ATHENS -- It was a curious political moment in the cradle of democracy. A recent visit by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami sparked a flood of favorable media coverage about Iran -- and an avalanche of condemnation of America.

In a story headlined, "Greece does not recognize axis of evil," the Athens News approvingly noted Khatami's call for "a more measured exercise of United States global hegemony." And Premier Costas Simitis indicated that last year's terrorism in America had prompted some soul-searching in the Greek government: "We reviewed international relations after Sept. 11 and (understood) the need for a world with multiple poles."

In other words, the mass cremation of thousands of American civilians led Greece to the conclusion that the U.S. is the world's lone bully, and something should be done to restrain it.