International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 29, 2003

April 29, 2003





**  Writers see a 'bitter, triumphant' U.S. 'making an example' of France, trying to prevent emergence of 'independent Europe.'


**   France wants to counter U.S. superpower, but the 'coalition of the unwilling' is crumbling.


**  U.S.-France rift should not be allowed to delay Iraq reconstruction or injure NATO.        




'Vindictive' U.S. wants France 'to pay' for opposing Iraq war--  Dailies worldwide said "an urge for retaliation" and the "intoxication" of victory were behind Secretary of State Powell's statement that France would "suffer the consequences" of its opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.  France's Catholic La Croix described Powell's statement as "proof of the depth of bitterness" felt in the U.S., despite Chirac's call for "pragmatism, which is a way of saying let's look forward, not back."  Editorialists said the U.S. was seeking "to make an example" of France and "show the world what happens" when a country opposes U.S. "might and power."   


Liberal papers claim U.S. 'bluster' is meant to divide Europe--  Finding U.S. rhetoric "extremely unpleasant," liberal papers in Europe termed the U.S.-France conflict "an apt example of how far transatlantic relations can deteriorate" if a European country ignores "the new realities of power."  Other outlets stated the "attack on France is an attack on the concept of the European Union as a power."  Austria's independent political weekly Profil proclaimed the Americans know "exactly why they are attacking" France:  "They want to hit Europe in general."


Chirac now 'faces the music' as the 'coalition of the unwilling' begins to unravel--  While a Saudi daily said France's anti-war stance reflected "principles over national interests," others saw Chirac's diplomacy as stemming from France's desire to build an "independent" European counterweight to the U.S.  France's La Tribune called Chirac's policy of "systematically opposing" the U.S. "a fatal principle with ineffective results."  German papers saw "a creeping withdrawal" by Germany from "the previously highly praised alliance with Paris and Moscow."  Russian dailies held that France had "left Russia holding the bag" after Paris, "oblivious to the Franco-Russo-German alliance," made "attempts at reconciliation" with Washington.


Importance of alliance will likely outweigh U.S. 'euphoria' and French 'opportunism'--  Writers argued that the current U.S.-France dust-up "must not be allowed to impede" the reconstruction of Iraq.   Many Europeans, saying further strain in transatlantic relations "serves nobody's interests," called for an end to U.S. "rhetorical muscle-flexing."  A German daily judged that it will be "difficult" for anti-war Europeans "to start talking to the U.S. again" if the "official tone" of Washington doesn't moderate.  The Netherlands' influential NRC Handelsblad expressed the conviction that "the notion that both countries are allies...should eventually prevail over the narrow-mindedness of revenge." 

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 58 reports from 25 countries, April 24-29, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.





BRITAIN:  "Punishing Paris"


The independent, pro-business Financial Times observed (4/24): "Mr. Powell and his officials have their own reason to feel bitter at France.  Having persuaded the unilateralist hawks in the Bush administration to give multilateral diplomacy a try, they felt undermined by French blocking tactics in the UNSC.  So Mr. Powell now seems quite ready to take a harder line towards Paris, including perhaps sidelining it in NATO by conducting business through the alliance's defence planning committee on which France does not sit.  But the State Department itself feels sidelined, by the failure of its pre-war diplomacy over Iraq and by the post-war momentum that the Pentagon now has in directing Iraq's reconstruction.  Mr. Gingrich specifically jibbed at it for allowing the UN, the EU and Russia to become involved in producing the 'road map' for an Israel-Palestine peace....  Mr. Gingrich misses the point, though, that Mr. Powell and his department are not freelancing, but carrying out policies on Iraq, the Middle East and elsewhere that have Mr Bush's endorsement.  Mr Powell, for his part, might note that those policies should accommodate, not punish, dissent from allies.  Democracy in the U.S., above all, is built on toleration of dissent."


FRANCE:  "Europe’s Defense"


Jean-Christophe Ploquin judged in Catholic La Croix (4/29):  “In France, those who support the idea of Europe’s construction are rudderless.  The Iraqi crisis has injected a massive dose of confusion in the minds of those who have campaigned for a political Europe that would stand apart from the U.S....  Yesterday, Tony Blair was exceedingly clear: Europe must be built with the U.S., not against it....  France must adapt its European policy to the reality revealed by the Iraqi crisis.  Thierry de Montbrial of IFRI suggests that in the short term France must keep a low profile in order to safeguard a long-term project.  It is paradoxical to note that Europe’s defense may in fact develop in the years to come with the U.S., not against it. In this regard, Chirac’s attitude at the mini European summit is sure to be carefully scrutinized.”


"Rumsfeld And Powell At Each Other’s Throats"


Jan-Jacques Mevel wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/25):  “In Washington, the center of gravity has shifted: Secretary Rumsfeld, strengthened by two military victories in two years, is taking over the management of the peace from Secretary Powell, whose position was weakened by his diplomatic defeat at the UN....  The administration’s hardliners appear to be putting as much energy in leaving Colin Powell on the sidelines as in disqualifying France....  Now that the war in Iraq is over, President Bush’s choices are political choices: he can follow Secretary Powell’s way, based on alliances and burden sharing, or he can adopt Secretary Rumsfeld’s method: a worldwide supremacy of the U.S. without compromise or allies.”




