The Wichita Eagle writes
The U.S. House strongly condemned [February 1st, 2005] the European Union's plans to lift a 15-year-old arms embargo on China, saying that such a move would endanger both Taiwan and American forces stationed in Asia. The security of American forces "is directly threatened by the shortsighted and greed-driven initiative emanating from Europe," said Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif. "It shows that they have truly lost their moral compass." (…) "The EU is directly undermining the security of one of Asia's most vibrant democracies, our close ally, Taiwan," said Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued a list of the "Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2004," including soaring tuberculosis (TB) deaths and the immense toll on people living through chronic conflicts in Chechnya, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Northern Uganda:
The 10 stories highlighted by MSF accounted for just one minute of the 14,561 minutes on the three major US television networks' nightly newscasts. As the war in Iraq continued to dominate international reporting, only Chechnya received any coverage at all, while TB and the humanitarian concerns in North Korea and Colombia were briefly referred to during reports on other topics. In contrast, 130 minutes were devoted to Martha Stewart and 18 minutes to the indecency fine levied by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the National Football League's Super Bowl Halftime Show.
In The Washington Post former US weapons inspector David Kay compares the debate about Iran's nuclear program with the debate about Iraq before the war:
Vice President Cheney is giving interviews and speeches that paint a stark picture of a soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Iran and declaring that this is something the Bush administration will not tolerate. Iranian exiles are providing the press and governments with a steady stream of new "evidence" concerning Iran's nuclear weapons activities. (...) U.S. allies, while saying they share the concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions, remain determined to pursue diplomacy and say they cannot conceive of any circumstance that would lead them to use military force. And the press is beginning to uncover U.S. moves that seem designed to lay the basis for military action against Iran. Now is the time to pause and recall what went wrong with the assessment of Iraq's WMD program and try to avoid repeating those mistakes in Iran.
Andreas Zumach in „die tageszeitung“:
So skandalös die Missstände bei der Durchführung des "Öl für Nahrungsmittel"-Programms und sein Missbrauch durch Bagdad auch waren: Nimmt man die Summe zum Maßstab, die dem Regime Saddam Husseins zugeflossen sind, dann ist der durch Bagdad betriebene Ölschmuggel fast viermal so schwer wiegend. Diese beiden Tatsachen wurden bislang vor allem in der öffentlichen Diskussion in den USA von jenen systematisch unterschlagen, die das Thema "Öl für Nahrungsmittel" seit Anfang letzten Jahres für eine Kampagne instrumentalisieren, um die UNO und ihren Generalsekretär zu schwächen.
From one of our readers: “Both Germany and the US are trying to bridge the transatlantic rift. Schroeder wants to look ahead, and Bush expresses willingness to involve the EU and its peacekeeping background much more into further missions.” http://www.sueddeutsche.de/,tt3l2/ausland/artikel/656/47609/
The Boston Globe:
Information obtained through the interrogation of a Guantanamo Bay detainee led to a spectacular series of counterterrorism raids in Germany this month, in which more than 700 police swept through mosques, homes, and businesses in six cities and arrested 22 suspected militant extremists, according to a senior Defense Department official. The role of the Guantanamo interrogations in triggering the raids had not been previously reported. In Europe, the interrogations have been widely denounced as flagrant violations of international law, and many leaders have expressed concern over alleged abuses.
To mend fences with the Europeans and improve his own image, President Bush should only listen and not speak on his upcoming Euro trip, recommends IHT Columnist Thomas Friedman, who recently spoke with many Berliners, including Fulbright Alumnus Stefan Elfenbein:
What would Mr. Bush hear? Some of it is classic Eurowhining, easily dismissible. But some of it is very heartfelt, even touching. I heard it while doing interviews at the Pony Club, a trendy bar/beauty parlor in East Berlin. And more and more I think it explains why many Europeans dislike Mr. Bush so intensely. It's this: Europeans love to make fun of naïve American optimism, but deep down, they envy it and they want America to be that open, foreigner-embracing, carefree, goofily enthusiastic place that cynical old Europe can never be. Many young Europeans blame Mr. Bush for making America, since 9/11, into a strange new land that exports fear more than hope. (…)
Stefan Elfenbein, a food critic nursing a beer at our table, added: "I know many people who don't want to travel to America anymore. ... People are afraid to be hassled at the border. ... We all discuss it, when somebody goes to America [we now ask:] 'Are you sure?' We had hope that Kerry would win and would make a statement, 'America is back to what it was four years ago.' We hoped that he would be the symbol, the figure who would say, '[America] is the country that welcomes everybody again.' [But] now we have to wait four more years, hopefully for somebody to give us back the country we knew and liked."
Fulbright Association President R. Fenton-May presents Fulbright Prize to Colin L. Powell
Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell: