Chretien, Mandela, Blast US Chauvinism

Mohammad J Alam alam.m at neu.edu
Thu Sep 12 21:07:38 MDT 2002


By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has linked the
Sept. 11 suicide attacks to the perceived arrogance and selfishness of
the United States and the West.

Chretien is the first leader of a western major nation to suggest that
the suicide hijackers might have been motivated by what he describes as
the misguided policies of a rich and powerful West that did not
understand the need for restraint.

The veteran prime minister, who has been in power for nine years, told
the CBC in an interview aired late on Wednesday that there was "a lot
of resentment" about the way in which powerful nations treated the
increasing number of poor and dispossessed people in the world.

"You know, you cannot exercise your powers to the point of humiliation
for others. That is what the Western world -- not only the Americans,
the Western world -- has to realize. Because they (the have-nots) are
human beings too. There are long-term consequences if you don't look
hard at the reality in 10 or 20 (or) 30 years from now," he said.

Chretien continued: "And I do think the Western world is getting too
rich in relation to the poor world and necessarily, you know, we're
looked upon as being arrogant, self-satisfied greedy and with no
limits. And Sept. 11 is an occasion for me to realize it even more."

A total of 3,025 people -- including 23 Canadians -- died in the Sept.
11 attacks.

Chretien comes from the moderate left of Canada's ruling Liberal Party,
which has sometimes looked upon Republican administrations with
suspicion.

Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette -- also on the left of the
party -- went further in an interview with the CBC that was broadcast
in the same Sept. 11 package as the prime minister's. He likened some
leading players in the United States to bullies on an ice hockey rink.

Chretien's relations with President Bush have always been cool and his
criticism of Washington's increasingly unilateral foreign policy is
unlikely to win him fresh friends in the White House.

The leader of the right-wing Canadian Alliance party, which is
generally more favorably inclined toward the United States, quickly
branded Chretien's musings as a disgrace.

"(His) comments -- particularly coming on the anniversary of Sept. 11
-- blaming the victim are shameful. What was behind the events of Sept.
11 are the forces of evil and hatred," said Stephen Harper.

"These must be resisted by free and democratic societies and their
leaders. His comments are unacceptable, and he should apologize to the
United States and to the families of the Canadian victims."

The local CBC radio station in Ottawa was flooded with calls on
Thursday morning from listeners backing Chretien.

Bush met Chretien last week amid a concerted U.S. effort to persuade
its allies of the need to overthrow Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Chretien stressed instead the need to work through the United Nations
to build a coalition.

Chretien's reflective comments were highly unusual for a man known as a
down-to-earth politician with little time for the deeper philosophy of
governance.

The one skill the West and the United States seemed to lack was that of
knowing when to exercise some restraint, he said.

"It's always the problem when you read history -- (no one) knows when
to stop. There's a moment, you know, when you have to stop," he told
the CBC, saying he had made this point to a group of Wall Street
executives unhappy that Canada had full diplomatic relations with arch
U.S. foe Cuba.

"And I said that day...'When you're (as) powerful (as) you are, you
guys, it's the time to be nice'."

Collenette himself showed little signs of restraint, telling the CBC
that the collapse of the Soviet Union had removed an important check on
U.S. foreign policy.

"There will be people in the United States sort of emboldened by their
new source of unfettered power to -- in an (ice) hockey term -- get
their elbows up," he said.

Foreign policy has never been high on Chretien's agenda, with the
notable exception of Africa. At this year's summit of the Group of
Eight most powerful nations, Chretien -- as host -- insisted his fellow
leaders pay particular attention to a plan designed to help combat
endemic poverty in Africa.

"I think the western world is a bit too selfish and that there is a lot
of resentment. I felt it when I dealt with the African file for the G8
summit. You know, the poor get relatively poorer all the time and the
rich are getting richer all the time," he said.
======
USA Threatens World Peace, Says Mandela

The Post (Lusaka)

September 12, 2002
Posted to the web September 12, 2002


ONE of the world's most respected statesmen, Nelson Mandela, has
condemned United States intervention in the Middle East as "a threat to
world peace".

In an interview with the US magazine, Newsweek published on Wednesday,
the former South African president repeated his call for President
George Bush not to launch attacks on Iraq. He charged that US President
George Bush was trying to please the American arms and oil industries.

And Mandela, 84, called some of Bush's senior advisers, including
Vice-President Dick Cheney "dinosaurs".

He said the United States' backing for a coup by the Shah of Iran in
1953 had led to that country's Islamic revolution in 1979. On
Afghanistan, Mandela said US support for the mujahideen, including
Osama Bin Laden, against the Soviet Union and its refusal to work with
the United Nations after the Soviet withdrawal led to the Taleban
taking power.

"If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the
attitude of the United States is a threat to world peace," he said.
Mandela said the US was clearly afraid of losing a vote in the United
Nations Security Council.

"It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W Bush's desire
to please the arms and oil industries in the United States," he said.
Mandela said no evidence had been presented to support the claim that
Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, while former UN weapons
inspector in Baghdad Scott Ritter has said there is no such evidence.

"But what we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction,"
Mandela said. "Nobody mentions that." Mandela made it clear that the
only member of the Bush team he respects is Colin Powell.

He called Cheney a "dinosaur" and an "arch-conservative" who does not
want Bush "to belong to the modern age." Mandela recalled that Cheney
had been opposed to his release from prison.



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