Monday, August 26, 1996
U.S. TRADE SANCTIONS: EFFECTIVE TOOL OR SUPERPOWER CUDGEL
Observers from around the globe continued to react to the
latest U.S. trade sanctions legislation aimed at isolating
Iran and Libya for supporting terrorism and putting
pressure on the Communist Castro regime in Havana. The so-
called Helms-Burton and D'Amato acts were viewed by a
majority of commentators--with a few notable exceptions--as
"interventionist" and "hegemonic," violating international
trade norms and "timed for U.S. elections." Several
critics contended that the U.S. actions could have several
deleterious effects, among them: angering U.S. trade
partners and allies--especially in the EU; having no effect
on ending terrorism or toppling dictatorships; and stirring
up anti-American sentiment everywhere. Commentators
accused Washington of applying a "double standard" in its
sanctions policy. One Belgian paper argued that "when it
comes to China" the U.S. doesn't follow the same philosophy
it applies to Iran and Libya. A number of editorialists
allowed that while the U.S. may have "very good reasons"
for taking a tough line against nations that reportedly
support terrorism, the policy is still "very wrong."
Mexico's nationalist Excelsior railed, "It is unbearable
that Washington tells (other countries) where to invest and
with whom to trade." The daily urged nations to create
"antidote laws" as a response to "U.S. blackmail."
Analysts also said they saw the "first casualties" of the
trade sanctions, listing among them the canceled visas of
managers from the Canadian nickel-producing company Sheritt
International and the Mexican telecommunications holding
company Grupo Domos, as well as the draft CTBT. Said one
Belgian paper, referring to Iran's vetoing of the CTBT
draft language, "It seems that the U.S. is reaping...the
first fruit of Senator D'Amato's act." Turkey's signing of
a $24 billion agreement to buy natural gas from Iran was
interpreted as an act of defiance against Washington--
despite Ankara's assertion that the natural gas agreement
does not fall within the scope of the D'Amato legislation.
In Turkey, where Prime Minister Erbakan's recent visit to
Iran received support largely from pro-Islamist dailies,
mainstream papers were skeptical of his mission and alarmed
by the possibility of retaliation by the Clinton
administration. Opinionmakers from Arab and Muslim
countries were especially incensed over the D'Amato Act.
Cairo's opposition biweekly Al-Shaab maintained: "This is
insolent racism.... If Arab rulers have any pride they
should rebel against it."
A few pundits, however, found some merit in the American
pro-sanctions position. News reports that two German
businessmen were arrested on suspicion of supplying the
Libyan regime with equipment for its chemical weapons
program raised concern among commentators in Britain and
Italy, and also Germany itself. London's conservative
Times held: "No wonder the Americans are contemptuous of
European promises to crack down on international terrorism;
no wonder they insist that only sanctions on companies
doing business with such regimes will curb the trade in
terror.... No chances should be taken with a regime as
unstable and malign as that of Colonel Qadhaffi." Other
stories about Iranian involvement in the killing of Kurdish
opposition politicians on German soil prompted Germany's
national commercial TV station SAT 1 to remark that such
revelations serve as a "confirmation" of U.S. policy on
This survey is based on 66 reports from 29 countries,
EDITOR: Diana McCaffrey
GERMANY: "Confirmation Of Harsh U.S. Criticism Of Iran"
National commercial TV station SAT 1 (8/22) aired the
following commentary by Elmar Tophoven: "The political
significance of Bani-Sadr's statement (in a court
appearance at the trial of one Iranian and three Lebanese
nationals who are accused of having killed four Kurdish
opposition politicians in the Berlin Mykonos' restaurant
four years ago) is immense, since it questions the whole
German policy toward Iran and thus also Germany's 'critical
dialogue' with Iran. And it would only be a confirmation
of the harsh criticism which the U.S. government raises
again and again against the German negotiating practices
"Bonn Should Not Support Tehran Regime That Kills On German
P. Guenther commented on national radio station
Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (8/22): "How can (after
Bani-Sadr's's statement in Berlin) the Bonn government
cooperate with a regime that kills its enemies even on
German soil? Economic interests and possible assistance of
Tehran cannot be so important (as to allow this). In this
case, it is a relief to see that German justice
authorities do not support this policy and demonstrate in
an exemplary way their independence in the Mykonos' case."
"U.S. Rightly Angry"
Right-of-center Rheinische Post of Duesseldorf carried
comments on reports that two German businessmen have been
arrested for allegedly selling to Libya equipment that can
be used to construct poison gas plants (8/20): "The
Americans are certainly to view with suspicion the latest
affair in Germany. They have every reason to, since U.S.
citizens around the world are repeatedly the subject of
attacks that can be traced back to Islamic fundamentalists.
And ever since Lockerbie, the Clinton government is rightly
angry when citizens of an allied country help others to
produce chemical weapons."
"Poisonous Trail To Libya" "
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin commented (8/20), "For
the last two years there have been international rumors
that companies from Germany, not only Belgian and Britain,
have supplied to Libya the technology to produce chemical
weapons. The arrests will of course not solve the case.
Libya's role, too, as the buyer, must be examined. And
that is something for the UN."
BRITAIN: "Germany's Blind Eye"
The conservative Times observed (8/21), "The arrest of two
German businessmen on suspicion of helping Libya to build a
poison gas factory underlines again the ruthless nature of
Colonel Qadhaffi's regime. More embarrassingly, it also
highlights Germany's failure to take proper steps to
control the sale of machinery and deadly equipment to rogue
regimes intent on mass destruction. This is not the first
time.... No wonder the Americans are contemptuous of
European promises to crack down on international terrorism;
no wonder they insist that only sanctions on companies
doing business with such regimes will curb the trade in
terror. The scale of German involvement, the failure--
despite Bonn's repeated assurances--to block loopholes in
existing export bans and the impunity with which the men
adapted and shipped the equipment point to serious lapses
in German counter-intelligence.... The Americans, and
other allies, will be watching the fallout closely. No
chances should be taken with a regime as unstable and
malign as that of Colonel Qadhaffi."
ITALY: "Gas For Qadhaffi"
Left-leaning, influential La Repubblica said (8/21):
"Germany...has some special duties so as to make the world
forgive the Holocaust.... All the more so if it aspires
to European leadership, leading the chorus against U.S.
anti-terrorism sanctions against business with Libya and
Iran.... Up to which point does Germany accept
subordination of its new nationalist assertiveness...to
post-war Western values and principles? It would be a
good thing to know from the country that easily rebukes
Rome for its public debt, Paris for its nuclear
testing...and Washington for its trade or social policies."
"Turning Of The U.S. Screw: Timed For U.S. Elections"
New York-based correspondent Anna Guaita wrote in centrist
Il Messaggero (8/20): "The closer the presidential
election comes, the more the Clinton administration
concentrates on U.S. interests, be it to the disadvantage
of the allies' interests.... The turning of the screw by
the White House...came after Bob Dole's address to the
Republican convention. He accused the WTO of failure to
respect U.S. interests and promised that, if elected, he
will see to it that the WTO 'toes the line.''
RUSSIA: "Leave Other Countries Alone"
Alexander Shinkin wrote in official government Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (8/22), "America is asking Europe to help it isolate
the only totalitarian state in the western hemisphere, and
impel Havana into democratic reforms. It is hard to tell
whether Bill Clinton will succeed in this. Europe has
changed from what it was even a decade ago. The failure of
the White House-proposed economic blockade of Cuba seems
like convincing proof of that.... Of course, the United
States is today the only world power. No doubt about that.
But why not live and let others live as they wish?"
"New Rules Of Game Needed"
Georgy Bovt held in reformist, business- oriented
Kommersant Daily (8/16): "As they are out to consolidate
their position on the Asian fuel market and there are clear
signs of Islamic resurgence, Americans cannot but realize
that they can't do much, given the levers of influence
available to them now. New rules of the game are
needed.... It would be wrong to say that Americans are
ready to give up a policy whereby they seek to confront and
counter Iran's attempts to gain access to the world (oil)
market, even though this policy is finding no support in
Europe and Asia.... The question is how much longer
combatting terrorism, in the minds of Americans, will be
associated with refusing lucrative contacts with Iran."
"D'Amato Stirs Anti-American Sentiments"
Vadim Markushin stated in centrist, army Krasnaya Zvezda
(8/16): "By ignoring Washington's advice to stay away from
Iran, Ankara instantly drew the attention of countries ever
ready with expressions of anti-American solidarity.... The
call for a complicated 'gas' game, in fact, became a call
for unity promptly taken up by neighbors.... New dynamics
may lead to changes in the balance of forces in the Middle
"Emotional European Response"
Reformist writers' weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta (#33, 8/15)
ran this comment by Alexander Shumilin: "Europe's defiance
of the U.S. decisions is more an emotional act against
what, at first glance, looks like interference in the
foreign policies of European countries, diktat, or an
electoral ruse. Emotions aside, one has to admit that
Clinton did not violate the sovereignty of any third
"Acting in a harsh, near-brutal form, he identified an
issue that may become of key importance to the 'new world
order'--whether to fight terrorism across the board by
every lawful method and on the basis of genuine
international solidarity--even at the price of a temporary
economic damage--or to imitate this struggle, paying lip
service to solidarity and confining ourselves to combatting
individual groups of terrorists, leaving intact a powerful
infrastructure of international terrorism, which has its
sponsors among Third World states."
TURKEY: "Erbakan Enters Dangerous Waters"
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in mass-appeal Sabah (8/12):
"Erbakan is currently shaking the balances.... Eventually
the boat will be run aground in these dangerous waters
which we created.... Rescue will cost us dearly.... If
the conduct of foreign relations continues to be a trial
run for RP (Welfare Party) aides, it will carry very heavy
"Policy Does Not Reflect Feelings Of Turkish Nation"
Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in mass-appeal Hurriyet (8/14), "This
policy does not reflect the feelings of the Turkish nation.