Bruno Frappat wrote in Catholic La Croix (4/24):  “Will resentment be the axis for French-American relations?  For weeks it was known that the ‘hawks’ wanted to make France pay.… What is new is seeing Secretary Powell, known to be a ‘dove,’ added his voice to the rest.… Just when President Chirac is speaking of ‘pragmatism,’ which is a way of saying let’s look forward not back, Secretary Powell’s threat is proof of the depth of bitterness felt by the U.S.  This is the price France will pay for its stance on the war....  The new episode over the lifting of sanctions is a continuation of Chirac’s fight for international law.  President Bush’s America has an axe to grind against France.”


"On The Razor’s Edge"


Philippe Mudry commented in centrist La Tribune (4/24):  “Franco-American relations have entered a zone of turbulence.  Soon France will know whether its policy of systematically opposing the U.S., a fatal principle with ineffective results, will be the target of retaliation.  In spite of Secretary Powell’s remarks, one can safely say that Washington has not decided yet.  France’s gesture towards Washington regarding the sanctions does not fully give the U.S. a free rein; it is nevertheless a sign of appeasement.  But many more will be needed for a minimum of trust to return.  The European summit of April 29 is...laden with threats for transatlantic relations.  One can only hope that it will not result in an unfriendly message, including on NATO issues.”


GERMANY:  "Hooray, They Are Again Talking To Each Other"


Wolfgang Muenchau had this to say in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (4/29):  “Politics is the continuation of war with other means.  This is how we should interpret the fact that the Americans want to talk with Germany again and that Secretary of State Powell will soon come to Berlin....  At the same time, we hear from Powell, but also from Britain’s Foreign Secretary Straw, that their future relations with France have fundamentally changed because of the Iraq war, a euphemism that both sides are planning to be unforgiving towards the French.  In the future, Paris is to be pushed as far as possible out of the decision-making process in NATO.  The future of transatlantic relations can then be built on the axis between Washington and London, and Germany is invited to join them.  The fact that Chancellor Schroeder and his Foreign Minister Fischer lack not only a strategy but also scruples, allows the conclusion that they will accept Washington’s cuddling course and will reject the previously highly praised alliance with Paris and Moscow....  Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had been accused of dividing Europe into an old and a new part.  After he succeeded in doing so, Secretary Powell is now about to divide the old Europe even more.”


"Lessons In Realpolitik"


Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/28):  “After America won the war, it is now turning to its former and current friends with a simple question:  What is the state of our partnership?… It is not surprising that France is in the center of U.S. dissatisfaction....  But Washington held it against Chirac in particular that he turned to an active alliance policy against Washington.  Those who are of different opinions in an alliance must resolve the problem in the alliance instead of working for new alliances.  This is an ice-cold logic but it is justified.  The German government, too, must raise the question whether it will be able to maintain the pact with the United States if it wants to pursue a different policy....  Germany has not yet made clear what goals it is pursuing in this game for new alliances.  Does it want a Europe that is independent of the United States or does it want to stick to the Alliance with the United States?  The signals...indicate a creeping withdrawal from the French division policy....  Those who leave the alliance with the United States are damaging themselves.  Germany would have to lose more if it gave up this alliance.  With respect to security policy, the economy, and policy--the governments in Berlin and Paris are now taught a tough realpolitik lesson about power and its limits.  But it is also true that a friendship, for instance with the Untied States, is unable to grow under such pressure.”


"Speaking Loudly"


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine commented (4/25):  "First Syria, North Korea and France, and now Iran--Washington has issued a warning to a different country almost every day since the end of the war in Iraq.  'Consequences' are threatened, 'sanctions reviewed' or even 'military options not excluded.'  The U.S. Secretary of State apparently likes the diplomacy of public loudspeaker announcements.  But one could also have used the usual discrete diplomatic channels....  But important people in Washington seem to believe that rhetorical muscle-flexing is part of the role of a (victorious) world power.  This is not very clever.  No government, and this applies also to Islamic countries, wants to appear to its people to be simply carrying out American orders.  It will be difficult for Europeans who were against the war to start talking with the U.S. again if they have the impression that the U.S. always has its finger on the trigger.  The foreign policy issues that Bush raises are the correct ones, but the official tone of his government makes understanding more difficult."


"America Triumphs"


Washington correspondent Malte Lehming argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/26):  “The brave trio against the war--France, Russia, and Germany--is now faced with a pile of debris.  The war was not prevented.  The walls of the institutions that were used to exert influence are crumbling.  Irrespective of whether it is the UN, NATO, or the EU: they were all weakened....  The trio is being split in a smug way into the greedy, the sly, and the stupid.  The greedy ones are the Russians who had business relations with the Iraqi regime.  The sly ones are the French who wanted to get their own back on the United States, and the stupid ones are the Germans who were driven only by their naive longing for peace.  A commentator of the Washington Post wrote:  ‘Let us forgive Russia, punish France, and ignore Germany.'  He wrote what the U.S. administration thinks.  What can Europe do to regain stature?  Little.  The insight is painful:  If it opposes the United States, it will lose the conflict.  If it clings to the U.S. cloak, it will lose dignity.  The golden solution is probably situated somewhere in the middle, between French arrogance and British eagerness.  But thus far, nobody has found it.”


"Holding A People Hostage"


Stefan Ulrich commented in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/23):  "True to the saying that 'the winner takes all,' the U.S. wants only the members of its coalition to have a say and make a profit in Iraq.  It seems the other countries on the Council have only one way to makes themselves heard--through sanctions.  The coercive measures against Saddam could, some strategists on the UNSC believe, now be used against the Americans, since Washington needs UN sanctions to be lifted if it wants freedom to act in Iraq.  But that requires a UNSC resolution, and the veto powers, first and foremost France and Russia, could prevent a resolution as long as the U.S. wants to keep the fruits of military victory to itself.  While the purpose of such a threat not to lift sanctions is legitimate...the means is not, since sanctions are hurting the Iraqi people and it would be wrong to take them hostage in order to punish the Bush administration; doing so would simply underscore the propaganda of the enemies of the UN in Washington, who see the organization as a barrier to progress....  Thus the UN and its members must continue their dispute with the U.S. global power in other areas, namely by denying the attack on Iraq any legitimacy and leaving the Americans to pay the costs of reconstruction and the occupation as long as they insist on pursuing a course that is both unilateral and wrong."


ITALY:  "Powell: 'France Will Have To Pay For Its Politics'"


Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/24):  "It is not a declaration of war but it is one of the most serious threats ever issued by the U.S. against one of its allies: France 'will pay the consequences' of its 'no' to the war in Iraq.  Secretary Powell, the administration's 'dove,' issued the threat during an interview....  The dove showed his claws after a meeting with White House 'hawks'....  According to an anonymous U.S. Administration official, the measures proposed include France's exclusion from some of the NATO meetings....  It is clear that President Bush has not forgiven President Chirac yet, not withstanding his telephone call last week.  But it is not clear whether Bush simply wants to penalize the ally, or simply wants it to line up on U.S. positions at the UN, where new resolutions on Iraq will be presented.  The White House and State Department spokesmen's recent statements have given strength to the second interpretation with mostly conciliatory remarks."


RUSSIA:  "Paris Capitulates"


Yelena Shesternina stated on page one of reformist Izvestiya (4/24):  "Paris has extended the olive branch to Washington, oblivious to the Franco-Russo-German alliance, which opposed the war in Iraq.  Russia has seen for itself yet again that in the contemporary world, there are no constant allies--there are only constant interests."


"Russia Left Holding the Bag"


Dmitriy Suslov noted in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/24):  "The French proposition...shows how tenuous the 'coalition of the unwilling' is.  The French...have virtually left Russia holding the bag, as it insists that the sanctions be in place until the UN arms inspectors accomplish their mission."


"Moscow Too Pedantic"


Andrey Zlobin and Pyotr Rozvarin wrote in reformist Vremya MN (4/24):  "Russia called for lifting the sanctions long before the war started.  That makes its current stand look too pedantic.  The U.S. logic is more convincing....  While reacting painfully to Paris's attempts at reconciliation, Washington ignores Moscow's inflexible statements."


AUSTRIA:  "Solidarity With Chirac"


Foreign editor Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof commented in independent political weekly Profil (4/28) :  "The Americans have really had it with the French.  This is more than just a chill in diplomatic relations.  No, Washington has actually broken off relations with Western ally France.  Jacques Chirac and his secretary of state, Dominique de Villepin, were at the forefront of the anti-war camp in the UN.  And George W. Bush and his men are never, ever going to forgive them for that....  Of course: France, a moderately important Central European power, is in totally different league from the U.S., the world’s sole superpower.  But it seems as if Washington considered Paris a veritable competitor.  The entire world was watching when elegant and eloquent diplomat de Villepin and his vision of a peaceful world civilization governed by international law, outrivaled American Secretary of State Colin Powell and his desperate defense of the crude heave-ho war strategy of the Bush administration, to the applause of the UN Security Council....  The Bushmen know exactly why they are attacking Chirac and the French.  They want to hit Europe in general.  It is all the more surprising that not a single European government is coming to the help of the French.  In the interest of the Europeans, the motto today should be: Solidarity with Chirac!”


"Quarrel In The Sandpit"


Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder contended in liberal daily Der Standard (4/28):  “We’ve all got the message: The Americans are cross with the French because they did not want the war in Iraq.  The French are cross with the Americans because they did not want the war in Iraq, but the Americans went ahead with it anyway.  It is obvious to everybody that this basic conflict also hides a number of shabbier motives, mainly to do with business.  Nations like to present themselves as idealists at least verbally--reality is usually different.  The way in which the Americans and the French, whether politicians or media people, are now hitting each other over the head with their frustrations, is becoming increasingly ridiculous, the longer the conflict lasts.  The patriotic neologism of ‘freedom fries’, Jacques Chirac’s snotty rebuke of the U.S.-friendly new European states, or George Bush’s threat last week that Chirac would not darken the threshold of his ranch in Crawford for a long, long time--all this shows the characteristics of an out-of-control quarrel in a sandpit.  In the interest of international relations, it is high time for politicians to adopt a more constructive style.”


"The Rules Of The Power Game"


Foreign affairs writer Walter Friedl wrote in mass-circulation Kurier (4/24):  “It is a fatal mixture of arrogance and paranoia which the U.S. is revealing at the moment.  Instead of showing some magnanimity in their hour of victory, Bush’s warriors continue to hit hard.  However, the fact that the usually quite prudent Colin Powell is now threatening NATO-partner France with 'consequences' for being a declared opponent of the war in Iraq opens up a new dimension altogether and is simply outrageous.… True, the U.S. has always played in a league of its own in certain respects.  But until the terror attacks of 9/11, it more or less stuck to the rules of the game--now it makes up its own.”


BELGIUM:  "Verhofstadt's Initiative"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn maintained in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/24):  “Verhofstadt’s initiative is completely wrong.  Apparently, he is convinced that the ties with the Americans are irreparable at this moment.  It is true that George Bush is dividing the world with his firm unilateral policy.  But, that does not mean that you have to fuel anti-Americanism.  The fact that countries that are viewed as too pro-American have not been invited (that anti-Americanism) seems to be the only motive for the meeting in Brussels.  The only consequence is that transatlantic relations will be strained even more.  That serves nobody’s interests....  Verhofstadt wants to form a front with the French.  However, except for Belgium--which has virtually become a vassal state thanks to Louis Michel’s policy--no European country is willing to be dominated by Paris.  French foreign policy is too nationalist and perfidious to serve Europe’s interests.  As a minimum, there must be a counterweight--which can only come from the British.  But, the latter are not allowed to participate.  Tony Blair must be ‘punished’ for his support to Bush.  However, without the British a European army is nil.  It is better to do nothing in that case."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Game Over Iraq"


Michal Mocek commented in centrist MF Dnes (4/24):  "The fight over Iraq has not ended with the fall of Baghdad.  A new phase is starting in which bombs will not be enough to win the fight.  The UN will be once again a stage for the fighting, as the U.S. demands an abolition of the UN sanctions against Iraq.  The war has shown that if the U.S. faces resistance, and its opponents use all permitted rules to block the American will, then the U.S. chooses a simple tactic: it will break the rules.  Therefore, France is trying a method, which would preserve for the UN at least some influence over Iraq.  It doesn't propose abolition of the sanctions, but rather their suspension.  This is, however, a risky game: it about whether the rest of the world outside of the U.S. may yet somehow influence the American decision-making in Iraq or not."


"Fight Over Iraqi Oil Started"


Petr Nemec opined in the centrist  Hospodarske Noviny (4/24):  "From the technical point of view therefore nothing stops Iraq from trading oil as before.  However, there are political obstacles. While the U.S. calls for terminating the sanctions against Iraq, the only body that can do that, the UNSC, is hesitating.  Russia and France said they would support lifting the ban only after it has been proved that Iraq has no WMD.  Not that they care about the well-being of Iraqis; the two countries have their own economic interests that would be jeopardized by the elimination of the sanctions.  Iraqi oil could swamp the world market and decrease the price.  The Americans are not motivated purely by compassion either; Iraq is not a poor country and its oil can at least, in part, pay for the reconstruction of the country.  Like all games, this game over Iraqi oil has a side that will lose.  In this case it will be Iraq."


HUNGARY:  "Scavengers"


Columnist Tibor Varkonyi speculated in liberal Magyar Hirlap (4/29):  “The influential lady [Condoleezza Rice] said that France had to be punished, Germany had to be handled with cool indifference, and Putin’s Russia had to be forgiven.  What a coincidence that, according to the documents found, it was the diplomats of these very countries who had given information to Saddam Hussein and his team....  One cannot completely rule out the possibility that the documents rooted out from the trash can had been manufactured by a section of the American secret service, to support Ms. Rice’s plan ready to be implemented....  America has triumphed, and now wants to drain the cup of victory to the bottom.  It is swimming in euphoria, and wants to sweep aside everyone who would not only disturb, but also block this euphoria with postwar power games.  They must not leave even a shadow of a doubt about the exclusivity of America's international influence; and Chirac’s and Blair’s recent attempt at reconciliation, the intent to revive Europe, even if only in the long run, can be considered such a block.”


"Example Of What A Crisis Looks Like"


Senior columnist Hanna Szalay argued in influential Hungarian business/political daily Vilaggazdasag (4/28):  “The leader of the White House affirmed that the U.S.’ opposition to France is official....  Paris is going to be neglected in NATO.  France’s economic and trade interests, in Iraq, for instance, will be ignored too.  The recent conflict between the United States and France is an apt example of how far transatlantic relations can deteriorate if a country in Europe ignores the ‘new reality.’”


"The Situation In The West Develops?"


Conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet  held (4/26):  “If we look at last week's developments between the United States and France, we hardly find common interests (or common values) that bind Paris and Washington together.  Washington, it seems, wants to build much more on the ‘new’ Europe, on countries that supported the U.S. in its war with Iraq.  So these Central-Eastern European countries again have their homework.  They have to figure out how to safeguard their national interests between two poles (the United States and France).”


IRELAND:  "Bush's Threats Against France Are A Terrible Sign Of The Times"


The centrist Sunday Tribune editorialized (4/27):  "There is something extremely unpleasant the about the threats, covert and overt, that American politicians are issuing against France....  We can be certain that if and when Iraq becomes an Islamic state, George W Bush will be as unhappy as he was when Saddam Hussein was in power....  Not so long ago the emissaries of the American president were welcome in the world's trouble spots.  They came, largely, with one agenda.  To help solve the problems.  That was when Bill Clinton was president and his ambassadors were generally speaking respected throughout the world.  George W. Bush has turned the United States into the world's bully.  They bully with guns and bombs.  And they bully with threats.  The treats issued against France will no doubt convince our government that they made the right decision in backing the U.S. war in Iraq.  The fact of the matter is, the very opposite is true."


