Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

European Public Opinion: Closer to Pope Than to Bush. (World)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

European Public Opinion: Closer to Pope Than to Bush. (World)

Article excerpt

European public opinion on a possible war with Iraq tilts closer to the views of John Paul II than to George W.

Analysts believe most European governments will eventually get on board if the U.S. strikes Iraq. The lone exception might be Germany, where Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder staked his re-election on staying out of the war.

Across Europe there is skepticism about the wisdom of the course the United States is steering, and of the motives for pursuing it. An early January poll in France, for example, found that only 15 percent of the French would favor going to war in Iraq, even if the United Nations were to approve the action.

A sample of comment from European newspapers:

"Are U.N. resolutions meant to apply to weak nations and be ignored at will by the powerful? ... To date the Iraqis have complied with the U.N. resolution to the letter.... One might have expected that such cooperation from Iraq would have lessened the tension in the region. Strangely, this is not the case."

Le Figaro, Paris, December 2002

"There is something almost comical about the prospect of George W. Bush waging war on another nation because that nation has defied international law. Since Bush came to office, the U.S. government has torn up more international treaties and disregarded more United Nations' conventions than the rest of the world has in 20 years. It has scuppered the biological weapons convention while experimenting, illegally, with biological weapons of its own. It has refused to grant chemical-weapons inspectors full access to its laboratories. It has ripped up the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and appears to be ready to violate the nuclear test-ban treaty."

The Guardian, London, August 2002

"Europe wants to build its and the world's security on international agreements, common institutions and common trade. …

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