Al-Qaeda.  In the absence of conclusive evidence, the question remains why Washington is so obsessed with Iraq." 


"Fostering Terrorism"


Riyadh's conservative, Al-Riyadh judged (3/18):  "By reading between the lines, one can see the Arab and Islamic concerns regarding the current situation and the increase in hostility towards the U.S. ...because the issue isn't really a struggle with Israel, which the U.S. supports because it has a divine bond with Israel, but it really is announcing a war against the Islamic world."


"He Should Leave"


London's Pan-Arab, Al-Hayat ran this commentary by Besharah Nassar Sherbel (3/18):  "Saving what is left, even under the cannons and fire of the war, is to be unanimous on demanding Saddam's exile....  There is no saving grace for a nation to kill an Iraqi, a dignity that all Iraqis know was never protected under this despotic regime."


"Unity For The Sake Of Peace"


Jeddah's conservative, Al-Madina editorialized (3/17):  "If Washington has reasonable and lawful reasons to launch a war, there is no doubt that the United States will exert every effort to convince most of the world with this evidence.  The United States is also capable to present fake documents and evidence to obtain the confidence of the remainder of the world that does not exercise the power of the veto.  War resolutions from the UN means that France, Russia, Germany, China, Syria, Mexico, Angola, Cameron and many other countries will swim in opposition to international desire and will allow the U.S. to present itself as the official patron for democratic values."


ALGERIA:  "The Law Of The Jungle"


French-language independent Liberte editorialized (3/18):  “The preventive war that has been cleverly marketed in conformity with a purely Hollywood tradition a duel between Bush and Saddam, two dictators who want to impose their own visions of the world....   This war, or rather invasion, will affect the image of a superpower that wants to reaffirm its strength and stop the construction of Europe.  Bush succeeded in dividing Europe in the name of the right of the strongest party to interfere in other countries’ affairs.”


"Fatwa Against Bush"


French-language independent L’Expression noted (3/18):  “Almost all religious authorities of the Arab and Muslim world have issued fatwas prohibiting helping the U.S. against Iraq and ‘authorizing all defensive actions against this enemy.’...  The Organization of Muslim Ulema issued a similar fatwa.  The political parties and associations have denounced the U.S. policy of hegemony and reiterated their support for Iraq.  First, this constitutes a dangerous unanimity for which the U.S.might have to pay the cost....  Second, we can note that the sympathy expressed following the 9/11 events has been wasted and Bush has unfortunately succeeded in convincing a billion Muslims that the axis of evil has changed its trajectory for good....  We are witnessing a radical and spectacular change of opinion for which the U.S. might have to pay the cost.”


"Everyone Has Failed To Stop Bush And His Friends"


The principal French-language independent Le Quotidien d’Oran observed (3/17): “Before the Bush-Blair-Aznar meeting takes place French President Jaques Chirac insisted on explaining the French position through interviews with CBS and CNN. Jean Paul II for his part called upon those in favor of war to change their mind. But everyone has failed to stop Bush and his friends, including the Pope, the French, Russian and German Foreign Ministers and world opinion opposed to war, for which even the majority of American churches find no justification. Their decision has become certain and will be implemented probably in the next few hours. Obviously the March 17 ultimatum is being maintained despite all opposition.”


LEBANON:  "American Change And Arab Change"


Radwan As-Sayyed wrote in Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal (3/18):  "What is really noteworthy in Bush's fatherly speech is the fact that he wants to remove hatred and achieve democracy by changing our regimes, surmounting our wills, coercing us to change our way of thinking, and by bombing us with his cannons, military airplanes, and electronic weapons. The biggest problem, not Bush's resort to force, but the fact that he is convinced that we will not change unless he is able to cancel our Arab and Islamic identity."


"When The Diplomacy Of War Is Given Precedence"


Nizar Abdel-Kader observed in independent, non-sectarian Ad-Diyar(3/18):  "The Americans will enter Iraq in the midst of unprecedented atmosphere of animosity towards the U.S.  Arab countries that are U.S. allies will not be able to protect the U.S. because these countries will not be even able to protect their own regimes and interests....  The repercussions of the war will not be limited to Iraq.  Already the World Order has suffered serious damages....  There will be instability and chaos.  Radicalism and feelings of animosity towards the United States will increase."


"The Summit Of War On Arabs And The World"


An editorial by Talal Salman in Arab nationalist As-Safir held (3/17): “One hour is enough to determine the destiny of Iraq and ---- Palestine!...  It is necessary to appreciate the effort exerted by President Bush and his followers to reach a number of islands that belonged to pirates in the Azores order to hold a one hour summit to declare war on Arabs through Iraq and Palestine....  American justice is costly: declaring war needs a 9 hours flight!  Furthermore, the American President and his followers are creating a precedent in international politics:  they declare war publicly; they specify the zero hour publicly; they challenge of will of the world publicly; and they exchange toasts inside this American military base which was established on this island to protect democracy and human rights!  They did not hide their contempt towards the U.N., Security Council, Christianity (especially the Pope and the Vatican); and Islam....  Furthermore, The American President and his followers did not hide their contempt towards the American, the British, and the Spanish people first, then towards all the nations of the world....  As for the Arabs, nobody even remembered their presence.”


"Islamic Groups Get Ready For The Phase That Will Follow The War"


An editorial by Kassem Kassir in Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal (3/17): “Informed Islamic circles said that several Islamic groups are increasing their preparations to confront the American forthcoming attack on Iraq by creating ‘Jihad groups’ that would implement military operations against Americans if they decide to stay in Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussein.  These groups consider the ‘fatwas’ that were issued by a number of Islamic ‘ulema,’ in addition to the position of Hizballah Secretary General who called for resisting the American attack, as the right basis for beginning to prepare for the phase that will follow the U.S. attack on Iraq.”


MOROCCO:  "The Warning...Then The War"


Pro-government Al Alam editorialized (3/18):  "The world will suffer from international chaos.  Any country can now do whatever it wants, because America has aborted international legitimacy by banning a U.N. debate and thus issuing any resolution.  The single decision was taken twenty four hours ago then came the warning for war....  What happens today in Iraq will happen tomorrow in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt....  The world’s future has become unknown and populations can only demonstrate while both the Pope and Muslims can only pray for peace.  Peace has become a mirage looked for by the world's countries and peoples; however, America has confirmed to the world that peace is only a mirage."


"Portugal Summit: War Council Of the Three Forces"


In front-page commentary in semi-official French-language Le Matin, Mohamed Aouzal argued (3/17): "The summit underlines the end of diplomatic efforts to prevent a military intervention in Iraq.... It is in fact a war council to prepare the field for the war pretending that everything has been done to convince Baghdad to disarm itself."


SYRIA:  "It Is The Hour Of Killing Humanity"


Government-owned Tishreen thundered (3/18):  "President Bush has already set the hour of aggression.  It is not important if it is today or tomorrow, what is important is that this hour will witness a human massacre unprecedented since World War II.  The number of Iraqi civilian casualties, the majority of whom are already suffering from hunger, lack of medicine and depleted uranium brought to them by U.S. bombs in 1991, will reach the hundreds of thousands according to U.S. estimates.  Civilized countries like France, Germany, Russia China and others persist in rejecting legitimization of this aggressive war out of their concern for innocent lives and out of their fear of what history might write about this, because history has no mercy.  Arabs, who are targeted by this war, put themselves in a place that doesn't even qualify them to be asked for their opinion on this war that targets the majority of them, takes place on their territories and is financed by their money.  What an irony"


TUNISIA:  "Historic Responsibility"


Editor-in-Chief Mustapha Khammari argued in independent French-daiy newspaper Le Temps (3/18):  "This is the situation of the world today--only the American power dictates law and defines good, evil, peace and war....  It is by no means paradoxical to American leaders to be at the same time the destroyers and the rebuilders of Iraq.  The importance is that the Iraqi people pay the bill and that the American companies are the ones that have control of the country.... "Historic Responsibility"History is a witness -- the responsibility of the one or the ones who could prevent the slaughter and fail to do so, will be immense and unforgivable."


"The Azores, A New Yalta!"


An editorial by Director and Editor-in-Chief M'Hamed Ben Youssef, in independent French-weekly newspaper Tunis-Hebdo stated (3/17): "They were just three trouble makers, Bush, Blair and Aznar...who decided more than ever to immerse the Gulf region in fire and blood.... The organizers of the 'axis of evil' have met on an isolated island, not to discuss 'diplomacy' but to refine their murderous strikes against weaker ones and, in particular, to talk about the sharing of the petroleum 'cake' and the nice rewards of Iraq, that is considered already as fully destroyed. To them, victory is evident.  It is a kind of Yalta, with a difference--this meeting happened before the launch of hostilities....  In the Azores they talked mostly and in particular about the aftermath of Saddam, as if Baghdad is a tiny piece of 'candy' easy to swallow.... The military history is full of examples where the most sophisticated weapons have not had the expected results, for the simple reason that being weaker, we often resort to tricks....  What does Saddam hide from his nasty aggressors?  How will the GI's behave in the face of Iraqi resistance?  No less the 'axis of evil', Bush-Blair-Aznar would resort to the unfortunate, credulous Kurds in order to sacrifice them at the ramparts of the invincible Baghdad."


UAE:  "Death Of Diplomacy"


Commenting on the Azores summit, Dubai-based business-oriented Al Bayan editorialized (3/17):  "Going to war without the international community's approval is an announcement of the death of international diplomacy and possibly the UN.  With the hour of war decided, we hope a miracle, of which everyone is dreaming will occur, will result in the diffusion of war."


"War Knocking At The Door"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej judged (3/17):  "Everyone is convinced...that the war is knocking on our doors, but the Iraqi regime is still trying play for time, and is dealing with the crisis in easy installments.  Although Iraq has responded to UNSC Resolution 1441, yet very slowly, just like its habit of dealing with important issues that would avert the Iraqis more tragedies....  In order to stop the crisis of a third Gulf War, initiatives and sincere advice were given to the Iraqi regime to change its attitude and to help pave the way for a peaceful solution.  However, the regime has ignored all of this instead of closing openings for war."




