- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Independent

President Bush's speech

LONDON In his televised address [Monday] night from Cincinnati, President George Bush was aiming at three different audiences. The first was the group of mostly Democratic senators who threaten to oppose the resolution the president has sent to Congress. …

The second audience is the one beyond America's shores, whose doubts about the enterprise are reflected in the considerable difficulty the United States and Britain are encountering in their efforts to forge such a U.N. resolution. …

Above all, however, this was a speech for the home front. Read the hawkish commentators and glance casually at the opinion polls and it would seem that the U.S. population is as gung-ho for combat as Messrs. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

The truth, however, is less clear cut. Read those polls more closely and you find that for all the Rumsfeldian swagger, a majority of Americans do not want to go it alone. They, like us, are deeply uneasy at one country launching an unprovoked attack on another. They, like us, worry about "the day after."

Dagens Nyheter

Iraq and the U.S. elections

STOCKHOLM After September 11, it has been almost impossible to attack the president on foreign policy issues. And the effects are evident in the debate on Iraq. The Democratic Party, which under normal circumstances would have been pungent in its criticism against the Bush administration's plans, has kept a relatively low profile. They have certainly argued that the United States must exhaust all possibilities in the United Nations before a one-sided attack [on Iraq] can be carried out, but in the end they all seem to be rallying round the president. Therefore it is hardly surprising that many Democrats do not want anything else than that the debate in Congress about Bush's authority will come to an end. After the president's speech and the expected decision in Congress, this week is getting closer to the point when the election campaign can begin, at least from their point of view, in earnest.


Sharon and the IDF

TEL AVIV The results of the Israel Defense Forces' incursion in Khan Younis on Monday morning 14 Palestinians, some of them civilians, killed and another 100 injured raise serious concerns about the judgment exercised in the planning of the action and the sensitivity displayed in its execution. When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insisted yesterday on defining the operation as a "success," he added more weight to these concerns.

"I am always sorry if there are injured civilians," said Sharon. The tone of his remarks and his aides' dismissal of denunciations and protests, sounded around the world in the aftermath of the operation, bore witness not so much to his regret, as to his haughty insensitivity about the blood that was spilled. …

The United States is currently exerting pressure on the two sides, hoping they will both drastically reduce the level of violence and keep a low profile as Washington prepares an attack on Iraq. Next week in the White House, the prime minister will hear this demand straight from the lips of President Bush. Prudence dictates his assent.

Straits Times

The U.S. and North Korea

SINGAPORE Last week, the United States had its first formal high-level contact with North Korea since then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's October 2000 visit to Pyongyang. But the visit of Mr. James Kelly, an assistant secretary of state, will stimulate speculation more than it would clarify the state of freeze between the two countries. Was this real progress? The scheduled news conferences in Seoul and Tokyo which Mr. Kelly canceled, after he had briefed the two governments on his meetings with Pyongyang officials, will feed impressions that the Americans had no real enthusiasm for the approach.

Mr. Kelly would only say the discussions he had were "frank, as befits the seriousness of our differences." He had made known to his hosts America's "serious concerns" about their missile development and exports, the weapons of mass destruction and the "threat" posed by their army. As much as this was pro-forma, Pyongyang also gave nothing away. Unless an undertaking is made by both sides to hold substantive follow-up talks fairly soon, it is best not to read too much into the Kelly visit.

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