Post's public affairs counselor learned from a "Jyllands-Posten" journalist (strictly protect) last week that the paper was considering several options to commemorate the cartoons' first anniversary September 30, including re-publishing the original cartoons or running new ones on the subject.
James P. Cain, the U.S. ambassador, hoped the Danish government would stop this, but it refused to interfere. Cain decided to approach Jyllands-Posten on his own:
With that, the Ambassador telephoned "Jyllands-Posten" editor-in-chief Carsten Juste, and asked straight out about his paper's intentions for commemorating the anniversary. Juste told the Ambassador that he and his team had been considering re-publication, but concluded that such a move would be unwise, especially so soon after the controversy caused by the Pope's Regensburg remarks. The Ambassador welcomed this news, noting that none of us wanted a repeat of the crisis earlier this year.
James P. Cain.
The ambassador from the country with the First Amendment then concludes that Danish newspapers enjoy too much freedom of speech.
This episode illustrates that the Danes have drawn mixed lessons from their experience in the cartoon crisis. ... On the negative side, though, this popular center-right government has hardened its views on the absolute primacy of free speech. The prime minister appeared willing to let Jyllands-Posten dictate the timing of the next Islam vs. West confrontation without question or open discussion within the government.
Comment: Given the Bush administration's public record in 2006, Cain's attitude is as unsurprising as it is dismaying. (December 29, 2010)