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EDITIONS
Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 09:37 GMT
Europe concerns over US Iraq policy
US President George W Bush
The Republican victory may give Mr Bush a freer hand
European press coverage of the Republicans' victory in America's mid-term elections is dominated by concern over the implications for Washington's foreign policy.

Leader writers across the continent discuss what the result means for policy on Iraq and express unease at what they see as President George W Bush's unilateralism.

In France, Liberation wonders if the prospects for a war against Iraq have changed from "probable" to "certain" after "President Bush's unquestionable personal success" in the congressional elections.

But the paper argues that Iraq's fate will ultimately be determined in Baghdad.


The Republicans' victory has given Mr Bush even greater room for manoeuvre in his strategy towards Iraq

Le Monde

When the Security Council passes its resolution on disarming Iraq, it says, "the ball will be in Saddam Hussein's court" because "the question of whether it is to be war or peace will be determined by the dictator's behaviour".

Room for manoeuvre

Under the headline "Bush's hands are free", Le Figaro notes that the US president "has seen his position strengthened just as the United States is trying to have a very strong draft resolution adopted by the UN Security Council".

And Le Monde observes that the Republicans' victory has given Mr Bush "even greater room for manoeuvre in his strategy towards Iraq".


The impact of the Republicans' success will be felt by everybody, whether in the UN or NATO, whether in Washington, Baghdad or Pyongyang

Die Welt

It attributes the election outcome to the 11 September terror attacks against America.

The polls, it says, have been fought and won on the issue of national security, "on which the Republicans, and particularly the Republican who lives in the White House, fundamentally enjoy the country's confidence".

Unilateralism

The Paris-based International Herald Tribune warns that the US president will now be able "to act on foreign policy and security issues in ways that might heighten foreigners' concerns about what they see as his unilateralist tendencies".

Similarly, Madrid's El Pais fears an intensification of what it calls "America's allergy to commitments dictated by international law".


The president, and above all the decisive men behind him, will now want to intervene military and politically in an even more open manner everywhere in the world


Die Presse

President Bush, it says, "will now be freer to apply his 'pre-emptive attack' theory" to the Iraq question.

But the paper hopes that instead all will be resolved within the United Nation's framework.

"The Republicans' victory gives them no mandate" to proceed otherwise, it stresses, "even though in practice it amounts to a 'carte blanche' handed by a frightened electorate to a gung-ho president".

Enhanced legitimacy

The German Die Welt says Mr Bush's legitimacy has emerged enhanced from the mid-term elections.

"In however roundabout a way, he has obtained brilliant legitimization," it says, adding: "Henceforth it can no longer be doubted."

The paper also argues that Mr Bush's popularity was decisive for the Republicans' success, the effects of which, it stresses, will be felt by "everybody, whether in the UN or NATO, whether in Washington, Baghdad or Pyongyang".

Austria's Die Presse fears these effects may "not necessarily be good".

"The president, and above all the decisive men behind him," it says, "will now want to intervene military and politically in an even more open manner everywhere in the world".

Barcelona's El Periodico notes that President Bush has already achieved a feat that eluded his father - "not to be affected by a deteriorating economy".

"More the reason," it says, "to dedicate himself even more single-mindedly to the war on international terrorism, to overthrowing Saddam Hussein and to imposing his imperial policy around the world without a care for his allies' opinions."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

07 Nov 02 | Americas
06 Nov 02 | World
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