International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

November 25, 2003

November 25, 2003





**  Iraq protests "tarnished" a long-anticipated display of U.S.-UK solidarity.


**  While observers saw the visit benefiting the president's re-election bid, they say PM Blair only stands to lose popularity.


**  Bush's speech, received favorably in the UK for its "verve" and "promising" Mideast remarks, was panned by critics elsewhere as "preaching to the converted."




Protests during president's visit served as 'a strong reminder of the fiasco' of Iraq--  Center-left and leftist dailies highlighted the large protests that coincided with the trip.  Italy's center-left Il-Messaggero stated that "the people started to protest against Bush even before he arrived."  Malaysia's official New Straits Times argued that "the protesters are telling [Bush]...that he has misled the world on Iraq."  Centrist Die Presse of Austria saw Bush's visit "becoming a game of hide-and-seek in order to avoid the anger of the masses."  In contrast, Austria's mass-circulation Kleine Zeitung chided the protesters, calling "the stunt with the Bush statue on Trafalgar Square" (a parody of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad) "a political travesty."  And Berlin's right-of-center Die Welt advised:  "We should remember that the demonstrators by no means represent the authentic voice of Great Britain" since a Guardian poll demonstrated "that the majority of British" welcome the president.


Bush's 'Three Pillars' speech praised for steadfast message, criticized for lack of change--  UK and Czech dailies hailed Bush's speech as a success, saying Bush had "exceeded" himself and terming his remarks on the Middle East "promising."  The mainstream Czech daily MF Dnes felt "Bush spoke much more like a European than anytime before."  Likewise, Britain's center-left Independent applauded "the finest piece of political oratory since the era of Kennedy and de Gaulle."  Most writers demurred, with Rome's business daily Il Sole-24 Ore describing the speech as being, "for friends only."  Manila's widely-read Philippine Daily Inquirer found that Bush was "preaching to the converted."


While the visit served Bush's re-election efforts, it could harm Blair's image at home--  Saudi Arabia's English language Arab News opined that "while Bush has undoubtedly gained...Blair got little out of the visit except a huge security bill."  Indonesia's independent Kompas stated:  "Blair definitely will not gain political benefits."  Ireland's centrist Sunday Tribune averred that Blair "received precious little by way of concessions on steel tariffs, environmental concerns and the fate of the British prisoners in Guantanamo  Bay."  On the other side of the equation, Austria's liberal Der Standard found that for Bush, "the visit is a good photo opportunity, which he will...use profitably in domestic politics.”






EDITOR:  James Deacon


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 67 reports from 25 countries, from 18-24 November.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Mr. Bush's Speech In London Showed The Thinking Of A Great World Leader"


Columnist Bruce Anderson commented in the center-left Independent (11/24):  "Last Wednesday, a London audience had the privilege of hearing the President expound his thinking, and Mr. Bush exceeded himself.  That was no easy task, for he always rises to a big occasion with a fine speech.  But even by his standards, this was special....  It was the finest piece of political oratory since the era of Kennedy and de Gaulle....  No American President has ever expressed such sympathy with the Palestinian people, or such implicit criticism of Israel's policy towards them.  Yet how much credit has George Bush received in Britain?...  But I defy any fair-minded person to read Mr. Bush's speech and refuse to recognise his pivotal role in the Middle East peace process."


"The Paradox Of American Power"


An op-ed by columnist Philip Stephens in the independent Financial Times stated (11/21):  “For me, the president's state visit has been a metaphor for the paradox of American power - invincibility matched by an acute sense of vulnerability. You cannot fail to be awed by the motorcades, the vast presidential Cadillac, the armies of Secret Service agents and the rocket-toting helicopters ever overhead. Yet a life imprisoned in what Mr. Bush refers to as his "bubble", testifies also to a terrible fear of America's enemies....  But if Mr. Bush still reserves America's right to apply "violent restraint of violent men", he paid more than lip-service to the multilateral institutions on which the west's security has long rested. There was a nod, too, to what his host calls being "tough on the causes of terrorism" by addressing the conflicts, poverty, and disease that serve as al-Qaeda's recruiting sergeants....  As the nation most threatened by rogue states and international terrorism, the US cannot allow its hands to be tied. Nor can anyone be permitted to challenge the essential righteousness of the cause....  Sometimes removing a tyrant can serve both strategic and moral purpose. Somewhere out there is a new international settlement - something to match that of the late 1940s....  Such a settlement would combine American power with the vital moral legitimacy Mr. Bush has so rashly squandered in the two years since September 11 2001. It would marry Europe's attachment to engagement with states such as Iran and to a just settlement in the Middle East with America's determination to strike back at the nihilistic forces whose only purpose is death and destruction.”


"Promising A More Cooperative Future"


The independent Financial Times judged (11/20):  “Most promising were Mr. Bush’s remarks on the Middle East, couched as part of his third pillar of spreading global democracy....  This is exactly the even-handed language that Mr. Blair sought from Washington in return for UK participation in the Iraq war.  Yet going to war is a heavy price to pay for such a statement from Mr. Bush, however well-intentioned.  And what does it mean, if not followed up by active U.S. peace-brokering?  Part of Mr. Blair’s problem is that even if he can sway Mr. Bush, the latter has to persuade the rest of his administration.  Mr. Bush’s track record of imposing his views on his cabinet has not been good.  And, in the coming year, Mr. Bush’s thoughts will be more on his re-election than anything else.”


"Universal Soldier"


The left-of-center Guardian editorialized (11/20):  “Mr. Bush recognizes that in the Middle East, ‘the stakes could not be higher’.  But the laudable demands he makes of all parties--Israelis, Palestinians, Arab and European governments--ignore his own administration’s lack of peacemaking rigor.  Mr. Bush admits the violence in Iraq is serious.  But he makes the old mistake of underestimating opponents, vowing to meet fire with more fire and thereby encouraging an ever greater conflagration....  Perhaps the greatest disconnection between Whitehall words and real-world actions was evident in Mr. Bush’s ideas about multilateralism, exercised via the UN and other institutions, which in theory he supports.  In practice, as all the world knows, his administration continues to subvert or bypass collective decision-making whenever that suits its purpose.  No amount of sugar coats this bitter pill.  No amount of folderol, flummery or flattery makes it easier to swallow.”


"The President’s Speech Spoiled Only By The Weakness Of His Argument"


The center-left Independent took this view (11/20):  "Mr. Bush offered his audience a forceful restatement of his already known views, delivered with a degree of verve, eloquence and even humor that defied his reputation as the least articulate American president since the silent Calvin Coolidge.  For all the familiar elements...there were two categorical restatements of his administration’s policy that deserved to be hailed without reserve.  The first was Mr. Bush’s insistence that the U.S. was in Iraq for the duration....  The second was his call to Israel to stop 'the daily humiliation of Palestinians', freeze settlements and not prejudice final peace talks by erecting 'walls and fences'....  They are welcome for all that, as promises on the record against which Mr. Bush’s good faith can be judged in the future.”


