Cablegate: G8; Middle East; Iraq; U.S. Economic Policy

Published: Fri 6 Jun 2003 07:07 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. "We'd be better off with the G-Zero."
Columnist William Watson noted in the conservative
English-language daily the Montreal Gazette (6/3): "The
big news story in France yesterday was the
length of the handshake on Sunday when Jacques Chirac
welcomed George W. Bush to the G8 summit. The French
press considered it too short, even if it was followed
a little later by a friendly pat on the back from Mr.
Bush - a pat on the back with no concealed weapon,
unlike the backstabbing the Americans feel Mr. Chirac
gave them over Iraq.... Whether in handshakes or
meetings, Bush's preference is clearly for brevity.
Thus he left the G8 sessions yesterday afternoon, just
halfway through the agenda. This was widely regarded as
a snub to Chirac, which it probably was, but it's also
consistent with Bush's well-known impatience with
talkfests. Loquacious Bill Clinton would have loved 48
hours of meetings. Taciturn George W. Bush evidently
did not.... With the U.S. skipping half the meeting,
this year the G8 was the G7.5. It's a step in the right
direction. If more members could be persuaded to do the
same, we might eventually get down to the G-0. It's
hard to believe the world would be worse."
2. "Bush puts his prestige on the line"
Editorial writer David Warren commented in the
conservative National Post and the nationalist Ottawa
Citizen (6/4): "...Those who do not grasp by now
that the President means what he says may be fairly
dismissed as impenetrable. Such commentators exist on
both left and right, and indeed both ends of the
political spectrum seem now to be convinced that Mr.
Bush is, with Ariel Sharon in carriage, purposely
advancing a `road map' so little different from the old
failed Oslo process that he must be expecting
it to fail, leaving Israel free, when it does, to
settle matters by force. This is, however, a complete
misreading of Mr. Bush. He may be foolish, but
he is not cynical. He has put his money where his mouth
was a sufficient number of consecutive times, and been
sufficiently transparent about his intentions, to be
relieved of the latter charge.... Notwithstanding, Mr.
Bush is putting the credibility of the United States,
and his own prestige, on the line. He is banking on the
new leverage the United States has as a regional power
in its own right - it has occupied Iraq - and on the
cumulative effect of the trauma in the Arab world of
watching Saddam
Hussein's statue come down, and absorbing that
occupation.... Israel most certainly risks getting
burned, for the peace Mr. Bush seeks is regional not
local.... This is a Herculean task: cleaning the Augean
stables, changing the very nature of Arab politics. Mr.
Bush believes it cannot be avoided,
and he is right in the middle of it now."
3. "New credo"
Jean-Marc Salvet, chief editorialist at the centrist Le
Soleil, wrote (6/4): "Many pundits were wrong in
believing George W. Bush would shy away from the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.... The world's first
power has accepted the idea that a firm commitment on
its part would increase the chances of reaching a
political settlement in the Mid-East.... Nothing better
illustrates the new American determination than the
Aqaba summit where the Israeli and Palestinian prime
ministers will meet President Bush.... The agreements
in principle obtained so far are important but fragile.
That is why Washington must see to it that the Road Map
is applied and that its interlocutors do not deviate
from it."
4. "A just war regardless"
Under the sub-heading, "Whether WMDs are found or not,
the allies need offer no apologies for liberating
Iraq," the conservative National Post opined
(6/4): "...As Mr. Bush himself has plainly admitted,
the war was always about more than WMDs. It was about
creating a new political environment in the Middle
East, destroying the cult of militant Arabism that kept
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict simmering,
extinguishing a possible nexus between rogue power and
terrorism; and, perhaps, in the long term,
democratizing the Arab world. Given that these are
large, ambitious projects, the U.S. and British leaders
would have had a difficult time using them as an
explicit basis to justify war. Thus the two government
focused, perhaps overly so, on the threat of WMDs and
links to al-Qaeda - which are simpler, more tangible
themes. But over time, as the larger benefits of Iraq's
liberation unfold, we are confident the paucity of WMDs
found in the country will come to be regarded in the
West as an insignificant footnote to the region's
history - much as it already is to the many ordinary
Iraqis freed of Saddam's tyranny."
5. "U.S. manufacturing could rescue Canada."
Columnist Jay Bryan observed in the nationalist Ottawa
Citizen (6/3): "It's an obscure number, and much of the
time justifiably so, but when the U.S. is faltering in
its job as global economic locomotive, the Institute
for Supply Management's measure of manufacturing
health, best known as the ISM index,
can become a critically important indicator of where
the economy is going.... As the Canadian economy
staggers under the weight of Toronto's SARS episode,
Alberta's mad cow scare and a darkening domestic
economic landscape, the importance of exports to the
U.S. has become critical.... That's why the apparent
revival in U.S. manufacturing couldn't be more
welcome. Since Canada's rising interest rates and
dollar are acting to squeeze our still-robust growth
rate, a reviving U.S. economy is our best hope for a
healthy economy this time next year."
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