- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Le Figaro

Anti-French sentiment in U.S.

PARIS — There’s so much anti-French resentment in the United States that the mere announcement that Paris won’t veto an American resolution on Iraq was seen as big news.

To believe the press on the other side of the Atlantic, the Americans now have just as hard a time imagining that France isn’t their enemy as they did this spring in admitting that we could disagree on the war they were preparing in Iraq. …

Reconciliation between France and the United States can only come if Bush recognizes that the resolution he’s putting before the Security Council will have more weight in the world if France votes yes rather than abstaining. We’re not there yet.

The Guardian

President Bush’s U.N. speech

LONDON — It was a tale of two speeches, a contrast in styles and personalities that vividly illustrated the gulf dividing the modern world. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York [on Tuesday], George Bush was uncompromising, aggressive, a shade defensive and at times threatening. At another level, his speech conveyed a deep sense of self-righteousness, based on what he defined as “moral clarity” and “moral law.” This was the U.S. president’s first appearance before the U.N. since he usurped the Security Council, split the international community and launched into his war against Iraq. If anybody was hoping for contrition, or gestures of conciliation, they will have been largely disappointed. 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. … Some Americans may find reassurance in this robustly simplistic analysis. But the rest of the world will look on uneasily, as before. Mr. Bush had an opportunity to build bridges — and chose instead to burnish his self-image as the square-jawed, undaunted Captain Marvel of the fight against evil.

Straits Times

IMF lectures Asia

SINGAPORE — The arrogant International Monetary Fund (IMF), a lead Western crisis-intervention agency, will never win a popularity contest in Asia. But it did seem that virulent anti-IMF feeling in the region was waning when … there it went again!

In an unfortunate return to the bad old days of nanny-lecture, a top IMF official has blamed Asia for depressing the world economic recovery. This kind of blanket accusation has been made before, by the IMF and others in the West. But with the economies of China and India still strong, Vietnam coming up fast and Japan looking less grim, the timing of the latest lecture seemed odd.

Western financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank can be very helpful, especially in a crisis, but playing the blame game is distinctly unhelpful. During the Asian financial crisis, the IMF loaned tens of billions of dollars — and yet wound up resented for it.

IMF-style diplomacy won’t do these days. Asia is no longer a colony but a coming colossus. When even serious issues are raised in an accusatory manner, those accused tend to respond by raising issues about the motives of the accuser.

The Citizen

Cricket and terrorism

JOHANNESBURG — It would be naive to hope that sport could escape the ugly world of politics. The on-off South African cricket tour to Pakistan is a reminder that all is not well, no matter how much those of us who are sports fans like to switch off from other happenings.

South Africa is not alone in having jitters about visiting the troubled region. Last year New Zealand pulled out midway after a bomb near the team’s hotel killed 11 French engineers.

Australia and the West Indies have also backed off.

The Pakistanis are a wonderfully passionate cricketing nation, represented by gifted, mercurial players. Every effort must be made to keep them well represented in the international game.

But not at the risk of anyone’s life.

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