AUSTRALIA:  "When Force Is Necessary"


The popular, tabloid Daily Telegraph editorialized (3/18):  "France now wants another 30 days for Iraq to comply, but time has run out.  There has been close to 12 years of shambolic weapons inspections and UN resolutions all of which Saddam has flouted.  Anyone who doubts the possibility that Saddam would use his arsenal of terror should look to the page opposite which marks the 15th anniversary of the chemical weapon attack he launched on Halabja, a Kurdish town in northern Iraq.  More than 5000 died on the day of the attack.  Another 20,000 were left to suffer for years until they died of disease.  Dr Jose Ramos Horta, the East Timor Minister for Foreign Affairs who shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, has stated that history has shown that the use of force is often the necessary price of liberation.  These are words that should be remembered by all Security Council members.”


“Howard Gambles On Place In History”


Geoff Kitney declared in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald (3/18):  “The charade is finally over. Australian troops are going to war in Iraq.  Possibly just hours before the declaration of war by President George Bush, the Prime Minister, John Howard, has finally said that 'military participation in war against Iraq' is now certain.  He did not use the word certain, but from everything else he said it was clear this is what he meant...even a short war will be a war of huge consequence for the world, creating great uncertainties and dangers.  These will affect Australia and Australian politics--all part of the risk for Howard. “


"Saddam Is A Real Threat--Just Ask The Kurds"


International editor Tony Parkinson stated in the liberal Age (3/17):  “Fifteen years ago today, the people of Halabja awoke to the roar of aircraft....  By midday, an estimated 5000 civilians, 75 per cent of them women and children, were dead....  It is perhaps entirely coincidental that George Bush nominated March 17 as the deadline for Iraq to comply with resolution 1441.  But, precisely 15 years after one of the most infamous of all the many episodes of mass murder under Saddam's reign, there is a certain haunting symmetry about it.  What is eerier still is that so many people, so many years later, seem so reluctant to acknowledge and confront the nature of the threat....  We are told, an American-led strike on Iraq poses a greater affront to civilized values than does Saddam's delinquent rule.  The tormented people of Iraq might beg to differ--but as long as they are chained to this monster, how will we ever know?”


CHINA:  "Iraq...Is Bush's Biggest Political Gamble"


Official China News commented (3/18):  “President Bush publicized his speech through major U.S. TV networks, requiring U.S. citizens to be psychologically prepared for war to break out.  It seems that Saddam’s regime will be definitely overthrown after the war.  In the meantime, the war also impacts whether or not Bush can maintain his presidency.”


"The U.S. Is Making Post-war Arrangements For Iraq"


Hu Xijin and Song Nianshen wrote in official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (3/17):  “Analysts think that war on Iraq will become a U.S. challenge to the world....  Analysts predict that after a U.S. war on Iraq, some new trends will emerge.  First, the planned war will further intensify U.S.-Europe conflicts.  Second, the confrontation between the forces that support the authority of the UN, opposing hegemonism as well as unilateralism and the U.S. that pursues hegemonism and unilateralism will become the major struggle in the international community.  Third, an Iraqi war will cause more hatred and terrorist activities to further spread in the world.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Post-Iraq Tensions Must Not Fester"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post opined (3/18):  "After months of delay and uncertainty, the world is now holding its breath, waiting for war.  Given its apparent certainty--no matter how tragic, regrettable or preventable--one of the more glaring questions must be, what now for the splintered international community?  On the eve of conflict, its dilemma stands in particularly sharp relief.  To have caved in to the threats and heated rhetoric President Bush and backed an invasion would have made the UNSC look particularly weak after all this time.  Yet to be ignored will undoubtedly make it look irrelevant in many eyes....  Already fears are building that a thrusting U.S. unilateralism could soon prove the rule--forcing others to react irrationally and poisoning cooperation on all fronts.  Particularly at risk are bodies built on consensus, such as the WTO.  Already the war has been enough to rattle the global economy, putting extra pressure on an institution that wages a constant battle to keep individual nations from retreating into a bubble of self-interest on trade issues....  These wider tensions cannot be allowed to fester post-Iraq. The world will be a much more dangerous place if they do."


JAPAN:  "Bush's Huge Diplomatic Blunder"


Liberal Tokyo Shimbun Washington correspondent Sawaki commented (3/18):  "President Bush's issuing of an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, though it looked brave on the surface, should indeed be considered as the Bush administration's great diplomatic folly.  9/11 allowed the president to have 'political assets,' including national solidarity and an outpouring of support and sympathy from the international community. Such assets now appear to be evaporating as the U.S. is poised to launch an attack on Iraq at any moment...because the U.S. leader has sidelined diplomacy.  President Bush's instinct of connecting terrorism to Saddam Hussein may have been justifiable from the American perspective, but other nations have not been swayed.  He should have used diplomacy to convince the world of the imminent threat of Iraq.  At a critical time when the global community was deeply divided over the need for another UN resolution, the U.S. didn't do its utmost diplomatically (to fill the gap).  President Bush's summit diplomacy in this crisis has been markedly insufficient in comparison to his father, who fully used his authority to garner international support for the Gulf War campaign.  Similar criticism is being leveled against Secretary Powell, who failed to travel abroad due to his 'infighting' with administration hawks." 


"President's Speech Is Not Persuasive"


Liberal Asahi stated (3/18):  "President Bush's speech had two objectives--to serve as an ultimatum to Saddam and to explain to the American people and world that war is inevitable.  His ultimatum was crystal clear, but his logic for forcing Iraqi disarmament at this time was not.  By saying that 'the Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities so we will rise to ours,' President Bush wrongly blamed France and others for the UN's malfunctioning.  If a veto had been used (on the U.S.-U.K. resolution), winning a majority could have vindicated the U.S. case.  The very failure of securing a majority represented a failure of U.S. diplomacy.  The U.S.'s initial objective was to dismantle Iraq's WMD.  But President Bush, without ensuring an international consensus, instead chose to preemptively attack Iraq for a regime change."


