George W. Bush on Foreign Policy

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


PEPFAR has saved 12M lives in Africa; let's keep it up

My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa. Nearly 15 years later, the program has achieved remarkable results in the fight against disease.

As the executive and legislative branches review the federal budget, they will have vigorous debates about how best to spend taxpayers' money--and they should. Some will argue that we have enough problems at home and shouldn't spend money overseas. I argue that we shouldn't spend money on programs that don't work, whether at home or abroad. But they should fully fund programs that have proven to be efficient, effective and results-oriented. Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it. We are on the verge of an AIDS-free generation, but the people of Africa still need our help. The American people deserve credit for this tremendous success and should keep going until the job is done.

Source: OpEd by Pres. Bush in Washington Post on 2018 election , Apr 7, 2017

Millennium Challenge Account: no more money down a rat hole

In 2002, the President announced a huge increase in U.S. foreign assistance to poor nations. But there was a condition: the money would go to countries that were governing wisely; investing in their people, and promoting economic freedom. The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was an approach that addressed the well-founded concern that so much money had gone "down a rat hole" over decades of foreign assistance. The President gave us an opportunity to redefine the bargain: we would provide new and substantial resources, but the recipients would be those who could spend the money well. We thought of the MCA not as rewarding good behavior, though it did. The point was that countries would never develop without good governance and a fight against corruption. Foreign assistance on any other basis was worse than wasted; it was creating permanent wards of the international system who could never deliver for their people.
Source: No Higher Honor, by Condoleezza Rice, p.226 , Nov 1, 2011

Laura's signature issue: women's rights in Afghanistan

[One week], I taped the president's weekly radio address. I was a little bit nervous, but I was also proud to be able to say something on behalf of the women of Afghanistan, who were threatened with having their fingernails pulled out if they wore nail polish. "The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control. Civilized people throughout the world are speaking out in horror--not only because our hearts break for the women and children in Afghanistan, but also because in Afghanistan we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us."

The day after the address aired, [some passersby said], "Thank you so much for speaking for Afghan women." I was stunned. And for the first time, I realized the degree to which I had a unique forum as first lady. At that moment, it was not that I found my voice. Instead, it was as if my voice had found me.

Source: Spoken from the Heart, by Laura Bush, p.237-238 , Apr 5, 2011

New approach in Africa: partnership instead of paternalism

The traditional model of foreign aid was paternalistic. A donor wrote a check and told the recipient how to spend it. I decided to take a new approach in Africa. We would base our relationships on partnership, not paternalism. We would trust developing countries to design their own strategies. In return, they would measure their performance and be held accountable. The result would be that countries felt invested in their own success, while American taxpayers could see the impact of their generosity.
Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.335 , Nov 9, 2010

I changed my mind on need for Afghan nation-building

When I ran for president, I never anticipated a mission like [nation-building in Afghanistan]. In the fall of 2000, Al Gore and I debated the most pressing issues facing America. Not once did the words Afghanistan, bin Laden, or al Qaeda come up. We did discuss nation building. "The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops, " I said in the first debate. "I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders."

At the time, I worried about overextending our military by undertaking peacekeeping missions as we had in Bosnia and Somalia. But after 9/11, I changed my mind. Afghanistan was the ultimate nation building mission. We had liberated the country from a primitive dictatorship, and we had a moral obligation to leave behind something better. We also had a strategic interest in helping the Afghan people build a free society.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.205 , Nov 9, 2010

UN is cumbersome, bureaucratic, & inefficient

I met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a soft-spoken diplomat from Ghana. Kofi & I didn't agree on every issue, but we found common ground in our determination to deal with the AIDS pandemic. He suggested creating a new Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis, and Malaria that would marshal resources from around the world.

I listened but made no commitment. I considered the UN to be cumbersome, bureaucratic, and inefficient. I was concerned that a fund composed of contributions from different countries with different interests would not spend taxpayer money in a focused or effective way.

Nevertheless, Colin Powell and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson recommended that I support the Global Fund with an initial pledge of $200 million. They felt it would send a signal for America to be the first contributor. Their persistence overcame my skepticism. I announced our commitment in May 2001."This morning, we have made a good beginning," I said in my speech. I didn't add that I had plans to do more.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.336 , Nov 9, 2010

Bush Doctrine's fourth prong is Freedom Agenda

After 9/11, I developed a strategy to protect the country that came to be known as the Bush Doctrine: First, make no distinction between the terrorists and the nations that harbor them--and hold both to account. Second, take the fight to the enemy overseas before they can attack us again here at home. Third, confront threats before they fully materialize. And fourth, advance liberty and hope as a alternative to the enemy's ideology of repression and fear.

The freedom agenda, as I called the fourth prong, was both idealistic and realistic. It was idealistic in that freedom is a universal gift from Almighty God. It was realistic because freedom is the most practical way to protect our country in the long run. As I said in my Second Inaugural Address, "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.396-397 , Nov 9, 2010

2006: Hamas promised clean government, not war with Israel

Fatah was still tainted with the corruption of the Arafat era. The main alternative was Hamas, a terrorist organization that also had a well-organized political apparatus. I supported the elections. Whatever the outcome, free and fair elections reveal th truth.

In Jan. 2006, the truth was that Palestinians were tired of Fatah's corruption. Hamas won 74 of 132 seats. Some interpreted the results as a setback for peace. I wasn't so sure. Hamas had run on a platform of clean government and efficient publi service, not war with Israel.

Hamas also benefited from Fatah's poorly run campaign. The election made clear that Fatah had to modernize its party. It also forced a decision within Hamas. Would it fulfill its promise to govern as a legitimate party, or would it revert to violence?

In June 2007, the military wing of Hamas intervened, responding to the advance of freedom with violence. We supported an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.406-408 , Nov 9, 2010

9-11 insight: new struggle against global totalitarianism

The 9/11 attacks were part of a broader offensive by radical Islamists to rip apart civil society and grab power [worldwide]. These radical Islamists were driven by a well-constructed and enduring ideology that in the age of weapons of mass destruction posed an intolerable threat to American security & interests.

Atop a crushed fire truck, amidst the rubble of shattered towers, Bush showed moral clarity and courage that were to prove vital to confronting totalitarianism. His critical insight was that Western ideas of freedom, democracy, and open markets provided a bulwark against this new tyranny. So in addition to routing the Taliban and destroying al-Qaeda, he sought to plant democracy firmly in Afghanistan and Iraq, the historic center of the Middle East. He saw that by promoting freedom, the US could give millions of Muslims a compelling reason to stand with us in this struggle. Such conviction is too rare in leaders: I am confident his actions will be judged by history as brave and right.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.518-519 , Mar 9, 2010

OpEd: No focus on Latin America despite campaign rhetoric

In the 2000 campaign, Governor Bush courted the Hispanic vote by pledging to focus constructively on Latin America, to put that important region at the very center of his agenda on foreign affairs.

That summer, George W. Bush said Latin American had been a mere "afterthought" to the Clinton administration. "Those who ignore Latin America do not fully understand America itself. And those who ignore our hemisphere do not fully understand American interests."

The future president's "chief foreign policy adviser," Condoleezza Rice, said his guiding philosophy would be, "You start with strong neighbors and reach out from there."

Despite the "strong neighbors" the Bush-Cheney team had another view. In 2002, President Bush nominated the polarizing Otto Reich as secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs. Reich was a minor figure implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980's. After launching the war in Iraq in 2003, the president paid little notice to Latin America.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.187-189 , Apr 1, 2008

History’s verdict takes time to reveal itself

On America’s role in the world, some believe that our nation is often the cause of global turmoil--a mentality once called “Blame America First.” You and I believe that America is a leading light, a guiding star, and the greatest nation on the face of th Earth. I’m not going to be around to see the final history written on my administration. The truth is that history’s verdict takes time to reveal itself. In the year ahead, the pundits, the so-called experts, commentator, analysts will offer more gloomy predictions and more big government solutions. This is a group that is seldom correct but never in doubt. You and I have seen that in our own time. Reagan was called a “warmonger,” “an amiable dunce,” a movie actor detached from reality. Yet within a few years after Reagan left office, the Berlin Wall came down, the Evil Empire collapsed, the Cold War was won. Over the years a strange thing has happened. A lot of people who spent the 1980’s criticizing Reagan now tell us they were with him all along.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Define a Palestinian state, at peace with Israel, in 2008

We’re standing against the forces of extremism in the Holy Land, where we have new cause for hope. Palestinians have elected a president who recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel. Israelis have leaders who recognize that a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state will be a source of lasting security. This month in Ramallah and Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of this year. The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace.
Source: 2008 State of the Union address to Congress , Jan 28, 2008

Most Americans question whether to be in UN at all

Bush said that, for most Americans, the real question was whether to be in the UN at all. Bush said, out where he came from, that's what people actually thought, not that he himself believed it, you understand, but that's where things stood. Bush then turned to Iran, noting that "we need to solve this diplomatically," or the Israelis would solve it some other way. Bush then raised the question of Iraq, saying he wanted a greater UN presence there to help out on the pending constitutional referendum.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.217 , Nov 6, 2007

OpEd: Supported creedal nation, not traditional nation

To know what our national interests are, and what we should send our sons and daughters to die to defend, we must know who we are.

If we are a creedal nation, united by a commitment to democracy, equality, and liberty, with a mandate and mission to impose those ideas and ideals on mankind, we shall have a foreign policy like that of George W. Bush. But if we are a traditional nation, our national interests will be traditional: the defense of our land and the preservation of the lives and liberty of our people. And we will regard as enemies those who imperil what we hold most dear.

How we define who we are defines our interests, and how we define our interests tells us whom we must fight--and whom we need not fight.

Source: State of Emergency, by Pat Buchanan, p.162 , Oct 2, 2007

Change food aid rules to allow more non-US materials

An important anti-poverty advocacy group is Bread for the World, a bipartisan faith-based group with 58,000 members, including 3,000 churches. For the last two years, it has supported Pres. Bush's proposal to change the way American food is delivered. Current law requires all aid to be in food grown in the US, with 3/4 of it to be shipped on US flag vessels. Rising energy costs, complicated logistics, and administrative costs now consume more than 60% of our main food aid program. As a result, US aid is feeding about 20 million people a year fewer. Canada and Europe have been moving away from shipping their own food in favor of giving cash to buy food in developing countries closest to places with severe hunger problems. That buys more food, gets it delivered more quickly, and helps poor farm economies. Pres. Bush has proposed doing the same thing with 25% of US food aid.

Unfortunately, farm groups and even some charities opposed the idea at first and for two years it's gone nowhere in Congress.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p.188-189 , Sep 4, 2007

Opposed expanding Israeli settlements in West Bank

American opposition to settlement activity prevailed during the previous 4 decades, beginning when Dwight Eisenhower was president and extending through the terms of his successors, until 1993, when President Bill Clinton gave almost blanket approval to settlement expansion. President George H.W. Bush had been especially forceful in opposing specific Israeli settlements between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, even threatening to cut off financial assistance to Israel.

Israeli plans to retain far-reaching West Bank settlements will likely spell the death knell for prospects for the "road map for peace," the keystone of President George W. Bush's Middle East policy.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.114-115 , Sep 26, 2006

$1.2B for 5-year campaign against malaria in Africa

President Bush announced in June 2005 a plan to furnish $1.2 billion for a 5-year campaign against malaria in 15 African countries where 175 million people are at risk. This would be a major contribution--if the promise is fulfilled. The claims of generosity are quite popular both at home and abroad, but most previous commitments have been abandoned by the White House, slashed by the Congress, or so bogged down in administrative complexities that little support actually reaches the people in need.

The annual US foreign aid budget for fighting malaria, for instance, has been $90 million, but 95% of the money is being spent on consultants and less than 5% on mosquito nets, drugs, and insecticide spraying to fight the disease. Senator Sam Brownback complained about this policy, and received only "vague descriptions and math that doesn't add up," and demanded an audit by the government accountability office.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter,p.188-189 , Sep 26, 2006

Iranian regime must not be permitted to gain nuclear weapons

The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran. America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address , Jan 31, 2006

Fight disease and spread hope in hopeless lands

To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress and fighting disease and spreading hope in hopeless lands. Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. We show compassion abroad, because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS or an infant with malaria or a refugee fleeing genocide or a young girl sold into slavery.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address , Jan 31, 2006

Made unpopular decisions for great American values

Q: What is your plan to repair relations with other countries, given the current situation?