"The Bush Doctrine"


The conservative Times commented (11/20):  “There will doubtless be those who insist he is exaggerating the danger faced by democracies, dismiss the notion that political pluralism can be promoted in the Middle East and see scant virtue in a forward strategy for it.  Mr. Bush is, though, right, and others would be wise to stand with him in his enterprise....  Mr. Bush has nailed his colors to the successful transition of power in Iraq, reminded Israel that any measures it takes to protect its people should not make a peace settlement implausible, stated without naming him that Yassir Arafat cannot be trusted to establish a viable and democratic Palestinian state, and told Saudi Arabia that internal reform is essential.  It is an ironic twist that many of those protesting at Mr. Bush’s presence here have long charged that America has propped up rather unsavory leaders.  There is now a president who agrees with them, and who wants to alter course, yet the denouncing and the prancing go on.” 


"Bush Turns Europe’s Consensus On Its Head"


The conservative Daily Telegraph had this opinion (11/20):  “George W. Bush’s Whitehall address represented the boldest challenge to the conventional wisdom of the British and European elites since Woodrow Wilson preached the rights of self-determination of smaller nations after the First World War....  He believes that terrorism and rogue states can be vanquished on the West’s terms:  unlike the exhausted European empires of the post-war era, which lost almost every insurgency that they fought, America is fighting this battle at the height of its powers.  Above all, it is doing so convinced of the rightness of its cause, namely the spread of liberty from which no one should be excluded.  There was thus much in President Bush’s very radical analysis, not least on the rights of women, that any serious British progressive--and even some protesters--might support....  It confirms our belief that the anti-Westernism of many left-wingers trumps all other values in which they profess to believe.  No matter:  if he continues on this course, Mr. Bush should create new realities on the ground among the 'wretched of the earth', as assuredly as Ronald Reagan did when he asserted his belief that the peoples of eastern Europe need not be consigned to despotism for ever.”


"Old And New"


The conservative Times commented (11/19):  “The polls published in the past week, even in the left-listing Guardian, indicate that George W. Bush's visit to these shores is backed by comfortably more than a third of British people....  It is unlikely that by Friday, when this tour is complete, it will be acclaimed universally.  It would be unfortunate, though, if the president’s presence were not a chance to hail a shared history and enduring values.  A number of this president’s critics have asked why he should be the first to hold his office to be accorded the honor of a state visit.  The true mystery is why it has taken so long for an occupant of the White House to be received in this manner.  It appears to have been an oversight, not a deliberate act, and state visits should be a matter of course in the future.  The ties that bind Britain and the United States are so many in number and so distinctive in nature that they merit the highest level of diplomatic recognition....  For reasons old and new, Mr. Bush, as president and representative of the United States should be welcomed.”


"The Negation Of Everything The U.S. Professes To Stand For"


The center-left Independent editorialized (11/19):  “The state visit of President George Bush has come to signify all that has gone wrong with transatlantic relations.  The royal pageantry that should be a public demonstration of amity is being hidden behind the walls of the palace.  The crowds that would, under other circumstances, be cheering this country’s most stalwart ally, will be marching in protest.  The president will move only in a sealed bubble of security.  It will be a tense and contentious three days.  The prime minister...has been let down by Mr. Bush over the post-war strategy for Iraq, over the Middle East and, most urgently, over the disgrace that is Guantanamo Bay.”


"Our American Friends"


The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (11/18):  "Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, says he is baffled by the Government's decision to offer the president of the United States a full state visit to London.  What puzzles him, apparently, is that George W. Bush has been accorded the honor, while his predecessor, Bill Clinton, was denied it....  Mr. Cook need have no fear...that Mr. Bush has been asked because the Government prefers Texans to the natives of Arkansas, or because Tony Blair prefers Republicans to Democrats.  Mr. Bush is visiting the Queen as the representative of the American people.  These are a people to whom we in these islands owe our freedom and much of our prosperity.  They are a people who share our own preference for freedom and democracy over tyranny and fear.  Even now, their servicemen and ours are fighting in the same cause against terrorism.  The mystery is not why the president of the U.S. has been invited to pay a state visit to Britain.  It is why the invitation has been such a long time a-coming."


"Us And Them"


Labor MP and former defense minister Peter Kilfoyle commented in the left-of-center Guardian (11/18):  "Bush and Blair...wholly miscalculated the course of events, both politically and militarily, and their errors have left them reaching out in desperation for cover....  American presidents...tend to hide behind the stars and stripes....  Tony Blair, on the other hand, found it impossible to don the Union Jack for a transparently American war--and a failed one at that.  Instead, he clings to the myth of the 'special relationship' as justification for his dogged loyalty to Bush....  At the same time, critics of his position are painted as disloyal, unpatriotic and anti-American.  At every opportunity opponents of Bush are labeled, explicitly or implicitly, as unthinking bigots....  No, Mr. Blair, it is not knee-jerk anti-Americanism which holds sway in the UK.  It is the reaction of one old friend to another when the latter is acting wholly unreasonably and unacceptably.  In such circumstances, that old friend needs to be reminded of his responsibilities to himself and to others.  In such a context, if we do not speak out to President Bush, who on earth can?  It is through those entirely justifiable criticisms that we might inform our real friends--the American people--of the damage done to America's standing and interests by the Bush approach to international affairs."


"A Visit Filled With Risks"


The center-left Independent remarked (11/18):  "This first ever formal state visit to Britain by a U.S. president may not be the absolute no-win occasion for George Bush that it promises to be for Tony Blair.  But there is scant doubt that for the White House too it has not exactly come at the ideal moment....  In comparison with the great themes of the economy and Iraq, the success of a foreign visit where pomp and ceremony will outweigh substance is marginal in the electoral calculations of candidate Bush.  But a factor none the less it is....  Americans know that Mr. Bush will never be met with garlands on the streets of Paris or Berlin.  London, though, is a different matter.  Britain opened its heart over 11 September, and was the trusted ally in the war against Iraq.  For all the advance warnings, live pictures of hundreds of thousands of British citizens protesting against his very presence would surely come as a shock.  They can only bring home the extent to which Mr. Bush has alienated foreign opinion, and reinforce doubts about the quality of his statesmanship.  But for a president whose toughness in times of crisis is one of his main selling points, this risk was less than a craven cancellation, or a transparent case of diplomatic flu.  Moreover, it is possible that a display of grace and dignity under fire could be to Mr. Bush's electoral advantage.  These will be a fraught few days for both leaders, and when Mr. Bush leaves Britain on Friday, it is likely that anything less than a total disaster could be counted as a success."


