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everybody blasts u.s. at Davos

Washington flayed at Swiss summit for its Iraq policies and role in world
ByALAN FREEMAN

Saturday, January 25, 2003-Print Edition, PageA19

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND -- Harsh criticism of U.S. policy over Iraq and heated discussion about the United States' role as the world's only superpower dominated the normally polite seminars of the World Economic Forum yesterday.

Again and again, world leaders and other participants in the prestigious five-day talk shop criticized U.S. plans to topple the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and they charged the United States with hypocrisy for its policies on human rights and refusing to sign international treaties.

It was a dramatic change in the tone of the forum, which has been dominated in the past by U.S. chief executives, academics and Washington policy-makers, and whose sessions frequently were used to tout U.S. solutions to world problems.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Washington for maintaining its own stock of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons while insisting that Iraq must stop its development of weapons of mass destruction.

"No one is interested in eliminating their weapons of mass destruction," Mr. Erdogan said. "I mean all the countries in the world, the U.S. included.

"When you talk about WMD, you cannot [distinguish] between small and large states."

Earlier, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft during a debate that, "if you do start [a war against Iraq] you will kill a lot of innocent people. You are going to make a lot of people very angry, certainly a lot of Muslim people."

The Bush administration was also charged repeatedly with fomenting racism by singling out people from Middle Eastern countries or with dark complexions for extra screening at airports and border points as part of its campaign against terrorism.

These kinds of criticisms were too much for Senator Joe Biden, a Democrat who is frequently critical of U.S. President George W. Bush but clearly resented repeated criticism of the United States, especially from Europeans.

"I understand why the resentment exists," he told a forum session on U.S. foreign policy.

But he added: "We are not as bad as you make us out to be and in comparison with your own country we're pretty damn good."

Although he said his own views on civil liberties were diametrically opposed to those of the Bush administration, he lashed out at the French and Germans for thinking they were a model of how Americans should behave.

"Tell me about the acceptance of your French Arab brothers in France," he said sarcastically.

Mr. Biden also said that if the United States had not decided to intervene in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, the Europeans would never have stepped in to stop the genocide.

"All I'm asking for is balance," the senator said. "I'm sick and tired of the lectures."

Mr. Biden agreed that the United States had to work on its image abroad and its policies. "But I don't think that anybody likes the big guy on the block, ever."

Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Administration, said Washington exacerbates the problem by constantly reminding others that it is the world's only superpower.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said that what the United States needed was "better behaviour" rather than "a better sales job."

He said that he could not understand the Bush administration's attitude on many international issues, including its recent vote against a UN resolution that called on countries involved in the battle against terrorism to respect human rights.

"People want a leadership role from America," he said.

In his appearance with Mr. Mahathir, Mr. Ashcroft clashed with fellow panelists on several occasions.

He took particular exception to a statement from the moderator that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

"I respectfully disagree with the idea that these terrorists should be endowed with the dignity of freedom fighters," Mr. Ashcroft said. "Frankly, they're fighting freedom."

He said that the Sept. 11 terrorists hated freedom and did not want women to take an equal place in society.

"I'm not willing to say that in order to avoid terrorism we have to give up values that are fundamental and downplay them to appease the terrorists," Mr. Ashcroft said.

Klaus Schwab, founder of the forum, said he wasn't shocked by the sometimes anti-American tone of the discussions.

"We cannot hide away different opinions," he said, expressing the hope that it would create more mutual understanding between Americans and the rest of the world.

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euro-crap 25.Jan.2003 20:57

Martha

The Euros are the last people in the world who should be lecturing anybody. Hypocrites and degenerates they are.

European support 25.Jan.2003 21:10

Bush Admirer

The only reason Saddam is "contained" right now is we have such huge forces in the area. He would not be "contained" if those forces weren't there. Nothing the almost useless UN did stopped Saddam from kicking inspectors out and continuing his WMD programs IN SPITE of a basketful of resolutions against the same. It was the real threat of military intervention that did it BECAUSE we put them over there. Nothing the almost useless UN did brought the tiny number of inspectors back for their almost useless "inspections." After all, most of the military sites are off limits, so said by Hans Blix himself. Well, DUH, doesn't take much of a rocket scientist to figure out where Saddam might be hiding some of the stuff.

I realize the UK was the country of the Magna Carta. That country is also amoung the heritage of nations of the U.S. I will also not forget how England conquered Ireland and Scotland by fire and sword and by bribery. (Of course, prior to that, THEY were conquered by the Normans.) That's part of the reason we left the "Merry Olde Sod."

Only 33 1/3 % of Americans actively supported the American Revolution on 4 July 1776 to fight the most powerful military nation in the world. A full third of the people didn't care and the other third actively supported the British. You want to know why we in VA, W VA, NC, TN, KY and close by areas remember it so well? Because Lord Cornwallis promised to bring "Fire and Sword" against us. For those unfamiliar with the term, that meant to put every home and building to destruction by fire and EVERY person (man, woman and child) to death by sword (or various other means) who would not pay homage to Bloody German George, King of England. Well we "trailer park trash" decided we wouldn't stand for that and came out of the hills, hollers and wildnerness with our guns and tomahawks and put paid to those who threatened our families and us.