"The Realities Of Post-War Politics"


Paul Gillespie contended in the center-left Irish Times (4/26):  "There were several signs this week that post-war international politics is adjusting to the military victory of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.  France and then Russia modified their demands that United Nations sanctions against Iraq not be lifted until its arms inspectors are satisfied that weapons of mass destruction have been dealt with....  French officials are astonished at the Bush administration's vindictiveness, which could have serious economic consequences.  Those who hoped for or expected a political confrontation on the subject have had to adjust their sights to these realities of power.  Neither oil nor financial aid to reconstruct Iraq can flow legally until sanctions are lifted, which President Bush called for last week.  The French policy modification allowed some funds to be released; but it leaves outstanding the question of what is to follow."


MALTA:  "Iraq Should Now Be Allowed To Sell Its Oil"


The independent, English-language Malta Independent took this view (4/25):  "Even now that the latest Iraqi war is over, France and Russia are continuing their course of self interest--at the expense of the nation they have all along been playing a charade of pretending selflessly to protect....  France says it is in favor of 'most' sanctions being eased, but slowly, and not including the oil-export embargo.  This is something of a volte face:  before the coalition forces invaded, they were busily lobbying in favor of all sanctions...being removed, regardless of whether nuclear, biological or chemical weapons were hidden there....  The U.S. meanwhile is no longer keen to involve the UN, which was hampered from supporting it, and without whose assistance it launched the invasion.....  Transatlantic ill-feeling and squabbles, especially between France and America, may take some time to repair and overcome, but they must not be allowed to impede the reconstruction of a country whose future and freedom all this fuss has been about."


NETHERLANDS:  "Misstep And Punishment"


Influential independent NRC Handelsblad concluded (4/24):  "American-French relations have been under pressure before.  France has throughout centuries given itself a role of political military and economic superpower and fights American hegemony with a great deal of verve....  The line opted by Jacques Chirac was reckless and more aimed at domestic consumption than at foreign efficiency.  Now he has to pay a price for that.  The French voters who strongly supported him must have noticed that.  The urge for retaliation will continue to exist in Washington.  But the notion that both countries are allies who could need one another should eventually prevail over the narrow-mindedness of revenge."


NORWAY:  "France Being Punished"


Erik Sagflaat commented in the social democratic Dagsavisen (4/25):  “American democracy has been built on freedom of speech and respect for others’ opinions. That was before President George W. Bush came to power.  His world is divided into two parts: enemies or friends, and absolute loyalty is demanded of friends....  The plans to shove France to the side in NATO are more serious....  But it is a decision that demands endorsement also from the remaining member countries.  The need for solidarity in the alliance should forbid an attempt to bully a central European country like France....  NATO must not become a type of world police force in America’s service.  That France, and for the time being also Germany, endures is reassuring.  In today’s situation NATO needs France as a corrective to American dominance.”


"Golden Opportunity"


The independent newspaper VG observed (4/24):  "Hopefully the parties on both sides of the Atlantic have learned something from the political spectacle that led up to the war, so that one avoids a new and agonizing fight about the UN’s role.  The most important thing here is namely not whether an Iraq-brigade stands under the UN’s blue flag or not.  The most important thing is to secure international help in the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.  And here Norway can contribute, even if the Government went against the American led war."


"Global Mission"


Anne Thurmann-Nielsen wrote in independent Dagbladet  (4/24):  "In a world that is either black or white, George W. Bush has found his global mission....  Do we want this man to set the moral standard for all the people on the planet?…  In autumn 2004 Americans choose more than their own President.  They decide also if the world still shall be the mission field for a small group of new-conservative Americans with a fundamentalist Christian belief.  The most frightening thing is that the Bush regime has as a basic tenet that they are right.  They think they have the moral high ground on their side....  Either you are with us, or you are against us, to use the President's own words about America’s friends and enemies in the world.  One of the enemies is France.  And if it had not been because it is a bloody insult to children, I would have called what we are witness to today terribly childish.  The U.S. does not want to play with France any longer."


SPAIN:  "Punishing France"


Left-of-center El Pais wrote (4/27):  "In an unjustified and absurd way, the Bush administration, and even American society, have decided to take reprisals against France because of the position taken by Chirac's government in the war against Iraq.  The U.S. has seen the French challenge as an attempt to create a counter pole.  Let there be no mistake, the attack on France is an attack on the concept of the European Union as a power, as the American dislike of the idea of Europe is growing....  By letting Washington punish France for having defended international legality, and by relegating the UN to a consultative role in the building of a new Iraq, we are all losing."    


"The Mistakes Of Chirac And Villepin"


Conservative ABC editorialized (4/27):  "Chirac and Villepin made two obvious mistakes.  The main one was to show a huge ethical and democratic insincerity with their opposition to the intervention in Iraq....  The Americans saw the French position as opportunistic, seeing in their opposition not so much a rejection of a war against the Saddam regime, but of the surge in power of the hyperpower.  In order to carry out their plans, Chirac and his minister of foreign affairs perpetrated the second political mistake:  opportunistically allying themselves with Putin, reinforcing the Franco-German axis by taking advantage of the fourteenth anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles and ordering the silence of the governments of the emergent states in Europe, on the threshold of joining the [European] Union....  It is the role of Spain and Great Britain to ensure that France does not stagnate and that Bush does not go too far with his 'punishment'."




ALGERIA:  "The End Of The 'Thingamajig'?"