"The Courtesy Mr. Bush Is Owed"


The conservative Evening Standard held (11/18):  "When the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was asked about the demonstrations that would be taking place during the state visit of President Bush this week, he hit out at what he called the 'fashionable anti-Americanism' that he saw behind the protests.  This was a rash simplification of the motives that are expected to bring together some 100,000 people to demonstrate against Mr. Bush's visit this week....  For many, probably most, of the protesters, it is the war in Iraq, that is the primary grievance.  Others are opposed to globalization, or Washington's pressure on us to plant GM crops, or its policies on global warming, trade or the detention without trial of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.  Some of these criticisms will be voiced by people who make a clear distinction between their warm feelings for America and Americans and their deep distrust of the Bush regime.  Of course there will also be protesters who are, as Mr. Straw suggests, genuinely and unthinkingly anti-American.  What is important is that this latter group, however intemperate its rhetoric, is not seen to dominate the protests this week.  It would be both dangerous and misleading if it appeared...that opposition to the Iraq war was being conflated with crude condemnation of the U.S. as a whole....  As the U.S. head of state, President Bush will be a guest of the Queen and the nation--and as such he deserves our courtesy."


FRANCE:  "Bush The European"


The editorial in Communist l’Humanite by Bruno Odent read (11/20):  “The exasperation of the demonstrators in London points to something that goes much deeper than mere refusal of the war-mongering American neo-conservatives, or Blair’s complicity with them.  It highlights, first and foremost, the rise in Euro-American contradictions...and the ambivalent nature of the European Union.”


"Rubbing People The Wrong Way"


Michele Gayral commented on the French worldwide broadcast radio, Radio France Internationale (11/20):  "Moderation, however, did not characterize the American president’s speech yesterday in London....  Despite a few vague and sympathetic allusions to the beauty of the transatlantic relationship, George Bush was particularly forceful regarding ‘his’ war in Iraq....  Above all, the president’s speech resembled a list of grievances against the Europeans, and not just those who opposed the intervention in the risk of embarrassing his host Tony Blair.”


"A Fool’s Game"


Charles Lambroschini held in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/19):  “George Bush has everything to gain from his visit to London and Tony Blair has everything to lose....  The U.S. president is looking for publicity in the belief that...this will contribute towards his re-election....  To be seen hugging Tony Blair is George W. Bush’s way of proving his credibility on the international scene.  Parading around with the Queen, who along with the Pope is one of the only foreign figures that the average American viewer can recognize, is to prove that the only attempt to isolate the U.S. diplomatically was made by the envious French....  Paradoxically, this visit will prove the extent to which the ‘special’ relationship between London and Washington has become a fool’s game.  George W. Bush takes without giving.  Indeed, when Tony Blair stated that the UK needed a UN resolution to send its troops to Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld shot back that the U.S. is powerful enough to do without the British.  The bridge that Great Britain has set out to build between Europe and the U.S. is a mirage....  George W. Bush may obtain results that are exactly the contrary of what he’d hoped for with this visit and if it goes badly, the president will distance the British from America and reconcile them with Europe.”


"A Minefield"


Philippe Gelie observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/18):  “In case President Bush didn’t know it yet, he will discover during his trip to London that Europe has become a landmine for him....  If both parties could have managed it, his visit to London is one of those which both sides would have gladly postponed....  And so the challenge will be to grin and bare it....  While the U.S. sees Tony Blair as a sort of watchdog for Europe, the Europeans see him as their protector against America’s unilateralism.  Blair’s role is an ungrateful one as he tries to be more than ‘Bush’s poodle’ as he is perceived by the English press.”


"Bush In London To Reaffirm ‘Special Relationship’ With The U.K."


Marie-Laure Cittanova wrtoe in right-of-center Les Echos (11/18):  “The visit should have marked the celebration of a quick victory in Iraq.  But due to the growing number of attacks, it will be one of the meetings allowing the allies to define the details of a transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis....  Washington’s changed position on Iraq comforts those who opposed the Iraqi conflict.  And in Great Britain, many oppose Great Britain’s involvement.”


"Blair And His Cumbersome Guest"


Gilles Delafon stated in right-of-center Le Journal du Dimanche (11/17):  “On Tuesday Tony Blair will welcome George Bush for a three-day visit that was planned a long time ago and which Blair would have gladly done without…  While the Iraqi war has freed a people, it has also given birth to a new type of terrorism and reactivated fundamentalist movements.  Most of all it has emphasized the dangerous amateurism of the American architects of democratic revolution in the Middle East....  In Britain, the verdict is in: 60 percent of the people polled disapprove of President Bush’s policy in Iraq....  For the British press this visit is nothing more than a campaign opportunity for President Bush.… Tony Blair has gained little from his collaboration with the U.S., except for promises of contracts in the Iraqi reconstruction.  He expected to serve as an intermediary between Europe and the U.S.:  in the end he became America’s auxiliary.  Proof of this can be seen in the fact that as soon as Great Britain joined France and Germany to discuss Europe’s defense, Tony Blair was called on the carpet by Washington.”


GERMANY:  "Change Of Course"


Karl Grobe argued in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (11/20):  "George W. Bush's words hide the effort to make a change of course appear to be the straight continuation of a policy he has always considered right....  But this change of course...hides the insight that many things were wrong that were implemented in Iraq and that the occupation policy of the past months was wrong and only nurtured resistance.  But if this also results in the insight that the future Iraqi democracy must be developed by the Iraqis themselves, i.e., cannot be bought on the supermarket by the superpower, then it will be all the better."




Jacques Schuster had this to say in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/20):  "President Bush's speech in London is more than a mere justification of the war in Iraq....  It destroys fear of an overhasty withdrawal from Iraq...and it emphasizes that America continues to stick to the goal of establishing a stable, possibly democratic state and is willing to make sacrifices.  In addition, Bush is reaching out his hand to the Europeans by stressing how indispensable are the transatlantic partnership and cooperation with a united Europe.  Both aspects come at the right time....  Bush's resolute words will strengthen all those in Iraq who pin their hopes on a new beginning.  Despite the turbulence of the past week, Americans and Europeans are dependent on each other.  Both need each other to defend the shared values in a world that has become more threatening since 9/11.  In addition, Europe is dependent on the United States because it is unable to defend itself without U.S. military power.  It is high time to leave the past months that were so rich in conflicts behind.  Bush 's speech invites us to do this.  It is now up to the Europeans to find an appropriate answer."


"Empty Rhetoric"


Right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung opined (11/20):  "This visit, which was originally planned as a show of triumphant cooperation between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair lacks any splendor, and the smiles of the main actors look forced. The situation in Iraq has dramatically deteriorated for the United States. Against this background, Bush's remark that democracy must be defended by using force only looks self-righteous.  Blair's reference to the special U.S.-British relationship resembles Bush's empty rhetoric:  George and Tony, if necessary, against the rest of the world could be the slogan under which the two leaders want to conceal the fact that they treated formerly close allies like extras.  Smoother, more thoughtful tones would be more convincing and be appropriate in view of the seriousness of the situation in Iraq."