A: I made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country. I recognize that taking Saddam out was unpopular. But I made the decision because I thought it was in the right interests of our security. I made some decisions on Israel that’s unpopular. I made a decision not to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is where our troops can be brought in front of a judge, an unaccounted judge. I don’t think we ought to join that. That was unpopular. And so what I’m telling you is that sometimes in this world you make unpopular decision because you think they’re right. We’ll continue to reach out. There’s 30 nations involved in Iraq; some 40 nations involved in Afghanistan. People love America. Sometimes they don’t like the decisions made by America, but I don’t think you want a president who tries to become popular and does the wrong thing.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO , Oct 8, 2004

Allies are dealing with Iran and North Korea with America

The Duelfer report showed Saddam was deceiving the inspectors. Secondly, of course we’ve been involved with Iran. I fully understand the threat. And that’s why we’re doing what he suggested we do, get the Brits, the Germans and the French to go make it very clear to the Iranians that if they expect to be a party to the world, to give up their nuclear ambitions. We’ve been doing that. Let me talk about North Korea. It is naive and dangerous to take a policy that he suggested the other day, which is to have bilateral relations with North Korea. Remember Kerry was the person who’s accusing me of not acting multilaterally? He now wants to take the six-party talks we have, China, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan and the United States, and undermine them by having bilateral talks. Clinton had bilateral talks with the North Korean, and guess what happened? He didn’t honor the agreement. He was enriching uranium. That is a bad policy.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want

We’re pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

We ought to be working with the African Union

KERRY: I intend to double the number of special forces so that we can do the job we need to do with respect fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly. If it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I’d be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.

BUSH: I agree with Kerry that we shouldn’t be committing troops. We ought to be working with the African Union to do so-precisely what we did in Liberia. We helped stabilize the situation with some troops, and when the African Union came, we moved them out. My hope is that the African Union moves rapidly to help save lives. And fortunately the rainy season will be ending shortly, which will make it easier to get aid there and help the long-suffering people there.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

US establishes UN Democracy Fund

Because I believe the advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world, today I propose establishing a Democracy Fund within the United Nations. This is a great calling for this great organization. The fund would help countries lay the foundations of democracy by instituting the rule of law and independent courts, a free press, political parties and trade unions. Money from the fund would also help set up voter precincts and polling places, and support the work of election monitors. To show our commitment to the new Democracy Fund, the United States will make an initial contribution. I urge other nations to contribute, as well.

Today, I’ve outlined a broad agenda to advance human dignity, and enhance the security of all of us. The defeat of terror, the protection of human rights, the spread of prosperity, the advance of democracy-these causes, these ideals, call us to great work in the world. Each of us alone can only do so much. Together, we can accomplish so much more.

Source: Address to the United Nations General Assembly , Sep 21, 2004

Allies deserve the respect of all Americans

Kerry takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America’s allies, quote, a “coalition of the coerced and the bribed.” That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician. I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech , Sep 2, 2004

Increased foreign aid by 65% from 2002 to 2006

If conservatives believe that sending tax dollars to the national government in Washington is the wrong way to promote prosperity in the US, how can sending our tax dollars to the governments in capitals abroad be the right way to promote prosperity in the Third World?

But this is unpersuasive to a White House that committed to increase foreign aid by 65% between 2002 and 2006. Pres. Bush appears now to agree with the Left--that one measures true compassion solely by the amount of tax dollars one is willing to expend.

The twin altarpieces of Bush's foreign aid approach are a 5-year, $15 billion program to fight AIDS in Africa and a Millennial Challenge Account to reward regimes that pursue sound policies. Virtue is no longer its own reward. But where in the Constitution is the president empowered to take tax dollars from the US citizens to reward foreign regimes for good behavior?

Source: Where the Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p.179 , Aug 12, 2004

US is single surviving model of human progress

After pledging a "humble" foreign policy in 2000, by 2002 at West Point, humility had yielded to hubris. "The 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress," the president told the cadets. "The requirements of freedom apply fully to the entire Islamic world."

By "freedom," the president means America's concept of freedom: The right to worship as we desire. But to Muslim believers, Christian missionaries have no right to proselytize in their land. In some Islamic countries, to attempt to convert Muslims is punishable by death.

If President Bush believes ours is the "single surviving model of human progress," and our ideas of freedom "apply fully to the entire Islamic world," we are headed for endless wars with an Islamic world where the faith grows militant and peoples are repelled by the social, cultural, and moral decadence they see in America and the West.

Source: Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 24 , Aug 12, 2004

Foreign affairs is interpersonal leadership, not knowledge

To most Americans, Bush’s grasp of foreign affairs was symbolized by his inability in a TV interview during thee campaign to name the leaders of Taiwan, Pakistan, India, and Chechnya. But as Bush’s aides saw it, foreign affairs was all about leadership and interpersonal skills. That had always been Bush’s strength, along with surrounding himself with smart, capable people.

With Bush, Rice said, “The worst thing you can do is tell him you’re going to do something and then not do it.” The next worst thing is to waste his time beating around the bush. “He is very straightforward himself and tends to like straightforward people,” Rice said. “You don’t want to spend a long time constructing a baroque argument for him. I’ve watched him with many foreign leaders. His best relationship with foreign leaders are when he feels like they are being as straightforward with him as he is with them. He can do that past language barriers. He can sense the body language.”

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.172-175 , Aug 5, 2004

1994: Supported $25B Mexico bailout

We asked Congress to approve $25 billion in loans to allow Mexico to pay its debt on schedule and retain the confidence of creditors & investors, in return for Mexico's commitment to financial reforms & more timely reporting on its financial condition, i order to prevent this from happening again.

The risks were considerable, but I had confidence in Mexico's new president, Ernesto Zedillo. Besides, we simply couldn't let Mexico fall without trying to help. In addition to the economic problems it would cause both for us and for the Mexicans, we would be sending a terrible signal of selfishness and shortsightedness throughout Latin America.

I called the congressional leaders and explained the situation. All of them pledged their support. Several governors were also supportive, including George W. Bush, whose state would be hardest hit if the Mexican economy collapsed.

Congress would not pass the bill so we ended up providing the money to Mexico out of the Exchange Stabilization Fund.

Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.642-643 , Jun 21, 2004

Full transition to democratic Iraq by Jan. 2005

    There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq.
  1. transfer full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens.
  2. establish the stability and security that democracy requires.
  3. rebuild that nation’s infrastructure.
  4. enlist additional international support.
  5. free national elections no later than next January.
Source: Speech on Iraq , May 25, 2004

Support for Israel tied evangelicals to Jewish community

Bush had spoken often of his "support" for Israel, but American Jews saw little of substance in his actions. They were confused. Bush was the political champion of evangelical American, the strongest concentration of support for Israel outside the Jewish community itself. Yet, he seemed to be abandoning the peace process.

Bush moved directly to the point. "I am a Christian," he declared, "but I believe with the psalmist that the Lord God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. We will stand up for our friends in the world. And one of the most important friends is the State of Israel. A top foreign policy priority of the administration is the safety and the security of Israel. My administration will be steadfast in supporting Israel against terrorism and violence, and in seeking the peace for which all Israelis pray."

It was a general statement, but a reaffirmation of America's continued support for Israel nonetheless. The president would never say such a thing and then let Israel flounder.

Source: The Faith of George W. Bush, by Stephen Mansfield, p.123-125 , Apr 12, 2004

National Endowment for Democracy in the Middle East

We hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken and condescending to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government.

I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again. As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends.

So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East. We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror and expect a higher standard from our friend. I will send you a proposal to double the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy and to focus its new work on the development of free elections and free markets, free press and free labor unions in the Middle East.

Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress , Jan 20, 2004

Tilt back toward Israel

President Bush echoed the [pro-Israel] view: ‘We’re going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict. We’re going to tilt back toward Israel.“ Bush continued, ‘If the two sides don’t want peace, there is no way we can force them.’ Colin Powell said, ‘a pullback by the US would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army.’ ; Bush added, ‘Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things
Source: The Price of Loyalty, by Ron Suskind, p. 71-72 , Jan 13, 2004

Vietnam: Trade better for human rights than sanctions

Q: An agreement has been signed with Vietnam that, if approved by Congress next year, will require that country to protect U.S. intellectual property and open its markets. It makes no demands on human rights. Do you support this deal?

A: I support the trade agreement with Vietnam. I believe expanded trade with Vietnam will help the forces of economic and political reform take root and grow. At the same time, we must make clear to the Vietnamese government that we expect them to cooperate fully with our efforts to obtain the fullest possible accounting of missing servicemen in Vietnam. Like all Americans, I want to see improved human rights, and living and working conditions worldwide. The best way to address these issues is not through unilateral trade sanctions, but through multilateral agreements. The primary goal of our trade policy should be to open markets abroad because the better way to raise living and working standards is to increase trade.

Source: Associated Press on 2000 presidential race , Oct 18, 2000

Supported force in Mideast & Balkans, not Haiti & Somalia

Q: In the last 20 years, there have been eight major actions involving the introduction of US forces. If you had been president, would any of those interventions not have happened: Lebanon?
A: Yes.
Q: Grenada?
A: Yes.
Q: Panama?
A: Yes.
Q: Obviously, the Persian Gulf.
A: With some of them I’ve got a conflict of interest, if you know what I mean. Yes.
Q: Bosnia and Kosovo.
A: I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO. I hope our European friends become the peacekeepers in Bosnia and in the Balkans.
Q: Somalia.
A: It started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that’s where the mission went wrong. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise. And same with Haiti. I wouldn’t have supported either.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

Africa’s important but not a priority; no nation-building

Q: Why not Africa? Why the Middle East? Why the Balkans but not Africa?

BUSH: Africa’s important. And we’ve got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade. It’s an important continent. But there’s got to be priorities. And the Middle East is a priority for a lot of reasons as is Europe and the Far East, and our own hemisphere. Those are my four top priorities should I be the president. It’s not to say we won’t be engaged [in Africa], and working hard to get other nations to come together to prevent atrocity [like in Rwanda]. I thought the best example of handling a [genocide] situation was East Timor when we provided logistical support to the Australians; support that only we can provide. I thought that was a good model. But we can’t be all things to all people in the world. I am worried about over-committing our military around the world. I want to be judicious in its use. I don’t think nation-building missions are worthwhile.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

Keep troops in Korea & NATO; not in Haiti & Balkans

Q: Where would you bring home US troops from?

I mentioned the Balkans. Haiti is another example. I supported the administration in Colombia. It is in our interests to have a peaceful Colombia. We need to have a military presence in the Korean peninsula not only to keep the peace in the peninsula but to keep regional stability. And we need to keep a presence in NATO. But the use of the military needs to be in our vital interest. The mission needs to be clear and the exit strategy obvious.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

Puerto Rico: Back statehood if majority votes for it

In the culmination of a decade-long battle, a federal courtroom in Boston [will hear the case that] citizens of Puerto Rico, a US territory of 3.9 million people, should be able to vote for president. If the appeal is won-and the ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court-Puerto Rico theoretically could gain eight electoral votes. The Puerto Rican Legislature recently authorized the first US presidential vote in the island’s history on the presumption that the case will be won. Ballots are being printed, all in hopes of a favorable ruling in Boston.

Both Bush and Gore have declined to take a position on whether Puerto Rico should participate in the election, noting that the matter is before the courts. Both candidates have identical positions on Puerto Rico, saying they would back statehood if a majority of voters on the island support it. Both campaigns have taken steps to prepare for the possibility of a campaign on the island, signing up volunteers and organizers.

