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|Tue, 04-29-2003 - 9:41am|
More bullying tactics from this administration.
>"In the aftermath of the Iraq war, the Bush administration has begun diplomatic reprisals against states that refused to support military action.
So far the payback campaign is symbolic, but observers worry the tone could worsen in the looming UN debate over the shape of post-war Iraq, and could trigger a trade war.
"It's posturing mainly," said Phyllis Bennis, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Policy Studies. "But the extraordinary thing is, there hasn't been any let-up."
Among members of the UN security council, the principle victim of Washington's displeasure has been Chile, which had been about to sign a free trade agreement with the US.
The deal had been bundled with a similar pact for Singapore, but has since been "unbundled". Singapore's prime minister, Goh Chok Tong, who supported the war, has been asked to the White House to sign his deal next week. Chile is still seeking a date, and the US trade representative, Robert Zoellick, has mused publicly on America's "disappointment" with Chile's attitude in its time of need.
Canada has also been on the receiving end of White House anger. A visit to Ottawa next week has been cancelled, because Mr Bush is too busy. However, time has been found to host Australia's prime minister, John Howard, an enthusiast for the war, at the presidential ranch in Texas.
Tony Garza, US ambassador to Mexico, another security council member that opposed the war, promised his hosts there would be no direct economic reprisals. But, he added: "The fallout will be that things won't happen as quickly as Mexico would like." And this year's Mexican Cinco de Mayo holiday, previously marked by the Bush White House, will be toned down or not held at all.
US officials say measures against France and Germany are still being contemplated. But the secretary of state, Colin Powell, has made it clear there would be a price to pay."<