By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 1/21/2005 7:21:41 PM ET 2005-01-22T00:21:41

On talk radio here, President Bush's inaugural speech was a hot topic that was roundly attacked.

“You either fully agree with him, or he will blow you up,” said one talk show host.

Most of the reaction, worldwide, was negative. Predictably, in the Arab world, the response was even harsher.

“I don't think the U.S. has the credibility to promote democracy until it first solves the Palestinian issue and the Iraqi issue,” says Egyptian marketing manager Hany Fahmy.

Still, some Arab television networks reported the inauguration and played it straight.

But on Arab streets there is widespread anger that George W. Bush is still in the White House.

“They don't buy this sweet talk about democracy and human rights,” says Abdel Bari-Atwan, editor of the newspaper Al Quds Al-Arabia. “They want to see action, and they believe this administration is after the Arabs and the Muslims.”

The inauguration was front page news around the world, with largely positive reactions in Japan, Pakistan, Poland and Israel.

“I hope that in his next administration Bush will continue his global fight against terrorism,” says an Israeli computer engineer named Adi Lev. “I think this is something that is common to all of us.”

In Germany, there is hope the Bush administration will at least keep its word and focus more now on diplomacy.

“People in Germany hope there is some conciliation; that the U.S. and European allies come close together again,” says ZDF-TV managing editor Elmar Thevessen.

But throughout most of Europe, where tensions still linger over the U.S. invasion of Iraq and threats against Iran, the response was less enthusiastic.

A headline in Le Monde, the influential French newspaper, called President Bush a "Planetary Fireman."

“Why is this guy giving us this sermon?” says French political analyst Francois Heisbourg. “Not specifically American values. He's speaking to us as if we elected him. We did not elect him.”

While there is hope for reaching some diplomatic common ground in the future, the speech Thursday appears to have done little to smooth the way.

© 2013  Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments