International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

September 25, 2003

September 25, 2003





**  Supporters praise Bush's "determination" while critics fault his "arrogant attitude."


**  Analysts say Bush offered "nothing new" to win international support in Iraq.


**  Others "should" help the U.S. but "very few countries are likely to contribute forces or funds."




'Olive branches were in short supply'--  Conservative analysts in Europe and Canada praised President Bush's UNGA speech for its "judicious mix of determination, diplomacy and defiance."  He left his listeners, said Britain's Daily Telegraph, "in no doubt of his determination to prevail in Iraq."  Some liberal and centrist papers normally highly skeptical of Bush found the president "much less aggressive" and noted the "conciliatory tones" in the address.  In contrast, Malaysia's government-influenced New Straits Times called the speech "tough and unyielding," while a Lebanese daily said Bush made no attempt "to reconcile with the world."  A leftist British broadsheet complained that Bush eschewed "any genuine effort at consensus-building" and resurrected "his old black and white view" of the world.


A 'very confused superpower' looks for help--  Though Australia's liberal Sydney Morning Herald found the speech a "welcome confirmation that the world's sole superpower cannot truly go it alone," other dailies termed the speech "nothing new."  The U.S. "desperately" wants other powers to take on post-war roles "but cannot make the necessary concessions."  Germany's left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau commented that a new UN resolution wasn't in jeopardy because of a French veto but rather because "the U.S. government wants partners without a say."  Writers in Austria, Lebanon and Canada judged from Bush's remarks that he "is not prepared to cooperate with the UN as a partner, let alone apologize for calling it 'irrelevant' a year ago."


Prospects for 'troops or checks' remain clouded--  "To say that the U.S. president did not convince his audience" to help out in Iraq would be "an understatement," one French writer held.  Other Europeans, though, emphasized that it would be "a grave mistake" for countries that opposed the Iraq war to adopt an "I-told-you-so attitude."  Germany's right-of-center Die Welt expressed the hope that "Washington will narrow views with others" in UNSC negotiations.  "All the key players" around the globe "seem to appreciate the severe consequences" of a U.S. failure in Iraq.  The U.S. needs a new resolution "to collect on promises" of troops from other countries, but commentators wondered "how many of the skeptical UN countries" will be willing to join the "heavily embattled" U.S. effort.  Countries like France and Germany "do not want America to fail, but neither do they want to be part of a disaster."


Kofi Annan's speech praised for 'moral convictions and clear rhetoric'--  Several writers critical of Bush's "renewed vindication of the war" in Iraq, lauded UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who "lashed out at the U.S. very hard" in a speech criticizing pre-emptive war.  The UN leader "lacks the sheer, brute power" of an American president, argued Britain's left-of-center Guardian, but "he showed how truth can spike a million guns."  A centrist Polish daily was unmoved:  "The UN in its current form is a dead body.  The sooner that is understood, the better."


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 116 reports from 86 countries, September 24-25, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Redrafting The Rules Of War"


The independent Financial Times editorialized (9/24):  "The issue here is not really what more the UN should do about the spread of WMD and terrorism, though Mr. Bush made it sound that way.  Rather, the crucial question raised by Mr. Annan is what happens if counter-proliferation efforts fail, or fail to assuage U.S. fears, as apparently they did in Iraq....  The fact is that the case for all such interventions will depend on highly variable circumstances.  Individual cases tend to make fools of any set criteria.  In the controversial case of Iraq, the real Achilles' heel of pre-emptive war has been shown to intelligence, or lack of it.  Fears about WMD cannot be allowed to run ahead of the intelligence...pre-emptive strikes and UN approval for them will have to rely on judgment and persuasion.  Iraq has shown the U.S. to be lacking in both."


"United Nations:  Divided They Stand"


The left-of-center Guardian commented (9/24):  "Olive branches were in short supply as Mr. Bush, eschewing any genuine effort at consensus-building, resurrected his old black and white view of a planet devoid of neutral ground and divided between civilized and uncivilized....  Perhaps Mr. Bush truly believes this mixture of self-congratulation and hectoring menace will induce 'nations of goodwill' to back him, as he demanded.  But few will share that verdict; and refusing to admit one's mistakes is never a good way to get other people to do what one wants....  Mr. Annan was calm, balanced, rational, sharp--and utterly convincing.  When he argued the UN stood at a crossroads, he was beyond contradiction....  He eloquently described the many threats to global security--poverty, disease, inequality and not only terrorism directed against wealthier countries--his words came from the heart and spoke feelingly to un-numbered hearts around the world.  Here was a real, not a pretend leader; an international statesman, not a comic-strip character reading from a script.  Mr. Annan lacks the sheer, brute power of an American president.  But he showed how truth can spike a million guns."


"A Call To Arms"


The conservative Times remarked (9/24):  "Mr. Bush knew yesterday that he could not count on the world's goodwill....  To sceptics in the General Assembly, Mr. Bush insisted that there was no disagreement about the essentials.  America, too, was dedicated to the defense of collective security and the advance of human rights.  He called on them to 'move forward'....  It is this realism that will, eventually, triumph in New York.  No country wants the instability in Iraq to continue....  Mr. Bush was therefore speaking from strength yesterday....  His administration may find itself hurried by the electoral timetable, the rising cost and domestic concerns.  But it has so far shown considerable resolution to stay the course.  Mr. Bush faced his critics yesterday with a judicious mix of determination, diplomacy and defiance.  The UN would be wise to heed his call to arms and join battle to rescue Iraq."


"Bush Leads The UN"


An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph declared (9/24):  "There will be no lack of American pundits warning George W. Bush against making Iraq the defining issue of his presidency....  It is to Mr. Bush's credit that he royally over-rode such admonitions in his speech yesterday to the United Nations General Assembly....  He rebutted those demanding a rapid transfer of power in [Iraq] by calling instead for an orderly and democratic process neither hurried nor delayed by the wishes of other parties...but left his listeners in no doubt of his determination to prevail in Iraq and of his conviction that all nations of good will should contribute to this endeavor."


"Terrorism Has Changed The World; The UN Must Change"


Rosemary Righter maintained in the conservative Times (9/24):  "The damage inflicted on the UN's authority by the resounding failure to give a collective mandate for military action was of secondary importance to both nations.  Policy towards Iraq was the object of the dispute, but resentment of America's preponderant power was its underlying cause....  Annan may have hoped that the UN as an institution would benefit by keeping its distance from U.S. policy in Iraq, an illusion destroyed by last month's terrorist attack on the UN's Baghdad headquarters.  Now, realizing that the UN needs 'a successful outcome' as much as the U.S., he has become a forceful advocate for a fresh resolution in Iraq....  Annan deserves credit for using this crisis as a spur to reform.  But in his characterization of the unilateral use of force as 'lawless, with or without credible justification,' he undermines his own case for radical change.  If credible justification is not adequate, what criteria could there be?  Annan is a clever man, but he is a clever man in a muddle.  The change that is most needed is a more realistic understanding of what the UN can do.  It can help to make the world more orderly and to rebuild ruined societies, but it has never functioned well as a decision-maker in moments of crisis.  It is not a war machine--still less a machine for going to war on war."


FRANCE:  "Words And Muscle"


Charles Lambroschini judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/25):  “In the relationship between Paris and Washington, yesterday’s performance at the UN ended once again with the failure of realpolitik....  Because his predictions have turned out to be true, people are listening to the French president more than to the U.S. president....  Because the American superpower appears to be incapable of controlling the Iraqi upheaval, France is helping the world forget that it may be ‘a country of average impotence'....  Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the balance of power is shifting...and the lightweight may actually have a chance.  Today, there are two types of power: America’s ‘hard’ power...and France’s ‘soft’ power, which does not try to impose itself but tries instead to be convincing....  By using the obvious weapons of this ‘soft’ power...Chirac follows in the footsteps of de Gaulle....  France, in spite of its average means, offers a counter-model.  As a result, it is George Bush who stands alone, while Chirac can count on a large number of supporters....  Washington’s faithful followers within the EU are making themselves discreet.  The third world, Arab or other, applauds Paris.  Nevertheless the time for a compromise has come.  The U.S. is beginning to take stock of its limitations.  France has already done so. For Chirac it is no longer a matter of being right against the U.S., but of helping return Iraq to the Iraqis.”


"Wrong Battle"


Denis Jeambar wrote in right-of-center weekly L’Express (9/25):  “A suspicious glee is settling in France, along with an ill-omened anti-Americanism, as America’s laurels dry up under Iraq’s killer sun.  Deep down our leaders are happy to see America’s difficulties in Iraq.... They find in this situation arguments to feed their multipolar thesis and a EU that would counterbalance America’s hegemony.  In itself this attitude is dangerous because it opens a Pandora’s box....  While Washington’s preventive war has harmed the traditional strategy of alliance based on trust, France’s answer is much too extreme, as if the principles that bind democracies were now weaker than the interests that oppose these democracies.... While we have an obligation towards Europe...can we continue to distance ourselves from the U.S., as we are doing, to the extent that we end up systematically opposing it?  There is no doubt that Washington must make some effort to respect its allies.  But we need to underscore this simple truth: what brings us together--democracy and human rights--is much more important than what separates us.  Any U.S. failure in the Middle East is also our failure.”


"Our ‘American Enemies’"


Jean Daniel remarked in left-of-center weekly Le Nouvel Observateur (9/25):  “Are we America's enemies?  Thomas Friedman thinks we are....  Friedman is wrong....  France was warmly pro-American immediately after Sept. 11.  But the fact is that feelings change just as situations change....  France’s attitude is praised in the third world, mainly in the Arab world.  But France doesn’t know what to do with this newly acquired prestige.  France’s embarrassment is justified, because if relations between France and the U.S., which are already in pretty bad shape, get worse, survival of the Western world will be in jeopardy.”


"A Chirac-Bush Confrontation At The UN"


Luc de Barochez wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/24):  “The French President took on the role of championing and defending international law and world solidarity, while the U.S. President came off as the warlord fighting a global war on terror....  After their respective remarks, it was clear that their face-to-face meeting could not be productive....  In spite of all the posturing in favor of reconciliation on both sides, it was difficult to find grounds for an agreement over Iraq....  Chirac’s entire speech could be read as an attack against President Bush...who remained closed to President Chirac’s proposals.  Chirac listened attentively to President Bush’s speech which he politely applauded.  But President Bush had already left the assembly when Chirac gave his speech.  Yesterday, another opportunity for dialogue was again wasted.”