"Gala Dinner In Dinner Jackets And With Risks"


Matthias Thibaut judged in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (11/19):  "The visit to London offers President George W. Bush a great chance.  If he is really the charming politician who has strong principles, who thinks globally, and who listens wisely...then he will have the chance to prove this in London.  He seems to have understood this.  With interviews Bush worked hard and...the latest poll in The Guardian showed that the British can be convinced....  But Tony Blair must show that the special relationship with Washington is no one-way street.  He says that those who pursue quiet diplomacy have greater influence than those who criticize and grumble in public....  Blair must still prove that his voice really has an influence on Bush, ranging from steel to global trade to Kyoto and Guantánamo....  On Monday, President Chirac comes to London.  A few clear words with which Bush accepts European wishes would be a great help for the future of the transatlantic partnership."




Alan Posener argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/19):  "When hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in London in the coming days and German TV stations broadcast pictures of burning Bush effigies, we should remember that the demonstrators by no means represent the authentic voice of Great Britain.  The Guardian revealed in a poll that the majority of British welcome the president.  In view of the terrorist attacks in Iraq, we could expect an increase in the anti-war mood, but the opposite is true....  Tony Blair is profiting from all this.  He remains unpopular, but his ratings are on the rise.  The British honor loyalty to principles and steadfastness.  Gerhard Schroeder could learn from this and from Blair's vision of Britain's role:  'I firmly believe that our foreign policy rests on two pillars:  the alliance with the United States and our position in the EU.  There is absolutely no reason to give up one of those, and we will not do so.'"


"Europe's Bridgehead"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg had this to say (11/19):  "For many disappointed British the Iraq war showed the reality of the special relationship with the United States.  Tony Blair is allowed to bark but George W. Bush keeps the leash in his hand.  That is why George W. Bush's state visit has not evoked much enthusiasm....  Thus far, his self-elected role as mediator between Europe and the United States has not done anything good for Tony Blair either in foreign or domestic policy....  But he does not question the special relationship with Washington and this is good.  It is also in the interest of the European partners because there is no alternative to the attempt to improve understanding across the Atlantic.  The debris in the wake of German-American relations following the Iraq war makes clear the limits of a policy of confrontation.  Europe must be interested in the British leader continuing to build the transatlantic bridge.  No other country is better suited than Britain."


ITALY:  "Bush:  It Is A Duty To Fight For Freedom"


Marco Niada commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (11/20):  "Those who were expecting a conciliatory president ready to compromise on the Iraqi issue yesterday were disappointed.  With a militant speech directed to the faithful British ally, George Bush yesterday made it clear that there is no turning back, that we live in a world in which terrorism is a bitter reality and that democracies must be ready to fight to defend the principles of tolerance, freedom and free trade....  George W. Bush's was an imperial speech that almost ignored Europe had he not teased it in passing, and he praised the British ally and his friend Blair....  Blair yesterday reciprocated.  Now everyone expects concrete concessions toward his friend of difficult times--on the British prisoners at Guantanamo, on steel tariffs, on contracts for British companies in Iraq.  It was a speech for friends only, that did not offer anything to those who opposed it, other than tolerance towards those who dissent."


"In Iraq A Just War To Bring Democracy"


Alberto Flores D'Arcais opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/20):  "In the war against terrorism democracy has an irresistible power:  'the appeal of freedom.'  This is where Bush began his speech yesterday....  He was not at all disturbed by the protests that forced him to 'hide' in the official palaces....  The U.S. president used his rough but effective style and that political philosophy made up of simple and clear certainties that are almost banal.  These certainties make him the most hated U.S. President by his adversaries (abroad and domestically) but also the most loved by his (many) supporters--certainties that Europe is somewhat cowardly, the UN is somewhat useless, certainties on the U.S.' imperial role and of his own personal mission:  to defeat terrorism, to save America and to impose democratic values in Muslim countries."


"Pacifist Britain Protests Against Bush"


Chiara Puri Purini commented in Rome center-left daily Il Messaggero (11/19):  "Bush's trip cannot but be interpreted as a sign, a confirmation of that relationship between Washington and London, which was further strengthened by the military intervention in Iraq.  And yet for the advisers of both leaders, this is not the moment to give in to public demonstrations and celebrations--it would be preferable to maintain a low profile.  The international situation is difficult....  But it is difficult to keep risks at a minimum without violating fundamental freedoms.  The people began to protest against Bush even before he arrived."


"Bush Seeks Help For Iraq In London"


Bruno Marolo noted in pro-democratic left party daily L'Unitá (11/18):  "George Bush is preparing a new course in Iraq.  He will arrive in London...amidst the protests of tens of thousands of demonstrators, with the hope that Europe will help tame the Iraqi rebels and to win the election in America.  He would be willing to include European allies in the command of operations in Iraq in order to obtain the troops and the money he needs.  The European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Javier Solana revealed Bush's forced willingness and it has been confirmed through various signals launched by the White House....  The cards on the table have changed.  The United States no longer wants to make Iraq a protectorate for its interests in the Middle East.  It [U.S.] is giving up in light of the elections.  They have abandoned the Israelis and the Palestinians to their destiny; they recognize that they will continue to need the Royal Saudi House for a long time; they have given up their threat to use force against Syria and Iran.  They thought that once Saddam had been ousted the other authoritarian regimes would have fallen like dominoes.  Now they are content to limit the damages, to install in Baghdad a government with a legitimate appearance and to withdraw the greatest number of soldiers.  At least for the moment they have decided to put aside their plans which to them seemed ambitious and which to the rest of the world seemed arrogant."


RUSSIA:  "The Queen And Cowboy"


Olga Dmitriyeva filed from London for official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta  (11/24): "Remarkably, throughout this visit, the most controversial one in British history, as described by the local media, there was no flare up of anti-American sentiment.  Whatever resentment and hatred was given vent to was addressed personally to George Bush and him alone.  Generally, it is hard to expect the British to be anti-American, the two nations bound by history, the language, and direct kinship.   All the more striking their anti-Bushism, a wide-spread antipathy of the U.S. President, a macho man flexing his muscle and shooting on sight.   There is no such thing as Bush diplomacy.  Instead, there is Bush's preemptive strike concept, a method to settle problems in the world.   As Bush talks about improving relations with Europe, nothing of what he says, however sweet, can change anything, so strong is the feeling of rejection the Europeans have for Bush.  It is hard to see what can change their attitude."


"Iraq Tarnishes Visit"


Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta observed (11/19):  "Iraq is a big blotch on the current state visit.  Most British, unhappy about the results of the operation, condemn the very idea....  However colorful the welcoming ceremony, it can't make up for the allies' aborted policy in postwar Iraq.  The Bush visit is a strong reminder of the fiasco, just a few days after Blair barely survived a devastating fall in his popularity ratings.  Stepped-up 'Iraqification,' Washington hopes, will help improve the situation.  But what most worries Bush is how he will look next year.  The growing number of casualties in Iraq may kill the Texan's re-election bid."


"Riding A Bicycle With Mismatched Wheels"


Olga Dmitriyeva filed from London for official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (11/18):  "U.S.-British relations have long been known as a bicycle with wheels one of which is bigger than the other.  The smaller wheel is Britain, of course.  Though it is small, you can't do without it.  The bicycle doesn't have a spare wheel.  The United States has never had one.  As things are going, Bush needs Tony Blair, his only prop under the circumstances.  That is clear.  The acid test is whether Blair and Britain need that kind of friendship and benefit from it....  Even the savviest of British diplomats admit that fixating on the United States at the expense of relations with Europe no longer seems like the right thing to do."