Source: Boston Globe on 2000 Presidential race , Sep 20, 2000

Will keep sanctions against Cuba

Bush pledged today to take a hard line against Cuban leader Fidel Castro if elected president: “My word to you, Mr. Castro: Let your people live in freedom. I challenge the Castro regime to surprise the world and adopt the ways of democracy. Until it frees political prisoners, and holds free elections and allows free speech, I will keep the current sanctions in place.”
Source: AP Story, LA Times , Aug 25, 2000

US will be a friend to Latin American democracies

Bush, continuing his focus on foreign policy, met today with Mexico’s President-elect Vicente Fox. “I believe we ought to enforce our borders. My pledge will be: Should I become the president, I’ll work and have a good, long-term relationship with [him] and continue a good relationship with Mexico. As long as you are on the road toward liberty, you will not be alone. As long as you are moving toward freedom, you will have a steady friend in the United States of America.”
Source: AP Story, LA Times , Aug 25, 2000

Patrol borders, but also invest in Latin America

Source: AP Story, LA Times , Aug 25, 2000

Africa: Rally world to help AIDS, but not with US funds

Q: Should we appropriate $300 million out of the surplus to help fight AIDS in Africa? A: Oftentimes we’re well-intended when it comes to foreign help. but the money never makes it to the people that we’re trying to help. And so I think before we spend a dime, we want to make sure that the people we’re trying to help receive the help necessary. But this is a compassionate land. And we need to rally the people of compassion in the world to help when there’s terrible tragedy like this in Africa.
Source: GOP Debate in Michigan , Jan 10, 2000

Mexico: Free trade, but with more border patrols

I’m a fierce, free and fair trader. I believe that if Mexico were able to develop a large middle class, it would enable them to find jobs at home and stay at home.. I’m concerned about Colombian drug traffickers through Mexico. We need more detection capacities, we need to check more for trucks, we need more sensors, more border interdiction.
Source: Georgie Anne Geyer, syndicated columnist , Oct 1, 1998

George W. Bush on China

2001: Multilateral approach with China against North Korea

Effective diplomacy requires that we think strategically. The president did just this when he insisted in 2001 that we get the Chinese engaged in our efforts to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear program. We also brought in the Russians, the Japanese and the South Koreans. The president saw that North Korea was already so isolated and under such extensive sanctions that the United States alone had little ability to bring significant pressure to bear. However, a multilateral approach that included China might well have the ability to pressure Pyongyang. We lost opportunities to encourage the Chinese to play a more constructive role. In the immediate aftermath of North Korea's nuclear test in October 2006, for example, the Chinese were upset, particularly because Pyongyang gave them only an hour's notice of the test. We should have used that moment of leverage to bring our partners in the six-party talks together--with the Chinese in the lead--to put true pressure on the North Koreans.
Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.492 , Aug 30, 2011

2001 secret China meeting: backed off from defending Taiwan

On April 25, 2001, ABC television asked Bush whether the US had an obligation to defend Taiwan.

"Yes, we do. And the Chinese must understand that," Bush replied.

"And you would..."

"Yes, I would."

"With the full force of the American military?"

"Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself."

It was one of the strongest statements the US had made about the delicate issue of Taiwan. The Chinese were very upset.

How do I get out of this? Bush essentially asked. After listening to [adviser Brent] Scowcroft, Bush asked him to go on a secret mission to China to meet with President Jiang Zemin and explain US policy. Scowcroft told the Chinese leader that Bush's policy was to defend Taiwan if the island was attacked unprovoked, but if the Taiwanese took action to change the status quo on their own, the US would not defend them. Jiang and Bush seemed satisfied, and Scowcroft's secret mission never became public.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 33 , Oct 1, 2006

Six-party talks are better than taking on North Korea alone

BUSH: We signed an agreement with North Korea that my administration found out that was not being honored by the North Koreans. And so I decided that a better way to approach the issue was to get other nations involved, just besides us. And China’s a got a lot of influence over North Korea, some ways more than we do. As well, we included South Korea, Japan and Russia. So now there are five voices speaking to Kim Jong Il, not just one.

KERRY: We had inspectors and television cameras in the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Secretary Bill Perry negotiated that under Clinton. And we knew where the fuel rods were. And we knew the limits on their nuclear power. Colin Powell announced one day that we were going to continue the dialog of working with the North Koreans. Bush reversed it publicly while the president of South Korea was here. And the president of South Korea went back to South Korea bewildered and embarrassed because it went against his policy.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

The six-party talks will unwind when we have bilateral talks

KERRY: I want both bilateral and multinational talks which put all of the issues, from the armistice of 1952, the economic issues, the human rights issues, the artillery disposal issues, the DMZ issues and the nuclear issues on the table.

BUSH: The minute we have bilateral talks, the six-party talks will unwind. That’s exactly what Kim Jong Il wants. And by the way, the breach on the agreement was not through plutonium. The breach on the agreement is highly enriched uranium. That’s what we caught him doing. That’s where he was breaking the agreement. Secondly, Kerry said where he worked to put sanctions on Iran-we’ve already sanctioned Iran. Finally, we were a party to the convention-to working with Germany, France and Great Britain to send their foreign ministers into Iran.

KERRY: In order for the sanctions to be effective, we should have been working with the British, French and Germans and other countries. That’s the difference between Bush and me. Again, Bush sort of slid by the question.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

2003: Rebuked Taiwan for independence referendum

The US position on Taiwan is ambiguous. In 1972, in the Shanghai Communique, the US "acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China."

In 2001, Pres. Bush blurted out, when asked whether America would use all her power to protect the island, that he would do "whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself."

In 2003, Taiwan called for a referendum whereby the Taiwanese could vote to demand that Beijing remove the missiles on its side of the strait. Beijing was enraged. President Bush--in the sharpest language a president has ever used on a President of Taiwan--rebuked Chen for holding the referendum. Bush did not mention the five hundred missiles targeted on the island. Even the Washington Post, in an editorial titled "Mr. Bush's Kowtow," thought the President had gone too far in groveling before Beijing and lashing out at a friend for holding a peaceful referendum.

Source: Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p.134-135 , Aug 12, 2004

OpEd: "World democratic revolution" means overthrow to China

If the Chinese are denouncing US "containment" and "American hegemony," do they not have a point? How would we react to Chinese bases in Mexico & Nova Scotia "to fight terrorism"? How would we respond to Chinese reconnaissance flights off our coasts and Chinese naval patrols in the Gulf of Mexico?

If China's hawks see in America a superpower resolved to encircle, contain, and deny her her rightful place in the sun, are they wrong? Is this not declared US policy in the National Strategy Statement?

A prominent Chinese scholar has charged that "the US uses the fight against terrorism as an opportunity to pursue its hegemonic strategy, carried out under the cover of antiterrorism." Considering how we launched a preemptive war on Iraq to disarm it of weapons it did not have, does that scholar not have an argument?

If Beijing believes America intends the replacement of its regime with a democracy, is regime change in China not an end goal of President Bush's "world democratic revolution"?

