Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: i come from the water
Apr 1st, 2005, 01:24 AM
Blanco, did you even read the link?
Because what KC said has very little to do with the opinion-heavy, but easily fact-checkable story he linked.
Here's a less partisan version.
Trip was to Europe, but topics were farther east
Iraq, Iran and now China loom large in relations with leaders
08:46 PM CST on Friday, February 25, 2005
By DAVID JACKSON / The Dallas Morning News
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Iraq ruptured American-European relations. Iran may decide whether they can be repaired.
Getting on well this week, at least publicly, President Bush and his European counterparts agreed that Iran should be denied nuclear weapons – now they have to figure out how to do that.
"I was listening very carefully to the different ideas on negotiating strategies," Mr. Bush said toward the end of his goodwill tour of Europe.
The latest Economist magazine features a cover photo of Mr. Bush with the headline: "Merci, y'all (But why the heck are you selling arms to China?)"
European Union officials made clear to Mr. Bush they plan to lift their arms embargo against China, despite Mr. Bush's persistent warnings that the move will generate anti-European political sentiment in Washington.
Main goal accomplished
As European diplomats brace for these potential pitfalls, administration officials said Mr. Bush met his main goal, reconnecting personally with European leaders who vehemently opposed the Iraq war, including French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
NATO and individual countries pledged to help Iraq train security forces and develop an organized government and security forces. While analysts called these contributions modest (any training by France and Germany will be done outside Iraq), Mr. Bush said they are appreciated. He also continued to defend the invasion before still-skeptical Europeans.
On Iran, aides said that Mr. Bush is content to let negotiations proceed between Iran and three EU members, France, Germany, and Great Britain. The aides demur, though, at economic incentives offered for Iran's abandonment of nuclear weapons, which Washington still sees as "rewarding" the mullahs for "bad behavior."
Before dinner with Mr. Chirac, Mr. Bush said, "Every time I meet with Jacques, he's got good advice."
Mr. Chirac said it's always "a great pleasure to meet with President Bush." When Mr. Bush landed in Germany, Mr. Schroeder took the relatively unusual step, for him, of meeting the president's airplane.
Whether Mr. Bush made as much headway with the European people remains a question.
Protesters greeted the Bush entourage at every stop, though their numbers seem smaller than during past European trips. Public opinions still reflect anti-Bush sentiment, especially in Western European countries.
Security remained very tight, and Mr. Bush's public appearances were tightly controlled.
Der Spiegel reported that a planned town hall meeting in Germany fell by the wayside because the Bush administration wanted to screen questions, and the Germans objected. Bush aides denied that, saying American and German officials worked together on the schedule that included a smaller forum with German professional people.
Ruairi Revell, a backpacking Scottish college student who saw Mr. Bush speak in Bratislava, said the president "has mended fences with the leaders," but "the general public has exactly same feeling as it did before."
Mr. Bush did appear to soften the edges on another potential issue, Russia.
Meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Bush protested what some aides called backsliding on democracy in Russia. Mr. Putin disagreed, but he and Mr. Bush said they would maintain their partnership; the two are scheduled to meet again in May.
Analysts said Mr. Bush could not afford to have Russia rise on the list of problems, not with the specter of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea.
Mr. Bush did not commit the United States to direct negotiations with Iran, as some EU members would have liked.
Keeping options open
Mr. Bush did not the rule out the eventual threat of force – "all options are on the table" – though, in an apparent effort to ease European fears, he called the idea he might invade Iran "ridiculous."
American officials said they would like to change the stereotype that Europe always wants to offer carrots, while the United States wants sticks. Bush officials suggested they would consider carrots, perhaps more aid to Iran, if the Europeans consider the possibility of force, should it become necessary.
American-European cooperation on Iran could depend on China.
That test is expected to surface in June, when the European Union is expected to lift the arms embargo it has imposed on China since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
"European arms sales to China will be an enormous issue," said Fred Siegel, who teaches history at the Cooper Union in New York City. "Not only because of Taiwan, but because of America's ties to Japan on the one hand and China's to Iran on the other."
EU officials told Mr. Bush said any arms sales to China would be carefully controlled and monitored.
"They know the Congress' concern," Mr. Bush said of EU leaders. "And so they will try to develop a plan that will ease concerns. Now whether they can or not, we'll see."