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German Newspapers Take Stock One Year Later

The country's editorial pages weigh in on the lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks and the direction in which the world is heading on the attacks' one year anniversary.


"The Day of Fear"

Germany's editorialists used the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Wednesday to look ahead at a changed world in which the United States has grown further and further apart from its European allies.

Concerns about strains in the transatlantic relationship, recent remarks by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder against US policy in Iraq and what the USA must do next, were just a few of the issues the country's leading papers tackled in Wednesday's editions.

Has the world really changed?

Germany’s liberal Süddeutsche Zeitung challenges the view that the world has changed since the terrorist attacks in the United States a year ago. The paper says that the idea that everyone now lives in a different world is a sign of Western "provincialism".

"The firewall of September 11 has brought no radical change either to poverty or Aids-stricken Africa", the paper writes. Nor has it changed the lives of most people in Asia, the Pacific or South-America".

"After September 11, a large coalition of nations was built in solidarity with the USA, one that has seldom existed in history. This coalition was new and exciting. It stood, in reality for the start of a different era."

But the paper laments that "even this is in danger of breaking up".

Germany's Berliner Zeitung, says the USA "has given up the fight against terrorism...and is just as helpless against terrorism as it is against drugs and arms smuggling".

The paper suggests that the administration prefers a conventional war with missiles and bombs because it is more experienced and successful in this field.

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns that a US backdown in Iraq could damage the west. America, it writes, is "the only country that possesses the military and economical resources and the will for global intervention." has been challenged".

If it were to back down now, "it would be interpreted as a weakness of the West and its leading power and not just in Iraq", writes the FAZ.

Germany's largest-selling tabloid newspaper Bild has included a seven-page special of its September 12, 2001 edition with today's paper.

"Mighty God stand by us!" screams the headline on the edition that appeared a day after the terrorist attacks in America.

Widening gap between US and its European allies

The regional Rheinische Post from Düsseldorf worries that Chancellor Schröder may have antagonised the Americans with his unrelenting stance on Iraq.

"Schröder has annoyed the Americans with his tirades and has broken his promise of unlimited solidarity especially now before September 11. Besides Schröder with his decision to go it alone has made it brutally clear what he thinks of Europe."

The Frankfurt-based liberal Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper laments the lack of a cohesive EU policy on a possible military strike against Iraq.

What kind of European message can Javier Solana deliver when "Tony Blair wants to participate in a war against Iraq, Gerhard Schröder says a firm no and Jacques Chirac elegantly evades the issue?" the paper asks.

As long as this is the case, America will "ignore the EU as a global player with influence on war and peace."

Growing rift between West and Islamic world

The southern Stuttgarter Zeitung contemplates the growing rift between the west and the Islamic world after the September 11 attacks.

"After the September 11 attacks, there were efforts to prevent the war against terror to expand into a clash of cultures. But the alienation between the West and Islamic countries has grown", the paper writes.

The paper says that several Arabian governments willingly take American money and allow anti-American propaganda. "The more attractive, the more superior western civilisation becomes, the more a feeling of inferiority grows in Arabic countries," the paper warns.

Can German-American friendship be saved?

German-American relations weigh on the mind of the Berlin-based left-leaning TAZ newspaper, one of many German papers with a special Sept. 11 section.

The paper asks if the German-American friendship can still be saved. "The USA has drawn lessons from the September 11 attacks, that are not shared by its allies. The big brother is becoming almost alien to us," it writes.

"What remains of the transatlantic alliance, of German-American friendship when the USA bids adieu to the postwar era and begins a new period of going it alone?"