SOUTH KOREA:   "Dashing 'Cowboy' Bush"


Park Doo-sik commented in conservative Chosun Ilbo (3/18):  "There should be more than overwhelming demonstrations of firepower in a war waged by the U.S., the Empire of the World.  The U.S. should present a vision of why it must go to war and of how much more peaceful and stable the world will become after the war.  However, Bush is failing to win the hearts of the world.  Despite his assertion of possible Iraqi links to international terror networks and his pledge to oust dictator Saddam Hussein and establish a model democracy in the Arab world, many believe that the real reason Bush wants a war with Iraq is to secure huge oil interests in the country and to settle old scores dating from his father, the former President Bush.  Some even regard the Iraq war as a holy war against Islam by faithful Christian Bush.  This is why criticism arises that the Iraq war is a war only for self-righteous 'cowboy Bush.'"


"Myopic U.S. Theory Of 'UN Irrelevance'"


International news reporter Chung Woo-ryang wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (3/17):  "Even though the UN is not a perfect organization, it still serves as a source of hope and stability for humanity.  Considering that UN cooperation is indispensable for the U.S. to carry out post-war restoration work and that the UN has a significant role to play in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, it is regrettable to see the U.S. take a myopic attitude of discussing 'UN irrelevance' while seeking its immediate gains."


PHILIPPINES:  "Moment Of Truth"


The independent Philippine Star editorialized (3/18):  "The Americans have promised a brief war, just long enough to oust Saddam and install a new regime.  Iraqis appear resigned to the prospect of war....   War is always ugly; civilian casualties and collateral damage are unavoidable, as even U.S. officials have conceded.  Under Saddam the streets of Iraq have long been drenched with his people's blood.  The world can only hope that this conflict will inflict minimal pain and claim the least casualties."




The independent Manila Times argued (3/18):  "It took only an hour in the Azores for President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prime Minister José Maria Aznar to agree that diplomacy had run its course....  The outcome is almost certain-Iraq will be defeated. The hard part is the rebuilding of the Iraqi nation....  The allocation of influence in the European Union between France and Germany...and the enlarged Europe consisting of an arc of nations from the Baltic to the Balkans might have to change.  The concept of the 'West' will almost certainly be revised....  America will be the sole arbiter of the fate of nations in the foreseeable future.  With this reality, there's no choice but to ally ourselves with the United States."


THAILAND:  "Power, Not Righteousness"


Business-oriented, Thai-language Post Today editorialized (3/18):  “Unable to convince the UNSC to cater to its desires, the U.S. plays the bully role by declaring that the latter must do what it demands....  What has prompted the U.S. to display such a harsh position is the fact that the country has been playing the world cop for so long....  Now it’s contemplating taking the world ruler’s role....  If the U.S. wants the world to agree with the war on Iraq, it must provide evidence on how Iraq is a threat to world peace....  Otherwise, everyone of us will ask the same question--is it the U.S. or Iraq that poses a more serious threat to world peace?”


"Diplomacy Still At The Forefront"


The lead editorial in top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (3/17):  "It is good to see the U.S. president and two European prime ministers still willing to discuss the chances of a peaceful resolution to this serious problem of Iraq.  It is remarkable that in the UN, in all the anti-war protests, in all the heady debates around the world, not a single voice has spoken in defense of the Baghdad regime.  It is universally viewed as evil....  The split in the UN has encouraged Saddam to think he can continue his rogue regime, as surely as anti-war protests have caused him to smirk his thanks to the world for supporting his dictatorship.  That doesn't mean that France and Germany are to blame if war in Iraq breaks out.  In retrospect, however, the use of violence in Iraq will reflect poorly on all.”


VIETNAM:  "The Last Limit From War"


Thanh Hai stated official Hanoi-based Ha Noi Moi (3/18):  "With his ultimatum...President Bush is pushing the world to the most tense moment....  With this ultimatum, the U.S. and other pro-war countries have moved to the brink of war....  In fact, all military options and preparations have been completed by the White House....  If war breaks out without UNSC approval, especially without the support from Russia, France and China, it will set a dangerous precedent in solving international problems.  Also, by waging the war, the hawkish circles in Washington will push the world to a very unstable and insecure situation."




INDIA:  "Itching To Go" 


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (3/18):  "The ides of March are here.  March 17 may well prove to be a genuine 'black' Monday if the 'moment of truth' promised by George W. Bush means the beginning of the American invasion of Iraq....  If the U.S. bypasses the UN, it will mean, in the words of Kofi Annan, that the legitimacy of the war had been 'seriously impaired'.  Arguably, the conflict in Kosovo or the recent French intervention in Ivory Coast also did not have the UN's sanction.  But these were local conflicts which were not expected to have a wider impact....  It must be something of a mystery to Washington as to why its arguments for war had virtually no takers among the other 'superpower'--the people of the world....  The next puzzle in the U.S. will be why its promise to establish democracy in Iraq is disbelieved.  The probable reason is that similar assurances were given by the former colonial powers, whose imperial missions were explained in terms of the 'white man's burden' intended for uplifting the natives."


