November 20, 2004


Bush Plans Effort to Mend Key Alliances: He will begin renewing ties at the Asia-Pacific summit, spurred by the challenges of stabilizing the Mideast and curbing nuclear proliferation. (Tyler Marshall and Sonni Efron, November 20, 2004, LA Times)

As he puts his new foreign policy team in place, President Bush is preparing a diplomatic push to repair relations with key allies, said senior government officials, diplomats and congressional sources.

The effort stems from the administration's realization that progress on issues that include the Middle East peace process, stabilizing Iraq and preventing Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons is far more likely with the cooperation of allies than if the U.S. worked alone, a White House official said.

"We've had our disagreements [with allies], and the president has said many times he'd like to move on, but the election offers the chance of a rebirth of these efforts," the official added.

Bush will personally head the effort to reengage with other countries when he meets today with key Pacific Basin leaders, including Presidents Hu Jintao of China and Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Santiago, Chile. Bush will focus on North Korea in one-on-one discussions.

At least five other high-level meetings over the next several weeks are expected to bring top American and European officials together to address crucial issues. The sessions will also be a chance for the administration to display its new willingness to work together, though it is unknown whether the U.S. will offer anything for the allies' support.

"There's plenty of opportunity to send the message of multilateralism," concluded a senior administration official who declined to be named.

Mr. Bush offered his vision of multilateralism at his post-Election press conference:
In the election of 2004, large issues were set before our country. They were discussed every day on the campaign. With the campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals.

For instance, France vows to support Lebanon sovereignty (UPI, Nov 20, 2004)
French President Jacques Chirac Saturday pledged to support Lebanon's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The presidential palace said Chirac made his promise in a letter he sent to Lebanese President Emile Lahoud on the occasion of Lebanon's 61st anniversary of its independence from France.

The letter said France "will always stand by Lebanon and is committed to respecting Lebanon's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. This is something we confirmed in the U.N. Security Council."

He was referring to a September Security Council resolution sponsored by France and the United States that called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon and the dismantling of the militias, in clear reference to Syrian forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group and Palestinian militias, in that order.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2004 9:50 AM

"[R]epair relations with key allies" ??

All of America's more or less "permanent" allies are already supporting us, except for Canada.

The nations that aren't supporting the US aren't "allies", they're trading partners.

China is "key" to the North Korean situation, but they're already onboard.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 20, 2004 10:45 AM

Chirac in favor of Lebanese independence?

That must be news for Syria, who got Chirac's backing for their occupation of Lebanon until the resolution of the convlict between Israel and its neighbors conflict--which gives Syria a real ncentive for conflict solving!!

(Or is Chirac talking out of both sides of his mouth?)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 20, 2004 3:24 PM

I wish that Bush had challenged Kerry to name the names of the "allies" that he though we have "lost". The election being over and that opportunity gone, maybe he or somebody will ask the MSM for the names.

In a way these articles & columns are laughable---they are trying sooooo hard to push the meme that it's up to us to "repair relationships". As all of us in Red America know, it's up to these other countries to cozy up to us and become our allies, not up to us to become allies with them.

Posted by: ray at November 20, 2004 3:34 PM

The APEC summit is of infinitely more importance than any NATO meeting, and by extension much more essential than anything connected with that canker sore on the East River, the UN. If we can transform the Pacific into a peaceful lake which enables nations to trade amicably, we will be way ahead. What are the real issues dividing us from the PRC? Taiwan and that's about it. And Taiwan will be resolved peacefully in about a generation or so.

On North Korea and on terror, the interests of the US and of the PRC coincide exactly.

The notion of Chirac promising to protect Lebanese sovereignty is hilarious. Where was he in the 70s and 80s when the issue was actually being fought over, as Lebanon is today merely a Syrian client state? Christians, once a clear majority, have fled and the 'nation' is today less than 1/3 Christian. Chirac was too busy taking money from Saddam, Benjadid, Ben-Ali, Assad, Arafat and any and all other Arab Muslim scum to care.

Chirac has proposed adding nations to the Security Council of the UN, including Germany,Japan and Brazil as permanent members. We should make a counter-proposal to drop France, while adding Italy, Israel, Poland and Australia as permanent members with veto power.

Posted by: Bart at November 20, 2004 6:34 PM