Daily Telegraph, London, Jan. 16: The United States is likely to find the treatment of Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan even more controversial than the military campaign itself.
Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary, says that members of neither group deserve to be designated prisoners of war because they fought without wearing military uniform. That is a slightly dubious definition in a country where many of Washington's enemies and allies prefer to do battle in civilian garb.
More persuasive is the United States's right, under the third Geneva Convention, to designate prisoners as "unlawful combatants." Whatever their status, those detained are entitled under the conventions to "basic, humane treatment."
Cages: Restricting the movement of such desperadoes during transfer from Afghanistan to Cuba is justified. Confining them in cages in Guantanamo, as has been reported, would be less so.
It is now for the International Committee of the Red Cross to register the detainees and investigate the conditions under which they are being held.
In dealing with the Taliban and Al-Qaida, the Americans are in uncharted legal waters. The Americans have borne the brunt of confronting a radical form of Islam. After the unprecedented horror of Sept. 11, they are entitled to consider extraordinary countermeasures, including the execution of those found guilty.
But, whatever the prisoners' status, Washington would be wise to treat them according to the Geneva norms. In so doing, it draws a distinction between civilized society and the apocalyptic savagery of those who would destroy it.
Liberation, Paris, Jan. 16: Two weeks after it was launched with fanfare, we can say without risk of contradiction: The euro is in our pockets! The most extraordinary thing is that the collective conversion of 305 million Europeans to a single currency took place calmly. It was almost a nonevent, a huge failure for the europhobes who had dreamed of a monetary Titanic.
Pragmatic: The people of the European Union have demonstrated that they are pragmatic and modern enough to no longer invest a part of their identity in the bank notes and coins of their sacred national currency.
Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, Jan. 16: Bush's popularity depends largely on the fact that he has acted in a statesmanlike way, that he has been above political bickering and acted for the nation's security. But there are critics. The influential columnist Thomas Friedman says in The New York Times that he wishes former Vice President Al Gore was in the White House.
Friedman claims that Bush has tried to use the enormous upswing of patriotism and cooperativeness triggered by the Sept. 11 tragedy to pursue a narrow-minded rightist policy, with no attempt to show determination or leadership in domestic politics. Now the domestic reality will slowly but steadily catch up with the president.
Election campaign: It is therefore not a wild guess that he, when November approaches, will let international politics sink away, roll up his sleeves and make for the election campaign. And then, most things in the United States will be the same as ever, including the president's popularity.