The Guardian August 8, 2001


Out of their own mouths

The Bush administration's "hostile attitude" in dealing with the rest of 
the world shows "a sense of arrogance and contempt" for international co-
operation which will eventually undermine American interests, said The New 
York Times, one of the leading newspapers in the United States. 

The New York Times, in an editorial lashed out at President Bush for 
turning about from his presidential campaign remarks that a country as 
powerful as the United States should remain "humble" in relations with 
other countries. 

Since taking office, the newspaper said, "Mr. Bush has shown a surprising 
disdain for the kinds of treaties and international agreements that set the 
tone for America's engagement with the world and that have figured 
prominently in Washington's foreign policy for most of the years since 
World War II." 

"In January, even before Mr. Bush took office, his spokesmen declared that 
he would not seek Senate ratification of the treaty creating the 
International Criminal Court. In March, the White House announced that the 
United States was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. In 
May, Mr. Bush made clear that he was ready to set aside the constraints of 
the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to test and build missile 
defenses," the newspaper noted. 

"This month, American delegates insisted on diluting a United Nations 
agreement to reduce illegal trafficking in small arms. Last week, 
Washington pulled out of long-running efforts to negotiate enforcement 
provisions for the convention banning biological weapons. 

"Meanwhile, the administration has indefinitely deferred seeking Senate 
ratification of the 1996 nuclear test ban treaty and the 1993 nuclear 
weapons reduction treaty with Russia negotiated by Mr Bush's father," the 
newspaper said. 

The New York Times editorial voiced support for preservation or 
adoption of the treaties that the Bush administration opposes, and insisted 
that the flaws in imperfect treaties can generally be fixed, whether 
through further negotiations or in the Senate ratification process. 

It pointed out that last week representatives of nearly 180 countries met 
at Bonn and made important changes to address previous American complaints 
about the Kyoto Protocol. "But instead of engaging in serious negotiations 
in Bonn, Washington's representative was instructed to stand aside." 

The newspaper whacked the Bush administration for having thus far "ignored 
a useful opportunity to address many of the objections it has raised to the 
nuclear test ban treaty." 

"This is not a productive role for the world's leading country. Contempt 
for the concerns of other countries will only erode American influence," 
The New York Times said.

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