PAKISTAN:   "The U.S. Will Not Get Anything But Temporary Gain From Attacking Iraq"


Ashraf Azeem opined in populist Khabrian (3/18):  "The U.S. will not get anything but a temporary gain from an attack on Iraq.  Looking ahead, we will see that this (war) will deal a blow to America's status as a superpower.  Its moral strength will also weaken (as a consequence of war) and the U.S. as a symbol of democracy and freedom will not be credible anymore."


"Bush's Ultimatum To UNSC"


Islamabad's rightist English-language Pakistan Observer declared (3/18):  "In fact, it's the moment of truth more for Washington itself, than the UNSC, Iraq or for any other country.  Washington should ponder over its planned unjust and immoral war, which is supported only by two of the 190 countries of the world.  What greater travesty of truth can be than the fact that practically the entire world community has practically rejected the U.S. war against Baghdad.  There is, however, still time to disarm Iraq peacefully by allowing more time to the UN inspectors.  Iraq has already invited the inspectors and IAEA chiefs for talks on the disarmament issue.  And why should there be conflict on an issue which can be resolved peacefully?"




SOUTH AFRICA:  "The Moment Of Truth"


Pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan opined (3/18):  " a gifted man when it comes to sound bites.  Yesterday, he gave the world media a new one--the moment of truth....  In the midst of all the spinning, Bush has pressed ahead with his plans to undermine the principle of global solidarity.  Yesterday must easily count as the pinnacle of his efforts to assail the authority of the United Nations.  He asked the UN to pull all its weapons inspectors from Iraq, making it clear that war is imminent.  As if this was not enough...his administration announced their intention not to seek a vote on the UNSC....  This provided further evidence that, instead of risking a humiliating defeat on the council, he chose to bypass the UN.  This is wrong and unacceptable.  And no amount of spinning will make this war right.  It is highly unlikely that the war could be averted at this late stage.  If it is, that would be great.  But we doubt it.  We think Bush has shut his eyes and ears to other options of securing a voluntary disarmament in Iraq."


BOTSWANA:  "No Moral Leg To Stand On"


Gaborone's independent weekly Midweek Sun had this to say in its edition of 3/19:  "It has now come to pass that George Bush's means to unseat Saddam have been reduced to glorified terrorism.... [The U.S.] has no moral leg to stand on: weapons inspectors have not been able to come up with convincing evidence that Saddam Hussein indeed possesses weapons of mass destruction.  Neither has there been conclusive evidence linking Saddam to terrorism....  Bush's attack will not only undermine the UN and the UN security council, but will also strike a blow for terrorism....  The winners will only be the forces of evil that stood to lose if the UN's power and authority for world peace and stability is protected."


GHANA:  "George Bush And Blair Should Retreat"


Indpendent Ghanaian Chronicle editorialized (3/17):  "The Chronicle today identifies with the voice of the people calling on the powers that be to stop for a moment and rethink the course they are taking.  It is our belief that, even though the American government has gone quite far in the preparation to strike, it still has time to retreat....  Our decision is actually based on the belief that painstaking investigations, if continued by the UN weapons inspectors, can unearth the existence or otherwise of such deadly weapons.  Furthermore, it is our belief that the UN is capable of dealing with the threat the Iraqi leader supposedly poses in a systematic and cautious way, instead of the U.S. attacking Iraq unilaterally with the hope of achieving the same results....  Please exercise patience in the interest of humanity, Mr. President."


"Iraqi War Will Torpedo Ghana"


A weekly with urban circulation Kumasi Mail stated (3/17-23): "A U.S.-Iraq war will affect Ghana badly if it leads to dramatic increase in the price of crude oil. Addressing, a public forum on this year's budget at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, Minister of Finance stated: 'If the price of crude oil goes beyond the present 40 dollars a barrel, it means the budget and all the projections on it will be torpedoed.' Mr. Osafo Maafo believes that the war is about Iraqi oil since the country has the largest oil reserves in the world, much bigger than Saudi Arabia. He therefore asked the people of Ghana to pray that there was no war."


MADAGASCAR:  "Scandal!"


Nasolo-Valiavo-Andriamihaja vented in independent daily L'Express de Madagascar (3/17):  "It is scandalous that the world is taken hostage by the obstinacy of only one man, George Bush ...  The UN Security Council has become useless.  If George Bush gets a majority of votes, then he will lead a legal war.  Even if Russia or France have to use their veto rights, George Bush has already decided to lead a war with or without UN authorization...  But whom does George Bush think he is to drive people to the brink of a deadline and declare that the game is over?  George W. Bush only suddenly discovers the nuisance of Saddam Hussein's regime.  From now on, everybody knows that the U.S. actively contributed to provide Iraq with chemical weapons when it was time to combat Teheran's Ayatollah fundamentalists.  The United States and its allies provided the same weapons, which Iraq is asked now to destroy. America has been able to adapt to Saddam Hussein, and the question inevitably arises: why so much intransigence now while the Americans had the means to be through with the dirty work in 1991? George Bush decided that Saddam Hussein has to leave power.  But what would he say if the president of an unimportant and minor country claimed that a faultly-elected president should have the decency to resign?  What is scandalous is that the world seems powerless to fight Bush's terrorism."