As the heirs to the tradition of those who forced King John to grant rights to Nobles, we carried that one step further to granting rights to commoners and throwing off the yoke of the nobility. The "Olde Country" has yet to throw off the yoke of the Royals, though they have taken great measures to limit their power over the years. Especially since WE showed them how to do it over two and a quarter centuries ago.

Yes, our President might not have been elected by the majority of the "popular vote." Clinton was not elected OR re-elected by a majority of the popular vote as more people voted against him in BOTH elections than voted for him. However, both Presidents were legally elected by OUR system under the rule of law.

Though there have been recent cases of terrorism by attempted poisoning in Britain and other insundry assassinations and attempted assassinations, etc. in other countries, no country has felt the impact of terrorism of the enormity of 9/11 or similar events as much as the US, with the exception of Israel. (It is to their great credit as a nation they have not run over a few of their neighbors, let alone not nuking one or two of them.) I also realize most of the nations of the world lost citizens at the WTC, but that and the attack on the Pentagon happened on our soil.

This is not to say we do not appreciate our friends who go into conflict with us. I have the greatest respect for most of the UK forces. Germany has some outstanding forces. The French still have the Foreign Legion and on and on.

However, make no mistake, America WILL stand alone in this fight if we have to and their will be tons of egg on the faces of those who say "Saddam doesn't have WMD and is not a threat to the world." We will be digging up stuff Saddam has hidden for months, if not years.

America WILL also remember who our friends were who stood with us. No, we won't attack those who won't, but we will remember them. If they don't want to stand with us now, FINE. We will remember that when they want help in the future.

propoganda 25.Jan.2003 21:46

dude

A quote from a sci. fi. book, "the foundation" that stuck longer than the author's name ,"violence is the last resort of the incompitent."

Hey Dude! 25.Jan.2003 22:47

answerman

Issac Assimov wrote the "Foundation and Empire" SciFi books.

Bush Administrator... 25.Jan.2003 23:00

F@C@

The U.N. inspectors were not kicked out. They left on their own, citing a lack of cooperation on the part of the Iraqi government.

 http://www.iraqcrisis.co.uk/events.php

"16 Dec 1998 UNSCOM withdraws from Iraq
December 16, 1998 UN inspection team is withdrawn, after concluding that Iraq is not cooperating fully. "

I know it sounds better to you when you say that they were kicked out, but it is not the truth.


The real reason for war (duh...):

 http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/Nightline/NTL_oil_iraq_021004.html
"Oct. 4 Saddam Hussein is sitting on a gold mine the second-largest oil reserve in the world and everyone wants a piece of it."

ADVISORY MEMO: 26.Jan.2003 08:35

this thing here

TO B.A., The Board, Corporate Administrators, and Staff:

Please read the quote below. It is at the very heart of president bush's problems with the world right now. Upon reading it, DO IT.

>Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said that what the United States needed was "better behaviour" rather than "a better sales job."<

Marketing cannot save a company with a faulty business strategy.

Euros 26.Jan.2003 12:11

Pam

I agree that the Euros have zero credibility and shouldn't be lecturing anybody. I would take criticism from Nigeria before listening to anything they say.

SOMEBODY has to call B.S. on the U.S 26.Jan.2003 15:24

.

If every country waited until they were letter-perfect before criticizing the US, this important work would never get done.

It's pretty obvious Bush would have launched a war next week if hadn't been for France and Germany. He as much as said so yesterday.

imperial powers 26.Jan.2003 15:50

Dmitri

Europeans are wannabe imperial powers but are unable to reach their goals because some unnamed country stands in front of them. Look at how they ruined the "New World" and Asia. We should thank the US for keeping them in check.

Reading comprehension tes 27.Jan.2003 11:37

Baphomet

Everyone,
It was the Malaysian prime minister that ripped the US a new one, not so much the Euro-wimps.

imperial powers 28.Jan.2003 01:41

dj tubesteak

Actually, most West European states are former imperial powers, no 'wannabes' about it. Unlike the U.S., these societies have experienced all the consequences that imperial ambitions bring about, a hindsight the U.S. lacks due to our relative latecomer status as a world power. Probably the reason they're less enthused about unilateral military interventions than the U.S. is that we've never had the experience of watching our global hegemony disintegrate and our domestic society descend into chaos and fascism. When we finally do bite off more than we can chew (I figure it goes Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, then Colombia, maybe we'll pull it off when we invade Cuba again, but we did get our asses handed to us last time; keeping things stable in all of these places simultaneously is going to be pretty taxing to our resources, and when the Chinese jump in we're definitely fucked) and our arrogance bites us in the ass, we'll probably look back on the whole thing and see what they were talking about. Oh well, enjoy the ride I guess, and hope that Clinton or Giuliani or whoever else they put in charge can avoid doing something needlessly stupid like dropping a nuke. Maybe if the anarchists get their shit together by the time the whole thing breaks down we'll have something better in mind to construct out of the rubble.


So many people with so much to show
Rotting away in their own little holes
One can only wonder why
-Dillinger Four