New "Interventionist" Policies for the Bush Regime?
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Thu Dec 14 10:20:35 MST 2000
Interventionist approach will be the first casualty of new regime
Foreign policy Advisers move to quell alarm in Europe
Special report: the US elections
Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday December 14, 2000
The Guardian (UK)
When George W Bush was given his first CIA briefing last week, the event
prompted a cartoon of him being shown a map and patiently taught the names
of major countries.
For America's allies, the humour is worryingly close to the truth. Mr Bush
has been abroad only half a dozen times. Any references to foreign policy on
the campaign stump betrayed traces of contempt for Nato allies - accused of
not pulling their weight - and distrust of Russia and China.
Foreign policy is likely to be made by a team of advisers inherited from his
father. It is striking in its military complexion: Dick Cheney is a former
defence secretary and Colin Powell headed the joint chiefs of staff.
The humanitarian interventionist approach of the Clinton years is likely to
be the first victim. The military dislikes peacekeeping, as another likely
Bush adviser, Condoleezza Rice, made clear when she suggested that the US
should withdraw from the Balkans and arrange a geographical "division of
labour" with Nato allies.
That triggered alarm in Europe, which already shoulders three-quarters of
Balkan deployments. There was also concern that such a division of labour
would split and fatally weaken Nato. Ms Rice and the rest of the foreign
policy team quickly moved to reassure European leaders that a Bush White
House would make no hasty moves but the incident has left uncertainty and
apprehension in its wake.
The change in administration is also likely to have a sharp impact on
relations with Russia. One of the first foreign policy decisions facing the
new White House will be how to respond to Moscow's unilateral decision
earlier this year to expand arms sales to Iran. Mr Bush's advisers have
promised to take a less indulgent line than Bill Clinton.
Relations with China are also likely to cool. The Bush team has been far
less ambiguous than its predecessors about Taiwan, which claims independence
from the mainland. Mr Bush has offered the island solid security guarantees.
There is much less debate over the effect of another key plank in the Bush
platform - the implementation and expansion of the national missile defence
(NMD) network, an anti-ballistic system which, like Ronald Reagan's Star
Wars plan, is supposed to provide an umbrella against the threat of sudden
After a string of test failures Mr Clinton put off a final decision on NMD,
which Moscow, Beijing and most US allies see as destabilising and a clear
violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. The Bush strategy is to
pursue an expanded NMD network even if it means abandoning the ABM accord.
Or something like that
"We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold
our allies hostile" Aug 2000
"... I want to reduce our own nuclear capacities to the level commiserate
with keeping the peace" Oct 2000
"We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called
America will be the pacemakers" Sept 2000
"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream" Oct 2000
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