"A Difficult But Unavoidable Compromise"


Pascal Riche noted in left-of-center Liberation (9/24):  “The pas-de-deux between France and the U.S. is indeed a bizarre one....  In spite of their differing positions on Iraq, which remain very far apart, the U.S. and France have no other solution but to reach a compromise, no matter how difficult....  After all, both nations have everything to gain in keeping the situation in Iraq and the region from exploding....  But considering the distance that needs to be traveled, the final UN resolution may be a very simplified one, changing very little on the ground.”


"Two Different Views Of The World"


Jean-Claude Kiefer took this view in regional Les Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace (9/24):  “The confrontation yesterday at the UN was not only over Iraq, but over two different views of the world.  It was a confrontation between the U.S. and practically the rest of the world....  To say that the U.S. president did not convince his audience is an understatement....  Even if ultimately the American resolution is adopted by the UNSC by way of a gesture in favor of appeasement, it will have very little impact: very few nations will send troops, and even less will help financially.  With the risk of seeing a military quagmire coming on the heels of a diplomatic disaster...a tragedy for America’s image around the world.”


"A Wasted Chance For Entente"


Anne Fulda held in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/24):  “The lack of direct contact between the two leaders since Evian is symptomatic of a true malaise....  The differences of political and intellectual analysis that separate the two men can hardly be erased with the best of staging, such as the ‘reunion’ in Evian or yesterday’s meeting.”


"Chirac Acerbic; Bush On The Defensive"


Pascal Riche observed in left-of-center Liberation (9/24):  “When it was time for the applause, Chirac turned out to be the most convincing....  The U.S. President’s cautious remarks elicited surprise from the audience, while Chirac’s remarks were more direct and concrete.”


"Right Versus Might"


Jean Levallois maintained in regional La Presse de la Manche (9/24):  “Brute force and the power of weapons speak for President Bush, while the law, which can never be confused with might, speaks for Chirac.  This analysis, proven right by events in Iraq, supports Chirac’s stance.  America remains the world’s number one power.  But in the aisles of the UN General Assembly, the majority of nations share France’s views....  The time for unilateralism is over.”


GERMANY:  "Repair Work"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/24):  "After the bitter experience of the rift from early this year, Europeans and President Bush are resuming their talks....  It is clear that President a time when the restructuring of Iraq has turned into an expensive enterprise for the Americans, and when a cold wind is blowing for the first time in his face, is discovering German pacifism as a plausible reason for the Berlin's position.  It is also clear that Chancellor Schroeder is trying to achieve a détente and does not want to know anything about the formation of a European counter power.  President Chirac is castigating President Bush's unilateral move but is not willing to enter into another confrontation.  An abstention in a UN resolution on Iraq would be the sharpest weapon he would use.  This repair work is right, but will not change the basic problem:  the unease about America's power and the way in which it is administered, about the distrust that is turning into a burden for President Bush and that cannot be defused by his rhetoric of being friendly to the UN and by his sense of morality."


"Moralizing Bombshell"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg concluded (9/24):  "The UN secretary-general opened the UNGA meeting with a bombshell and stole the show from President George W. Bush.  And this bombshell was so impressive because Kofi Annan has no forces that support him, no possibilities to impose sanctions that could give his words greater weight.  His message was so significant because of its moral convictions and his clear rhetoric.  President Bush's renewed vindication of the war had no chance against this speech.  Following Annan's strong attack, the U.S. president is on a political defensive.  The UN is at a crossroads.  With this statement, the UN secretary-general put his finger in an open wound.  Only historians will tell whether Annan's call for a debate over the future of the UN can really be compared with the situation after WW II.  But the UN members must now say what the UN should look like in the future.  It is necessary to make up one's mind about when and whether it is acceptable that a state preventively attacks other states and does not want the legitimacy of the UN.  Following Annan's bombshell, the UN can no longer dodge this question."


"Berlin, Not Goslar"


Rolf Paasch argued in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (9/24):  "Those Europeans who see their meager expectations confirmed in New York this week should not look at the ongoing differences over a new Iraq resolution with malice or should not feel insulted, but should take a realistic look at the transatlantic distortions.  Relations between Europe and the United States are and will remain bad, irrespective of the outcome of the talks between President Bush, Chancellor Schroeder, and President Chirac....  The new Iraq resolution is this time not in jeopardy because of a French veto but because of contradictions in the U.S. policy towards Iraq.  The U.S. government wants partners without a say, but the situation in Iraq requires a credible alliance with an international legitimation."   


"United Nations"


Jacques Schuster editorialized in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (9/24):  "Again Germans and Americas need each other.  The president is less interested in German assistance in Iraq, but he wants to gain Berlin's support for a UN resolution in order to isolate the French....  In his speech at the UN, the president asked for this support not in subdued, but in a self-confident way without denying the difficulties in Iraq.  There is no reason to be repentant.  Five months after Saddam's fall, Iraq is better off today than it was a year ago.  Mass killings and torture are things of the past and reconstruction is taking place....  Now the Iraqis need further support, and this is what Bush is calling for.  At the same time he made clear that Iraq should be led to independence in seven steps.  It is likely that Washington will narrow views with other governments before the final round of talks in the UNSC.  It will be in the Iraqis' interest if Germans and French do the same."


"Unwavering President"


Margarete Limberg commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (9/23):  "It has become clear that the U.S. government needs assistance, even though this did not become explicitly clear in George W. Bush's speech.  The question is whether the U.S. government is willing to transfer power in Iraq....  It has been a tacit concession that [the U.S.] has to deal with a fiasco in Iraq and that the Iraq war was a great mistake....  But this will not be enough to get substantial support from the international community, while the strong opponents to the war are demonstrating a new flexibility....  But those who like Bush are now calling upon the international community to show its responsibility for peace and stability in Iraq, must make one step further than he did in his speech at the UNGA.....  All this must still be tested in reality, and in this respect, Bush showed his steadfastness."


ITALY:  "A President Towards The Ballots"


Ennio Caretto commented in leading centrist Corriere della Sera (9/25):  “If it hadn’t been for German Chancellor Schroeder, who offered him an olive branch, immediately accepted, President Bush and the United States would have come out from a two-day the UN quite humiliated...the worst possible ending for Iraq as well as transatlantic relations.  At the UN, Bush and his superpower were under siege because of their unilateralism as well as for resorting to preventive war.  The President’s speech, conciliatory in its tone, but stiff in content, and especially vague with regard to its programs...has likely even agreement over the U.S. resolution.  A peace with Germany along with a willingness to compromise as shown by Russian President Putin during his meeting with Schroeder and Chirac, improved the atmosphere.  President Bush was then able to leave the UN with his head held high, as neither winner nor loser.”


"The Break On Preemptive War Won’t Be Mended"


Vittorio Zucconi opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (9/24):  “What divides Bush’s America and the United Nations is not just a matter of soldiers, timetables, money or diplomatic patch-ups to mend the break.  It is, and it will always be, the doctrine of preemptive war which ‘represents a main defiance of the principles on which, albeit imperfectly, world peace has based itself for the last 58 years.’  These are the words, very strong and very bitter at the same time, pronounced by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan....  The real tangle concerns the future, the post-post-war, if the United States will continue to be led by George Bush and his unyielding gang of ideologists despite the continuing decline of the president’s popularity rate.  The United Nations and Europe are even asked to vote for him now, by accepting to internationalize the consequences of the war in Iraq and to absorb part of the human and financial costs with our money and our troops.  The fact is that, behind the rhetoric of democracy in Mesopotamia and the praiseworthy project of restoring freedom to the Iraqi people...Bush’s main concern is his own future.”


"An Obliged Agreement"


Prominent strategic/defense analyst Stefano Silvestri commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (9/24):  “Differences remain, but it is possible to find an agreement on a common plan of action: this seems to be the message sent out by the speeches of European and U.S. leaders at the UNGA.  It is not only Jacques Chirac and George Bush, who both defended their positions.  It was enough to listen to the speech by Italian PM Berlusconi, on behalf of the European realize that European and U.S. positions are considerably different on a number of issues, even if no one wants to play up disputes and disagreements.  That should not make us forget the many points of cooperation and, most of all, the fact that there are basic common interests.  The gradual solution of the serious crises that are still open--from Afghanistan to Iraq, the roadmap, the Balkans, Cyprus, the African wars, the Indo-Pakistani conflict, North Korea and Iran--is in the interest of both parties, and requires a mutual commitment....  Regarding Iraq, it is not clear yet whether we will see a joint resolution that will satisfy the entire Security Council.”


"Ahead Together Out Of Necessity"


Gianni Riotta commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (9/24):  “Those who were expecting an historical day have been disappointed.  In Iraq, Americans must make a virtue out of necessity....  France, Germany and Russia are going to take a less controversial approach, but not immediately, the Iraqi Governing Council is trying to raise its weak voice and Kofi Annan is concentrating on his (only) means, the UN....  The afternoon sun is peeping out of the clouds, (but) the geopolitical prospects continue to be dark.”


RUSSIA:  "UN Needs Reform"


Andrey Denisov in New York and Andrey Zlobin reported in reformist Vremya Novostey (9/24):  "The general discussion yesterday showed that despite a hectic year and predictions of an early death, the UN is still afloat.  Obituaries are premature--the organization is alive, if in need of 'medical attention.'...  The U.S. president's 25-minute address did not sound like a triumphant proclamation.  In fact, the audience greeted him with silence and was restrained in applauding his speech.  The Russian delegation must have felt offended, as Bush never once mentioned Russia, speaking of countries that had suffered from terrorism.  At times his statements were befuddling.  The former Iraqi dictator will no longer be able to use weapons of mass destruction, Bush stated, there still being no evidence of the lethal arsenal in Iraq."


"Bush, Blair Not Ready To Heed Public Opinion"


Yulia Petrovskaya said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (9/24):  "Susceptible as they are to the opinion of their electorate, the U.S. and British leaders are not ready yet to heed their opinion this time....  Jacques Chirac is going to use his trump UN card not so much to attack the United States as to back down and gain cover....  The French are not going to veto a draft resolution on Iraq that envisions an international peace-keeping force under the UN aegis and U.S. command and no key role for the UN.  In other words, no matter how they want concessions from the United States, the other Security Council members agree not to change anything in substance."


"Bush Refuses To Admit Wrong"


Vitaliy Dymarskiy remarked in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (9/24):  "It is not in the habit of U.S. presidents to admit mistakes, so the incumbent has had to uphold his course of action in international affairs, trying to convince the international community and the public at home that what has been done in Iraq is right and that Hussein's weapons of mass destruction will be found, of course."


