Jordan Times - Sun 3rd February '02.
Albright being rational again - frightening. f.
Bush increasingly isolated over 'axis of evil' comments
PARIS (AFP) ‹ US President George W. Bush came under fire at home and abroad on Saturday over his outspoken State of the Union address warning of the threat from what he labelled the ³axis of evil² of Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
A day after former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the comments as ³a big mistake,² Iran's pro-reform parliament issued a statement denouncing the address and warned that it would ³resist any aggression.²
³Bush's recent warnings add a new black page to the (US) book of errors and mistaken calculations² about Iran, said deputy Ahmad Burghani-Farahani, reading a statement from parliament's pro-reform majority.
³The Iranian people will not tolerate any aggression wherever it comes from, and particularly not from the United States,² the statement said.
Bush insisted that Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, were proliferating weapons of mass destruction and represented a danger to world peace, adding that ³all options are on the table² in making ³the United States and our allies more secure.²
But Tehran's statement insisted that ³the united Iranian people know how to resist any aggression and will not allow anybody to harm their independence and national sovereignty.
³Bush's recent positions emanate from a lack of wisdom and constitute a threat to world peace,² it added.
³Bush, the dwarf, has surprised us again with his insolent statement, accusing countries which have suffered from the aggressive, arrogant policy of his country,² was how Iraq's official Babel newspaper reacted to the speech.
The paper is run by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday.
The Saudi press, meanwhile, strongly lashed out, saying the United States was interested in controlling the whole world.
Now it appears that the ³super power is alone taking decisions to put the whole world under its mandate,² Al Riyadh said in an editorial marking the first press comments from the kingdom on the speech.
³President Bush is (behaving) arbitrarily to impose American domination on the world,² the paper said and recalled how Communists, Nazis, Fascists and other ³small dictatorships² collapsed and perished when they tried to do the same.
³America is a super empire that has imposed its behaviour, food and its jeans on the world. But it lacks the wisdom that makes it see there are differences between peoples and nations,² the semi-official paper added.
North Korea had already condemned what it called Bush's ³moral leprosy² and said the communist state was powerfully equipped for any conflict.
A Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday: ³We are sharply watching the disturbing moves of the United States that has pushed the situation to the brink of war.²
North Korean state media said meanwhile that US warplanes had carried out scores of reconnaissance flights in recent weeks in preparation for an attack, stepping up the propaganda war with the United States.
But if Bush is used to fielding criticism from the countries he describes as ³rogue states,² he was perhaps more surprised to face a backlash at home.
³I think it was a big mistake to lump those three countries together,² said former diplomatic chief Albright, speaking on NBC television's ³Today² show.
³They are very different from each other,² Albright said, adding that she did not see the ³value² in Bush's warning that the three countries could soon become targets in the US-led war on terrorism.
That warning risked alienating foreign allies, she said.
Her comments were matched by French officials describing the speech's wording as ³unsuitable,² while Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said he had seen no evidence to prop up Bush's allegations against the three countries.