Source: Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p.140-141 , Aug 12, 2004

Abandoned ambiguity with China to horror of own diplomats

By the 1990s, “strategic ambiguity” had long ceased to make any sense at all. But Bush’s speech on April 24, 2001 stuck to the familiar talking points on China: China is not an enemy; we support the One China policy that denies Taiwan’s right to statehood; the surveillance flights will resume. But when interviewed, Bush dropped the talking points and spoke with startling candor:

Q: If Taiwan were attacked by China, do we have an obligation to defend the Taiwanese?

A: Yes, we do. And the Chinese must understand that.

Q: With the full force of the American military?

A: Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself.

“Strategic ambiguity” was dead. Bush’s words uncorked a whole jugful of complaints from allies, commentators, and foreign-policy wisemen. Unprompted by his own administration-and to the horror of much of his own foreign-policy bureaucracy-Bush was informing the Chinese and the world that the fire marshals had returned to duty in East Asia.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 78-81 , Jun 1, 2003

Do “whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan, including military

Pres. Bush said he would do “whatever it took”-including the use of US military forces-to defend Taiwan against China, potentially adding new tension to the troubled US-China relationship.

Bush touched off the controversy in a morning TV interview when he was asked if the US would defend Taiwan with the full force of the US military. “Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself,” he replied. In later interviews, Bush said military action was “certainly an option,” but he also said that Taiwan should not declare its independence.

The US has long supported a “one China” principle, but has insisted that Taiwan and China resolve their differences peacefully. Bush and his aides said the president’s remarks were not meant to signal a change in policy. Under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US is obligated to provide Taiwan with equipment to defend itself. Whatever else the US might do to defend Taiwan has been left deliberately vague by previous administrations.

Source: Inland Valley [So. Cal.] Daily Bulletin, p. 1 , Apr 26, 2001

Maintain relations with both Taiwan & China

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ , Apr 2, 2000

Defend Taiwan if China violates one-China policy

Q: Would you commit US forces to defend Taiwan?
A: No. What the Chinese need to assume is that if they violate the One China Policy, the longstanding One China Policy, which has clearly said that the United States expects there to be a peaceful resolution between China and Taiwan, if they decide to use force, the United States must help Taiwan defend itself. Now, the Chinese can figure out what that means. But that’s going to mean a resolute stand on my part.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles , Mar 2, 2000

No strategic ambiguity: US will defend Taiwan against China

Bush signaled his intention to break a long-standing policy by stating that the US would help Taiwan if it were attacked by China. Previous presidents, including Bush’s father, have adopted a policy called “strategic ambiguity,” which does not specify how the US would respond to an attack on Taiwan. Although the Taiwan Relations Act suggests that the US would help Taiwan, successive administrations have preserved this deliberate ambiguity so as not to encourage Taiwan to be bolder, making a war more likely.

But Bush said today, “It’s important for the Chinese to understand that if there’s a military action, we will help Taiwan defend itself.” He would not say whether this meant the US would send troops. Bush’s foreign policy advisor said that Bush was moving away from strategic ambiguity partly because Taiwan has become a democracy and partly because the policy has been poorly implemented in the Clinton administration.

Source: New York Times, p. A10, on 2000 election , Feb 26, 2000

China is an American competitor, not a friend

Q: What area of international policy would you change immediately? A: Our relationship with China. The President has called the relationship with China a strategic partnership. I believe our relationship needs to be redefined as competitor. Competitors can find areas of agreement, but we must make it clear to the Chinese that we don’t appreciate any attempt to spread weapons of mass destruction around the world, that we don’t appreciate any threats to our friends and allies in the Far East.
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show , Feb 15, 2000

Entrepreneurial China trade differs from totalitarian Cuba

BUSH [to Bauer]: Capital that goes into Cuba will be used by the Castro government to prop itself up. Dollars invested will end up supporting this totalitarian regime.. It’s in our best interest to keep the pressure on Castro until he allows free elections, free press & free the prisoners.

BAUER: You just made the case for withdrawing MFN status from China. Everything that you just said about Cuba applies to China.

BUSH: There is a huge difference between trading with an entrepreneurial class like that which is growing in China and allowing a Castro government to skim capital monies off the top of capital investment.

BAUER: Tell the people rotting in the prisons of China that there’s any difference between Castro’s Cuba & Communist China. There is none.

BUSH: If we turn our back on the entrepreneurial class that is taking wing in China, we’re making a huge mistake.

BAUER: They are using that money for a massive arms buildup that our sons will have to deal with down the road.

Source: (cross-ref to Bauer) GOP Debate in Michigan , Jan 10, 2000

China’s taste of freedom encourages capitalism’s growth

BAUER [to Bush]: We would never make the argument [that we should work with China] if we were talking about Nazi Germany. Is there no atrocity that you can think of, the labor camps doubling in their slave labor, a bigger crackdown, more priests disappearing in the middle of the night, is there anything that would tell you to put trade on the back burner?

BUSH: Gary, I agree with you that forced abortion is abhorrent. And I agree with you when leaders try to snuff out religion. But I think if we turn our back on China and isolate China things will get worse. Imagine if the Internet took hold in China. Imagine how freedom would spread. Our greatest export to the world has been, is and always will be the incredible freedom we understand in America. And that’s why it’s important for us to trade with China to encourage the growth of an entrepreneurial class. It gets that taste of freedom. It gets that breath of freedom in the marketplace.

Source: (cross-ref. from Bauer) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

China: Reaction to espionage was not serious and not enough

Presented with detailed information about China’s espionage, this administration apparently did not take it seriously, did not react properly and it is still trying to minimize the scope and extent of the damage done. I trust that Congress will investigate to determine what went wrong and why, and I expect that our government will take immediate action to protect sensitive American technology. There are some areas of mutual benefit [but] we must deal with China in a firm and consistent manner.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Cox Report” , May 25, 1999

Cox Report warrants review of all export controls to China

Trade will help expand the private sector in China. Trade will open a window to the free world for the people of China. But there is a difference between selling food and selling technology that could be used against America and our allies. China’s growing military capabilities present serious challenges for the United States. The Cox report should prompt a full and serious review of export controls, to make certain that America’s technology is not arming China’s military.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Cox Report” , May 25, 1999