AUSTRIA:  "No Reconciliation Yet"


Gudrun Harrer opined in liberal daily Der Standard (9/25):   “Bush’s performance at the UN matches that of French President Chirac--though the American President may have been even less clear-headed....  So we are back to looking each other in the face again, while simultaneously continuing to talk at cross-purposes--and by the way:  the meeting between the U.S. President and German Chancellor Schroeder was somewhat shorter than anticipated.  But the point is, there’s far too much at stake for both sides.  Should the ‘Iraq experiment’ fail, we will all have to pay the price, Europe and U.S., not to mention the entire Middle East.”


"Humble Pie"


Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder commented in liberal daily Der Standard (9/24):  "The conciliatory tones we are hearing from the Bush administration these days do sound a lot more well-balanced that a year ago.  Even the German chancellor, who based his election campaign earlier this year on a confrontation course with the U.S., condemning the Iraq war, is now getting a wisp of understanding from the U.S. president.  However, it would be a grave mistake for the European countries...that opposed the Iraq war to now adopt an 'I-told-you-so attitude.'  The U.S. would certainly see this as proof of Europe's lack of understanding for American concerns.  This would--in turn--only serve to weaken internationalist forces in the U.S."


"Fatal Blockade"


In mass-circulation daily Kurier, foreign editor Livia Klingl argued (9/24):  "In spite of his miserable performance as a peacemaker, Bush is not prepared to cooperate with the UN as a partner, let alone apologize for calling it 'irrelevant' a year ago.  Thus, with the new Iraq resolution, trouble is still brewing in diplomatic circles.  Still, Bush will be spared complete defeat at the UN.  After all, the world needs a peaceful Iraq, and not exercise grounds for globally active assassins working out of a country sporting anarchy instead of democracy."


BELGIUM:  "World Vision"


Foreign editor Jean Vanempten wrote in financial daily De Financieel-Economische Tijd (9/24):  “U.S. President George W. Bush’s address to the UNGA made it clear again that only one vision can prevail:  the American vision.  Bush sticks to his concept of unilateralism, i.e., the right to intervene anywhere in the world, in the name of the war on terror and democracy.  Bush also deeply believes that such recipe will lead to a better world without terror.  Both UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and French President Jacques Chirac belong to the other camp....  Annan strongly criticized the United States because it made pre-emptive war the cornerstone of its foreign policy while Chirac boldly said that waging a war alone in the name of all the others is unacceptable....  About the role of the UN in Iraq, Bush did not go much farther than his appeal for help from the international community.  One will have to wait and see whether that is enough to make the international community act.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "The Leader Of The Pack"


Pavel Masa observed in the center right Lidove noviny (9/24):  "Talks about open hostilities [between the U.S. and some European countries] are just as inaccurate as phrases about common values [and warm friendship].  A more appropriate comparison would be the fight for leadership in a pack--only exceptionally does any rival get hurt and never does the pack disintegrate....  From Chirac’s speech yesterday, it was evident that French policy, in its defiance of Washington, is seeking long-term goals and it is definitely not only interested in Iraq....  German Chancellor Schroeder, by stressing collective decisions over security in the world, does not fall too far behind [Chirac]....  'Natural friends' on both sides of the ocean should get used to living with small discrepancies, which in fact, if they do not resort to abuse, can even make the alliance stronger."


"UN Back In The Game"


Adam Cerny stated in the business Hospodarske noviny (9/24):  "When the [Iraqi crisis] paralyzed the UN, the rules that had provided guidance for the organization for the past decades were put in question.  The key players now realize that arguing is no good for any of them, which increases the chances of the UN to get back into the game....  It is encouraging to see that two members of the UN Security Council, the U.S. and emphasize a common goal, although they still have not agreed on how to reach it.  Time is running out, though.  The attacks on the UN premises in Iraq aimed to expel the organization from the country.  After that, it would be easier to persuade the Iraqis that their country is controlled by a foreign power."


HUNGARY:  "Iraqworld"


Oszkar Fuzes editorialized in leading Nepszabadsag (9/25):  "The U.S. President’s speech in the UN did not allow any degree of compromise on the privilege of a preemptive strike.  Instead, the conciliatory speech sought to convince the countries that opposed the strikes in Iraq to join the camp of supporters.  This way they would also be better off....  But the opponent medium-range powers, of course rejected the proposal.  The solution would be for President Bush to give up on his concept of preemptive strike.”


IRELAND:  "Bush Asks For Help"


The center-right Irish Independent remarked (9/24):  “When the President of the United States speaks, the world listens with emotions ranging from admiration to trepidation.  But yesterday it paid almost as much attention to the President of France, Jacques Chirac, and even greater attention to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan....  It is underscored by the way in which Mr. Bush has had to change his line on the UN and the conduct of international affairs.  Before, during and immediately after the Iraq war he offered the UN what amounted to a choice between oblivion and acting as the servant of the U.S., and he uttered undisguised threats against countries that refused to support him.  The disastrous aftermath of the war has forced a rethink....  Yesterday the President asked for help.  Should other countries come to his aid?  There is only one possible answer.  Of course they should; and in such a way as to permit him to save face.  But they will do so only on conditions....  Yesterday there was a strong focus on the disagreement between the U.S. and France over a timetable for elections.  The mandate for the armed force may be more consequential, since the French will not be alone in resisting untrammeled U.S. control.  Many countries, Ireland among them, will examine the proposed mandate with great care before taking any action.  They will also ponder the stark warning from Mr. Annan, that the ‘pre-emptive strike’ doctrine ‘could set precedents that result in a proliferation in the unilateral and lawless use of force.’  That criticism is all the more potent because of America's record as a force for good.”


"The Future Of World Politics"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (9/24):  “Mr. Bush repeated his positions on terrorism, the need for pre-emptive action...and the potential that a democratic Iraq could transform the Middle East.  But he praised the UN's role and appealed for help in patrolling and reconstructing Iraq....  His speech was pitched as much at a domestic as an international audience....  President Chirac minced no words in condemning the U.S. threat to multilateralism....  He too indicated a readiness to repair relations on the basis of new agreements.  The UN fulfilled its indispensable role as a world forum in hosting these speeches yesterday....  It is not enough, as Mr. Annan said, to denounce departures from long-established norms; new threats have to be faced up to through collective action.  The UN's great failing is to substitute rhetoric for action.  However, Mr. Annan is well aware that this can only be overcome by working with the member-states.  Those who value the UN's work must reinforce pressure on governments to reciprocate.”


"Annan Brings Stark Reality Of UN Position Home To Assembly"


Deaglán de Bréadún reported in the center-left Irish Times (9/24):  “Mr. Bush's speech was long-awaited and there was much speculation on its contents...but in the end it turned out a rather flat production, more important for what it didn't say or barely mentioned than for its main themes.  We knew already the President was not about to backtrack or apologize over the invasion of Iraq.  His argument was simple: an evil dictator has gone, the torture chambers and rape rooms are no more, and now it is up to the international community to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq as a showcase to other Middle East countries, proving that democracy works and maybe you should try it yourselves sometime....  The President's tone was surprisingly measured and low-key.  There was no evangelical zeal to destroy an ‘axis of evil.’....  The old tub-thumping zeal, so evident after ‘9/11’ was muted this time.”


NETHERLANDS:  "Kofi Annan Lashes Out At the U.S. Very Hard"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant commented (9/24):  "Secretary General Kofi Annan lashed out at the U.S. very hard.  Without mentioning the U.S. by name, he condemned states which think they have the right to use force against other countries without UNSC approval or without it being a case of self defense....  His words could not help but be taken as a reprimand for the U.S."


"Miserable Day For A President Eligible For Re-Election"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant's U.S.-based correspondent stated (9/24):  "It is spectacular to see how rapidly President Bush is losing terrain.  It is still not too late for his re-election, but his room for maneuvering is shrinking and it seems as if the world is ganging up against him.....  The image is growing of a powerful president of a powerful country who is slowly but surely becoming isolated.  This image is confirmed by opinion polls--and this is maybe the most alarming news for George Bush.  Not only Kofi Annan, Chalabi, and Chirac are letting him down but also Bill, Joe, and Mike are starting to turn their back on him."


NORWAY:  "Bush Disappoints"


The independent VG commented (9/25):  “Those looking for new signals in the speech President George W. Bush gave at the UN were disappointed.  The 24-minute-long speech appeared surprisingly uninspired as a defense for America’s Iraq policy.  The speech was obviously first and foremost aimed at the American public, who in a year will determine the President’s political fate.  It is also first and foremost American public opinion that may finally force the President to involve the UN to a much larger extent in the reconstruction of Iraq....  The big question is therefore if and when the President will decide to loosen the reigns.  New drops in the opinion polls as a result of a limping economy and constant problems in Iraq may force him to do so.”


"Iraq Is The Sole Responsibility Of The U.S."


The social democratic Dagsavisen judged (9/25):  “Hardly any American president has received an icier response from the UN General Assembly than George W. Bush when he demanded global support for U.S. operations in Iraq....  If France decides to voice its dissatisfaction by abstaining, and is joined by others, the resolution will be viewed as weak and somewhat non-binding....  The situation in Iraq is and remains the sole responsibility of the U.S.  If the costs become so great that next year it costs George W. Bush the election, many counties will, with good reason, consider this to be in their national interest....  It is too late to hand over the responsibility for security in Iraq to a multinational UN force.  All foreign soldiers in Iraq will now be considered as part of the American occupation."


"Pax Americana"


The financial daily Dagens Neringsliv remarked (9/25):  “The Americans’ hope of receiving significant support, even with the backing of a UN resolution, must also be limited.  To help the Americans to clean up after an unpopular war, with considerable risk to their own soldiers, is surely not high on many countries’ list of priorities.  The Iraqi war was an American project.  The 'nation-building' that must follow, will to a large extent remain an American responsibility, and the American taxpayers will get the bill.  ‘We don’t need the UN,’ President Bush said on Monday.  If UN support to rebuild Iraq will be modest, we hope he is right.”


"Pre-Emptive War"


The social democratic Dagsavisen observed (9/20):  “Secretary General Kofi Annan made a timely warning against the use of pre-emptive war, when opening the debate....  The new doctrine of the Bush administration, which allows war as a means to avoid possible threats, can be easily misused to attack regimes that for one reason or another are out of favor.  This is a step backward--closer to global anarchy and the absolute power of the strongest.”