ZAMBIA:  "U.S., Britain, And Spain Set For War"


Government-owned Zambia Daily Mail commented (3/18):  "It is with deep sense of grief that we are convinced that the United States, Spain and its ally Britain, are now set on war against Iraq.  This development effectively closes a chapter on the principle of collective security and peace in the world as enshrined in the UN Charter....  The war on Iraq is in many more ways than one a dark chapter in the prosperous history of the UN which has sustained global security and peace for half a century now. Now, we see the United States acting as a greater power than the UN , we see unbridled unilateralism that will push global peace and security to the brink of collapse....  There is no provision that any great power can substitute that authority reposed in the UN....  Our hearts grieve with great pain at the prospect of losing thousands of innocent lives, all in the name of satisfying the ego of an arrogant political elite in Washington and London....  We see the decision to go to war as misguided because we are convinced that diplomatic avenues have not failed at all....  It will be difficult for the United States to raise an issue with any other country that decides to invade another country....  It is a decision that, in fact, teaches the U.S. a lesson that senseless unilateralism based on military power rather than consensus will face opposition in the international community."




CANADA:  "The Trail That Leads To A War On Iraq"


The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (3/18):  "There can be little question that responsibility for the invasion of Iraq which now appears at hand lies with Saddam Hussein.  The American-led force...will minimize civilian casualties....  But there likely will be mistakes involving the deaths of civilians....  This tragedy ultimately will be Mr. Hussein's fault as well.... 


"Mr. Bush's speech...was designed to prepare American citizens and the world for war.  But the ultimatum also says a great deal about Washington's ineptitude as it sought to rally other countries to its side....  The United States has consistently mixed the two objectives--disarmament and regime change....  This confusion of motives was a fundamental reason why the Bush administration, in a blow that likely will affect the UN for years, has had to withdraw its Security Council resolution authorizing force.  Washington bumbled its diplomatic efforts, and now is forced to go to war without UN approval.  One need not see eye to eye with French President Jacques Chirac to find that deeply disconcerting."


"The Cost Of Containment Of Iraq Is Too High"


The conservative Vancouver Sun argued (3/18):  "The choice is not between war and peace.  It is between war and containment....  The strategy of containment...did little to stop Mr. Hussein but did cause Iraqi civilians significant hardship.... the cost of containment: Hundreds of thousands of children dead, thousands of Kurdish deaths, the torture and death of many others who oppose Mr. Hussein's regime, the funding of those who engage in terrorism against Israel, and, quite possibly, the continued development of weapons of mass destruction....  The war over in short order.  And the human cost could well be a fraction of that experienced under containment."




Montreal's centrist La Presse commented (3/18):  "Bush's address was not enough to convince the public and the leaders of the vast majority of the countries in the world which oppose the war....  The President's words lead us to believe he is dreaming of imposing a new democratic order on the region.  The goal is laudable, but the strategy is both arrogant and naive.  That is what makes it particularly dangerous."


"A War And A Mess"


Editorialist Jean-Marc Salvet wrote in Montreal's centrist Le Soleil (3/18):  "The diplomatic mess is total....  The goals of the war were never clear.  They changed as events unfolded.  That is one of the reasons for the diplomatic fiasco."


"Press Saddam Not The U.N.”


The liberal Toronto Star opined (3/17):  “U.S. President George W. Bush and his gang of two claimed to be acting in the United Nations' best their drive-by summit in the Azores.  It's hard to see how....  In effect they have fired their first shots at the UN, not Saddam.  After paying lip service to the plight of the much-battered Iraqi people, Bush, Blair and Aznar gave the Security Council a 24-hour deadline to adopt a resolution threatening Iraq with war within a few days....  If Bush and his allies can't raise the required 9 of 15 votes...they threaten to attack Iraq without authorization. This is raw contempt for the council and reckless disregard for the rule of law....  Bush and his allies call this ‘a moment of truth’ for the U.N.  The truth is...most of the world recoils from this attempt to stampede the Security Council into a war that no one can justify as an urgent necessity."


ARGENTINA: "The Failure Of Diplomacy"


Alberto Armendariz, international analyst of daily-of-record La Nacion held (3/18):  "The USG's decision to launch war alone will surely open big dilemmas for the UN....  After several steps back and forth, Washington decided to construe that Resolution 1441...was enough legal ground for the use of military force.  But most of the...UN Security Council [members] do not agree, which will bring serious legal consequences....  President Bush never thought that his best Latin American allies, Mexico and Chile, would end up turning their back on him....  Washington's schizophrenic strategy--one day it wants to end WMD, on the following day it wants to remove Saddam ...and establish democracy...--undermined every possibility of additional support....  Through a unilateral action the United States is likely to spark a strong wave of resentment and anti-U.S. terrorism."


"The Dangerous Redesign Of The World"


Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading Clarin stressed (3/18):  "According to the conclusions reached at the Azores summit, war on Iraq is part of a design in which a different organization of nations will be born....  The truth is that the summit... was the symbol of the isolation of the three allies, a condition that will matter in the imminent war, but particularly in the post-war scenario....  Iraq is an excuse to extend the arm of the U.S. power in a strategic region....  It is legitimate to wonder what the real design of the world will be when the brakes of the legality known since the end of the Second World War succumb."