French-language independent L’Expression held (4/28):  Colin Powell has just attacked France, which, he declared: ‘Should bear the consequences,’ of its position on war in Iraq.  The true UN is being revealed; its resolutions have only served the interests of world powers, the Americans since the end of the cold war, the only power....  The same scheme is being reproduced as far as the reconstruction of Iraq is concerned....  The U.S. diktat on the world is more obvious than ever.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Lifting Or Maintaining The Sanctions"


Jeddah’s moderate Al-Madina editorialized (4/24):  "France, Russia and Germany all opposed a war against Iraq without international concessions.  Their decision was based upon their own national interests.  Now America...wants to discipline France in particular; whereas the U.S. position regarding Russia and Germany is less serious, why?...  There are indications that the U.S. is giving President Chirac an ultimatum.  Chirac, and consequently France, has had to retreat up and change their previous clear anti-war stance, or face a similar fate to that of Saddam and his country.  In other words, put France under sanctions.  Of course in the case of France, the situation will not be as bloody as it was in the case of Iraq.  Through economic sanctions and otherwise, the U.S. wishes to put an end to the French president who favored principles over national interests.  America wants to make France an example for all those who might think of challenging Washington.  France is responding with a false UNSC sanctions crisis.  Chirac wants to prolong the decision to lift the sanctions on Iraq, when the U.S. is calling for immediate lifting of sanctions.  It seems that the U.S. would not mind lifting the sanctions on France if the latter did not object to lifting sanctions in Iraq."




AUSTRALIA:  "French Diplomatic Double Dealing"


The conservative Australian editorialized (4/29):  “In the case of the French Government's theatrical denunciations of the U.S. and its allies in the months before the invasion of Iraq, it appears the foundation was less principle than double dealing, as demonstrated by documents discovered in Baghdad....  The extraordinarily quick victory of the U.S., the immense happiness of Iraqis to be free of the thugs who oppressed them for decades and the fact the Americans give every indication of wanting to leave Iraq as soon as possible makes France's opposition to the war less than clever.  But the fact that they have been caught out playing politics while cloaked in the rhetoric of humanitarian principle is unlikely to discomfort the French.  As the response of opponents of the war demonstrated before the shooting started, sophistry with a French accent can be so much more compelling than truth spoken with a Texan drawl.”


CHINA:  "Washington Will 'Settle Accounts' With Asia-Pacific Countries"


Xi Xuelian commented in the official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (4/28):  “Obviously the U.S.’ diplomacy is getting simplified after 9/11 to the ‘not a friend, must be an enemy’ theory advocated by the hawks in Washington.  People are not surprised to see that the U.S. has started to ‘settle accounts’ after the victory of the Iraq war.  Take France, the traditional ally of the U.S., as an example; it is now treated with disdain by Washington.  Governments of Asia-Pacific countries are waiting for the U.S. to ‘award according to contributions’ and ‘be punished based on wrong-doings’.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Big Powers Debate Lifting Sanctions On Iraq"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (4/23):  "Washington maintains that with the removal of the Saddam regime, the situation in Iraq has changed, making sanctions unnecessary.  Washington is looking after its own interests:  As the U.S. takes the lead in Iraq's reconstruction efforts, it stands to gain the most from lifted sanctions....  Bush's proposal puts Russia and France in a very awkward position.  If they echo the U.S. suggestion, they will play into American hands by authorizing the new Iraqi authority, which is propped up by the U.S.  It will only get more difficult for France and Russia to secure decision-making and participation rights in the rebuilding of Iraq.  If, on the other hand, they reject Bush's proposal, France and Russia will be accused of ignoring the plight of the Iraqi people....  In view of this, France and Russia must adopt a two-pronged strategy.  On the one hand, they will support lifting sanctions.  On the other hand, they will stress that lifting them is contingent upon the UN playing the leading role in Iraq's reconstruction, not the U.S....  The big powers are arguing over issues such as 'lifting sanctions' behind closed doors, negotiating their fair share of the reconstruction pie.  Why shouldn't they discuss issues like these with Iraqis at all levels of society and from different political factions, allowing the Iraqis themselves to make the decision?  The Iraqis are the ones who really suffer from sanctions; they should have the right to voice their opinions."


PHILIPPINES:  "Vindictive In Victory"


The widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer expressed this view (4/26):  "The conquest of Iraq has opened a host of other problems.  Foremost of these problems is that the U.S. victory has filled it with hubris and arrogance....  In the aftermath of victory, the United States has also turned with a vengeance on its former transatlantic allies that opposed the invasion in the United Nations Security Council.  The heat of U.S. vindictiveness is focused on France, and one is no longer sure whether the United States hates France more than Saddam's Iraq....  Having won the war, the United States has not displayed the magnanimity of victors.  It is heaping scorn on a long-time ally whose greatest sin was (to) disagree with American foreign policy objectives.  U.S. retaliation has sunk to a pettiness and petulance seldom seen in relations among democratic countries that disagree with one another.   The United States has made it known that when President George W. Bush attends an international economic summit in Evian, France, in the spring he will stay in a hotel across the border in Switzerland....  We can expect that the next phase of America's preemptive war to be an all-out economic and diplomatic campaign against disobedient European allies to impress upon them the new reality of U.S. imperial hegemony over the West."




INDIA:  "Post-Saddam Iraq--Some Implications"


Former secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Ranjit Singh Kalha provided this analysis in pro-economic-reform The Business Standard (4/28):  "There is no doubt that after the 'anger' with France and Iraq subsides, the U.S. will have to make a critical choice and begin repairing the damage to transatlantic relations....  The schism that has opened up will require some painstaking hard work to pat up.  Powell's visit to Turkey is an important first step."


"Unilateral U.S."