POLAND:  "The Myths Of The UN"


Bronislaw Wildstein observed in centrist Rzeczpospolita (9/24):  “UN Secretary General Kofi Annan criticized President Bush’s strategy, his doctrine of pre-emptive war in particular, which he thinks is a threat to international order and security.  At the same time the Americans received evidence that al-Qaida had planned more terrorist attacks on the United States.....  One could hardly find a better substantiation of one’s strategy than through the realization of its objectives.  The Americans did realize them.  The success of their strategy confirms that terrorism today can be fought only offensively, by destroying its structure and bases....  Certainly, Annan recognizes as legitimate such interventions, which are held under the auspices of the UN.  Also, he thinks that American actions are a threat to the organization.  The point is that the UN in its current form is a dead body.  The sooner that is understood, the better.”


ROMANIA:  "U.S. Desperately Seeking Allies"


Foreign policy analyst Mihaela Ganet commented in financially oriented daily Curentul (9/25):  "Dominated by discussions on the theme of Iraq, and moving towards UN reform, the annual UN summit underlined the divisions inside the international community, divisions unveiled by the Iraqi crisis.  On the one side, as was expected, is the American President George W. Bush, who performed a new aria on the necessity for and opportunity of the Iraqi intervention; on the other hand, the French President, Jacques Chirac, with his eagerly awaited speech, taking into account his previous calm manner regarding the UN resolution that was negotiated by the Americans....  All these divisions continue to deepen the worries about the way in which the U.S. will be able to administer Iraq, taking into account that they would need additional military involvement and money, without giving up control, and that France and its allies insist, as Jacques Chirac explained once again, for a quicker transfer of power."


"Change Of Tone"


The conservative daily Cronica Romana noted (9/25):  “The only noticeable change in the American position is the one regarding the tone; the U.S. president seemed to be more conciliatory in pleading for his administration's same point of view on the Iraqi issue.  At the same time, the French position seems to be inflexible, with President Jacques Chirac expressing new accusations against the American government, for neglecting all plans regarding the UN role.”


"A Defensive Speech"


Independent daily, Cotidianul remarked (9/25):  "In a defensive speech, the American president defended the war in Iraq and asked the UN member states to help in the Iraqi reconstruction process.  Despite all of this, Bush’s speech was coldly received by the UN General Assembly and was counterbalanced with the speech by President Jacques Chirac, who condemned, as was easy to expect, the war in Iraq and called for the UN to play a ‘total role’ in this country."


SLOVENIA:  "End Of War In The UN"


U.S. correspondent Ervin Hladnik Milharcic observed in left-of-center Delo (9/24):  “Kofi Annan won the duel between George Bush and Jacques Chirac.  To be honest, it was not very difficult.  Bush had demonstrated that he functioned best in situations where expectations were low.  In this case, expectations were high, but the American president did not come with anything new.  He did not bring with him any proof of Iraq’s possession of WMD....  Neither did he present any evidence of Iraq’s having been al-Qaida’s base....  Chirac did not offer any novel interpretation of the world either....  Although Bush and Chirac did not declare an end to the war between the United States and France, they did assert that open hostilities had ended.  [Now] the two countries only disagree about [how long] the occupation [of Iraq] should last....  Annan in his unusually resolute address...called for a reform of the United Nations.  He demanded widening of the Security Council and an equal role for third world countries in decision making.  A consultative body--in which five out of fifteen members have the right of veto--is an ideal forum which can be called irrelevant by superpowers any time the [Security Council’s] decisions do not support their interests.”


SPAIN:  "Iraq And The UN"


Centrist La Vanguardia judged (9/24):  "In reality, what divides the U.S. government as regards a new UN resolution from the attitudes of the two European leaders most opposed to the war in Iraq is slight....  Ideologically and doctrinally...the George Bush who appeared yesterday, before an institution that many of the neoconservatives disdain, was a much less aggressive speaker than the one a year ago who warned of the risk of irrelevancy of the UN."


"Bush's New Tact"


Conservative La Razon took this view (9/24):  "Between the solid Paris-Berlin block and Bush there exists an intermediary solution....  If Bush is willing, as he seemed yesterday, to give a leading role to the international community, to the UN in the reconstruction of Iraq, its now France's turn to back off its position and its demand of immediate transfer of power to an Iraqi government....  Yesterday, a new U.S. position took the stage that abandons unilateral policies in order to return to a path of international agreement which was left off during the offensive against Saddam."


"Bush Maintains"


Left-of-center El País maintained (9/24):  "Bush, as was expected, has maintained his monolithic discourse on Iraq.  In his appearance before the General Assembly in order to convince the world to share the burden of occupation, he reaffirmed the justification for intervention without admitting any error....  Bush's words sounded even more unreal in the building in New York....  The slight thaw which one is beginning to perceive on both sides of the Atlantic should permit an accommodation of positions between Bush and his principal European critics....  This may be the only way of avoiding a situation in which what should never have been started ends in absolute disaster with global consequences."


"Bush And The UN"


Conservative daily ABC argued (9/24):  "President Bush, whose speech was expected to give us a glimpse of where the discussions to find a new consensus have led, did not deviate from the script....  But, the creation of a democratic system in Iraq, for the first time in history, cannot be the product of an act of will, nor a mere demonstration of good intentions.  It has to be a process of creating institutions....  The scenario in which this might unfold, however, has been aided by the allied intervention and the fall of Saddam Hussein."


SWEDEN:  "Can The UN Survive Bush?"


Liberal Stockholm morning daily Dagens Nyheter editorialized (9/25): "It was a hard-to-please and reserved UNGA that listened to the U.S. President George Bush....  The wounds of the diplomatic play prior to the Iraqi War are still deep.  It is difficult for many states to agree with Bush's talk about freedom, about promoting democracy in the Mideast, and that the U.S. is safeguarding the UN ideals.  Instead they see a president whose cabinet is determined to sink the present international system....  With regards to Iraq many stress that the U.S. by itself should handle what it started....  However, should the international community step back, a dangerous path would be taken.  There is certainly no reason to yield to Washington, or to allow the Americans to continue to dictate the terms, but unless the reconstruction of Iraq is not speeded up, an explosive situation is imminent."


"And What Is The French Contribution?"


Conservative Stockholm-based morning daily Svenska Dagbladet observed (9/25):  "Now France has achieved yet another national triumph.  President Jacques Chirac's UNGA address was met with ovations while President Bush's appearance was meet with coolness....  The French actions were decisive when the Security Council did not manage to unite over joint action in Iraq.  This was a Pyrrhic victory as Chirac was totally wrong in his judgment on the outcome of the war.  Now it is difficult to not be able to escape from the suspicion that he wants to be right with regards to peace....  But to win the war it is necessary that more countries join Germany's example to promise solidarity with those states that until now have carried the burden.  But this urgently requires an expanded UN mandate in Iraq, and the French contribution in this regard has been to quarrel about the exact moment when full responsibility should be handed over to the Iraqis."


TURKEY:  "U.S. Alienated"


Soli Ozel commented in mass-appeal Sabah (9/25):  “During the UNGA address, President Bush pledged support for the American political mission in Iraq.  The very country he represents undermined the UN’s internationally recognized rules and principles, yet he repeatedly tried to justify to the UNGA members the correctness of U.S. policy in Iraq.  Along with the Iraq issue, Bush voiced concern and showed sensitivity towards some vital humanitarian issues despite the preconceived image within international public opinion that the U.S. never cared for those issues.  However, the whole speech highlighted one single fact, that the United States did not receive any enthusiastic support within the UNGA.  Members did not take the ‘let’s do it together’ message seriously because the U.S. has already carried out its plan by passing the UN.  Interestingly, there was more silence than applause....  Nevertheless, a new UN resolution is still very likely.  It is yet not clear which side will be giving more concessions.” 


"UN Is At The Crossroads"


Turgut Tarhanli wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (9/25):  “The current U.S. administration itself started digging the hole for the demise of United Nations.  And President Bush’s UNGA address proved that the U.S. administration is determined to continue with this approach.  This is an alarming situation, as UNSG Annan highlighted during his speech....  The Bush administration simply put aside any consideration for establishing a civilized order, and adopted exertion of force as policy.  In the U.S.’s book ‘using force’ becomes ‘legal means.’  This is what the U.S. argument is all about although that does not mean it will be taken as a legitimate and legal method to deal with international issues....  As UNSG Annan clearly put it, the whole world stands at a crossroads; i.e., we must make a choice between legality and the use of force.”




ISRAEL:  "Bush's Vision"


Akiva Zimmerman wrote in nationalist Hatzofe (9/25):  "It looks as though Shimon Peres has an outstanding student called George Bush.  Judging from his remarks at the UNGA, it appears that Bush has adopted Peres' 'New Middle East' vision and his delusions.  Bush talked about a democratic Arab state in Eretz Yisrael [Israel, including the territories].  Despite being the president of the most important country in the world, he doesn't seem to be acquainted with history at all.  There is no democratic Arab country--there hasn't been and there won't be one.  Bush also wants to educate Iraq as if it had been the United States' 'motherland'; he is fostering illusions about a democratic regime in Iraq.  Apparently, he is not knowledgeable about the history of Iraq, which has been changing regimes by way of the sword, not in the polling booths....  In the same way a state of blacks and Indians shouldn't be established in Bush's United States, an Islamic state shouldn't be established in Eretz Yisrael, which belongs to the sole Jewish people."


JORDAN:  "Accelerating Transfer Of Power"  


The elite, English-language Jordan Times opined (9/25):  "Amidst increasing calls for a swifter transfer of powers and sovereignty to the Iraqi people from within and without Iraq, U.S. President George Bush's speech to the 58th session of the UN General Assembly last Tuesday on this very point was quite disappointing and confusing at best....  Bush seems to be of the opinion that the transfer of authority to Iraqis must be realized progressively, according to their needs.  If the needs of the Iraqis are what will determine and dictate the pace of the process of sovereignty transfer, then who can better comprehend and express this need than the Iraqi people themselves?  Surely it is not up to the U.S. or even the UN to rule on this point.  As for Bush's other qualifying words to the effect that the speed of any such transfer of power must neither be hurried nor delayed by the wish of other parties--one can rightfully inquire about the identity of these 'other parties'....  French President Jacques Chirac, who also addressed the General Assembly last Tuesday and is the champion of calls for sovereignty transfer, had however, this to say about the issue: 'It is the UN's task to lend legitimacy to this process'....  The key thoughts here are the role of the UN in this process must be greater, the pace of this process must be gradual, and the reference to current Iraqi institutions must necessarily include the current Iraqi interim Governing Council.  Against this backdrop, the gap between the various scenarios being entertained in this context is not so wide that it cannot be bridged.  This gap will be resolved when the time comes up for adopting the projected U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution on Iraq."