"The Last Words Before War"


Claudio Uriarte, international analyst of left-of-center Pagina 12 opined (3/18):  "One can conclude the gist of this ultimatum: Bush continues hoping he will not need to use the military force, and that the Iraqi military will remove Hussein through a coup d'etat....  In last night's address Bush justified war with inconsistent arguments....  Bush's attempt to legalize a clearly illegal war resorting to the UN Security Council only made bigger the show of inconsistency, therefore magnifying the pacifists' opposition."


"The September 11 Shadow"


Business-financial El Cronista carries an opinion piece by Rosendo Fraga, head of Centro de Estudios Nueva Mayoria, who wrote (3/18):  "IRegarding the U.S. unilateral decision, it can be said that the world has failed in preventing the U.S./British attack on Iraq, but the world should also wonder how was it that it did not effectively act so that Saddam could sidestep, and avoid war....  If there is war now, it is not only as the result of a U.S.unilateral decision but because the rest of the world did not manage to convince the Iraqi regime to change its attitude and avoid war."


"Pre-emptive And Unilateral War, The Most Dangerous Alternative"


Ana Baron, leading Clarin Washington-based correspondent, opined (3/17):  "The Azores summit was presented to the world as a final effort for diplomacy to succeed, but in truth it was the maximum proof that diplomacy is failing....  Iraq will become the first guinea pig of this pre-emptive war lab test, launched by Bush after the 9/11 terrorist attacks....  Washington's message is clear.  Either the UN sides with U.S. interests, or it becomes useless.  This is like installing an authoritarian system at an international level, which is precisely the opposite of what appears in the UN Charter....  Far from being safer, the world will be a much more dangerous place."


BRAZIL: "It's War"


The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (3/18) held: "Now, only a miracle can prevent the war in Iraq. Every military conflict between nations has something unreasonable behind it, but this one seems particularly unjustifiable. The reasons that the U.S. and its allies have given for attacking Baghdad are above all false.... It is not true that bloody dictator Saddam Hussein represents a threat to the world, nor is there evidence that demonstrates his ties to Al Qaeda.... Despite its military supremacy, the White House will start this conflict having sustained a series of defeats before firing the first shot.... President George W. Bush has divided the UN, NATO, the EU and international public opinion.  The U.S. president has undermined the international security system, the anti-terror coalition and the idea of a community of nations. George W. Bush has the support of no more than half a dozen governments, which due to their pro-war position are beginning to face domestic problems. As if this were not enough, the conflict may have very negative effects on the already weak world economy."


"UN Crisis Reflects Uncertainties Of The New World Order"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo international writer Marcio Senne de Moraes commented (3/18): "Washington's plan to attack Iraq without formal approval from the UN puts the organization in a critical position: its supporters will deplore the fact that its decisions are no longer respected, while its detractors -- especially the Republican Party's most conservative sector -- will say that the UN has no legitimacy because it permits Saddam Hussein to maintain weapons of mass destruction. But the current discussion is more profound. It is about the configuration of the new world order.... The question is whether it will be multilateral or dominated by the world's only superpower. According to international analysts, the future of the UN will depend on the way the U.S. envisions this new order."


"Apocalypse Now?"


Respected center-left Jornal do Brasil carried a byline by PT federal congressman, Paulo Delgado (3/17):  "The imminence of the American attack is more than the assertion of  the imperial military power over the insolent, vile Iraqi dictatorship.  It's the re-assertion of the tormented human dream to find situations in  which one single cause or one person becomes the synthesis and incarnation  of all evil.... But the rhetorical, ideological anti-American feeling spreading  throughout the whole world - against the nonsense of the Bush  administration - has started to echo within the U.S., as one can see by the American people's demonstrations for peace... The idea that the U.S. or any other nation may legitimately attack  another nation - not effectively threatening at the moment but that may in  the future - is a radical distortion of the traditional idea of  self-defense.  This doctrine goes against international Laws and U.N. guidelines.The fact there is a significant part of the American  people...expressing itself against the war...demonstrates the difference  between this administration's position and the U.S. as a country."


"Ultimatum To The UN"


Respected center-left Jornal do Brasil, says in its lead editorial (3/18):"The American President has been using another argument he considers in his favor.  He understands the U.N. itself gave authorization to the war  when last year it approved Resolution 1441....In his view, it was Saddam's  second chance to prevent the war....And Bush acknowledges that peace still  has one more chance:  Saddam can leave the country and go into exile.... Unprecedented and curious, Bush's ultimatum may be the opening text in the final chapter of U.N.'s history as the sponsor of peace, whose basis is international law...."


MEXICO:  "The March Of Insanity"


Federico Reyes Heroles wrote in independent Reforma (3/18):  "It is the end of the road.  Soon our televisions sets will be invaded by strange lights.  Self-preservation, which is not a new argument, has been a common argument of empires....  Without a doubt, the greatest threat is the unwarranted redefinition of the concept of national security by the USG.  Hussein is a tyrant, but the fact that the UN Security Council was sidestepped will be remembered as an indelible sign of the barbarity of Bush, Blair, and Aznar."


"The End Of The United Nations"


Business-oriented El Financiero contended (3/18):  "The agreement between the United States, Great Britain, and Spain to disarm Iraq by force, even against the opposition of most of the members of the United Nations, implies the virtual disappearance of this institution.  In spite of the legitimacy behind the motives of these countries to overthrow Saddam Hussein, their decision places force before reason....  There is nothing good for the future of the world now that the United States, the main promoter of the United Nations, has become its destructor."


