Monitor: Opinion on Al Gore's remarks at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit

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INAPPROPRIATE IS perhaps not the appropriate word to describe visiting US Vice President Al Gore's comments on Malaysia's internal politics in the presence of his host. To be a guest and at the same time take a swipe at the host is not only breaking a simple rule of etiquette but also smacks of sheer arrogance.

Washington never ceases to behave like a big bully. Al Gore's comments represent a interference in the internal politics of another country.

Sarawak Tribune, Malaysia

BY SPEAKING up for Mr Anwar's supporters, Mr Gore has done the least a responsible democratic leader can do. He has said we are watching, and despite our increasing integration economically, we will maintain at least a rhetorical commitment to democratic values such as fairness and respect for civil liberties.

St Louis Post-Dispatch

THE DECISION by US Vice President Al Gore to lambast Malaysia in a speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum was a mistake. The way and place that the rebuke was delivered threatens to distract and divide APEC just when focus and cooperation is needed most. Megaphone diplomacy serves no one well in a time of crisis. When APEC most needed cool, efficient US leadership, to build consensus on a plan to help stabilise regional economies, it got overblown rhetoric instead. Put down the megaphone, Mr Gore. You better serve your cause by bringing people together, not dividing them.

The Japan Times

MALAYSIA'S PRIME Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is fuming, and his countrymen should relish every second of his discomfort. Al Gore and other foreign leaders have used an economic summit meeting in Dr Mahathir's capital to call for greater democracy and economic reform in Malaysia. Diplomatic protocol calls for speaking positively of one's hosts. Mr Gore, Ms Albright and the others were right to be rude. America's interest in Asia is to encourage human rights and democratic change, not flatter embattled autocrats.

New York Times

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