The centrist Hindu contended (4/28):  "The American secretary of state, Colin Powell's 'yes' to a question whether France would be 'punished' for opposing the war on Iraq would hardly have surprised or shocked other nations if it had come a century ago when imperialism was still an accepted fact of international life.  But to talk in the 21st century of punishing another sovereign nation, and a permanent member of the Security Council like the U.S. itself, smacks of an unacceptable return to the logic of a bygone era....  The unilateralist American action in promoting its own inspection team strikes another blow at the UN.  The rationale for launching the war, as that for the imposition of sanctions before, was the threat posed by the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq was alleged to have in its possession....  By pursuing actions that raise the suspicion that it may have its own agenda in Iraq, the U.S. is undermining whatever possibilities there exist for a quick end to the sufferings of the people of that country."


"Is France The Next Rogue State"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (4/26):  "Is France on the verge of becoming the fourth member of America's 'axis of evil'?  Or the third, now that Iraq has been delivered from evil?...  Reports suggest that a meeting attended by Vice-President Dick Cheney, among others, even spoke of punishing France.  It is possible that the proposed punishment will relate mainly to denying lucrative contracts in the context of 'rebuilding' Iraq.  But there has also been suggestions that the U.S. will try to keep France out of as many transatlantic meetings as possible and shift NATO's decision-making process from the North Atlantic Council to a committee of which France is not a member.....  What the Americans perhaps do not realize is that, in the long run, such shabby treatment of France will be resented by other European countries also."


"The Consequences Of Disagreeing"


Paris correspondent Vaiju Naravane wrote in the centrist Hindu (4/25):  "The French were, and remain, profoundly convinced that a single superpower should not be allowed to bend the world to its will....  Washington sees Paris as having 'betrayed' a friend and an ally.  France says differences between allies are permissible, that one can 'agree to disagree'.  When questioned about possible U.S. action against France, the president, Jacques Chirac, was both dismissive and reassuring.  Once the Iraq crisis is over, Europe will see the folly of its divisions and move towards greater unity and cohesion, he said ....  From the office of the U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, in Washington, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, and his spokesman, Richard Boucher, were blunt.  Yes, there will be consequences....  The main thrust of U.S. moves against France is likely to be political.  It would like to make an example of France, show the world what happens when an independent-minded, second-rung nation dares defy the might and power of America.  Paris could be sidelined, both within NATO and in regular transatlantic consultations between America and Europe....  Although there has been a slight lowering of tensions...Washington's latest snub was the rejection of the French proposal to suspend, not lift, the sanctions on Iraq....  Washington has long viewed the possible emergence of a strong, unified Europe with a common defense, security and foreign policy, with a mixture of alarm and distrust.  Such a body would directly challenge the relevance of NATO and the absolute supremacy of the U.S.  France has been the one renegade country that has pushed for a separate European military entity.  The obvious way of sabotaging a strong, unified Europe is by driving a wedge in the Franco-German combine and among the other second-level players such as Spain, Italy and Portugal."


PAKISTAN:  "U.S. Overstretching Muscles"


The Islamabad rightist English-language Pakistan Observer held (4/25):  "Colin Powell's statement smacks of arrogance and vandalism and constitutes utter disregard of the established norms of international behavior.  France was not the only country which had opposed U.S. war against Baghdad.  The whole world was up against the U.S. war against Iraq, which was amply manifested by the massive protest rallies around the globe, including in United States itself....  Colin Powell's statement is also a challenge to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, since he is the only leader in Europe who has stood by the U.S. in its war against Iraq and had been a bridge between Washington and Europe.  Victory intoxication does create a sense of pride to look down on others, but Bush's victory intoxication has generated false pride, since his wars against Afghanistan and Iraq were not a fight between the equals.  Those were, in fact, uneven wars fought against weaker, impoverished and militarily roughed up nations.  It will obviously be a different scenario with his new targets.  The U.S. Congress must, therefore, restrain Mr. Bush from his unwarranted and improper conduct before it is too late."


"U.S. Announces Punishing France"


Islamabad-based right-wing Urdu daily Ausaf editorialized (4/25):  "The U.S. has announced that it will 'punish' France for its 'crime' of opposing the war in Iraq.  The Bush administration knows that it cannot achieve its lofty aims through diplomacy in the new world scenario, therefore, it will use military power for this purpose.  The only ray of hope in this scenario is France, and it would be wise for the world to stand by the French.  If the world does not support France now, every weak and helpless country will suffer destruction."


"America's Warning To France"


Leading mass circulation Urdu daily, Jang judged (4/25):  "Every member of the United Nations has a right to express its opinion over any international issue.  Any attempt to suppress such voices of dissent would be an open violation of the international charter of human rights and freedom of expression.  Therefore, the United States should desist from threatening and suppressing other countries and should play its role in the establishment of the rule of law in the world."


"And Now In Pursuit Of France"


An editorial in the sensationalist Urdu daily, Ummat held (4/25):  "Presently, France seems to be prepared to face the music for opposing the United States but, in light of past experiences, it could not be said how long and to what extent it could bear the American pressure.  Countries like France, Germany and Russia should stand steadfast against the U.S. aggression, because all these business gains in the name of reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq are totally momentary and temporary."


"American Threatens France Also"


Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu daily, Jasarat declared (4/25):  "The latest threat against France has been hurled by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who hitherto was being considered as a moderate and sensible person.  But, in order to save his seat, he has to become extremist and insensible.  No doubt the political, military and economic power of the United States is unmatched.  But, despite being a superpower, it cannot rule the world by making Europe, the Islamic world, Russia and China its enemies."


