Bush's win could boost his foreign policy 'revolution'

Published on Nov 04, 2004 02:29 AM IST

Armed with a clearer mandate than the disputed 2000 election, President George W Bush may well use a second term to advance the robust conservative foreign policy "revolution" he launched four years ago ? a move some say would be a huge mistake.

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PTI | ByReuters, Washington

Armed with a clearer mandate than the disputed 2000 election, President George W Bush may well use a second term to advance the robust conservative foreign policy "revolution" he launched four years ago — a move some say would be a huge mistake.

Campaign speeches and Republican partisans suggest Bush will continue on the hard-line ideological foreign policy path set in his first term.

He championed a doctrine of pre-emptive force, abandoned tested strategies of deterrence and containment and often tread a unilateralist course that angered other nations.

But some experts say there are compelling reasons for Bush — now freed of any re-election burden — to make significant changes in his approach, by placing new emphasis on diplomacy, compromising with opposition Democrats and trying to repair ties with Europe.

Bush "has made it clear over the past year that he's not changing the overall direction of his policy," said Gary Schmitt, a Republican neo-conservative and executive director of the Project for the New American Century which advocates robust American global leadership.

Facing the most daunting national security agenda in a generation, the president "may well change personnel (in his government) and tactical decisions, but his overall vision is going to remain the same," Schmitt told Reuters.

Looking for legacy

This includes doggedly pushing plans to try to transform Iraq into a democracy and making good on a pledge that Iran should never be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

Schmitt said the Iran pledge might ultimately require using force. For the moment, Bush is geared toward a November 25 deadline for persuading the UN nuclear agency to send the issue to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

With the United States bitterly divided and an upsurge in anti-Americanism worldwide, Patrick Cronin of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said Bush must alter course if he is to leave a successful legacy.

That is what President Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s when the iconic anti-communist crusader signed arms control accords with the Soviet Union he once called an "evil empire."

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