"How Much Will It Hurt Blair?"


Valentina Kulyabina observed in reformist Vremya Novostey (11/18):  "Planned months ago, this state visit was devised as an occasion to celebrate an American-British victory in Iraq.  Instead, Bush has had to politely congratulate the British on living in a free country and being able to protest.  Blair's supporters are trying to figure out the damage the Bush visit may cause to his position at home, as the country is awaiting the results of an inquiry into the death of David Kelly, who stated that eager to start a war in Iraq along with the United States, the British government had misused the information from the Baghdad dossier."


"U.S. Votes For International Control"


Natalia Babasian commented in reformist Izvestiya (11/18):  "Bush is not going to London empty-handed.  The United States, according to the EU's Javier Solana, has acknowledged a need for placing the troops in Iraq under international control.  The Allies' position in Iraq, mildly speaking, is not what it's cracked up to be.  Earlier the international community vainly tried to persuade the Americans to allow a role for the UN in Iraq, whereas now Washington and London will try to talk the rest of the world into 'borrowing some of Iraq.'"


AUSTRIA:  "The Difference"


Foreign affairs writer Hubert Patterer commented in mass-circulation daily Kleine Zeitung (11/22):  “Although the anger of the war opponents about the state of the world and that of the U.S. President was justified, the stunt with the Bush statue on Trafalgar Square was a political travesty.  After all, Saddam Hussein was a mass murderer, who brutally subjugated his people for decades.  Bush is a democratically elected head of state, who may be voted out next year.  Even those whose judgment is clouded by anger should afford themselves the luxury of this distinction."


"Panorama Of Irritations"


Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder wrote in liberal daily Der Standard (11/20):  “The main problem in bilateral relations between the U.S. and Great Britain is obviously post-war Iraq, where things have taken an unplanned turn.  On the highest level, however--between George Bush and Tony Blair, whom the war in Iraq cost his youthful-fresh appearance, and almost his job--the British-American friendship is celebrated for the media....  But this cannot disguise the other issues that cloud the relations between the two countries.  For instance, the British military is still unhappy about the fact that all their concerns were simply disregarded by the war strategists in Washington.  British and American soldiers also have very different ideas about the management of post-war Iraq.  After all, the British occupiers have the experience of a long colonial tradition on their side, and it has to be admitted--even by those who have no sympathies towards imperialist behavior--that the colonial rulers often had a thorough knowledge of the cultures they subjected....  It is not likely that these issues will worry Bush much.  For him, the visit is a good photo opportunity, which he will also be able to use profitably in domestic politics, once his election campaign gets underway.”


"A President Calls"


Brussels correspondent Friederike Leibl wrote in centrist daily Die Presse (11/19):  “No one seems to be particularly happy about the American visit to Britain:  originally planned as a triumphal procession, it now seems to have turned into a game of hide-and-seek in order to avoid the anger of the masses....  Tony Blair, still somewhat disheveled from the war in Iraq and its aftermath, needs successes in domestic politics, not the shallow status that comes with high-level states visits.  The invitation of the British to George W. Bush was issued quite a while ago.  Now, that things have gone a bit differently than planned, it is only fair that the two brothers in arms have to face the music together.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Bush Came A Bit Closer To Europe"


Petr Pravda observed in the mainstream MF Dnes (11/20):  "The speech of President Bush to the Brits, and at the same time to the world, was no fundamental break-through. Bush's vision that the security and peace of the world rest on three pillars--effective international organizations,  use of force in case of necessity, and democracy--will certainly not change the world at once....  But unlike many of his speeches in the months following the terrorist attacks on the U.S., President Bush softened both the tone and emphasis of his speech, making it clear that America, more than ever relies on the outside world.  Because of the war in Iraq, Bush's domestic position is weakening and the elections are fast approaching.  For this reason, and not only because he was on European soil, President Bush spoke much more like a European than anytime before....  Anyone watching Bush's performance had to admit that the President does his job well from time to time.  From a psychological point of view, it was a very good speech, which did not offend  the Brits or the Europeans."


HUNGARY:  "The Invisible Visitor"


Right-wing daily Magyar Nemzet (11/20) editorialized:  “As far as President Bush is concerned it would already be a significant result for him if the British press, which was so hostile about his arrival, leave him alone for the rest of his visit.  As regards Bush’s political goal to discourage the idea of an independent European military force he is right to believe that the London is the ‘road to reach’ Paris and Berlin.  Paris and Berlin enthusiastically support the idea of an independent military.  President Bush, though, forgets about what the most important thing is.  If Blair demonstratively supports Washington’s plans in Europe, Blair happens to shrink Britain’s own scope of maneuvering within the [European] Union.  The American President has to be clear with the fact that in the large part of Europe, split otherwise deeply over the Iraq issue, he has successfully earned the title ‘the most unpopular U.S. president of all times’.”


IRELAND:  "Silent Enemy Wipes Away The Smiles In London"


A comment by Marion McKeone in the centrist Sunday Tribune argued (11/23):  "By White House criteria, the visit was a qualified success, featuring a well-received speech by Bush and a spirited defense of US foreign policy at a joint press conference. But the impact of theses widely televised events was marred by the deadly explosion in Turkey.....True, Bush gained a lot more from the visit than Blair, who received precious little by way of concessions on steel tariffs, environmental concerns and the fate of the British prisoners in Guantanamo  Bay. But the central message that the White House wanted to convey- that the US has enough international support to rebut claims that its unilateralist foreign policy has failed - was compromised by the 27 deaths in Turkey.....which underscored the sense that the US's allies are paying a high price for their support....The warnings of new attacks, the attacks on Istanbul and the loss of US lives in Iraq are leading to an increased sense in the US that the country is under siege and that the war in Iraq is failing to gain any traction in the wider war on terrorism....The Istanbul bombings are a grim reminder that the terrorists are determined to cause maximum political discomfort to the US president and his allies..."


"Threat Posed By Istanbul Atrocities"


An editorial in the center-left Irish Times argued (11/21):  "Mr. Bush's visit to Britain has been framed in high security and deep controversy about the war in Iraq and his foreign policy objectives and methods, as witnessed by yesterday's large demonstration opposing him in London. His speech on Wednesday addressed a number of these criticisms fluently and directly. The values he expressed in favor of multilateral institutions and democratic freedoms in the Middle East, as well as his stout defense of the war against Saddam Hussein, surprised some of his critics. So did his defense of their right to free speech--which he and Mr. Blair insisted is guaranteed only by a willingness to defend it by military means if necessary. Others have welcomed these statements of principle but doubt whether Mr. Bush has the political will or capacity to translate them into action in an election year. Theory and practice are in stark contradiction, they say."