But, unfortunately, the (Turkish) prime minister who is
visiting Tehran makes his influence felt. And the
coalition partner, who received 21 percent of the votes (in
the elections), has managed to ruin Turkey's civilized
image, which took 70 years to build."
"Americans Must Realize Turkish-Iranian Relations Will
Ilnur Cevik held in pro-Islamic Zaman (8/14), "Americans
must realize the advantages that they will enjoy in the
future from the fact that Turkey is establishing good
relations with Iran."
AZERBAIJAN: "U.S. May Choose Azerbaijan Over Turkey"
Opposition Muxalifat published a comment by Elcin Arifoglu
(8/14), "With this deal Turkey loses more than it gets.
The cooling or even deteriorating of Turkey's relations
with the United States and NATO may push the United States
toward a search for a new ally capable of influencing
relations between Russia and Iran. Losing an ally in
Turkey, the United States may chose Azerbaijan, which is
destined to be in permanent confrontation with Iran and
Russia. On the whole, the United States will be looking
for such an ally in the Caucasus. The Erbakan move toward
rapprochement with Iran jeopardizes Turkey's strategic
interests. In this context, the initial period of euphoria
will inevitably be replaced by serious discontent with
Ayna, Azeri-language, independent, thrice-weekly sister
paper of indpendent, Russian-language Zerkalo, said (8/14),
"The ban on cooperation with Iran not only damages the
economic interests of European countries but also is again
a reminder of the leading U.S. role in the transatlantic
union. It appears that this is what the Europeans dislike.
However, though it is directed abroad, the American
legislation does not formally violate the sovereignty of
other countries. But now it is not individual countries
but individual companies and firms that will have to choose
who they want to be friends with, Washington or Teheran.
Caspian oil exporters cannot be indifferent to a long-term
exclusion of Iran and Libya from the world oil market....
If investments in Libyan and Iranian oil raise a threat of
political ramifications, this means a rise in the shares of
Azerbaijan and Kazakstan.... These latest developments
prove that the U.S. economic blockade of Iran will
eventually get worse, unless, of course, there are major
political changes in Teheran. Before this happens,
Azerbaijan's Iran policy should always take into
consideration the consequences of American and
international sanctions against this country."
BELGIUM: "Death Sentence In Geneva--Result Of U.S.
Philippe Paquet, writing in conservative Catholic La Libre
Belgique, lamented the "unsatisfactory conclusion" of the
Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, saying (8/24):
"Being disappointed is the minimum and it is certainly an
understatement for the (Belgian foreign) minister to term
as 'unsatisfactory' the conclusion of three years of work
at the international Conference on Disarmament.... It is
easy to identify the villains to be blamed: India and Iran
whose twin vetos torpedoed the...draft treaty which the
noble forum intended to address to the UNGA next month....
Delhi never made a mystery of its opposition to the
CTBT.... Teheran's obstruction was not self-evident. It
seems that the United States is reaping here the first
fruit of Senator D'Amato's act which, by threatening
foreign enterprises which would invest in Iran as well as
in Libya with sanctions, intends to strangle those two
"Helms-Burton Act Causes Its First Casualties"
Financial L'Echo said (8/21): "Like the managers of the
(Canadian Nickel producing company) Sheritt International,
those of (Mexican telecommunications holding company) Grupo
Domos are banned from entering the United States.... This
development is reported as the Clinton administration has
just announced the appointment of Under Secretary for
International Trade Stuart Eizenstat as special envoy to
the countries likely to be concerned by the reinforcement
of the economic embargo against Cuba or by the D'Amato Act
providing for the same sanctions against companies of third
countries investing in gas or oil in Iran and Libya. His
mission would consist of 'inviting during the next six
months Washington's allies to adopt concrete measures to
encourage democracy in Cuba.' In fact, his task will
primarily consist of placating U.S. allies' anger, which
will not be an easy task because the matter risks
rebounding again.... There is no doubt that the
extraterritorial character of the U.S. legislation will
sooner or later be examined by the WTO, where the United
States will be confronted with all the other countries."
HUNGARY: "U.S. Double Standard"
Very influential, liberal Magyar Hirlap commented (8/22),
"Washington must decide whether it believes Turkey when it
argues that its natural gas deal with Iran does not violate
the recently signed D'Amato bill. There is a lot at stake:
By punishing Turkey the United States may easily push the
country away from Europe. This is also what Washington's
European allies keep repeating. It is not only out of
offended pride that Western European countries argue that
the United States cannot determine what countries they are
allowed to do business with and is certainly not in the
position of punishing any foreign company for concluding
deals with Lybia or Iran. Europeans have no desire to give
up promising business opportunities in Iran. Europeans
question the double standard used by the United States:
When it comes to China, America argues that economic
sanctions rather than forcing the Chinese government to
guarantee basic human rights would only result in
deteriorating the situation of political dissidents. Why
doesn't the United States follow the same philosophy in
case of Lybia and Iran, too?"
