Bush's trips provides him valuable new perspective

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2002

President Bush's trip to Europe has been one of those largely predictable events where national leaders reassure the world of their undying friendship, speak broadly about past wars and events, and vow to work together for the good of humanity.

Nevertheless, Bush's speech before the German parliament, or Bundestag, in Berlin ... was enlightening maybe not to the Germans who were there or to those who read the text, but to Bush himself.

If nothing else, Bush got out of the isolated world of Washington and heard a decidedly different, and distinctively European, take on American military efforts in Afghanistan and on U.S. foreign policy in general.

... Furthermore, communist demonstrators burst into the chambers and interrupted Bush's address. About 20,000 mostly leftist demonstrators protested on city streets.

With far more decorum and far less grandstanding, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other German leaders expressed concern about apparent U.S. plans to attack Iraq as the next phase of the continuing war on terrorism.

They complained about America's unilateral efforts to build an alliance with Russia, apparently at Europe's expense. ...

And it's probably a positive sign that the president learned that international support for the U.S. war isn't endless. And Bush was right to press Putin on arms shipments to Iran. Maybe it was a constructive visit, after all.

-- Odessa (Texas) American - May 28

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