"A More Humble Washington Negotiates Its Place In The World"


Rami G. Khouri wrote in the elite, English-language Jordan Times (9/24):  "It's bad enough for the U.S. that it must go back to the UN and ask for assistance, after ignoring the UN back in March when it could not secure the mandate for war that it sought.  It's worse that most of the countries are not very anxious to rescue the U.S. from its Iraqi predicament....  We may be witnessing, in fact, the belated entry of the United States into modern world history, ending the long period during which the U.S. dealt with the world's countries and peoples essentially as either markets or targets....  The sense one gets here of Washington's Iraq policy is primarily a strange combination of irritation, confusion, concern and determination.  All the key players...globally seem to appreciate the severe consequences if the U.S. were to stay in Iraq too long or get out too quickly.  This is why we suddenly have a novel and important situation in which the U.S. no longer simply barks orders and issues threats and ultimatums to the rest of the world.  We now witness the Bush administration negotiating seriously--with Congress, with the world--to devise a more realistic, acceptable and humble policy in Iraq.  This is a process that should be encouraged, for the well-being of all."


LEBANON:  "Bush’s Speech And Colin Powell’s Slip Of The Tongue"


Fouad Mattar contended in pro-Sunni Al-Liwaa (9/25):  “President Bush Junior was giving his speech at the UN with a Texan style saying things that did not convince anyone anymore.  He was talking about ‘his holy war’ on ‘terrorism’ and how security was brought to the Middle East after he brought down Saddam Hussein’s regime, when his Secretary of State Colin Powell was saying in a televised interview that ‘Iraq should be an Islamic State just as the U.S. was a Jewish Christian State’ [sic]....  What Secretary Powell said was no slip of the tongue, in this long season of slips of the tongue witnessed during the term in office of the Bush administration where one can hardly find a speech that did not include a slip of the tongue usually expressing the truth.  And although the General of Diplomacy (Colin Powell) is speaking here about the ideology of the administration to which he belongs and not about that of the majority of the American people, still his speech leads us to assume that before this new faction of the American society represented by President Bush’s administration we will not have stability but will always be the target of threats, blackmail and even attacks.”


"Bush And The Great Catastrophe"


Awni Kaaki wrote in pro-Syrian Ash-Sharq (9/25):  “President Bush stood before the UNGA personifying the image of the Emperor of Earth, using in his speech intimidating terms against anyone objecting to his destructive policies....  The international community had expected bush to say something different.  It expected him to reconsider his position on Iraq and call the International Community to play an effective role in saving Iraq.  But he did not.  On the contrary with rudeness and impudence he announced it was still very early to restore authority to the Iraqis, turning his back to everything the international community desires in this regard....  Didn’t Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell say that the U.S. was a Christian-Jewish State?  Doesn’t that confirm the control of the Jewish lobby on decision-making centers in the American administration?  There is no doubt that Bush’s speech before the UNGA was of pure Jewish working.  And the world should realize that before the great catastrophe occurs.”


"Preventive Change"


Sahar Baasiri opined in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (9/24):  “President Bush is still in one valley and the whole world is in another valley.  He stood before the General Assembly as if he is not coming to the UN to ask for help.  He addressed the leaders of the world by talking about his great achievements in Afghanistan and Iraq, ignoring what is really happening in these two countries....  Nothing has changed!  Apparently...Bush cannot understand the international atmosphere despite the fact that it was clarified by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who...sharply criticized the strategy of preventive attacks and unilateral policies.  But what were these words for?  Bush continues to classify the world as black and white....  Why did Bush go to the UN and on what basis did he ask for assistance?  His speech does not reflect a desire to work as a team with other states....  Perhaps the rest of the world thought that it will be listening to a speech that would include an effort to reconcile with the world....  However, it seems, as President Chirac said, that the confrontation in order to reach a new world balance will continue.”


"A Weak Position That Proves That The U.S Army Is Drowning In Iraqi Mud"


Youssef Daou observed in pro-Sunni Al-Liwa’ (9/24):  “Arab diplomatic sources in New York opined that President Bush’s speech before the General Assembly did not really include any new message.  One prominent Arab minister said that...they expected President Bush to take a new position on Iraq, but everything he said was mere repetition and the ‘world could have done without this speech'....  The same sources belittled the importance of Bush’s justifications for continuing the occupation of Iraq...and noted that the basic gap in his speech was not putting a tentative date for ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq....  The sources concluded that Bush’s position was weak."


"Bush Can Only Stall For So Long Before Iraqi Quagmire Drags Him Down"


The moderate English-language Daily Star declared (9/24):  "George W. Bush’s speech to the United Nations...was not nearly as discouraging as some had feared, but nor did it move the Iraq controversy any closer to a viable solution.  At best, the president of the United States seemed to be stalling for time, apparently under the illusion that standing still is a substitute for building the necessary support for a workable plan that might salvage the situation--and quite possibly his chances of winning a second term in office.  Essentially, Bush and his advisers find themselves in a dilemma of their own creation.  They need desperately to have other great powers to take on roles befitting their status but cannot make the necessary concessions without admitting to some extent that thus far they have made a mess of things....  There is a fleeting window of opportunity to reverse the downward spiral, and Bush has yet to demonstrate an understanding of how it might be put to good use....  In actuality, it is American aimlessness that offers succor to its enemies by creating the impression that for all its might, the superpower is a very confused beast.  Countries like France and Germany do not want America to fail, but neither do they want to be part of a disaster that they rightly see as being perfectly preventable.  Their involvement might come with a heavy political price tag, but their continuing estrangement will be even more expensive."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "American Transparency"


 Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (9/25):  "According to President Bush, the Iraqi people are incapable of handling their own affairs and of running their country.  President Bush seems to have forgotten that when the occupation forces demolished the infrastructure of Iraq, leaving it broken and out of order, this chaos and lack of security was the outcome.  The patching attempts by military governor Paul Bremer will not bring peace and security back to Iraq. Rebuilding the infrastructure the American way needs decades to accomplish. As long as the occupation is in control of Iraq’s resources, these years will extend forever.  President Bush now wants to convince the United Nation to send peacekeeping forces to Iraq, and contribute to paying the bill for restructuring Iraq with the U.S." 


SYRIA:  "The Sole Ideology Of Violence In The Middle East"


Dr. Mahdi Dakhllalah, chief editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th, noted (9/24):  "In his address at the UNGA, President Bush reiterated the importance of changing the Middle East by weakening the ideologies that export violence....  It is easy in the Middle East to recognize the sole ideology that produced violence for decades.  We can see results on the ground helping to recognize this ideology; the phenomenon of occupation and aggression on one hand, and the phenomenon of resistance on the other.  Is it difficult to recognize behind which phenomenon the real ideology of violence hides?  For decades, the Zionist ideology has devastated the region departing from racist concepts and utilizing methods of extermination and terrorism depending on unlimited support from the circles of hegemony in the world."


TUNISIA:  "Wrong Method Speech"


Editor-in-chief Chokri Baccouche wrote in independent French-language Le Quotidien (9/25):  “President Bush’s speech at the UN has only reiterated what everybody already knew.  The speech reflected a constancy in the American policy particularly about Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian issue....  One small step forward and two steps backward, this is what we deduce from President Bush’s speech....  The unconvincing arguments presented by the American president have only raised suspicions of Washington, where they continue to alternate between transparency and confusion in policy.  The speech included some new ideas: the pretext of looking for WMD has been replaced with looking for common graves and places of torture by the former Iraqi regime in order to legitimize the American-British coalition military intervention against this regime....  As for the Palestinian issue, the same U.S. logic prevailed with strong criticism of the Palestinian leaders and Arafat in particular....  Through a pathetic analysis, George Bush has once again confirmed Washington's bias towards the Israeli state.  It is clear that the UN should take this opportunity to put order to the international chaos and to improve its image....  Hence, Iraq’s autonomy and the end of the occupation, the sooner the better, represents a real test that will determine the UN's future.”  


UAE:  "Unilateralist U.S. Feels The UN Heat"


The English-language Dubai-based Gulf News remarked (9/25):  "Even as U.S. President George W. Bush went to the United Nations to reiterate his case for obtaining help from fellow UN members in the reconstruction of Iraq, the world body's secretary general pulled no punches in rebuking the sole superpower for its unilateralist action.  Kofi Annan's speech is in concert with many voices of caution from the developed and developing world that American unilateralism threatens global peace and security.  Annan makes it abundantly clear, if any more clarity is needed, that the Bush doctrine of 'pre-emptive war' implemented in Iraq, is a fundamental challenge to the principles that had ensured world peace and stability since the UN's creation 58 years ago.  In highlighting this at the highest international forum, Annan and French President Jacques Chirac have issued a warning against the action on Iraq setting a precedent.  Weighing in yet again on the side of multilateralism, Chirac, a vocal opponent of the war, reminded the Americans that there is no alternative to the UN.  The logical outcome must be an acceptance of a mutuality of needs between the U.S. and the UN, leading to a consensus that delivers succor to a nation that needs all these players most--Iraq."




AUSTRALIA:  "U.S., Not UN Can Save The World"


Foreign editor Greg Sheridan opined in the conservative Australian (9/25):  “It is unrealistic for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to say that pre-emption threatens the global order that has prevailed since the creation of the UN in 1945.  The truth is the UN system has never provided international order....  Bush has asked for the world's help in building a democratic, prosperous and stable Iraq.  What kind of mad Parisian irresponsibility would put scoring a few points off U.S. difficulties ahead of undertaking that urgent task, which is literally in the interests of all mankind?”


"U.S. And UN Must Heed Lessons Of Iraq"


An editorial in the liberal Melbourne-based Age read (9/25):  “The very presence of Mr. Bush before the General Assembly affirms that the U.S. does not, for all its warnings, see the UN as irrelevant.  This is not a development to be sneered at, and critics of the war on Iraq should not seriously entertain the notion of leaving the U.S. to 'sort out its own mess.'  Iraq's needs are too desperate to permit anti-American feeling to decide responses....  For all the debate over the justifications for war, the fall of the Iraqi regime was widely welcomed....  Most nations--the U.S., its allies and critics alike--and the UN also agree on the main objective: 'self-government for the people of Iraq, reached by orderly and democratic means,' in Mr. Bush's words.  The U.S. must accept that meaningful UN involvement is the best way to ensure the legitimacy of that process. “


"Uniting Nations After Iraq"


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald stated (9/24):  "The first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein must look beyond the inevitable bickering over fault and responsibility in postwar Iraq.  The return of the U.S. president, George Bush, to the vast assembly room--one year after demanding that the UN should confront Iraq or 'stand aside'--is a welcome confirmation that the world's sole superpower cannot truly go it alone....  Mr. Bush offered no apology for Washington's doctrine of pre-emptive military intervention.  He did not need to.  America's formal request for international assistance in Iraq is sufficient evidence of the continuing need for global co-operation in conflict resolution."