"In the last phase of presidential campaign it is important
for Clinton to prove to his fellow citizens that he is not
going to give in to terrorists and is determined to protect
American lives. At the same time United States threats
jeopardize the fragile world order. Turkey and the
European Union have given a lesson to the United States."
NORWAY: "Unacceptable Dictation By U.S."
Social Democratic Arbeiderbladet commented (8/14) "The
United States has very good reasons for sanctioning
Iran.... Still, it is very wrong for one country to pass
its own economic sanctions and then force the rest of the
world to comply. The United States wants to punish non-
American companies who do not obey, and will force these
companies to abide by the American legislation.
"Trying to force others into submission and obedience in
this way is totally unacceptable.... But imperialist
attempts like this one are nothing new in American foreign
politics. For 34 years, the United States has embargoed
Cuba for reasons nobody else comprehends, and that are
solely founded in domestic American political concerns....
We fully sympathize with the EU in threatening to counter-
sanction the United States."
SPAIN: "Are Sanctions Most Effective Way To Fight State
Carlos Semprun commented in conservative ABC (8/22), "I'm
not totally convinced that the D'Amato measures of economic
embargo will be the best to topple dictatorships, impose
respect for human right and other democratic gains. It
seems to me that both Iran and Libya are unarguably de
facto terrorist states. They are not the only ones, but
they are indeed terrorist ones. The pending question
continues to be whether the sanctions backed by Senator
D'Amato are the most effective in the fight against state
EGYPT: "Insolent Racism Against "
Madgy Hussein commented in Islamic opposition biweekly Al-
Shaab (8/23): "No crueler siege since 1945 has been imposed
like the siege which is imposed on Iraq, Libya, and then
Sudan. This is insolent racism.... If Arab rulers have
any pride they should rebel against it."
"U.S. Motivated By Narrow Interests"
Popular, pro-government Al-Ahram commented (8/17): "The
successful visit of Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan to
several Asian countries is raising many questions,
especially from the United States and her European allies.
Some fear that Turkish movement on this front could lead to
the formation of a new trade and economic alliance that
does not fall under American control.... This could
explain the current American position which has led the
United States to threaten to impose sanctions on Turkey
despite the relationship that exists between them. In
fact this is not strange, because the United States is
motivated by her narrow interests without taking into
consideration the interests of other active international
parties. But what is strange is the Arab position on the
issue.... No definite position has been announced, neither
for or against this Turkish move although, in the end, it
serves Arab interests."
Ihsan Bakr wrote in Al-Ahram (8/18): "[The United States']
targetting Iran is no less dangerous than hitting Iraq.
Despite our differences with Iran on many issues, this does
not mean that we leave the United States to punish whom she
likes and, jointly with Israel, impose hegemony on the
whole region--because after Iran comes Libya and Syria."
JORDAN: "Sanctions Should Not Be Used For Domestic
Pro-government, influential Al-Ray's Fahd Fanek argued
(8/24), "The United States is right to worry about the
increasing acts of international terrorism against its
interests. It is also right to consider these as acts of
war that should be confronted by all means available....
In this context, President Clinton signed the D'Amato
amendment which was not convincing even to America's
European allies. International terrorism is the scourge of
this age. It should be confronted by the international
community. However, it should not be used as a tool to
accomplish domestic and external political objectives and
"Defiance Of Amercanization Of World Order And D'Amato"
Hanna Al-Haj wrote in Hashd Political Party's weekly
mouthpiece Al-Ahali (8/15), "The U.S. sanctions against
Libya and Iran, which harm other parties, such as the
countries of Europe, are facing international rejection.
Where does the United States find its right to bypass the
United Nations and to appoint itself an international
legislator that punish's countries in whatever way it
likes? The United States is in fact isolating herself
when it raises itself above international law. If the
United States believes that the world is still taken by
the aggression against Iraq and the downfall of the Soviet
Union and Socialism, it has been told candidly that it
will not find another alliance to strike against Iran,
Libya or Cuba."
"Turkey Rejects U.S. Intervention"
Ali Safadi wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustur
(8/15): "Turkey rejected the U.S. intervention in its
foreign policy. Its rejection was strong and practical at
the same time."
"D'Amato Drives A Wedge In Western Alliance"
Al-Dustur opined (8/14), "The Turkish-Iranian agreement is
a landmark: It is Ankara's first large-scale mutiny
against Washington; it is also the first slap in the face
for D'Amato and his plan to tighten the siege against Libya
and Iran. Many experts maintained that the D'Amato
amendment would not be enforced by the international
community, particularly the industrial countries. But,
these unclassified experts did not think that the first to
break the chain of Western allies would be the weakest
link, Turkey.... If Turkey had sufficient reason to defy
the U.S. policy of sanctions tightening, then Europe,
Japan, Russia, China and the other industrial countries
have even better reason to do so."