"U.S. Threat To France"


The second largest Urdu daily, Nawa-e-Waqt charged (4/25):  "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has threatened France with consequences for opposing the war in Iraq....  If America could actively punish this world power, corner it in NATO and reduce its role in the organization, then it would not hesitate from attacking smaller countries in the pattern of Afghanistan and Iraq.  After this threat by America, the need for a multipolar world, already supported by Russia and China, has increased manifold."


"U.S. Threat To France,"


Center-right Urdu daily Pakistan stated (4/25):  "The U.S. threats and actions to punish France clearly tell as to what extent America could go in any matter.  This situation provides food for thought for us Pakistanis too.  Those who propose confrontation with America should know that their advice is not prudent."


"Another Battle Royal At Security Council"


Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad observed in the center-right national Nation (4/24):  "France and Russia have been pushing the UN to retain a central role in Iraq.  Will they now use the opportunity to address the post-war situation?  They could push for a resolution to rule the country through a representative of the world organization, as was done in the case of Kosovo and East Timor.  In case they do so, they are liable to further provoke Washington.  If the two decide to put up a fight and are supported in the UNSC by China and Germany, this would strengthen the move that is afoot to create a multipolar world."


"Lessons From Iraq War"


An op-ed by Anwaar Rasul Khan in the center-right national Nation contended (4/24):  "The old philosophy of 'might is right' has been installed [in Iraq] in the crudest sense, the theoretical opposition of Russia and Germany has already started waning and it is a question of time when France would also capitulate after having put up a strong resistance."




CANADA:  "The Dunce's Cap"


Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le Devoir of Montreal (4/25):  "There can be no doubt about it, old France will get a spanking.  At a National Security Council meeting on the eve of Powell's comments, high-level Pentagon and vice presidential staffers argued that Washington inflict punishment on France.  The NSC and the State Department agreed....  If we are to believe the plan decided by Vice President Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the number two at the State Department, Richard Armitage...everything must be attempted to isolate France at the international level and especially within the European Union, such as multiplying meetings with countries from the old continent while making sure France is not invited....  Who would have thought that in this day and age of new economies, the dunce's cap industry would be promised a long and bright future?"


"The Vote Came Out"


Well-known columnist Richard Martineau wrote in the left wing Voir (4/23):  "After having turned a deaf ear to the U.S.' call for help...Jacques Chirac is shouting on the rooftops how happy he is Iraq has been liberated and is bending over backwards to take part in the reconstruction of the country so he can snap up some lucrative contracts.  What a pathetic clown!  God how France can be hypocritical sometimes.  She gives lessons in diplomacy, she portrays herself as the defender of human rights, and then what does she really do?  She welcomes Jean-Claude Duvalier with open arms, she supports African dictators, she asks for a special derogation from international authorities so she can welcome Robert Mugabe, one of the worst monsters on the planet at the summit of francophone countries.  If I were American, I would boycott French fries too."


MEXICO:  "The Price Of Peace"


Leonardo Lopez, a priest, wrote in Independent El Manana de Nuevo Laredo (4/23):  "One of the biggest businesses of developed countries is the trade of weapons.  It is not a secret that one of the alternatives to solve an economic crisis is the production of weapons.... The Iraq conflict has occupied most of the informative spaces; however, it has not been the only and the bloodiest of the conflicts.  Other countries who don’t have petroleum, are suffering bloody conflicts before the indifference of all...except for those who sell arms, and when a new conflict arises, they rub their hands before the prospect of a great business opportunity.  It’s ironic that  Russia and France opposed the war in Iraq, while they happily sold arms (to the country.)"


ARGENTINA:  "U.S.: Tough Warning To France For Being Against The War"


Ana Baron wrote from Washington in leading Clarin (4/24):  "Tension between Washington and Paris yesterday reached a new peak when Secretary Powell warned France 'it will suffer the consequences' for having led the opposition to the war in Iraq at the UNSC....  Powell's words took the French government by surprise because they were issued shortly after France announced it would favor the lifting of sanctions against Iraq at the UN.  Washington considered this 'a step in the right direction' although the White House would have preferred to lift sanctions, instead of postponing them.  Everything indicates that the differences between the Pentagon and the State Department...still prevail.  While Rumsfeld and Rice agree with Vice President Cheney on sanctioning France one way or the other, it seems that Powell prefers to focus on the future cooperation with France in other areas.  Harassed by the USG's hawks, which requested his resignation, Secretary Powell is going through a very delicate and difficult situation."


"Chirac's Dilemmas"


Maria Laura Avignolo, Paris-based correspondent for leading Clarin  wrote (4/24):  "The time has come for President Chirac to make a decision. With an enormous domestic popularity due to his opposition to war in Iraq and the fear of his business sector that France's position will damage French business, he will have to decide whether he becomes the leader of global multilateralism or comes to terms with U.S. positions in order to avoid the sanctions announced by the Pentagon hawks and accepted by Secretary Powell in a desperate move to remain in his position.  Those who know him well, openly say 'Chirac is absolutely convinced of his position....  'Pragmatism' is the strategy he chose to deal with the U.S. hyperpower.  Returning NATO its respectability and reinstalling multilateral consensus will be Chirac's future steps.  He will make clear that, in order to have peace in the world, the way the U.S. is exercising its hegemony is inadmissible."


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