Dailies and periodicals” “

While US Secretary of State Colin Powell was furnishing the UN Security Council with “convincing proofs” of the existence, in Iraq, of weapons of mass destruction, the main international dailies were continuing to analyze the eventuality of a war. The Herald Tribune (5/2) is critical in its judgement of the recent Franco-British “summit”, in which Tony Blair tried, in vain, to convince Jacques Chirac of the need for a second UN resolution to sanction a military action in Iraq. The American daily calls the French refusal, based on the conviction that “the inspectors need more time, and that war can only be the last resort”, “admirable” and “useful”, but also full of “limitations”. Richard Bernstein, writing in the same paper (4/2), reflects, instead, on the difficulties faced by Chancellor Schroeder, following his defeat in the regional elections, in resisting the “pressures” of the opposition for him “to back peddle”, with regard to German opposition to the war. “The political opponents – says the article – who hitherto were constrained by the strong anti-war feeling in their country, say they have been encouraged by last Sunday’s elections to put pressure on the Schroeder government, so as to end what they call Germany’s isolation on the Iraqi question and to align the country more closely with its traditional allies, the USA and Great Britain”. “German compromise”: that’s the title of an editorial in Le Monde (5/2) analyzing the post-electoral attitude of Schroeder, torn between the requests of the Christian Democrats and those of the more intransigent wing of his own coalition: “This difficult compromise policy – argues the French daily – is that of the last ditch. The chancellor depends on the good will both of the German right and of the far left. But Germany loves consensus: it must turn an evil into good if it is to emerge from political immobility”. La Croix of 3/2 dedicates an ample “dossier” to the Iraqi crisis, starting out from the observation that “Iraq’s oil reserves constitute an important factor in the American strategy”, but “Washington’s objective cannot be reduced to ‘gaining possession of’ the second largest oil field in the Middle East”. War and regional elections are the main issues on which German commentators focus their attention. Writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of 1/2, Heiko Flottau points out: “ In Iraq too, the Americans want to close an inglorious period in their foreign policy, begun in the 1980s, when the USA and other Western states furnished Iraq with weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, to help it in its war against Iran. The twelve years of economic sanctions – he continues – have been revealed as a continuation of the war in Kuwait, by other means. But this economic war has only reinforced the Iraqi regime. With the march on Baghdad, feared by Bush father in 1991, Bush son wants to conclude the twelve years war against Saddam Hussein. This time with a victory“. Writing in Die Welt, Nikolaus Blome comments on the split between the countries of the EU on the question of a possible war as follows: “ The eight States – that signed a letter in support of Bush – could have chosen other ways of manifesting their clear support for the USA. But they are right to do so: weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a dictator may justify a war. But at least the more important States among them deliberately chose this way, which repudiates the vital principle of the EU: that of increasing as far as possible the minimum common denominator, and at least respecting it, because each State has in any case freedom to act at the national level”. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 3/2 analyzes the results of the regional elections in Hesse and Lower Saxony, characterized by the collapse of the SPD: “ The defeat of the SPD in Lower Saxony and Hesse are but the genuine expression of the mood of the country. For on Sunday the voters didn’t elect a chancellor who decides the lines of German foreign policy: they voted on the policy of a federal government which in its second attempt, in most political sectors, is failing to do better than it did in the first four years” of its term in office .

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