SAUDI ARABIA: "U.S. Might Make Big, Foolish Mistake On
London-based, internationally-circulated Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat
(8/18) ran a commentary by Abdulrahman Ar-Rashed: "The
United States might make a big and foolish mistake if it
engages in a military confrontation with Iran, despite the
fact that Washington will be able to win because of its
superior Air Force. It can destroy everything Iran has
acquired since the end of the Iran-Iraq War. If the United
States believes Iran has done something that needs to be
punished, then it must do what it did in Iraq and Somalia,
when it took its cause to the United Nations, which issued
international sanctions providing a rationale for a
military attack. What America did against Libya during
Reagan's time, going off on its own, on the other hand, was
a bad action. During George Bush's time, America was very
careful to give its acts legitimacy, enabling everyone to
support it. Thus far, the United States has not provided
any evidence that would justify a war against Iran."
Abduljabbar Adawan wrote in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (8/16):
"The American selfishness is an opportunity for Arabs and
Muslims to substitute European for American investment,
which will pressure Washington because of its interest in
trade with Arab and Muslim countries, and affect the peace
process, and change the negative image of Arabs and
Muslims.... After Erbakan's proposals to Iran, Iran has to
work on ending tensions in the region and to diminish the
need for the American presence by, for example, withdrawing
from the U.A.E.'s islands and signing agreements neither to
involve itself in subversion nor to attack neighboring
SYRIA: "The D'Amato Legislation: Signs Of A New Cold
Dr. Ibrahim Zu'air maintained in government-owned Al-Thawra
(8/20), "The new American legislation, which was approved
by President Bill Clinton, and the one that carries Senator
D'Amato's name...created complicated problems for American-
"All indicators point that the world is heading toward a
trade war with superpowers on each end and the markets and
the people of the Third Word will be their victims."
TUNISIA: "Overuse Of Embargoes And Sanctions By UN, U.S."
Abdellatif Fourati held in independent As-Sabah (8/19),
"The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution imposing
an air embargo against Sudan. Such a resolution was
imposed before on Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia. Our first
observation is that the air embargo is still in place
against three Arab countries, while it was lifted for
Yugoslavia. It is true that the government of Sudan has
made that country a safehaven for terrorism.... Yet, it
clearly appears today that the overuse of the embargo by
the Security Council, at the instigation of the United
Staes, has led to reducing the impact of such a weapon.
The previous sanctions against Sudan were followed by only
60 countries, out of 185. In addition, the new resolution
was adopted without the agreement of Russia and China, two
permanent members of the Security Council. More and more
countries are finding it problematic to abide by embargo
resolutions adopted during the five past years."
Abdellatif Fourati wrote in independent, Arabic-language
As-Sabah (8/17), "The United States now looks like it is
imposing itself as the world's policeman. Whatever it
deems necessary for its own interests, it strives to impose
it on the rest of the world."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
JAPAN: "Instead of Sanctions, Promote Dialogue"
Liberal Mainichi held (8/21), "The Iran and Libya Sanctions
Act of 1996, signed by President Clinton on August 5,
requires the president to impose sanctions on foreign firms
that invest $40 million or more in the energy sectors of
Iran or Libya. The Turkey-Iran gas deal seems to snub the
strengthened U.S. sanctions act, which was designed to
contain nations that support international terrorism....
Which side should rethink this sanctions act, Turkey or the
United States? In fact, the EU has reacted strongly to the
law that they claim was adopted to regulate foreign
economic systems for the convenience of the United
States.... We wonder if Turkey, which borders Iran and
shares with that country a 'Kurd' problem, can avoid Iran
simply because it is a nation supporting terrorism.
"If the United States studies imposing sanctions against
Ankara, it should consider the regional and religious
backgrounds of the two countries. If possible, the United
States should use this opportunity to review the Iran and
Libya Sanctions Act.... The impact of a pro-Islamic policy
in Turkey, which is also promoting economic cooperation
with Iraq, the Middle East and Central Asia will not be
negligible.... U.S. and European strategies toward the
Middle East will stand at a big crossroads if and when
Turkey establishes an economic zone encompassing
neighboring oil producing states and central Asian
nations.... It is not advisable for the United States to
use force (sanctions) to achieve a breakthrough in settling
its discord with Turkey. What is needed is dialogue, not
CHINA: "It Is Difficult For U.S. To Put Down the Cudgel"
Jian Wen wrote in the official Communist Youth League China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnian Bao, 8/23), "Recently,
...disregarding the firm opposition of the international
community, President Clinton signed the Helms-Burton act
and the D'Amato Act. This arbitrary behavior has exposed
the United States' hegemonic nature toward developing
countries, and also given its western allies a taste of
U.S. power politics. These countries have to consider
retaliation measures and prepare to engage in tit-for-tat
with the globe's only superpower.