"When Bush Talks Of Democracy, Just Remember Guantanamo Bay"


A comment by Pat Brosnan in the left-of-center Irish Examiner opined (11/21):  "The problem is that for countless millions of people around the world who admire what America has always stood for, it was disconcerting to see Mr. Bush trample over the United Nations in his stubborn drive to invade Iraq...Seeing that this multilateralism was one of three pillars he revealed for world peace, we should not be too sanguine about his commitment to them and, if anything, we should be even more worried about world peace. At least while he's in the White House...What we saw on the streets of London was not a form of paranoid anti-Americanism, but a protest to underline the fundamental injustice of the invasion of Iraq and what flowed from it."


"The Sorry State Visit"


The center-left Irish Times published this by commentary by Eddie Holt (11/17):  "The symbolism of George Bush's visit to Britain will be loud and contentious....  Aiming at voters back in the U.S., Bush will contrive to be seen as a new emperor in an old kingdom.  The gig is meant to show that the putative emperor is not isolated internationally.  It could, however, be an isolating experience for Tony Blair....  You couldn't blame the prime minister if he's less thankful for this imposition.  For Blair, the so-called 'Toxic Texan' may prove to be as toxic as those U.S. hulks tied up in Hartlepool....  Still, anti-war protesters are just a part of the looming problem.  Their presence will be explained as proof of the vibrancy in Britain."


NORWAY:  "Hard Bush Puts Blair In A Hole"


In the newspaper of record Aftenposten (11/20) Foreign Policy editor Nils Morten Udgaard commented: “President Bush doesn’t yield on any issue in Iraq after the attacks, demands Muslim democracy everywhere and seeks support--but not a joint NATO-discussion about the road ahead. The U.S. was not like this in 1945… The speech from a President, who has a bust of Winston Churchill in his office, was as one could expect rich in historic reflection… But the history from the time after the War, when the U.S. built up its alliances, was barley mentioned. At time the U.S. asked the Europeans to suggest solutions, and they participated in shaping both the Marshall plan of 1948-49 for the economy, as well as NATO in 1949 for defense. Nobody doubted that the U.S. would have the final word, but the Americans sought solutions in cooperation with others… The absence of a similar attitude these days among the Americans is striking."


POLAND:  "It’s Not Bush"


Marcin Bosacki opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (11/21): “On Thursday night, a few hours after the attacks on the British targets in Istanbul, one hundred thousand people took to the streets to protest - no, not against terror, but against the policy of the U.S. President. Many shouted that Bush is a threat to peace, that his attack on Iraq provoked the acts of terror. I strongly disagree. It’s an open question whether the war with Saddam was reasonable, or whether it brought more good or evil. But when during a demonstration against the U.S. on such a day no one loudly opposes Al Qaida, not only the foundations of common sense but also decency are shaken…. One could debate how to fight with bin Laden, or whether Bush is doing it properly. Above all, however, we must understand that not Bush (as they shouted in London) or Israel (as Europeans responded in the well-known poll), but fanatical terrorism is a threat today."


"Without Fanfares"


Zygmunt Slomkowski opined in leftist Trybuna (11/19):  “When President Bush’s trip to Great Britain was at the planning stage, it was supposed to be a demonstration of unity and victory for the two leaders who decided about the war in Iraq.  Now that the visit is actually happening, Bush and Blair have to excuse themselves and convince others that their decision was correct....  Thus President Bush’s stay in London is not a moment of triumph.  It rather calls to mind an examination of conscience, which has to help get out of the Iraqi labyrinth and save the political skin of both leaders.”


ROMANIA:  "Bush In Great Britain"


Foreign policy analyst Roxana Frosin opined in the financial oriented daily Curentul (11/18/):  “Planned months ago as a moment of celebration of the British-American alliance, and as an image success with Queen Elisabeth, the official visit to London, even though the first for this American president, has all the odds of turning against George W. Bush.  A never seen before security operation...can stop possible terrorist attacks against the American leader, but it cannot stop the approximately 100,000 anti-war demonstrators....  No matter what the decisions and courtesy of British officials, the Kingdom’s population has the same opinions as the strong anti-American or, to be more accurate, the anti-Bush ones, expressed in France or Germany."


SWEDEN:  "An Unwelcome American Friend"


Social Democratic Stockholm-based tabloid Aftonbladet editorialized (11/18):  "President Bush was invited to Great Britain one and a half years ago, about the time he and Prime Minister Tony Blair planned the war against Iraq.  The short historic aftermath has shown that their arguments for launching the war were false.  The WMD were non-existent and the Iraq/al-Qaida connection was fabricated.  The fast victory has been transformed into a chaotic occupation with constant deadly attacks.  The Iraqi authority, installed by the U.S., does not work.  The rebuilding, a multibillion business for companies with close ties to the President, is so corrupt that American authorities have been forced to intervene.  The American proconsul was forced to return home.  The war on terrorism has resulted in more terrorists....  George Bush can bring home pictures showing him standing next to Queen Elizabeth.  They are arguments in the upcoming presidential election campaign.  But to Prime Minister Tony Blair the result of the visit will be more meager.  He promised that the special UK-U.S. friendship would induce President Bush to cooperate with the UN, engage in the Mideast peace process, and possibly also be more positively inclined to the Kyoto Protocol or the ICC.  President Bush's visit to the UK reminds the British that nothing of this has materialized.  A majority of them say, also in surveys in reactionary dailies like the Sunday Times, that Tony Blair's friendship with George Bush has only been a negative for the UK."




ISRAEL:  "True Peace"


Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (11/21): "There was nothing new in President Bush's speech [on November 19 in London].  He made similar remarks on different occasions.  The innovation this time was the firm style the president used towards Israel.  He stated that by building the fence it fails peace, and that by its actions in the territories it humiliates the Palestinians.... Parallel to his firm speech in London, the U.S. UN Security Council representative voted in favor of the decision adopting the 'road map' as is, while ignoring Israel's reservations.... The firm words the president said in London towards Israel, even if they were said only to appease with his host, Prime Minister Tony Blair, might harden Abu Ala's stance and hurt the renewing of talks even before they have begun."


EGYPT:  "The Hated Visit"


Pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama argued (11/22): "The antagonistic demonstrations which greeted President Bush in London and the polls that showed the British people's discontent with the unilateral American policies that led to the Iraq war did not prevent the visit.... President Bush made the visit, although it was fraught with danger, because he realized he was running his presidential elections in London.... What mostly angered the British, is that Blair...did not obtain anything in return for his allegiance and subordination to Bush.... the worst thing is that Bush ended his visit to London without succeeding in changing the negative view of the Europeans and the British, in particular.  He feels that as long as he believes in God and goes to church, he will win. However, the problem is he fails to have knowledge of history, economy and all else."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Meaning Of The British Anti-Bush Demonstrations"


Jeddah's conservative Al-Medina editorialized (11/24):  "Perhaps the pressures of the Jewish lobby inside the U.S. Congress and the White House...made it difficult for President Bush to reconsider his decision to occupy Iraq.  [But] the large anti-Bush demonstrations in Britain and the general frustration among Europeans over U.S. policy should make him review his policies and positions."


