UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000561
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; US PRESIDENT BUSH'S LATAM TOUR; IRAQ;
GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM; 03/22/07; BUENOS AIRES
Â¶1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Leading international stories today include the implications for
Argentina of US President Bush's tour of Latin America; an
assessment of the four-year war in Iraq; and misconceptions in the
US-led Global War on Terrorism.
Â¶2. OPINION PIECES
- "The political scenario is marked by provincial elections"
Leading "Clarin" carries an op-ed page by Carlos Acua, Director,
Master in Public Policies, Universidad San Andres, and researcher at
Conicet (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas)
(National Council on S&T Research), who penned (03/22) "... (US
President George W.) Bush's visit to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia,
Guatemala and Mexico seems a belated 'I-have-not-forgiven-you'
signal, aimed at putting a siege on anti-US President Chavez's
"This wink, which is based on an axis with Brazil, is historical and
has little to do with Argentina's current policies...
"... (Bush's) visit to Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico is a visit to
'friendly' governments, through which (the USG) expects to
neutralize the mistrust typical of the Southern Cone...
"... The Kirchner administration (gladly?) paid the cost of
tolerating in its own territory a political rally led by a foreign
president in defiance of another foreign president based on the fact
that, regardless of sovereignty-related issues, Bush's visit to Lula
and Vazquez granted (Kirchner) little gratitude for Argentina's
stance on Iran and too much political air to the Uruguayan president
in a framework of the prevailing tension with Argentina.
"In brief, there is nothing new or dramatic in the US President's
tour of Latin America. If this is so, his tour has been a sign of
USG weakness rather than a historical change in US ties to the
region or some of its country-members. In this framework, Argentina
neither won nor lost.
"The most important event for Argentina in recent days was not
Bush's visit to Latin America but provincial elections in
- "The force that works wonders"
James Neilson, contributor to liberal, English-language "Buenos
Aires Herald," writes (03/22) "... A precipitate US retreat from
Iraq would be welcomed by most people in Europe and Latin America
not because they imagine it would help make the Middle East a kinder
and gentler place... but because they want to see the superpower
"After more than half a century of being shielded by US power
against totalitarian and on occasion genocidal communism, Western
Europeans have contrived to persuade themselves that military force
is always useless and that all problems can be solved by peaceful
"Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people out there who do
not think like modern Europeans. Militant Islamists, Arab
nationalists and many others take it for granted that force works
wonders, which is why they are more than willing to use it. So far
they have been proved right. The best way to wring concessions from
Western countries is to attack them and then threaten them with more
violence. Whenever a terrorist atrocity occurs, a sizeable chunk of
public opinion can be relied upon to blame it on the local
government and accuse it of failing to address the terrorists'
- "Four years of war in Iraq"
Leading "Clarin" editorializes (03/22) "After four years of war,
Iraq poses today a greater threat to international peace and
security than when the US decided to launch its 'Iraqi Freedom'
"... The most powerful army in the world managed to defeat Saddam
Hussein, but not to establish any kind of orderly system, to the
extreme that Iraq's territorial integrity is today at risk.
"On the other hand, the costs of war (about 150 million dollars per
day) have already affected the US economy and, therefore, global
economy and will continue doing so in the future.
"... As long as occupying powers do not manage to guarantee a ruling
system in Iraq, the troop withdrawal will not only signify the
assumption of a huge strategic error but also the evidence of its
destabilizing impact on the most conflictive region in the world."
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