"At the same time, some U.S. politicians have also
criticized the government's new policy and expressed
concern over the impact of these sanctions."
"D'Amato Act Harms Others And Does Not Benefit U.S."
Qian Hong wrote in the official Communist Party People's
Daily (Renmin Ribao, 8/21), "After levying sanctions
against Cuba in the Helms-Burton Act, President Clinton
signed the Iran-Libya sanctions legislation...and once
again aroused international concern.... These actions on
the part of the United States violate basic principles of
international law. In so doing, the United States
continues to indulge in the idiotic Hollywood dream of
gunboat diplomacy. No country is obliged to recognize
foreign legislation that is contrary to international law.
Therefore, such legislation can be justifiably regarded as
invalid. In addition, the D'Amato Act obviously bears the
imprint of U.S. domestic politics. Confronted with
recurrent incidents of terrorism on U.S. soil, President
Clinton needed to make the gestures necessary to win
support in his reelection bid."
Wang Zhong wrote in the official State Council Economic
Daily (Jingji Ribao, 8/20), "Many countries, including U.S.
allies, have joined Iran and Libya in resisting threats and
pressure from the United States and firmly exercising their
own sovereignty. In recent months, the United States
passed the Helms-Burton and D'Amato acts which target
sanctions at the governments and enterprises of other
countries. This arbitrary (legislation) may be partially
attributed to the presidential campaign. In order to win
votes, the Administration has disregarded the international
image of the U.S. even if it is isolated in the process.
However, electoral politics do not entirely explain (U.S.
behavior) because the root cause lies in the essence of
"Politics, Anti-Terrorist Credentials Behind Clinton
The official State Science and Technology Commission
Science and Technology Daily ((Reji Ribao, 8/16) opined:
"Why did Clinton insist on signing the Iran-Libya Sanctions
Bill in disregard of the opposition of its European allies
and the international community? First...to engage in
power politics in order to demonstrate (the U.S.'s)
superpower status. Second, to stress his anti-terrorist
credentials in an attempt to win votes in the November
"U.S.-EU Conflicts in Economics and Trade"
Gao Faming, writing for the Central Political and Legal
Commission's Fazhi Ribao, commented (8/10): "The strong EU
counter-attack on U.S. Iran-Libya sanctions demonstrates
again that today, conflicts of interest on economic and
trade issues between the United States and the EU are sharp
and sometimes uncompromising."
HONG KONG: "EU React Strongly To 'Extraterritorial' U.S.
The New Evening Post commented (8/15), "Not only Iran
opposes the United States' D'Amato bill, but the European
Union countries also react strongly. Both France and
Germany believe that the D'Amato bill has violated the free
trade spirit of the WTO. It also has the nature of
'extraterritoriality' which will hinder the security and
development of world trade. The European Union is ready to
impose counter sanctions against the United States, and
they will not hesitate to fight a trade war with the United
INDONESIA: "EU-U.S. Tensions"
Leading independent Kompas opined (8/19),"It seems that
[Turkish Prime Minister] Erbakan is taking an independent
stance, as demonstrated by his visit to Teheran to foster
economic cooperation with Iran and Iraq....
"It is apparent that political concerns often yield to
economic interests. For example, U.S. sanctions on foreign
companies doing business in Iran and Libya are strongly
criticized even by European allies. The United States
itself once violated an arms embargo against Iran due to
the allure of trade. In the 1980s, the United States
called for an arms embargo against Iran, but secretly sold
weapons to Iran because of business enticements. Part of
those blackmarket earnings were provided to Contra rebels
in Nicaragua, and later became known as the Iran-Contra
MALAYSIA: "Judgment Can't Be In A Vacuum"
The government-influenced New Straits Times said (8/18),
"The United States...takes the moral high ground on such
issues as human rights and freedom. But this does not stop
the United States from using underhand tactics to
undermine, and in some cases, bring down legitimate
governments simply because they were unfriendly toward the
United States.... They had been done either for the
purpose of winning an election or for propping up the
sagging popularity of a president.... As for Clinton, the
targeting of foreign governments and organizations is a way
of deflecting public criticisms against the
administration's failure to combat terrorism at home....
The United States would love to blame international
terrorism had it not been for the fact that the crude
explosive device could not have been the signature of
organized international terrorists.... Almost at its wits'
end, the administration is even grabbing at the suggestion
that perhaps foreign millionaires are bankrolling the
"Sanction-Happy U.S. Will Only End Up Losing All Its
The government-influenced, financial Business Times held
(8/15): "Sanctions and means of economic isolation will
not bring an end to any international terrorism, human
rights violation and international crises. In fact, such
actions had always led to further confrontations and
negative results.... Washington should not police the
world by introducing its own set of rules to dictate other
governments. Applying such an action on others is not the
right way to address problems, because whatever happened
between the United States and Iran might not have happened
between Iran and other countries.... In Turkey's case,
retaliation would create sharp new strains between
Washington and a vital NATO ally that bridges Europe and
Central Asia, the Balkans and West Asia.