"Bush's Visit To Britain"


Jeddah's English language daily Arab News said (11/23):  "In Britain, Bush might have repaid his faithful ally Blair by using his London trip to announce categorically that the US will abandon its steel tariffs, now declared illegal by the World Trade Organization.  Or he could have made a definitive move on Palestine, rather than producing another vague criticism of the wall the Israelis are building...  What the Bush White House wanted was a glittering event at the start of the president's yearlong campaign for re-election...  While Bush has thus undoubtedly gained, it would appear that Blair got little out of the visit except a huge security bill and the chance to be seen once more as the U.S.' most loyal ally.  It must be hoped that now he is safely back home, the President at least remembers to send a postcard saying thank you."




CHINA:  "An Embarrassing Visit"


Hai Lin commented in the official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (11/20):  "Britons' protests against Bush's visit prove that the U.S. and UK governments' behavior in starting the Iraq war and unwillingness to withdraw have failed to gain people's support.  Currently the leaders of the U.S. and Britain are living a difficult life, being badly battered in electoral politics and by the Iraq issue."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Brothers In Arms"


Foreign editor Peter Kammerer wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (11/18):  "When Mr. Bush arrives in London today for what is billed as the biggest and most important foreign trip of his presidency, the promised drink in a pub in Mr. Blair's northeastern England parliamentary constituency of Sedgefield will be farthest from his mind.  Iraq, and its ramifications, will be foremost....  Inquiries are underway in the U.S. and Britain into whether the urgency for war was justified.  With Mr. Bush facing re-election next year and Mr. Blair possibly calling early elections, the fact that both men are slipping in opinion polls is problematic."


INDONESIA:  "Sensation Of Demonstration Removes The Substance Of Bush’s Visit To UK"


Leading independent daily Kompas commented (11/19):  “The substance of President Bush’s three-day visit has been taken over by the sensation of overwhelming security and the threat of massive protests.  Long before the U.S. presidential airplane [landed] in London...the ballyhoo of protests had spread....  However, in contrast to all assumption and theory, a poll showed 43 percent of British respondents welcome the visit, while only 36 percent reject the visit; a result that could make Bush smile....  Yet, mass gathering in all Europe to protest Bush is very intense.  The unwelcome response from Britons and demonstrators from Europe indicate that Bush is unpopular among European communities.  Some even believe Bush’s visit to Britain will damage Blair’s image.  Bush’s visit revives the anger of many European communities, if not all, for the attack on Iraq.  British Prime Minister Tony Blair definitely will not gain political benefits from Bush’s visit.”


MALAYSIA:  "Hoots For George And Tony Show"


Government-influenced English language New Straits Times ran the following editorial (11/21):  "Throughout "Fortress London", thousands of protesters are demonstrating. The roar of hostility is loud, reverberating across Europe. Anti-war protesters are telling him, in no uncertain terms, that he has committed an incalculable error, that he has misled the world on Iraq.  For Bush, it must be exasperating that so many doubt the goodness of his heart.  The fact that he is in Britain to 'puncture misconceptions' on that side of the Atlantic about the American-led Iraq invasion, suggests that his position on the war has not changed, despite the rising toll of casualties among American soldiers and growing opposition at home.  Of course, Blair is robustly defending the American President. On Tuesday, Blair declared in the House of Commons that 'it really is about time we started to realize who our allies are, who our enemies are, stick with the one and fight the other.'  This is a message for the Americans, especially. For they must now know that the goodwill they have enjoyed since Sept 11 has dissipated.  In its place, a visceral anger and distaste for all things American has come to the fore. Which is sad really, because we do need to live peaceably alongside each other on this small planet.  While the rest of the world may see this, a recent survey conducted by US politicians and educators reveals the opposite about Americans. The survey underscores the ignorance that many Americans have about the outside world.  The pervasive lack of knowledge may explain why Americans were unable to grasp the meaning of world events since Sept 11. It also explains why Bush presses on, sending US troops into a country where young Americans and innocent Iraqis are killed by the dozens every week--to cleanse the world of evil."


PHILIPPINES:  "Bush's Double Talk In Britain"


Former IV grantee Randy David wrote in his column in the widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer (11/23):  "Before Europe's critical leaders start hailing an imagined softening of American attitude, they ought to read the subtext of his speech....  In a dig at the tedious UN process of arriving at a firm consensus, Bush stated: 'We understand as well that the process of multilateralism is not measured by adherence to forms alone--the tidiness of the process--but by the results we achieve to keep our nations secure.'  This is not a chastened Bush reciting a redemptive ode to multilateralism; this is the same Bush who harbors a deep contempt for any collective process America cannot dominate. This is a man who loves to talk about peace but sees its attainment only as an outcome of the use of force.  'The second pillar of peace and security in our world is the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to restrain aggression and evil by force.' This may as well be the sole pillar on which U.S. domination of the world today rests.... Clearly, he is unable to see that in many parts of the world today, America is perceived not as liberator but as the source of oppression and violence, and the target of moral wars of liberation.  Finally, Bush pays homage to 'the global expansion of democracy and the hope and progress it brings' - the 'third pillar' of American security. On this value, he predicates the war against tyranny and Dictatorship. He sees only the tyrants of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine....  But Bush makes no reference to the Saudi autocrats. It could be a vague reference to the opportunistic relationships that both Britain and America had with Saddam Hussein in the past. More clearly, he used this line to whip Arafat and his associates, the unnamed 'Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, who tolerate and profit from corruption and maintain their ties to terrorist groups.' Bush dislikes Arafat intensely not because he is a tyrant but because this crafty Palestinian is not a malleable American boy.  Bush's speech was interrupted by applause many times. He was preaching to the converted. Out in the streets of London, where thousands had gathered to protest his visit, no one believed a word of what he was saying."




INDIA:  "Blaring Out"


An editorial the centrist Telegraph opined (11/21):  "Two countries separated by a common language have apparently been brought together by the affinity of their leaders.  There is no denying that the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, speak the same language.  This has taken what is known as the special relationship to a new level....  The high-water mark of the relationship was the joint Anglo-American offensive against Iraq.  Blair can justly claim that he has been through fire for Bush.  The latter's visit to Britain showed the level of hostility that exists against the Iraq war and against the policies of Messrs. Bush and Blair.  The ceremony and the pageantry surrounding Bush's visit was typical of the British love of pomp and circumstance.  But it could deflect attention from the intensity of popular anger against Bush which forced the cancellation of the ceremonial cavalcade.  This protest cannot be written off as a piece of exhibitionism on the part of Britain's loony fringe ... There was more than a hint of self-righteousness in what Bush had to say. But this is only to be expected since he has been forced on the defensive for an act which he carried out to eradicate one of the greatest threats to modern civilization.  The protests only showed that the freedom Bush wants to defend is something that people still cherish and value."


