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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 12:19 GMT
World press electrified by Bush vision

"Hold on to your hats, this may be the most ambitious presidency ever." That's the message from one Israeli paper after President George W Bush's inauguration - a message echoed across the world's press.

For China's press his speech raises the question whether Washington will head further down a "unilateral" path in foreign relations.

One Polish paper heralds the speech as the dawn of a conservative revolution, while in Germany and Turkey there's a bleak forecast for the new Bush era.

At precisely the moment when critics claim he is stymied, Bush, in his second inaugural address, has just set out to liberate the entire world. And our region is at Ground Zero, so to speak, of his new, revolutionary vision... In laying down his revolutionary gauntlet, Bush must know that he will be derided as a hypocrite and a reckless dreamer. No American can be against the ideal of spreading democracy, but to stake national security on it, that's another matter. In front of the Capitol on Thursday, Bush called not merely for a remaking of other nations' foreign policy, but that of his United States. 'Hold on to your hats, this may be the most ambitious second-term - or any term - presidency ever'.

Israel's Jerusalem Post

Celebrations of Eid are given more prominence than the American president's speech

The democracy President Bush's administration is promising is a bloody one. It has, up to now, claimed the lives of 100,000 martyrs, with the same number being wounded. It has turned the country into a failed one, where chaos and booby-trapped cars prevail... As long as the US policies continue as they are at the moment, then all the American talk about democracy and liberties will remain ink on paper.

Pan-Arab Al-Quds Al-Arabi

Bush's speech focused on the 'power of freedom', saying that the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. On that, not many people will disagree. The differences are over what he understands by 'freedom' and how the benefits of democracy should be spread in the world - or indeed whether it is any country's business to export democracy to others... It is possible to have the freer world that Bush speaks of, but the idea that those who are strong and have a larger arsenal have an unchallenged right to impose their will on the weak, undermines democracy.

Kenya's Nation

Here is the president saying there are a lot of monsters over there, and unless we slay those monsters, we can't be free at home
David Gergen, CNN

Many challenges and knotty questions are waiting for him to solve... Whether to reverse the Iraqi situation will become the biggest test for Bush's second term of office... Even with the election proceeding smoothly, terrorist acts will not disappear... Various countries are expecting much of the new Bush term. Perhaps it is wishful thinking to see these expectations depend on whether Bush goes ahead with his unilateral road or is back to the multilateral road.

China's People's Daily

The main international issue to be faced during President Bush's second term in office will be an Iran war, the US' main attention will focus on West Asia. If the US can quite smoothly realize the goal of transforming Iran, then the US' main strategic direction will shift to East Asia in future, and China will face direct US pressure; if the US' war and political reform in Iraq is not smooth, then this shift will be delayed for a number of years.

Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po

The inauguration of President George W Bush for his second term was merry and fanciful whereas the United States is afraid of facing continued threats from terrorists and has concerns about the increasing number of its troops killed in Iraq... In his campaigns on the significance of the free world, Bush has deliberately grabbed the rights of the Iraqi people to live freely by sending his troops to invade and occupy Iraq and at the same time forcefully imposing US-style democracy in a foreign land.

Malaysia's Berita Harian

Make no mistake, Bush absolutely believes that America will not be safe and secure unless democracy takes root more broadly around the world, especially in the Middle East... Of course, Bush as a president cannot be compared in stature to his two mighty presidential forebears. He and those around him do such small-minded things that it detracts from the grandeur of his purpose, whether you regard that purpose as grand folly or grand mission... And we have the demeaning, disgusting innuendo constantly from the Bush administration that anyone who disagrees with their course, or opposes the severe restrictions on civil rights in the Patriot Act, is an appeaser, is disloyal, is un-American.

Sydney's The Australian

The United States will likely place the value of democracy and freedom as the basis for its diplomacy. That is also closely related to Washington's plan to "transform" the North Korean regime. Such a US doctrine and North Korea's possible reactions may escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. We hope diplomatic principles will be applied wisely. During the first term of the Bush administration, South Korea-US relations have seen conflicts too serious to call the relationship an alliance. South Korea's dispatch of troops to Iraq mended the fissure significantly. During the next four years, the alliance must mature further.

South Korea's Chungang Ilbo

Bush's speech at his second inauguration and the theme of freedom in it is nothing new. Since 11 September this same freedom has been the main slogan of the war on terror the White House has declared... Bush's critics point out that in America itself there is now considerably less freedom. .. Who knows, perhaps Afghanistan really has become freer, and democracy may emerge in Iraq after the elections. But for the rest of the world the war on terror is turning increasingly into lack of freedom....

Russia's Vedomosti

Critics who were hoping that he would get mired in detail about Iraq were mistaken. Instead he went back to basics, reaching out to the belief of most Americans in the fundamental importance of freedom and using that to explain his policies at home and abroad. At times it sounded more like a sermon than a speech. Mr Bush may not be much of a speaker. But sometimes the message is more important than eloquence and what he had to say yesterday had the power of real conviction.

Ireland's Irish Independent

Things are now clearer than ever: We have the right to feel a chill down the spine. To describe Bush as a madman with a mission at the head of a state bristling with weapons does not really get us any further... and, although insulting, it is no longer even particularly original. And yet this US administration sends a chill down the spine of anyone unwilling to become accustomed to listening to this madness.

Germany's Die Tageszeitung

No-one should expect a weak president in spite of the fact that his immediate objectives were achieved in his first term as a world leader. The inauguration speech was again simple, concise and direct, as was the electoral message which gave him victory at the polls in November... For his enemies, there is a choice: liberty or oppression.

Spain's La Razon

In... George W Bush's inauguration speech, there seem not to have been any pithy sentences which will be engraved forever in our memories. There is the feeling of a man who treats the whole world as his parish.

Italy's La Repubblica

In a bid to be as determined as Franklin D. Roosevelt facing the Great Depression in 1933... and galvanize people like John F. Kennedy in 1961... the 43rd president of the United States opened up particularly ambitious prospects for the future which go well beyond the four years remaining to him in the White House.

France's Le Figaro

The question is how much he has learnt... and how much he has forgotten. Mr Bush will be the president of the USA for the next four years, and whatever he ruins, he will ruin it for us too. So it is worth keeping our fingers crossed for him, for mere selfishness if for no other reason.

Hungary's Nepszabadsag

The drawback of Bush's style is that he has never really racked his brains about how to convince somebody. Basically, he only explains reasons for his decisions. Why would he do anything else - he is right, is he not? He will hardly change in that respect, so we only have to hope that he is right as often as possible.

Czech Republic's Mlada fronta Dnes

An idealistic vision of the furtherance by America of freedom, democracy and human rights... Although in Bush's short inaugural speech words such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Ukraine were not used once, it is clear which countries he was referring to. He is planning such deep changes in internal policy that if they are carried through they will change America for good. He also spoke of these changes in his inaugural speech as being 'furtherance of freedom and justice'. If his plans are realised, then this will be a conservative revolution.

Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza

Under the label of a sick, religious-political doctrine they march against countries longing for their natural resources. Already, the United States is warning various countries by beginning the known method of repeated lies... The planet must be aware of this freedom the United States is talking about because it is leading to a one-way-road: to the 'freedom' of enslavement and submission to the United States.

Cyprus Kharavyi

As the strategy of toppling Saddam Hussein and 'democratising Iraq' has gradually turned into a nightmare scenario, the initiative of declaring new wars and attempts of widening the occupation increase the suspicions about Bush's second term... The government in Turkey should not fall into the trap of an attack against Iran. Possible demands for support must be refused in the parliament...

Turkey's Milliyet

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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