George W. Bush on Internationalism

Withdrew from International Criminal Court agreement

Although billed as a successor to the Nuremberg tribunals, the International Criminal Court (ICC), in fact, amounts to a giant opportunity to second-guess the US and the actions we take in self-defense. The ICC's enormous potential prosecutorial power awaits only the opportunity to expand almost without limit. The Clinton administration initially signed the ICC's founding document, the Time Statue, in June 1998, but there was no prospect that the Senate would ratify it. The Bush administration unsigned the treaty and entered into more than 100 bilateral agreements with countries to prevent our citizens from being delivered into the ICC's custody. To date, the ICC has proceeded slowly, partly in the hope of enticing the US to cooperate with it, and the Bush administration succumbed to it in its final years.
Source: Obama is Endangering our Sovereignty, by J. Bolton, p. 25-26 , May 18, 2010

OpEd: obsessed with subverting ICC international authority

The Bush administration's obsession with the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an additional irritant. For several years, The Carter Center worked with Washington officials and leaders from many other nations to evolve the ICC, designed to prevent and punish acts of genocide and horrendous war crimes. The ICC charter, signed in 2002 by 139 nations, was carefully drafted to prevent punishment of Americans for genocidal acts overseas, provided US courts will address any such crimes. However, the US is now attempting to force subservient nations to guarantee blanket immunity for American military personnel, contractor employees, and tourists.
Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.106 , Sep 26, 2006

Hope we never have to take preemptive military action

I was hopeful diplomacy would work in Iraq. It was falling apart. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was hoping that the world would turn a blind eye. And if he had been in power, in other words, if we would have said, “Let the inspectors work, or let’s hope to talk him out. Maybe an 18th resolution would work,” he would have been stronger and tougher, and the world would have been a lot worse off. There’s just no doubt in my mind we would rue the day, had Saddam Hussein been in power. So we use diplomacy every chance we get, believe me. By speaking clearly and sending messages that we mean what we say, we’ve affected the world in a positive way. Libya was a threat. Libya is now peacefully dismantling its weapons programs. Libya understood that America and others will enforce doctrine and that the world is better for it. I would hope we never have to take preemptive military action. By acting firmly and decisively, it will mean it is less likely we have to use force.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Take preemptive action in order to make America secure

KERRY: Iran & North Korea are now more dangerous. Whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don’t know yet. But as president, I’ll never take my eye off that ball. I’ve been fighting for proliferation the entire time-anti-proliferation the entire time I’ve been in the Congress. And we’ve watched Bush actually turn away from some of the treaties that were on the table. You don’t help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance.

BUSH: My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure. My opponent talks about me not signing certain treaties. Let me tell you one thing I didn’t sign, and I think it shows the difference of our opinion-the difference of opinions. And that is, I wouldn’t join the International Criminal Court. It’s a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

No “global test”: protect Americans even if unpopular abroad

KERRY: No president has ever ceded, nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the US. But if and when you do it, you have to do it in a way that passes the global test where your people understand fully what you’re doing & you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

BUSH: I’m not exactly sure what you mean, “passes the global test.” My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure. [For example] I wouldn’t join the International Criminal Court. It’s a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial. I understand that in certain capitals around the world that that wasn’t a popular move. Trying to be popular, in the global sense, if it’s not in our best interest, makes no sense. I’m interested in working with our nations and do a lot of it. But I’m not going to make decisions that I think are wrong for America.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

America will never seek a permission slip for self-defense

From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress , Jan 20, 2004

Bush Doctrine: pre-emptive strikes for US defense

It has been a week of sweet vindication for those who promulgated what they call the Bush Doctrine-beginning with the capture of Saddam Hussein and ending with an agreement by Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi to surrender his unconventional weapons. And Iran signed an agreement allowing surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities. To foreign policy hard-liners inside and outside the administration, all have the same cause: a show of American might.

Those who developed the Bush Doctrine- a policy of taking preemptive, unprovoked action against emerging threats-predicted that an impressive US victory in Iraq would intimidate allies and foes alike, making them yield to US interests in other areas. The “neo-conservative” hawks say it is precisely Bush’s willingness to go it alone and take preemptive action that has encouraged other countries to seek diplomatic solutions before the US launches a military attack.

Source: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, p. A26 on 2004 election , Dec 21, 2003

Help poor countries around the world

Nearly half of the world’s population live on less than two dollars a day. When we help them we show our compassion, our values, and our belief in universal human dignity. America is feeding the hungry around the world - the US gives more to those in crisis than any other country in the world. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we helped liberate an oppressed people. The President is determined to continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate their children.
Source: 2004 Presidential website, georgewbush.com , Aug 29, 2003

Bush compromises between internationalists and isolationists

Bush has woven a middle ground between two battling factions of his party - internationalists who support engagement with great powers like China and isolationists who are deeply suspicious of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

Drawing on the advice of Gen. Colin L. Powell, widely viewed as a potential secretary of state in a Bush administration, Bush is far more tentative about committing American troops and rules out their use for what he dismisses as nation building. “There may be some moments when we use our troops as peacekeepers, but not often,” he said in the final presidential debate. In the second debate he suggested a broader philosophical disagreement with Mr. Gore: “I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.’”

Gore, on the other hand, has repeatedly portrayed himself as a man who has come to believe in vigorous American intervention abroad

Source: David Sanger, NY Times on 2000 election , Oct 30, 2000

US should humbly empower other countries, not dictate

Q: What is the role of the U.S. in the world?

BUSH: I’m not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it’s got to be. I want to empower people. I want to help people help themselves, not have government tell people what to do. I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you. We went into Russia, we said here’s some IMF money. It ended up in Chernomyrdin’s pocket. And yet we played like there was reform. The only people who are going to reform Russia are Russians. I’m not sure where the vice president’s coming from, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

America should be a humble nation, but project strength

Q: Should the people of the world fear us, or see us as a friend?

BUSH: They ought to look at us as a country that understands freedom where it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from that you can succeed. I don’t think they ought to look at us with envy. It really depends upon how [our] nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. Our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power. And that’s why we’ve got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom. We’re a freedom-loving nation. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll view us that way, but if we’re humble nation, they’ll respect us.

GORE: I agree with that. One of the problems that we have faced in the world is that we are so much more powerful than any single nation has been in relationship to the rest of the world than at any time in history, that there is some resentment of US power.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

Vital interests: US or allies threatened; we can win & exit

Q: How would you decide when it was in the national interest to use US force? BUSH: Well, if it’s in our vital national interests. And that means:
  1. Whether our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened.
  2. Whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be.
  3. Whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped.
  4. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy.
I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don’t think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we’ve got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA , Oct 3, 2000

US troops will never be under UN command

Bush said he would never allow US troops to come under United Nations command, then added then he views the UN “as an opportunity for people to vent.”