"There is no evidence to suggest that either Iran or Libya
was involved in the recent bombing attacks in Saudi Arabia
and Atlanta or in the explosion of TWA Flight 800. Clinton
should instead conduct an examination of the growth of
violence and terrorism in the United States and cease
providing support to terrorist regimes such as the one in
Tel Aviv. At the same time, the United States should stop
behaving as a terrorist superpower given its record in
Nicaragua, Panama, Libya, Iraq and not to forget, Vietnam."
"Battle Lines Drawn"
Government-influenced, financial Business Times observed
(8/13): "The Helms-Burton and the D'Amato Acts passed by
the United States are setbacks to the multilateral trading
system. It's not surprising that an increasing number of
complaints is being brought to the attention of the WTO."
SOUTH KOREA: "U.S. Diplomacy Increasingly Assertive"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo held (8/18): "The world
continues to protest the Iran-Iraq sanctions law, sometimes
forcing the United States to step back. Washington,
however, does not seem to have any second thoughts about
enforcing the law. The 'domineering and forceful' manner
of the United States demonstrated in this case may set the
tone of U.S. diplomacy for some time. The American public
seems to be widely supportive of the high-handed tone of
U.S. diplomacy; and as a result the United States is
continually brandishing its local laws as a threat against
THAILAND: "U.S. Versus Iran, Libya and Cuba"
Krailak commented in elite conservative Siam Rath (8/14),
"Seeing that enforcing unilateral economic sanctions
against pariah states would not be effective...the United
States was forced to breach political etiquette by issuing
a hegemonic law,... much to the chagrin of other countries
which have since accused the United States of depriving
them of business opportunities.... Apparently, the United
States has already been slapped in the face when, only
seven days after President Clinton signed the Iran-Libya
economics sanctions law, Turkey penned a trade deal with
Iran... Many countries have increasingly expressed their
dissatisfaction with the United States continually bashing
Iran, Libya and Cuba by maintaining closer ties with the
latter, even at the risk of retaliation by the United
States. If this (U.S. mentality) persists, the world may
eventually be divided into two poles as was the case
during the Cold War."
VIETNAM: "An Unjust And Antiquated Instrument"
Trade union biweekly Lao Dong commented (8/13): "It is
sure that when signing the D'Amato bill into law to impose
economic sanctions against Iran and Libya, President Bill
Clinton and the U.S. administration contemplated the
immediate negative reactions thereto. But perhaps the
intensity of such external reactions has exceeded
contemplation and is able even to neutralize this `super
weapon' preferred by the Americans for decades now....
Terrorism has been considered a problem of the entire
international community, but the recent U.S. action was
absolutely not an appropriate measure to prevent and
remove terrorism. On the other hand, economic sanctions--
an all powerful weapon in the Cold War period--is no
longer effective now. Competition and economic and
strategic interests in the process of globalization among
many countries (both allies and non-allies) have made it
difficult to accept this unjust and antiquated
INDIA: "India May May Be Next For U.S. Browbeating"
The right-of-center Newstime of Hyderabad held (8/12), "The
implications of the U.S. legislation could be ominous....
Dating from the time of the negotiations over the new WTO,
the United States has been trying to browbeat developing
countries into conforming to its own economic norms, which
of course, will help its own companies. Now, India may be
asked to give up even the chimera of benefits from the
economic liberalization program on the altar of America's
definition of what constitutes state of terrorism. But it
would be pertinent for India to point out that its own
reading of state terrorism includes Pakistan. Obviously,
the United States would have none of that."
PAKISTAN: "EU Warns U.S."
The leading mass-circulation Urdu Jang remarked (8/26)
concerning the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act: "Not only the
countries of the European Union but other countries which
are usually friendly to the United States are also
displeased with stubborn U.S. policies. Therefore U.S.
leadership may have to reconsider its policies and allow
other countries to live according to their own wishes,
otherwise it may lose its global prominence."
"U.S. Isolation In World Politics"
Mahmood Hussain in the radical Muslim (8/19), "One has to
find out yet a single country which had supported the
recent American initiatives against Iran and Libya.
Perhaps it's the first time that the United States has been
left so isolated in the adventurism of world politics....
Recent subversive acts in the United States itself and
against its installations in the Gulf have provided ample
justification to the Clinton administration to finalize the
"And in the heightened tension in the aftermath of this
action it would be very easy for Bill Clinton not only to
keep the U.S. presence in the Gulf but to enlarge its
canvas. Obviously the United States does not need any
consent from the rulers of these countries, after all they
have to prolong their domination in the area.... But in
the process they will have to face the outrage of the local
people who could never accept them and also the independent
countries in the region."