CHINA:  "The Unilateralism Of The U.S. Challenges The Future Of The UN"


Wang Jufang stated in official popular Beijing Morning Post (Beijing Chenbao) (9/25):  “Analysts think that, from what Bush has expressed to the UN assembly, the U.S. did not make any essential change on its stance on the Iraq issue.  The so-called ‘bigger role’ for the UN mentioned in Bush’s speech did not surpass the U.S.’ previous commitment.  The UN was still excluded from Iraqi security affairs and essential political and economic reconstruction.  This is obviously far from the ‘central’ role of the UN in Iraq requested by France and other countries.  Even though France and Germany expressed their hope that the U.S. and UK can return power to Iraqis within ‘several months’, people noticed that Bush clearly refused to set a schedule on this in his speech.  Analysts indicated that, since the U.S. did not make a major adjustment on its Iraqi policy, Bush’s speech at the UN assembly will hardly have any influence on getting the new resolution concerned with Iraq that the U.S. was promoting.”


"Unilateralism Falls Apart"


Hu Xuan commented in the official English-language China Daily (9/25):  “Bush made no excuses for the chaotic postwar conditions in Baghdad, nor the failure so far to find any weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war.  Rather, he suggested that the world again needed to act in a pre-emptive manner to prevent attacks by terrorists equipped with unconventional weapons....  The Iraq War has proved that pre-emption can do nothing but destroy the international rule of law.  The outcome of such actions has turned out to run counter to the original wishes of the advocates....  Bush's unapologetic defense of the war in his speech addressed to the world's leaders offers no help in mending the schism between the U.S. and the UN to reach a consensus on rebuilding Iraq.  That consensus is crucial at this moment, as greater international involvement is needed in the reconstruction of the shattered nation.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "The UN Is Relevant, But It May Need Reform"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post said (9/25):  "One year ago, U.S. President George W. Bush stood before the UN General Assembly and threatened to go to war in Iraq with or without the international body's consent....  The U.S. did go to war, without UN backing, by building its own coalition of the willing.  The irrelevance that he had forecast for the UN has not, however, materialized.  If anything, the UN is looking increasingly crucial to the task of rebuilding Iraq and even Afghanistan, where the U.S. only two years ago led an international force in dismantling the Taliban government.  UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was frank about the UN's challenges....  If the delegates and members wanted the Council to have any relevance at all, he told the gathering, they would have to resolve their differences about how the new Security Council should look....  In the short term, the U.S. will have to allow the UN to be meaningfully involved in reconstruction and peacekeeping in Iraq....  If changes to the UN itself are called for, members should not hesitate to make them.  This time around, the UN's relevance may well be at stake."


TAIWAN:  "U.S. Looks Distressed Over Its Unilateralism"


Pei Ya-hsuan noted in pro-independence Taiwan Daily (9/25):  "In short, the increasing casualties of American soldiers in Iraq have sparked mounting voices from the Americans who want the United Nations to get involved in the peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts in Iraq.  In addition, the U.S. already looked distressed, as it can hardly solely shoulder the huge reconstruction costs in post-war Iraq.  All these have demonstrated that U.S. unilateralism is now in a quandary of whether it can carry on or not."  


JAPAN:  "UNSC Must Be Strengthened"


Liberal Asahi observed (9/25):  "In a speech before the UNGA, President Bush sought assistance from the UN and the world community in Iraq's reconstruction.  But UN Secretary General Annan criticized 'U.S. unilateralism' in dealing with Iraq, calling the U.S. doctrine of pre-emptive military strikes (without UNSC approval) a fundamental challenge to the UN Charter....  It was not Mr. Bush but Mr. Annan, who received greater applause from the UNGA audience....  President Bush should be aware that the international community has become less supportive of the current U.S. position of unilaterally ruling world affairs while trying to use the UN as an assistant in implementing U.S. world policy.  But it is also true that as long as the UNSC is unable to address problems related to war and peace, it cannot prevent the U.S. from intensifying its 'go-it-along' diplomacy.  The functions of the UNSC must be revised and strengthened to promote international cooperation in dealing with global issues."     


"Effective Resolution For Iraq Stabilization"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (9/25):  "Speeches by U.S. President Bush and French President Chirac at the UNGA showed the U.S. and France are still at odds over the reconstruction of postwar Iraq.  In the speech, Chirac called for an early transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people.  But we believe the French proposal is too hasty and it will only add to the postwar confusion that is gripping Iraq.  For its part, the U.S. needs to present detailed plans to stabilize Iraq and transfer sovereignty to the Iraqi Governing Council.  Japan, as a close U.S. ally, should do as much as it can to meet the U.S. call for greater financial assistance and formation of a multinational force to help rebuild Iraq."


"Annan Slams U.S. Unilateral Action"


Liberal Asahi's UN correspondents held (9/24):  "In a speech before the UNGA, President Bush, keeping in mind the North Korean nuclear standoff, disclosed plans to call on the UNSC to adopt a new resolution against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The President sought further assistance from the UN and the world community in Iraq's reconstruction.  But UN Secretary General Annan criticized what he calls U.S. unilateralism in dealing with Iraq and other global issues, calling the U.S. doctrine of pre-emptive military strikes (without a UNSC approval) a fundamental challenge to the UN Charter."   


INDONESIA:  "U.S. Unilateralism Feared To Encourage Law Of The Jungle"


Leading independent Kompas declared (9/25):  “As predicted, the U.S. President Bush used the UNGA forum to defend his policy of attacking Iraq.  Before the leaders of 191 countries, he talked about his pre-emptive attack doctrine....  Bush’s address seemed to lack his persuasive power amid major disappointment over the U.S. stance on Iraq.  Moreover, as if not guilty, the U.S. has urged the UN, which it had earlier despised, to help in rebuilding Iraq....  The collective nature of the UN, which has been emphasized since its inception after World War II, is now being questioned since the U.S. tends to go at it alone.  What is more apprehensive is that the use of the pre-emptive strike doctrine might encourage the law of the jungle.”     


MALAYSIA:  "This Lion Needs Sharper Teeth"


Abdullah Ahmad remarked in the government-influenced English-language New Straits Times (9/24):  "Bush’s tough and unyielding speech at the General Assembly yesterday...said again that he had made no mistake in invading Iraq and planning for post-war security and reconstruction for that unfortunate nation.  Privately, all know that the United States did not anticipate the scope and duration of the raging guerrilla war against the Anglo-American occupation.  Bush would make no concessions to demands that the U.S. share authority to run Iraq, though he was asking France, Germany and Russia to break an impasse over sharing peacekeeping and construction costs....  The UN is nothing if not for the global legitimacy that it confers, which suffers when decision-making is shackled by a powerful few.  Obviously, the first thing to do is to remake and enlarge the Council....  If Security Council disconnect has damaged UN credibility and legitimacy, then the U.S. decision to invade Iraq without a UN mandate has left it in tatters....  The Bush administration has given belated but token recognition to the necessity of UN auspices in the re-construction of Iraq.  The U.S. might be able to unilaterally wage war, but it cannot act alone to make peace.  For peace to take hold, the UN has to provide the necessary degree of multipolarity in a unipolar world."


PHILIPPINES:  "Troubles"


Publisher Max V. Soliven maintained in the independent Philippine Star (9/24):  “Mr. Bush has other troubles back in Fortress America.  His address to the United Nations may have been made with conviction, but how many of the skeptical UN countries can he convince to join the new heavily embattled effort in occupied Iraq?"


SOUTH KOREA:  "Bush’s UN Speech Shameless"


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (9/25):  “President Bush, in his first speech to the UN since the U.S. war on Iraq, asserted that the U.S. was right to invade Iraq, defending the legitimacy of his strategy of preemption.  This arrogant attitude of Mr. Bush clearly shows that the combat troops that the U.S. as requested of some 10 countries, including the ROK, are merely part of the occupying force....  The U.S. invasion and armed occupation of Iraq is obviously an immoral, imperialistic act of aggression.  The U.S. must admit its wrongdoing, apologize to the international community for its action, and take steps to redress the present wrongful situation by immediately handing over sovereignty to the Iraqi people.  Only then can it raise the need for UN peacekeeping forces, not U.S.-led multinational forces, to stabilize and rehabilitate the war-torn Iraq.”


"Conflict Between Bush And Chirac At UN"


Moderate Hankook Ilbo held (9/25):  “We cannot help but pay attention to the conflict between Presidents Bush and Chirac at the UN over a transfer of sovereignty to Iraq, because the issue is crucial in adoption of a UN resolution on Iraq, which will determine the nature of forces to be dispatched to keep order in Iraq, i.e. whether they will operate as UN multinational forces or U.S. allied forces.  We firmly believe that the task of keeping order in Iraq must be carried out by multinational forces, authorized by the UN Security Council.  Only then can they work smoothly in reconstructing Iraq while allaying anti-American sentiment in the country, and we can also participate in such work without encouraging anti-U.S. feelings in our society.”


"There Is No Such Thing As A ‘Free Lunch’ In The World"


Kim Young-hie argued in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (9/24):  "The U.S. request for additional troops for Iraq can be seen as the bill for President Bush’s recent description of President Roh as his ‘friend'....  Seoul seems to have no choice but to accept the U.S. request and to send, at least, thousands of troops to Iraq....  In this regard, what Seoul must do is to make clear its position of sending troops to Iraq, in accordance with the spirit of the ROK-U.S. alliance, and to start to negotiate with Washington on the size of our dispatched troops and their station regions in Iraq.  Furthermore, it would be wise to utilize the troop dispatch issue as leverage in dealing with USFK realignment, rather than trying to discuss the terms of our troop deployment....  The biggest stumbling block to ensuring stability in Iraq is the insatiable U.S. greed of monopolizing the exploits of the Iraq war.  Accordingly, if the UN adopts a second resolution on Iraq and if countries that opposed the war, including France and Germany, participate physically in postwar reconstruction in Iraq, the Iraq war will come to a real end."




INDIA:  "Will Bush Return To His Senses?" 


Independent Calcutta-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika contended (9/25):  "Even after such an invasion with so much fanfare and installation of a provisional government on the soil of the vanquished land President Bush cannot elevate himself to the role of a protagonist. The sense of hubris and arrogance has evaporated from his mien and he gradually looks like a pathetic, helpless fellow seeking to defend himself....  No matter whether his resolution on Iraq gets the UN approval or not it can be clearly assumed that possibilities of other countries showering their benevolence on the present U.S. sponsored government in Iraq is really remote....  There is no denying the fact that America still remains to be an extremely valuable partner from the international viewpoint. But the chief concern is that the paradigm of international politics gets vitiated by America's belligerent unilateralism."