"Battle Between Two Kinds Of Terrorism"


Jesus Vergara Aceves argued in nationalist El Universal (3/18):  “What we are witnessing is not a struggle between the democratic west, exemplified by the U.S., and the terrorist Near East, exemplified by Iraq.  This is a battle between two kinds of terrorism, an institutional one in the name of democracy and a desperate one by a tyrant....  The Bush administration is increasingly alone, because any war--whether preventive or not--that is not sanctioned by the UN is illegal.”


"The War And The Bilateral Agenda With The United States"


Jorge Carrasco Araizaga reflected in business-oriented El Financiero (3/18): "Even though Mexico was freed from having to vote against the United States at the UNSC, the government of Vicente Fox will experience the consequences of its strategic miscalculations over the Bush administration's conflict against Iraq....  Even thought it is true that we should not expect direct retaliation, the United States has sufficient elements to block the progress in our relationship.  The government of Fox still has a chance to show the Bush administration that U.S. border security depends on Mexico, and this is enough to understand that its relationship with Mexico should go beyond war."


“No, Mexico, No”


Ximena Paredo wrote in independent El Norte (3/17): “We haven’t thought about the worst consequence yet if we support the U.S. regarding its attack on Iraq.  Up to now we’ve dealt with shallow arguments to vote in favor of Bush: not doing it would condemn us to an economic punishment. This seems to be the center of the decision: money, investment, exports, capital flows… everything focuses on fear. Few have questioned how a vote in favor of war would impact the morale of Mexico’s people, how this decision would have repercussions on its youth and childhood.… Mexico has to vote in favor of its youth, against war.”


CHILE:  "Zero Hour"


Government-owned, editorially independent Santiago daily La Nacion editorialized (3/18):  "Bush, Blair, and Aznar have chosen to apply...the questionable policy of a preventive war, which implies transgressing the U.N. Charter and putting the post-WWII international order at risk....  This is clearly a war stemming from a strategic design to show the world who is in command....   The questions we hear everywhere today, even in the United States, ask about the legitimacy of using force in this situation, the consequences it will have for thousands of people, and the wave of hatred it could unleash in the region....  Chileans must join the millions of people throughout the world who in all languages say, 'No to War.'"


"Iraq: The Costs Chile Chose To Pay"


Leading-circulation, popular Santiago La Tercera argued (3/18):  "The government cannot ignore the fact that Chile will pay for having opposed the United States....  The calls the (Chilean) Embassy in Washington has received from angry legislators--who will vote on the passage of a free trade agreement--confirm this.  Even if the agreement is ultimately approved, Americans will no longer look at Chile as they previously did."


"Peace After War"


In its prime-time newscast, conservative Catholic University Television's respected international commentator Karin Ebensperger had this to say (3/17):  "TThe U.S. argues that it will install a democratic government in Iraq, but that is only a wish.  What is most likely is that war will heighten hatreds and increase terrorism--as the previous Iraq war was the genesis for the terror attacks against New York.  The world is divided as never before."


"A Storm Of Terrorism"


Commentator Libardo Buitrago contended on privately owned Megavision's prime-time newscast (3/17):  "The consequence of the coming war is an awakening of Islamic Arab terrorism whose storms we will feel in a way we have never imagined."


GUATEMALA:  "The War On Iraq:  The UN Between A Rock And A Hard Place” 


In the same edition of influential morning El Periodico, columnist Miguel Angel Sandoval stated (3/17): "Diplomacy has given its last word:  'no to the War.'…  We do not accept, under any circumstance, the law of the strongest or impositions that seek to destroy the frail international balance, which has its best representative in the UN.  There is no other.”


PARAGUAY:  "The End Does Not Justify the Means"


Asuncion business-oriented daily La Nacion ran this guest commentary (3/18):  "We, the liberals, believe that concentration of power is essentially bad, and that the destruction of the United Nations system is, no more and no less than the assumption of the White House to total power."


PERU: "Time Is Up"


Center-left  La Republica stressed (3/17): "Today is the deadline established by President Bush for Iraq’s disarmament.…  Fortunately, the diplomatic way out, although unexpectedis not least for a few days… However, the [public] reappearance of…Vice President Cheney...saying that the time for Iraq is over… is not a favorable thing.…  We still believe that Sadam Hussein is a...unjustifiable dictator, but certainly the weapons of mass destruction...have not been found… The world’s reliance upon the existing international order, which is under the UN responsibility since at stake.… Another reason to oppose to this war with no ethical justification, which will only cause an...increase in Islamic terrorism.”


“Neither Hegemony Nor Intransigence”


Straightforward, flagship  El Comercio editorialized (3/16):  "The war is is not enough to reject a conflict with unpredictable consequences.… It is important that the nations of the world do not cease in their efforts to demand.... Iraq’s active disarmament, meaning immediately and without conditions...under the terms established by international law and UN resolutions.… Although we cannot disregard ‘the use of force as the last resource’ it corresponds to the UN, and to nobody else, to authorize any attack based on its inspectors’ reports…  The U.S. and Great Britain must accept these principles and Iraq must abandon its intransigence.… The world cannot tolerate...hegemonic abuses or disregard of international law.”



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