U.S. ELECTIONS — A MANDATE?
From the web site for “Voice of America,” November 7, 2002, the following: “The White House is interpreting the Republican gains in Tuesday’s congressional elections as an endorsement of President Bush’s agenda, including his strong stand on Iraq and national security.”
This same article goes on to point out that “…European capitals are viewing Tuesday’s Republican gains with a bit of caution.” In a “United Press International” article entitled, “World braces for ‘triumphant’ Bush,” this telling comment: ” ‘ We are dealing with a power that has no limit in its dealing with foreign issues,’ said Mohammed Shaker, head of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations, whose wariness of a Bush administration unrestrained by any other branch of government was widely shared beyond U.S. shores.” (www.upi.com–11/6/02).
The undertow following this week’s elections in the U.S. certainly points to an empowerment and sanctioning from American voters for the President’s worldview. It is widely accepted that his popularity and active participation in strategic races won the day. Outside the United States there is a kind of fatalistic acceptance that this President and his nation will impose their will internationally. Only the tiny enclave of Israel, itself presently going through a political internal upheaval, has happily embraced the newly found platform for an even more stringent “get tough” foreign policy that will steadily emerge as a result of Republican control in America’s government.
How cautionary and pessimistic the European reaction to Mr. Bush’s victory has been, the following excerpts will tell:
Germany’s Spiegel Online, November 6:
“Bush, the Almighty… For George Bush, the way is now clear — new laws, new judges, new wars… The clarity with which voters decided to switch to the right, has baffled political observers… There would have been many causes for criticism. But where were the Democrats? They were caught helplessly in the patriotism-trap…”
The U.K.’s The Guardian (quoted from Der Spiegel on November 6):
“The Americans have made this week a fatal decision. They, as well as the rest of the world, will have to live — and in some cases, die — with the consequences.”
The U.K.’s Daily Telegraph (quoted from Der Spiegel, on November 6):
“We are convinced that he [President Bush] will carry out his plans to deliberate Iraq, regardless of what happens at The United Nations.”
The Netherlands’ De Volkskrant:
“[President Bush’s victory] symbolizes the giant cliff which now exists between both sides of the Atlantic.”
Spain’s El Periodico de Catalunya:
“The Americans support the imperial politics of President George W. Bush… This might persuade Bush… to enforce on the whole word his … politics, without regard to his allies. A dark scenario.”
Luxembourg’s Luxemburger Wort:
“America’s international partners, as well as her enemies, should be prepared for an even more self-conscious leader in the White House. Iraq might be the first one to experience this.”
THE GERMAN WAY
On November 4, 2002, Der Spiegel Online published an article, titled, “The German Way.” The subheading read, “Why Schroeder was right in his fight with Washington, and why Europe should challenge the United States.” American David Binder, a long-time German correspondent of the New York Times, wrote the article.
In the article, it states, “What we [i.e., the U.S.A.] need is an equally strong rival that forces us to regain a lost balance…. The only possible rival for the United States — and not even an unfriendly one — would be the European Union… Chancellor Schroeder’s lonesome way — which is now being supported by France — is of critical importance and at least a forerunner of change… Perhaps we could again learn something from the Germans.”
In an interview at the end of October, published by Online News Hour, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in explaining the basis for “the German Way,” and Germany’s consistent refusal to participate in any military action against Iraq, made the following quote:
“… the question is the day after. What would it mean for the whole region? This is a very terrible, dangerous region, and what will it mean for regional stability in the Middle East? This is the Middle East, and are the United States ready to stay there for long-term? Because to go in and the United States have the military capacity to get rid of Saddam, there is no question about that, but what will be there the day after? Will the United States then stay there and guarantee peace and stability in these very dangerous neighboring regions of Europe? Europe without the strong role of the United States, I think, is no option. We need the United States worldwide for peace and stability, but also in Europe because transatlantic relations, this is the real pillar of our peace and security on both sides of the Atlantic… “
Regarding the formation of Europe and Turkey’s application for membership status, Mr. Fischer had this to say [please note that in Turkey’s recent governmental election, the Islamic party has gained the majority]:
“To be a member of the E.U. means to be a member of the coming United States of Europe. We are talking about a marriage. And to marry someone [i.e. Turkey] because a good friend [i.e., the United States] says to you, ‘You should marry this person,’ I don’t know whether this is sufficient enough for a marriage. But with the E.U. enlargement, and be full member of the enlarged union, it means to marry in a political and economical and democratic sense.”
These are remarkable words. The Bible does compare political alliances with marriages. And it is also interesting to note Mr. Fischer’s conviction that the United States are absolutely necessary to guarantee peace in Europe. What will happen, however, when this stabilizing influence no longer exists in Europe?
Austria’s Joerg Haider got into the news again, when he revisited Saddam Hussein last week. As News-Networld, November 7, 2002, reported, most Austrians disapprove of his visit. Almost 90 % believe that Haider’s visits with Saddam damage Austria’s reputation. On the other hand, 16 percent felt that Haider’s visit will help him for the next general election to the national parliament which is to be held on November 24. Many party members are now begging Haider to return as their party leader, according to Der Standard of November 6.
Haider applauded himself upon his return. He explained that his visit dealt foremost with economical projects. Austria’s exports to Iraq have increased from 14.5 million Euros in the first six months of 2001 to 65.6 million Euros in the first six months of 2002.
Haider also proclaimed that he was instrumental to reach an “extremely important step” to prevent war against Iraq, by convincing Saddam to consider a new U.N. resolution. He also strongly attacked the politics of the United States, voicing his opinion that President Bush only wants a war with Iraq to get the focus away from his problems. Haider also stated that Israel will use the war as an excuse to expel all Palestinians.
The Bush administration compared Haider with Saddam. They are “birds of a feather,” Richard Boucher said in commenting on Haider’s new visit with Saddam.