"A Folly Undone" 


The nationalist Hindustan Times argued (9/25):  "A year ago, George W. Bush had even compared the world body with the League of Nations in a tone of disdain.  Much has changed, however, in these 12 months.  Mr. Bush returned to the UN on Tuesday with a call to everyone to put the past behind them in order to tackle various problems, including Iraq, AIDS and sex trafficking.  Earlier, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke for a vast majority of the world's population while criticizing the concept of pre-emptive wars.  After Bush, French President Jacques Chirac echoed Annan's criticism of unilateral action by stressing the ideal of multilateralism.  What these developments underline is the continuing relevance of the UN, contrary to what the hawkish elements in Washington had been saying.  The change in attitude was quite dramatic considering that the UN had once been regarded as a plaything in the hands of the U.S.....  Now, Mr. Annan has castigated the American policy without any protest from the U.S. establishment.  The reason for the American quiescence is apparently the lesson it has learnt in Iraq.  The reluctance of countries like India to send troops to Iraq without a UN mandate has highlighted the relevance of the world body.  The UN, therefore, has come through a difficult period in its history with its reputation intact, perhaps even enhanced."


"Against Unilateralism" 


The centrist Hindu maintained (9/25):  "President Bush stands in dire need of the international community's assistance to extricate his country from the mess he has led it to in Iraq.  However, such is the arrogance of imperialism and conquest that he prefers to make a demand, rather than a request, for assistance.  A request for assistance should include some contrition for waging a war on grounds that did not exist, as Bush and senior officials now admit; for imposing death and enormous destruction on the people of Iraq; for disrupting their state and civil society; and for violating the fundamental principle of multilateralism on which the United Nations is supposed to be founded.  None of this found mention in Bush's address to the UN General Assembly.  The U.S. seemed to take on board the proposal by other member--states, notably France and Germany--that sovereignty be restored to the Iraqi people.  It is not inconceivable that this quasi-acceptance of 'Iraqi self-government' in the conceivable future will ensure the passage of a fresh resolution in the Security Council.  However, very few countries are likely to contribute forces or funds in the event of such a resolution being passed since the U.S. is not likely to dilute the power of the Coalition Provisional Authority....  Since the U.S. does not possess the means to restore normality in Iraq, it wants to give a limited role to the UN.  The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, has provided a nuanced analysis of the situation in Iraq and the world and delivered a heart-felt critique of the doctrine of pre-emptive military action....  As a critique of the doctrine of imperialist unilateralism applied to Iraq, this is clearly insufficient but the UN Secretary-General must be given credit for going some of the way in agonizing times."


"World At Crossroads"


The centrist Indian Express editorialized (9/25):  “If the unrepentant tone of President Bush’s address to the UN is any indication, there is little reason for optimism that [UN reforms] will take shape any time soon.  More than ever before, the U.S. badly needs the support of the international community for the stabilization and reconstitution of Iraq.  But instead of seeking that cooperation through mutual give and take, Bush, possibly concerned by falling grades in opinion polls for him and his war at home, was addressing his domestic constituency rather than his immediate audience....  If this is so, he has only added insult to the existing injury to the world body.”


"Bush's Mistake"


The pro-BJP Pioneer (9/25):  “U.S. President George W. Bush is fond of telling 'make no mistake' about U.S. motives and actions.  He is making a big one himself by continuing to be in denial about one undeniable fact:  things have gone horribly wrong with America's unilateral attempt to save the world by 'delivering' the Iraqis from Ba'athist tyranny....  It is nothing short of breathtaking that he could ask ‘friends’ to help the traumatized nation without once acknowledging its misery on account of a war waged with little moral or international sanction.”


"Vajpayee-Bush Meeting"


An editorial in independent Urdu-language Inquilab read (9/24):  “With several European countries refusing to patrol Iraq on behalf of the invaders, the U.S. is pressuring India to deploy its troops and help in strengthening the occupation of the country.  Although certain elements within the country are more than willing to send the troops, the government must keep itself away from the American quagmire in Iraq.  The Indian Parliament has already passed resolution against sending troops to Iraq.  This position is only reaffirmed in view of the intensifying wave of hatred and resistance against the occupying U.S. forces in Iraq.”


PAKISTAN:  "The Threat From Militarism"


Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn contended (9/25):  "President George Bush was typically simplistic in his review of the Iraqi situation, and his tone fully reflected the self-righteousness that has marked his administration's entire foreign policy.  In a 'sound-bite' aimed at fawning U.S. media, he said transfer of power in Iraq would be 'neither hurried nor delayed'....  Its unilateralism and preemptive militarism are being denounced not only throughout the world, but also increasingly by its own people.  The new fall in Mr. Bush's popularity ratings to 50 per cent is significant, as is his forced return to the UN."


"Importance Of UN's Role For Global Peace"


Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang noted (9/25):  "U.S. President George Bush has said nothing new in his address to the United Nations except that he would not act in haste in accordance with the wishes of other parties for the transfer of power in Iraq.  On terrorism issue he has repeated what he had been saying before.  The U.S. president neither succeeded in impressing the international community by his address nor was he able to convince the American people of the justification of attacking and occupying Iraq.  Many analysts in Europe and America feel that President Bush has once again tried to deceive the American public by the magic of his words."


"Bush Under Fire"


An editorial in the center-right national English daily, The Nation stated (9/25):  "Not that one expected the fire-breathing President Bush to relent under fire.  But when attacked frontally from a rather unexpected source that represents the voice of the global conscience, one should have thought the God-fearing leader of the U.S. would spare a moment to reflect on the grievous charge leveled against him....  Sadly, neither the reprimands of Mr. Annan nor the plaintive arguments of Mr. Chirac seem to cut much ice with Mr. Bush....  The best course open to the U.S., already under growing global pressure to extricate itself, is to heed Mr. Chirac’s advice and work for 'the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis' and let them to take their rightful place in the comity of nations."


"Bush Doctrine:  A Danger For World Peace"


The second largest Urdu daily, Nawa-e-Waqt held (9/25):  "Before President Bush’s UNGA speech, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan criticized Bush doctrine of preemptive attack....  The obsession that has overtaken Bush goes against expectation of any change in his policies or ending his anti-Islam crusade.  However, American people can oust him in the next elections."


"UN At Crossroads"


Sensationalist pro-Jihad Urdu daily, Ummat contended (9/25):  "U.S. President George Bush became the target of criticism and condemnation of the UN General Assembly.  Most of the 191 members condemned him for insulting the international community by not seeking UN permission prior to attacking Iraq.  It was the first occasion when even the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also expressed his anger over U.S. policy on Iraq.  U.S. Iraq policy is in fact an open challenge for the UN.  It has put the UN at crossroads.  The criticism hurled at the U.S. during the General Assembly session clearly indicates that the world at large is becoming aware of the deceptive policies of President Bush."


"President Bush’s Address"


The Lahore-based populist Urdu daily Khabrain argued (9/25):  "The UNGA address by the leader of the world’s sole superpower is part of the U.S. new world order and it seems as if America wants to use the United Nations to achieve its fulfillment.  The American president has talked about weapons of mass destruction, but who can deny that the U.S. today has more WMD than any other country in the world....  President Bush’s demand that Palestinians bring in new leaders cannot be considered appropriate as it is the Palestinian nation’s internal matter who they choose as their leader....  Before any attention is paid to the points raised by the U.S. president, there is a need to develop a unanimous definition of the term terrorism as well as what weapons can be called WMD....  What more proof that the U.S. president is not justified than the fact that Kofi Annan has termed his doctrine of preemptive strike a threat to global peace."


"Frank Discourse Of Kofi Annan"


An editorial in the Karachi-based pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu daily Islam (9/25):  "The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his inaugural address to the General Assembly made the Iraq policy of U.S. President George Bush as the center of his criticism....  The manner in which Kofi Annan lambasted Bush policies has proved the fact that United States is the unprincipled and unbridled force from which global peace and security, law and justice, humanity and civilization all are facing threat.  The manner in which the world leaders appreciated the Secretary-General's address also proves that the magic of U.S. power is now fading away and the world is coming out of the American fear.  On the contrary Bush's speech reflected that there has been no change in his thinking since after the Iraq war." 


BANGLADESH:  "Bush, Get Out Of Iraq:  The UN Must Take The Principal Role"


Independent Bangla-language Prothom Alo observed (9/25):  "For the first time after launching unilateral aggression on Iraq without the approval of the UN Security Council, President Bush addressed the UN General Assembly with the same tone of obstinacy, irrationality and highhandedness.  After turning Iraq into ruins, he now says that well-wishers for Iraq must come forward.  Who other than a brigand can make such a demand?  Who is responsible for Iraq’s distress?  What is the reason for the help that Iraq now needs?  How could Bush and his jingoistic administration urge others to come forward to help Iraq?  The U.S., Britain and Australia must bear all costs for Iraq’s reconstruction.  Mr. Bush must withdraw its troops from Iraq immediately.  The UN will take charge of the country.  It must play the principal role in Iraq’s political reconstruction.  Bush, you are an illegal occupier and must get out of Iraq."




KENYA:  "Let The UN Heed Bush Plea"


Independent left-of-center Nation opined (9/24):  “It is...understandable that Mr. Bush should now appeal from the same UN which it treated with such disrespect for help to restore order in Iraq.  Yet, despite the poignancy of this irony, we believe the UN should respond positively to the SOS.  The appeal is mainly financial and technical and, therefore, is aimed especially at Japan, the European Union (especially Germany) and France....  But not Mr. Bush.  He is still demanding that the UN do it strictly under U.S. terms.  Yet the mess is America’s own.  If it wants the international community to mop it up for him, he should ask for it with at least some studied humbleness.  Should he not, in fact, hand over everything to the UN?”




