Rice nomination met with measured enthusiasm

The nomination of Condoleezza Rice as US
secretary of state and the departure of Colin Powell
gives room for little rejoicing in the European
press.   

One of the few extremely positive reactions to
the news came from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who
declared that he had “immense esteem” for the
new US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She
will follow in the footsteps of Colin Powell.
The reactions from most other European colleagues were
more measured. 

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier shared the
observation that Rice is “a woman with character,
that is the least we can say”. He added that
“the moment has come to look ahead of us to
rebuild and renew this transatlantic
relationship”.     

In the European press, however, the gloves were off in
most places with reactions over the nomination on 16
November ranging from the downbeat to the downright
gloomy. “This is the end of theoretical hopes that
the second Bush administration would be more
moderate,” writes the Italian paper 
La Stampa

. French daily 
Le Monde

sees the nomination as a confirmation of Bush
conservatism. German paper 
Die Welt

claims that “now goes the last hope on this side of
the Atlantic”. 

However, writing under the headline, ‘The rise of
Miss Rice’, the British newspaper 
the Daily Telegraph

forsees that t
he appointment 

will be “warmly welcomed by the
Foreign Office,” and adds
that Rice will be more in tune with the
president’s unique blend of social conservatism and
radical foriegn policy.

Many see the new secretary of
state as contrasting to Colin Powell with
whom “Europeans were still feeling
close”, as the German 
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

 puts it. Spanish 
El Pais

says that “the US has lost its moderate
face”. 

To this 
the Financial Times

adds that Powell “seemed to have lost control
over foreign policy”. Futhermore, Powell’s
international standing had been shaken by his
“presentation to the United Nations in January
2003 of the ‘evidence’ of Saddam Hussein’s
weapons of mass destruction, which subsequently proved
to be false in almost every regard”.

 

 

 

 

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