"When In London, Mind The Gap"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (11/18):  "One can be pretty certain that George W. Bush won't get any petal-reception when he arrives in London this week.  Instead, he may have to wade through obstructing bodies of protesters.  While Bush style, announced that he is ready for such a welcoming committee...both White House and Whitehall have sotto voce described the visit as a 'trip from hell'.  Host Tony Blair sees matters differently....  Britain and the U.S. are, after all, the firmest of buddies.  This camaraderie became even stronger when the issue of waging war against Iraq cost the U.S. the friendship of traditional allies such as Germany.  But then, with his cups of coffee Blair should remember to tell himself every day:  L'Etat ce n'est pas moi.  The list of non-Downing Street British complaints against Mistah Bush is long, from the Kyoto agreement to Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.  Britons are now even peeved at American steel tariffs.  A jaunt to Britain has always boosted the image of a U.S. president."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Unwelcome Visitor"


The liberal Witness commented (11/19):  "How ironic.  In a world full of dictators and terrorists, it's the leader of the one remaining superpower, and the loudest advocate for world peace, who needs most protection--and in a country which he believes to be his greatest ally, too....  Perhaps this heated--but not warm--reception will have the effect of increasing the influence of those in the U.S. pushing for a so-called 'exit deal', seen as the only way in which America can redeem itself and begin to change its current image as a loathed and resented global bully."


"Bush:  No Shower Of English Roses"


Barney Mthombothi commented in the liberal Star (11/19):  "Bush's trip could possibly have been a victory parade had he had the humility to listen to the many voices of reason.  Instead he made serious missteps on his way to Iraq.  The first was to interpret the international goodwill and heartfelt sympathy after September 11, 2001 as a blank cheque, a reason to flaunt American power and flout international conventions with gay abandon....  The second mistake Bush made try and link the Iraqi leader with international terrorism....  No such link existed....  His third mistake was perhaps the most audacious.  He told a barefaced lie....  Intelligence was doctored on either side of the Atlantic to prove Saddam presented an imminent danger....  This has destroyed the trust and confidence that people have on leadership.  Truth has been the biggest casualty.  Bush needs to do what he is temperamentally probably not cut out to do: humble himself and admit he has made serious mistakes that have caused enormous suffering.  Having done so, he would then have to go back to the UN, where he would be surprised by the genuine willingness of other nations to solve the problem.  What they would ask of him is sincerity."




ARGENTINA:  "Bush Justified War In Order To Achieve Peace"


Gabriela Litre, London-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (11/23):  "Amid the clamor of thousands of pacifist demonstrators and the fear for possible terrorist attacks in this city, US President George W. Bush again fervently defended the offensive against Iraq and his pre-emptive war doctrine by justifying the use of 'violent repression' against 'violent men'... With certain irony, Bush warned that the UN's credibility and viability depend on his willingness to keep his word and act... The head of the White House assured his country will not withdraw from Iraq in spite of the criticism of his handling of the postwar... In addition to making a strong defense of the US-UK alliance, Bush attempted to prepare the world for possible new military interventions in the future...."


BRAZIL:  "The English Message"


An editorial in center-right O Globo (11/23) asserts:  "In no other place in the world do demonstrations against the U.S. seem more misplaced than in England.  And it doesn't make much difference if the gigantic protests in Trafalgar Square had President Bush as a specific target.  The fact is that millions of English people went to the streets moved by hostile sentiments against the President of England's greatest friend....  What explains Bush's lack of popularity amongst the English?  Obviously there's the Iraq war issue that mobilizes pacifist groups all over the world.  There's also the intent to hit Prime Minister Tony Blair, to whom many don't forgive for having lead the country to a mostly, unjustified military adventure.  But apparently that's not all.  Curiously many English people accuse Bush of betraying the English democratic ideal.  With the treatment given to war prisoners in Guantanamo and other demonstrations of disrespect to principles of co-existence, Bush would be destroying the U.S. image such as the pattern of a democratic society.  An average American who lives in England for 25 years tried to explain the English feeling of frustration.  In a letter to the "New York Times," published on Nov. 19th, he said: 'Those demonstrators are not anti-American.... They, who see us as an example and are perplexed with this government that despises Kyoto, the U.N. and international courts.'  In other words, the English took advantage of Bush's visit to tell him in three days what the rest of the world has been trying to tell Americans for the last three years."


"The Seductions Of Terror"


A column by journalist Alberto Dines in center-left Jornal do Brasil argued (11/22):  "How to ideologically classify the 150,000 English gathered in London to protest against Bush's visit?  They could be leftists, rightist, Trotskyist, Bolsheviks, or authentic workers, nationalists or sincere internationalists, religious fanatics or agnostic, radical environmentalists or convict vegetarians....  To be against Bush and Blair is not necessarily to be Bin Laden's or Saddam Hussein's accomplice....  To fight the unilateralism of neo-conservative Americans, it's necessary to strengthen the United Nations and all international organizations, rather than to justifying the barbarian attack that put an end to the U.N. in Iraq and took the life of a statesman of Sergio Vieira de Mello.  This compliance with cruelty is insidiously infiltrated in our way of thinking and acting.  We are little by little becoming immunized to accept the different violence that is established in the body and soul of the cordial, infamous society."


"Iraq In Question"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (11/20):  "United States President George W. Bush reiterated during his speech in Great Britain the guidelines of the U.S. government's policy for Iraq and, as expected, reassured that Americans will not retreat... It is well-known that the invasion, labeled as a chapter in the war against terror, had massive support of the American people...but, as time went by, the intervention generated criticism and suspicion in the United States itself...Americans are reluctant to admit that going to war may be a mistake... According to a Gallup poll, the Iraq experience may produce an unprecedented disappointment... In April, 80% of Americans supported what the USG was doing in Iraq; last week, there was only 42% of support."


"Going the Wrong Way"


Right-of-center O Globo editorialized (11/19):  "Even in England--the unconditional ally of the U.S. in war and in peace--President Bush is harvesting the fruits of dissatisfaction he has been spreading with his hegemonic unilateralism since the beginning of his mandate....  U.S. leftist intellectual Michael Hardt...says anti-Americanism in its most recent incarnation is a protest against the model of global control based on force and domination, adopted by Bush.  Apart from the ideological bias, recent facts seem to validate Hardt's analysis.  It's what was seen in Iraq when the White House scorned the prevailing sentiment all over the world and pursued its almost solitary plan (were it not for England) to militarily interfere to overthrow Saddam Hussein, with the excuse of combating international terror."


MEXICO:  "Chestnuts from the Fire"


The business-oriented El Financiero editorialized (11/19): "The protests during the state visit of President Bush to Great Britain only show the rejection of the unilateral decision by the White House and some of its allies to invade Iraq last March.  This also demonstrates how urgent it is to reform the international political and legal system, which was violated by the decision that now seems illegal and that has forced the Bush administration to seek approval from the United Nations to legitimize its military presence in Baghdad.  In other words, it is an effort so that the United Nations can rescue the U.S. chestnuts from the fire, now that security in the former territory of Mesopotamia has become worse, with increasing rejection of the occupation by Washington."


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