Any faint-hearted observer who hoped that the second Bush administration would be less of a white-knuckle ride than the first had better think again.
For if Condoleezza Rice has her way, American diplomacy will no longer be used to rein in the President's ambition to ''create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom,'' but rather to support it.
At her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, the putative Secretary of State set out a vision of global U.S. activism that, if not explicitly neo-conservative, is in stark contrast to her predecessor's policy of cautious restraint. ...
Miss Rice is a realist rather than an ideologist. Yet she is not an exponent of realpolitik in the mold of Henry Kissinger, the last national security adviser to make the transition to the State Department. Unlike Kissinger and most traditional diplomatists, she believes passionately that sowing democracy and uprooting tyranny is not only right for humanity, but also the key to U.S. security. She is now the high priestess of the Bush doctrine. ...
Miss Rice made her name in the Cold War; she prefers to overthrow evil empires by fomenting revolutions, rather than mounting invasions. She wants ''a conversation, not a monologue'' with the world, but her solution to Islamist terrorism is identical to the President's: ''Drain the swamp.'' Like Mr. Bush, she sees neutralizing Iran and North Korea as urgent. And woe betide any European leader who dares to condescend to Condoleezza.
Daily Telegraph, London
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On the eve of his inauguration, (President George) Bush has tried to portray himself as a cooperative politician. But everything indicates that it will be the same old story as last time: Bush is ready for a dialogue, but only with those who stand by him from the beginning.
Initially, it will mostly be about foreign politics. The Asian tsunami has raised new questions about the U.S. relief policy and the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. The United States is good at immediate relief, like in Aceh, but much worse when it comes to long-term aid to poor countries.
The war in Iraq will be unsolved while elections there draw near. And according to opinion polls, a majority of the U.S. population says that the war was a mistake. Despite this, Bush is threatening a new war (in Iran).
Aftonbladet, Stockholm, Sweden
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