NIGERIA: "Against Sanctions"
The Kaduna-based, government-owned, anti-American New
Nigerian contended (8/21), "A fortnight ago, on August 5,
a UN group called for utmost caution in the imposition of
international sanctions.... The New Nigerian notes with
sadness that a country such as the United States rather
than appreciate the shortcomings of sanctions, has in
fact, carried them to new and ridiculous heights. The
United States now punishes foreign companies for any new
investments in Iraq, Iran and Libya. The earlier the
United States and all countries come to heed the
admonitions of the UN Working Group on Sanctions, the
better for the whole world."
"Sanctions Act Goes Beyond America's Borders"
The respected independent Guardian held (8/16), "The Iran-
Libya Sanctions Act signed into law on August 5, 1996, by
President Bill Clinton of the United States offends a
fundamental plank of multilateral relations--that which
holds sacred the principle that a nation, no matter how
powerful, cannot make laws that are applicable beyond its
borders.... Every nation in the world makes and applies
laws that are consistent with its own national interests.
And no national interest could be nobler than that which
seeks to guarantee protection for a citizen wherever he or
she may be on the face of the earth. If all the nations
of the world recognize the nobility of their duty in this
regard, then the current protest over the U.S. sanctions
bill is really a non-contest. For it is that safety net
which every nation aspires to provide its citizens that
terrorism inexorably seeks to shatter. But America
clearly over-reached itself by enacting a statute which
application has implications beyond its borders,
understandably though this may be in an election year."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Distancing From Iran Good Policy; Cuba,
Afrikaans, centrist Die Burger commented (8/21): "Finally
South Africa has taken an intelligent decision in the field
of foreign policy: not to be so strongly dependant on Iran
for oil imports but to import oil also from Iraq, Saudi
Arabia and Egypt in future. The inclusion of Iraq might
raise some eyebrows but the UN has recently given the green
light to limited imports of oil from this country.... This
is a good decision for two reasons. Firstly, from an
economic point of view it is better to have different
sources...politically...Iran is a total outcast in the
international community and to have close association with
this country cannot be in the best interest of South
Africa.... If South Africa could now follow onto this
intelligent decision by distancing itself further from Cuba
and Libya it can only improve the country's international
image. It is high time for action."
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
MEXICO: "Necessary To Stop Washington"
Nationalist Excelsior, referring to the U.S. decision--in
accordance with provisions of the Helms-Burton Act--to
withhold visas of officials and their families of the
Mexican telecommunications company, the Domo Group, held
(8/21), "Once again the Helms-Burton law violates the
sovereignty of friendly countries without getting closer to
overthrowing Fidel Castro, which is the stated purpose.
"By expressing their fanatic hatred against the Caribbean
island, U.S. legislators have not been able to see the
goodwill of Latin American and European countries--which
has so far only vetoed the (Helms-Burton) law at the 0AS
meeting. It is unbearable that Washington tells (other
countries) where to invest and with whom to trade. The only
way to face U.S. blackmail and sanctions is by creating
mechanisms of legitimate defense. That is why it is
necessary to approve the 'antidote law' which will reverse
the effects of the Helms-Burton law. Canada has done it
this way and the European countries are expecting to see
what may happen after the six-month U.S.-called truce.
Unipolarity has overwhelmed Washington, and it is necessary
to stop it."
"Mexican Self-Determination, Sovereignty And Freedom At
Left-of-center La Jornada stated (8/21), "Very properly,
the Mexican government has responded with a diplomatic note
signed by the foreign minister and the minister of trade
protesting the extraterritoriality of the Helms-Burton law.
According to Trade Secretary Herminio Blanco, our country
will bring the case before NAFTA's conflict solving
mechanism.... It is true that in this conflict that is
being imposed on our country, Mexico's economy as well as
that of the United States will be the loser, but the loss
would be much greater if Mexico were to permit Mexican
companies to submit to foreign laws that try to tell them
how to behave and with whom to trade and make international
investments..... The Mexican public must express its
active backing for all measures that try to stop the
offensive measures against Mexican businesses that may be
affected by Washington's illegal sanctions. It is
necessary to keep in mind that this case does not involve
only Mexican investments in Cuba but also our self-
determination, our sovereignty and our freedom."
EL SALVADOR: "Terrorism Can't Be Fought With Foolishness"
Second-leading, ultra-conservative El Diario de Hoy
asserted (8/19): "The issue of terrorism is complex, but
at the same time relatively simple. Terrorists exist
because governments have no political will to eradicate
them; they receive sanctuary and asylum; attempts are made
to legitimize them and there is no country that does not
harbor its neighbor's terrorists. The Department of State
watched with much coldness, or cynicism, the plague that
befell Hispanoamerica after Castro's assault on power....
Although there are homegrown terrorists in many countries--
remember the Oklahoma tragedy--we have seen that there are
also organized movements, such as the Islamic
fundamentalists, that lead attacks not only against
domestic targets, but also against Europeans and North
Americans. Apparently they were the authors of the attack
against the twin towers in New York and certainly of the