“I say that not facetiously,” Bush continued. “I mean, it’s a chance for the world to come together and discuss and to dialogue.”

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A8 on 2000 election , Oct 1, 2000

Less intervention abroad and unilateral nuclear cuts at home

Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” , Sep 30, 2000

Reform UN & IMF; strengthen NATO

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ , Apr 2, 2000

Brokering peace requires diligence and patience

Q. Where the US is trying with mixed success to broker peace talks, do you have sympathy for what Clinton is trying to do?
A: Take Northern Ireland. I have been on the record applauding the efforts to use our prestige to bring people together. It’s very important to be patient with the peace process. To be diligent and patient. It’s very important not to impose a US solution. So to the president’s credit, it seems to me on the Middle East he’s working hard to bring people together.
Source: Press interview in Austin, TX , Mar 15, 2000

America should speak loudly and carry a big stick

Peace is not ordained, it is earned. Building a durable peace requires strong alliances, expanding trade and confident diplomacy. It requires tough realism in our dealings with China and Russia. It requires firmness with regimes like North Korea and Iraq, regimes that hate our values and resent our success. And the foundation of our peace is a strong, capable, and modern American military.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.239 , Dec 9, 1999

America should act as the leader of the free world

The world seeks America’s leadership, looks for leadership from a country whose values are freedom and justice and equality. Ours should not be the paternalistic leadership of an arrogant big brother, but the inviting and welcoming leadership of a great & noble nation. We have a collective responsibility as citizens of the greatest & freest nation in the world. America must not retreat within its borders. Or greatest export is freedom, and we have a moral obligation to champion it throughout the world.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.240 , Dec 9, 1999

Foreign policy with a touch of iron & a sharpened sword

Today we live in a world of terror and madmen and missiles. And our military is challenged by aging weapons and low morale. Because a dangerous world still requires a sharpened sword, I will rebuild our military. I will move quickly to defend our country and allies against blackmail by building missile defense systems. As president, I will have a foreign policy with a touch of iron driven by American interests and American values.
Source: TV ad, “Dangerous World” , Nov 18, 1999

George W. Bush on Russia

2008: NATO membership after Ukraine's Orange Revolution

In Bucharest, a charismatic young democrat named Mikael Saakashvili denounced President Eduard Shevardnadze. The bloodless coup became known as the Rose Revolution.

In Nov. 2004, a similar wave of protests broke out after a fraudulent presidential election in Ukraine. At one point during the campaign, opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko suffered a mysterious poisoning that disfigured his face. Yet he refused to drop out of the race. His supporters turned out every day clad in orange scarves and ribbons until the Ukrainian Supreme Court ordered a rerun of the tainted election. Yushchenko won and was sworn in on Jan. 23, 2005, completing the Orange Revolution.

At the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, both Georgia and Ukraine applied for Membership Action Plans, MAPs, the final step before consideration for full membership. I was a strong supporter of their applications. But approval required unanimity. We agreed on a compromise, announcing that they were destined for future membership in NATO.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.430-431 , Nov 9, 2010

Supports Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO

Obama will meet with the 26 NATO heads of states and governments, plus those of Croatia and Albania who are applying for membership. Obama welcomed Croatia and Albania to the heart of that military organization. The president stressed that 140 Albanian and 296 Croatian soldiers have served in Afghanistan and remarked he thought "both will be steadfast contributors to the alliance":

"Russia reveals itself to be highly critical of NATO expansion toward the east, and in particular toward the former Soviet republics that it considers to be its natural sphere of influence."

"Last year at its April summit in Bucharest, the alliance promised an eventual path to the admission of the Ukraine and Georgia supported by Obama's predecessor George W. Bush," the cable reminds us.

Can there be any doubt that NATO is a warlike and aggressive organization, one that threatens not only Russia but also other countries elsewhere in the world?

Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 46-7 , Apr 8, 2009

Continue working with Putin in the future

BUSH: I look forward to discussing it more with Putin, as time goes on. Russia is a country in transition. Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices. And I think it’s very important for the American president, as well as other Western leaders, to remind him of the great benefits of democracy, that democracy will best help the people realize their hopes and aspirations and dreams. And I will continue working with him over the next four years.

KERRY: I’ve had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in Russia, because I was there right after the transformation. I regret what’s happened in these past months. And I think it goes beyond just the response to terror. Mr. Putin now controls all the television stations. His political opposition is being put in jail. It’s very important to the US, obviously, to have a working relationship that is good. This is a very important country to us. We want a partnership. But we always have to stand up for democracy.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Focus on Russia as part of Europe

When in December 2002 Bush announced that the US would withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty it had signed with the Russians in 1972-and the Chinese and the French and everyone else with an interest in continued American vulnerability looked to the Russians to protest and resist-Putin mildly shrugged the decision off. :“This step was not a surprise for us. However, we consider it a mistake.”

And why should Putin not be calm? [In an earlier speech], Bush had offered Putin a much bigger prize than any arms control treaty: full membership in the Western world. “We look forward the day when Russia is fully reformed, fully democratic, and closely bound to the rest of Europe. Russia is part of Europe.” In Bush’s first six months in office, he had executed the most ambitious reorientation of America’s grand strategy since Nixon’s time-away from China and toward Russia.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 90-91 , Jun 1, 2003

Russia nukes: demand inventory; pay for dismantling

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ , Apr 2, 2000

Russia funding: replace IMF loans with $ to people

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ , Apr 2, 2000

Pressure Russia financially to ease up on Chechnya

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ , Apr 2, 2000

Focus on Big Three: Russia, China, & India

Bush articulated a set of broad foreign policy principles and priorities - form missile defense to free trade to what he calls The Big Ones, Russia, China, and India.

In a speech on defense policy, Bush issued awarning: “We must be selective in the use of our military, precisely because America has other great responsibilities that cannot be slighted or compromised.”

Source: Boston Globe on 2000 race, p. A22 , Dec 23, 1999

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George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

Political Parties:
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Libertarian Party
Green Party
Reform Party
Natural Law Party
Tea Party
Constitution Party
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022