The George Bush address to US Congress is still an exciting subject for the world community. Although the congressmen, according to the best “soviet” traditions many times interrupted the president’s speech with wild applause, the speech caused many questions in the world, if not indignation at all. It could be predicted that the speech would be met with animosity by Arab world. It is a natural reaction to such a spontaneous division of the world into “our” and “foreign” people. While Russia’s reaction to the unambiguous threat towards Iraq was rather discreet: no statement was made. However it is well known that Russia does not approve of Washington’s course aimed at expansion of the military operations. Of course, the US President could not have been supported in Arab world. Though the US’s allies from NATO are not delighted as well. France plays first fiddle here. Paris never misses its chance to show its independence. French foreign minister Huber Vedrine said that now “we are threatened with a simplified idea that reduced all world issues to the fight on terrorism.” In the same spirit French Prime-Minister Lionel Jospin’s was speaking before European parliamentarians. The French politicians’ position is shared by German ones, at least by foreign minister Joschka Fischer. As he said one of these days in his interview to Spiegel magazine, the existence of the international anti-terrorist coalition is no way a pardon for attacking a state, all the more that the United States is intending to do it by oneself. In general, Washington’s position was criticized at the recent meeting of European Union’s foreign ministers. Even British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted there were difference in positions of the US and of EU, however the United Kingdom is still supporting the US. One way or another, but Washington’s intention to carry out a scaled operation in Iraq could cause more serious discords within NATO. France (as well as Russia) has its own interest in working of Iraqi oil deposits. If the US really annihilates Saddam Hussian’s regime, Russian and French companies will be replaced by that ones of the US. This is why, Frenchmen are not interested in the US operation in Iraq. Growing discontent of European allies of the US forced Secretary of State Colin Powel to make a statement that the White House had no detailed plans of operations against axis of evil. So, it is too early to speak about the US intention to launch an operation against Iraq. Nevertheless, Washington does not intend to refuse from its plans. It is hard to say now in what the operations against outcast countries will result, though it is obvious that nobody can oppose now the predomination plans of the US. Will the United States be able to wisely use its force? Will the USA take into account other states’ interests? All recent events unfortunately witness the counter.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/16/37190.html
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart