It’s September 11 again, three years from the day that has gone down in history. That’s a ready-made theme for commemorative newspaper articles, should editors desire to take advantage of it. Perhaps it’s a certain nostalgia for the “We are all Americans now” message from Le Monde back then immediately after the attacks – a sentiment which quickly disappeared at the hands of Bush administration indifference like dew on a sunny summer’s morning – that has me heading for the French press to see whether there’s anything to be said about the anniversary there. Surprisingly, Le Monde itself takes a pass (at least with what it publishes in its on-line edition). But Libération takes up the theme with a couple of articles, starting with the paean to hindsight written by Pascal Riche (that paper’s Washington correspondent): The Missed Signals of 11 September. (more…)
A collective Aber was ist denn los?! issued from the German government last Wednesday, the day after the Pentagon’s new policy excluding as primary bidders on Iraqi reconstruction contracts companies from “peace camp” countries was disclosed – not by any formal notification to the countries thus excluded, mind you, but simply by a posting on the Internet, to the “Rebuilding-Iraq.net” site, of the “Determination and Findings” text, signed by Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. That’s why government spokesman Béla Anda (a very Hungarian name, by the way) qualified his qualification of the American action as “not acceptable” with the proviso that what he had been hearing from the press would turn out in fact to be true. We can make our first plunge into the facts of this case with the authoritative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Wednesday article, Berlin Criticizes Washington: Decision Unacceptable. That’s also why German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was only willing to say that he had heard the news “with amazement” (“mit Erstaunen zur Kenntnis genommen“), and that he was going to get with his American contacts to find out what the hell was going on. (more…)
Did you catch the latest news about the Pentagon shutting out from eligibility for those big rebuilding contracts in Iraq all those countries that didn’t support the war, like France, Germany, and Russia? (For the protection of the essential security interests of the United States, natch!) Hoo-hah! Suckaaaz! Did those jackal-states really expect that they could step back and let the American troops and their various allied homies go in and put their rears on the line to lay down some hurt, and then just show up afterwards to earn some big green cleaning up the mess?
(Of course, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to hit them with this tough new reality just before the Prez was scheduled to give them a call asking them to forgive the Iraqi debt they hold. Josh Marshall feels that there really should be some official in place to coordinate things between Washington’s various diplomatic and security agencies so that embarrassing things like this don’t happen – something perhaps like a “National Security Advisor”?)
Ah, but remember that you are now in EuroSavant territory, my friend, which means that you get to hear from the other side. Are the French gnashing their unhygienic teeth in frustration? Are the Germans crying into their beer? I’ve got time to check out the one (France); stay tuned to this site to see if I also squeeze in the other. (more…)
Today we’re back to the €S bread-and-butter – interesting articles in the European press on political subjects – and in fact we resort to a long-time favorite source, Die Zeit. That newspaper’s latest assessment on the situation in Iraq is in an article entitled A Victory Without a Victor, and sub-titled “If America fails in Iraq, Europe loses as well,” by Matthias Naß.
(By the way, give a half-second of pity in passing here for Herr Naß who, because of a recent spelling reform in Germany, is really supposed to have changed the spelling of his name to “Nass.” But this here is EuroSavant sovereign territory, and the authorities in charge of this chunk of cyber-space intend to respect the family name Naß was born under, even though it also means “wet, damp” in German.) (more…)