World also wonders: What happens next?

What others say

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2001

A sampling of opinions from around the world on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States:

From the Egyptian Gazette in Cairo on U.S. revenge:

America's uncontrollable urge to avenge the Sept. 11 attacks is understandable, albeit ill-advised. Never before in its history has the U.S. experienced terrorism on such a scale. The unidentified perpetrators chose to strike the U.S., the world's unchallenged superpower, where it hurt most.

(Last) Tuesday's attacks were the most ruthless so far in terms of casualties and diabolical sophistication. Accordingly, striking hard at terrorism must be a global task. But is war the proper way? Doubts abound. In this case, (U.S. President George W.) Bush has singled out Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect, although investigators have yet to bring conclusive proof. Livid with anger and smarting from being humiliated at home, the American military and political machine is on a war footing.

In spearheading the battle against terrorism, the U.S. should show rationality, attentively listen to others' views and think of means other than military.

From Le Figaro, Paris, on the reopening of Wall Street:

(Monday) ... America attempted an initial counter-attack. ... Wall Street had to reopen in an orderly fashion unless it was to plunge the financial world, riveted by its reaction, further into confusion.

Technically, the operation was a success. Market mechanisms have started up again. The drop in the Dow Jones ..., though it was severe, did not turn into a financial crash. The worst was avoided.

It was a perilous exercise. ... If America wanted to convince the world of its ability to fight back, it could not fail in this one.

The counter-attack at least has the merit, in its symbolic power, of confirming Western solidarity against the forces that tried to seize up the heart of the world financial engine. Now, time will tell.

On a more fundamental level, the signals sent out (Monday) by the New York Stock Exchange ... are worrisome. Wall Street reflects investors' anticipation of the future economic situation. The drop in indexes at the close yesterday is an ominous sign.

The market regained the upper hand (Monday). But it would be presumptuous to say that America has reassured us.

From Die Welt, Berlin, on a coalition against terrorism:

A coalition is currently being forged which is supposed to put the fight against terror on a broad basis.

China ... is in the boat. Russia is going along with it too. The countries of the Mideast and the Indian subcontinent are in shock and, for now, are playing along.

This colorful coalition will soon be tested. The Taliban have threatened all their neighbors with retaliation.

Who knows what they have in their hands? Russian weapons of mass destruction? It can't be ruled out.

Connections with Western Chinese Muslims ...? Certainly. Allies in Pakistan? Of course. ...

Which is to say: This war isn't a second Somalia ... this is about more, much more.

The longer America's campaign lasts, the more certain it is that Osama bin Laden will try to represent it as a war against Islam. Attacks against America's oil suppliers will follow.

This isn't an argument against Bush's strategy. It's an argument for setting out clearly what might happen now.

Sept. 12

Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, Sweden, on Pakistan and U.S. attacks:

Pakistan cannot really be relied on when there is a storm brewing. Democracy has been put aside by Gen. (Pervez) Musharraf who seized power in a coup two years ago. The country has been subject to U.S. sanctions since its successful nuclear test some years ago. It has fought wars with neighboring India. Futhermore it is, to say the least, politically unstable. That Musharraf has taken a side must be welcomed. The choice cannot have been given, the risks were far too great. These include the Afghan Taliban's indirect threat to attack Pakistan; there is also concern that if Pakistan turns its back on Afghanistan it would be left without any friendly neighbors. ... In the short-term there are few who believe that Musharraf's power is threatened. In the long term his position is more uncertain. There are even rumors of a new military coup if the president doesn't get his fellow generals to toe the line. The long-term perspective is further turbulence in an already turbulent region. ... However, the United States has right to make demands. In the struggle between democracy and dictatorship, between decency and tyranny, between openness and oppression there is no room for indifference and neutrality. The threat of terror effects us all, and it is everybody's responsibility to eliminate it.



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