CANADA:  "Bush At The UN:  He Seems Faintly Embarrassed"


Columnist Paul Knox commented in the liberal Globe and Mail (9/24):  "The most revealing truth-twisting in Mr. Bush's address concerned the Iraqi Governing Council, the body hand-picked by U.S. authorities to help it run occupied Iraq.  The country isn't even close to holding a postwar election.  Nevertheless, Mr. Bush called the council 'the first truly representative institution' there, and referred to Iraq as a 'young democracy.'...  Democracy would start with voting for a leader....  But it would certainly not be having Paul Bremer, the U.S.-appointed viceroy of Baghdad, pick a jumble of former exiles, ethnic chieftains and religious leaders to 'represent' Iraqis.  Mr. Bush's words show how dangerously debased the word 'democracy' has become.  Democracy to him is less a process than a result.  You're democratic when you're on our side, or when you are the product of something we did.  Democracy is like religion, or freedom, or morality--a value to be enforced rather than a tool for discovering the popular will.  The United States isn't the only UN power seeking to maximize its commercial and strategic interest in Iraq.  But the Bush administration continues to give every impression of seeking to engineer managed outcomes among Iraqis, rather than fostering a real democratic process and letting the chips fall.  That being the case, it's no wonder the United States and the UN remain at odds."


"World Must Acknowledge U.S. Role In Ending Squalor, Slavery"


Columnist David Warren observed in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen (9/24):  "U.S. President George W. Bush's address to the General Assembly yesterday will not make sense, entirely, if the reader has fallen for the false media account of the sequence of events.  The first thing to grasp is that the U.S. appeal for UN help in Iraq and Afghanistan is nothing new.  It is the continuation of an appeal that began more than a year ago, when Mr. Bush last addressed the General Assembly....  The rebuilding of Iraq--which necessarily involved the removal of the totalitarian dictatorship of Saddam Hussein--has been U.S. policy continuously.  And so has been the U.S. appeal for help.  They didn't get much of it for the invasion, they are still hoping for more in the après-guerre.  As Mr. Bush affirmed yesterday, this is a U.S.-led project.  It cannot be otherwise--no one else volunteered for the job.  Politically, the Bush administration must take the lion's share of credit for what is being achieved in Iraq--there are few saints in high political office.  But then it deserves the credit, from doing the lion's share of the work....  The second big lie, in urgent need of correction, is that the U.S. expects much from the UN itself.  The haplessness of that organization has already been demonstrated, with an abundance exceeding farce.  What the U.S. instead needs is a resolution from that augustly fickle body.  It can then use the resolution to collect on promises from not only France and Germany, but more particularly from such countries as India and Turkey, which said they'd send troops and aid of various kinds, but have used the lack of a UN resolution as an excuse for dawdling."


"This Time Bush Is Right"


Editorialist Mario Roy judged in the centrist La Presse of Montreal (9/24):  "George W Bush is right on one thing.  The full transfer of government to Iraqi authorities within a deadline of few weeks is unrealistic.  Left to itself, the nation would sink in the bloodiest of anarchy in 24 hours.  U.S. troops and management are not well liked but their absence would be even less.  For France to continue to defend such a views says a lot about its will to oppose at any cost to the American superpower, which gives it airs of an old spiteful power....  It is a shame that France has nothing better to offer at this time than a weightier international structure overseen by the UN, whose main problem is that it is already tremendously bureaucratized, heavy, costly and inefficient....  Granted [the Americans] were wrong to start the war.  But should Iraqis have to pay to make up this mistake?"


"The Strong Man"


Editorialist Guy Taillefer held in the liberal Le Devoir (9/24):  "Considering the quagmire into which the coalition forces are bogged down in Iraq, the rotting beyond comprehension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the attacks in Indonesia and Morocco, the words of the president are in total contradiction with reality....  That does not mean that the apologia of multilateralism made by President Chirac is not without fault.  He was absolutely right to say that no one can act in on behalf of everyone else.  But his decision announced Monday not to use the French veto against the American resolution on the expansion of the military and financial aid to Iraqis means for all intent and purposes the acceptance of the occupation....  Paris will nevertheless continue to fight for a quick transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis since the sooner the transfer occurs, the sooner the control of the Americans over the development of Iraq can be bypassed.  The diplomatic tug-of-war seems in vain in light of the weekend announcement by the Iraqi Governing Council, under American supervision, regarding the full-scale privatization of the economy--except for the oil industry--and its massive opening to foreign investment.  The United States will have already have seized the lion's share of the Iraqi spoils, the day multilateralism takes effect in Iraq."


ARGENTINA:  "Of Needs...and Realities"


Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor for leading Clarin, wrote (9/24):  "The White House is intoxicated with unsatisfied needs.  It needs the invasion of Iraq to be successful; and also, to downplay domestic criticism.  In order to achieve this, it needs the world to accept post-war multilateralism and forget the aggressive unilateralism imposed since the beginning of the campaign.  Bush was tough yesterday when he upheld these demands.  But it's doubtful that the UN will give him other than a lifesaver.  The flexible tone of France and Germany respond to a logic by which it's pointless to lead the U.S. to a dead-end street with the improbable prize of self-criticism that would seriously damage it.  There's no room for mistakes.  The disaster of Iraq is there, inevitably.  But there won't be tons of money and troops to heal the Gulf's open wounds.  The White House will still have to bear the political cost."


BRAZIL:  "What Bush Sought In His UNGA Speech"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized (9/25):  "President Bush's UNGA speech seemed to be addressed to U.S. voters much more than to foreign dignitaries....  The erosion in his popularity has certainly been noted by foreign leaders, especially those of the Security Council members, while they evaluate what to do in view of Washington's request for troops and money for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq....  Never before has a UN secretary general been as forceful as Kofi Annan in criticizing the U.S....  And no one has interpreted better than President Lula da Silva the state of subordination to which Washington has condemned the UN....  But UNGA speeches are not made to be taken literally....  It seems clear that Bush is aware that the situation in Iraq has nothing to do with the optimistic picture he has painted for U.S. voters, and that it is not possible to shorten Iraq's reconstruction without the UN's full support--which he will surely obtain."


"Where Bush's Stubbornness Will Lead"


Independent Jornal da Tarde commented (9/25):  "The UNGA's opening session demonstrated that the obvious failure of the Pax Americana in Iraq has not been enough to bridge the gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world in regards to this key issue in today's international relations....  George W. Bush reaffirmed his geopolitical concept that the U.S. has the right to protect itself from possible attacks by hidden enemies and that to do so it may even occupy them militarily....  Everything leads to the conclusion that Bush made the mistake of occupying Iraq thinking of his re-election and based on the U.S. tradition of supporting leaders in times of war.  However, the disastrous post-war operation is seriously jeopardizing that goal."


"President Bush's Mistakes"


Jurist Ives Gandra Martins opined in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (9/25):  "Due to a matter of 'false honor,' the U.S. insists on saying that it destroyed Iraq to establish democracy, while knowing that none of the Arab nations with which it maintains relations is or intends to be a democracy.  By taking the incorrect course of fighting terrorism through violence, Bush is generating a nationalistic, anti-American spirit among the Arabs, and unifying the several cultures of that region in anti-Western sentiment."


"Multilateral Solution"


Center-left Jornal do Brasil editorialized (9/25):  "Only one reason explains President Bush's insistence according to what he said at the UN; the eventual seizure of Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden may be a war trophy that may lead the White House to pull the strings to its extreme.  It's a dangerous game.  Iraq is fraught with traps.  India, China, Russia and France could perform an important role in the sense of obtaining Iraq's stabilization, provided it is done under the UN military command."


"Bush At The UN"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (9/24):  "As expected, President George W. Bush was the focus of criticism yesterday at the UNGA opening in NYC....  One year ago, Bush said that if the UN could not make Saddam obey its resolutions, the organization would run the risk of becoming irrelevant.  Yesterday, a less arrogant Bush addressed the General Assembly to ask for support from its members.  The U.S. president needs help in terms of soldiers and money....  The post-war administration has become a quagmire for the U.S....  The costs of the adventure have been much higher than initially estimated....  Such a difficult situation is beginning to have political consequences....  Echoing his father, Bush is running the risk of being defeated in the re-election campaign even though he has won a war."


MEXICO:  "Bush:  Rejected At The United Nations"


The left-of-center La Jornada editorialized (9/24):  “U.S. President George Bush spoke...before the General Assembly of the United Nations to ask that the global community forget the illegal and arbitrary nature of his recent military aggression against Iraq and the colonial submission of this miserable country, and to demand international assistance--money and troops--submissive and subordinate to the Anglo-American occupation of the Iraqi territory....  Before Bush began speaking, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan indicated that the Anglo-American invasion could 'set a precedent that resulted in the proliferation of unlimited use of force, with or without justification.'...  The UN General Assembly was, therefore, an eloquent indicator of the isolation of Washington in the international community.”


"Bush And The UN"


Academic Gabriela de la Paz asserted in independent El Norte (9/24):  "Since beginning his mandate, George W. Bush has made it clear that for him, U.S. interests trump those of any other country or institution.  Through his ignorance about the details of the most relevant conflicts between 1999 and 2000, and by his despising of the work of the United Nations, we could see that Bush was different from Bill Clinton.  However, in practice they have not been that different, since they share the inheritance of an old conflict.  Curiously, it seems Americans have a love-hate relationship with the UN....  The paradox is that the UN incarnates the best of U.S. tradition and defines a great part of the contemporary international policy."


CHILE:  "The UN At A Crossroads"


Government-owned, editorially independent Santiago daily La Nacion judged (9/24):  "Secretary General Kofi Annan noted that ...Article 51 of the UN Charter says that all states have the right to defend themselves if they are attacked, and that it was understood if they wanted to go any further they required UN approval.  Violating this principle, he said, would set a precedent of 'unilateral and illegal use of force, with or without a credible reason.'...  President Bush's remarks before the General Assembly have not helped mitigate Annan's concern, a concern that is shared by most nations represented in United Nations....  The UN must continue to be the alternative to the law of the jungle in the world.  It must reaffirm the principles on which it was founded and change those structures, like the Security Council, that strive to make the world safer for us all."


COLOMBIA:  "The UN, In Search Of Time Lost"


Medellin-based daily El Colombiano argued (9/24):  “President George W. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly using a very different tone and attitude than the one he exhibited before the war on Iraq....  It is to be hoped that the 58th United Nations General Assembly will give rise to true peace in Iraq and a recovery of United Nations’ leadership.”


ECUADOR:   "Revalue The UN Role"


Quito’s center-left Hoy commented (9/24):  “The UN Secretary General defended once again the need to adopt multilateral responses while condemning the theory of preemptive attacks launched by the will of one country alone or a coalition, on the margin of the organization.  The U.S. intervention and subsequent actions in Iraq are more than enough reasons to reevaluate the role of the UN within the peace efforts in Iraq and in offsetting the dangerous path of unilateralism.  The Organization cannot relinquish its humanitarian role in the reconstruction of Iraq, nor mediation aimed at pacifying the country, in spite of the terrorist attacks suffered.  The UN can facilitate the transition to a government elected by the people in Iraq in a more agile and democratic timeframe.”


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