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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK
European press review

The second anniversary of the 11 September attacks in the United States has pride of place in the editorial pages, with the sympathy and shared grief of two years ago tempered by reservations over Washington's attitudes since.

Worsening the problem?

The attacks of 11 September, 2001, says France's Le Monde, "because of the number of victims, the methods used and the symbols targeted, unleashed a wave of solidarity with America for which there is no historical precedent".

Two years on, however, "the United States' standing is at an all-time low" and "compassion has given way to the fear that ill-thought action will only worsen the problems".

The US, the paper says, "must listen to its allies, be mindful of the different situations in which it intervenes, and respect the international rules which America itself helped to draw up".

The world is in a worse state, more insecure before the uncertainties of global terrorism and the unpredictability of what the United States might do
El Pais

For Italy's Corriere Della Sera, the events of 11 September remain "an open wound" for the US.

"Neither the time that has passed, nor the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been able to drive out the nightmare of terrorism from the sleep of the Americans," it says.

In Spain, Madrid's El Mundo says that, immediately after the attacks, George W. Bush "held in his hands... a blank cheque given to him by millions of people on both sides of the Atlantic".

But two years on the international situation "is becoming more unstable with every passing day", because of what the paper sees as President Bush's decision "to cast the world into the abyss of the new order, under the pretext of the war on terrorism".

Its compatriot El Pais is in broad agreement. "Two years have passed," it says, "and the world is in a worse state, more insecure before the uncertainties of global terrorism and the unpredictability of what the United States might do".

"Two years after the attacks", chimes La Razon, "we still don't know Bin Laden's whereabouts, Mullah Omar is still at large, we have been unable to capture Saddam Hussein, and Iraq is a powder keg."

'Anti-Americanism'

Germany's Der Tagesspiegel says that in the two years since attacks, the Germans have become more critical of the US.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's anti-war stance over Iraq is seen as having played a part in this shift.

While two years ago the Germans merely had reservations about President George W Bush, now, as the paper puts it, most of them "despise" him.

Since the 11 September attacks, it says, "Germany has become more European, more anti-American, more Gaullist".

Die Welt also detects - and regrets - a growing anti-Americanism.

The paper criticises those who oppose Washington's leading world role for failing to be clear about what the alternative would be.

"There is spreading in Germany," it says, "a kind of self-delusionism long thought dead, as well as the inability to assess external factors realistically".

"What we have seen since 11 September," it concludes, "is the gradual de-Westernization of our country."

'Loss of trust'

Austria's Die Presse sees ominous developments in international relations since the attacks.

"Never before have justifications of military operations, including the Iraq war, been challenged so swiftly as in this war against terrorism," the paper notes.

"This loss of trust in the US president, but not only in him," it says, "may mark a more significant historical crossroads than the one the world believed it saw in the fiery glow of the exploding planes two years ago."

The ashes of those who died on September 11 should touch not only people's hearts but also their minds.
Moskovskiy Komsomolets

An article in Russia's Moskovskiy Komsomolets is scathing about what it sees as "a tendency to turn 11 September into an indulgence, a reason, a propaganda symbol, an advertising tag, a source of permission for everything."

The events of that day - horrifying as they are - have been "inflated to Homeric proportions".

"The ashes of those who died on 11 September should touch not only people's hearts but also their minds. Ramming them into cannon like gunpowder is blasphemous," the article concludes.

For Russia's Gazeta "a great division occurred on the geopolitical world map on 11 September, 2001."

"The USA allocated a place to every state on the planet, and to international organisations, sorting them into allies, sympathisers, neutrals, and active and passive enemies."

"The 'axis of evil' was indicated, as well as the second- and third-rank bearers of the ideology of evil," the paper says.

The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.




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