REGIME CHANGE IS STILL IN THE FUTURE
By Rudiger Goebel
[This article published in: Junge Welt, 11/10/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/2006/11-10/061.php?print=11.]
The change in the capitol in Washington is perfect. According to media reports, the US democrats captured the majority in the Senate following their convincing victory in the House of Representatives. The republicans lost their supremacy in both chambers. On Thursday, US president George W. Bush will meet with the new speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, for a working dinner at the White House. According to his own statement, he wants to tell “leading democrats” about the latest developments in Iraq. Still he must cooperate with the rival party in the remaining two years of his term of office. As a first consequence of his election defeat, Bush dismissed his Defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, on Wednesday and appointed former CIA head Robert Gates as his successor.
Rumsfeld’s resignation was generally welcomed in European capitol cities. France’s minister of defense, Michele Alliot-Marie, declared in Paris that her counterpart obviously concluded, “the war in Iraq that he championed was an element of the answer of the American voters and drew the consequences.” In Berlin, euphoria prevailed. With Rumsfeld’s exit, the hope grows that themes like peace, development, environment and protection of the atmosphere could be set on the political agenda in the US, development assistance minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD) explained. Italy’s Prime Minister Romano Prodi, seemed convinced the personnel change would “accelerate” changes of US strategy in Iraq. The new course will appear in the next days.
Assessments in the countries declared “rogue states” by Washington seem much more realistic. No one there seriously expects a “regime change” in the US. The Iranian leadership was largely silent about the elections. The state news agency IRNA adorned its web site with photos of the two-day visit of the Byelorussia president Alexander Lukaschenko with his Teheran counterpart Mahmud Ahmadinedschad. The chairman of the committee for national security and foreign policy of the Iranian parliament Alaeddon Boroujerdi, spoke with cautious reserve. The victory of the democrats could “prepare the ground for a gradual withdrawal of the Americans from the Iraqi quagmire,” the Majias-delegate told the IRNA. “No great difference” exists between democrats and republicans in dealing with Iran.
In Syria, no one seemed to care about Washington on Thursday. Neither the defeat of Bush’s republicans nor the resignation of the hardliner Rumsfeld was reported in Damascas… Top news included discussions of the head of state Baschar Al-Assad with Sudan’s president, Ali Osmar Taha, whose country is threatened with a US intervention. They focused on “the situation in Palestine and Iraq.”
The Venezuelan head of state spoke clearly. After the election victory of the democrats, he hoped for a “relationship of respect and cooperation,” Hugo Chavez told foreign journalists in Caracas on Wednesday. In reaction to Rumsfeld’s resignation, he urged his counterpart in the White House to withdraw “for reasons of morality.” Bush’s resignation would be an “alternative for the United States and for the very intense tensions in the world,” Chavez said. With the Bush administration, there can be no improvement of bilateral relations. “No détente is possible with the mad or insane.”