December 5, 2004


Reaching out, Bush hews to stance: Mixed reviews for Canada trip (Rick Klein, December 5, 2004, Boston Globe)

When President Bush walked into Halifax's Pier 21 on Wednesday, the stage was literally set for him to usher in a new era of partnership and diplomacy with allies he'd alienated during his first term in office. The White House advance team posted a giant black-and-white backdrop of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Canada's Mackenzie King -- towering statesmen who came together to win World War II.

But when Bush, standing beside Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, got around to quoting King, it was to defend the decision to invade Iraq, a flashpoint that still riles many Canadians.

''We cannot defend our country and save our homes and families by waiting for the enemy to attack us," Bush said, quoting King. ''We must also go out and meet the enemy before he reaches our shores. We must defeat him before he attacks us, before our cities are laid to waste." [...]

[W]hile aides designed events to show Bush at his most magnanimous, observers on both sides of the border came away from the trip convinced that, whatever the need to repair relations with allies, Bush's trip was not about humility, contrition, or moderation.

Instead, the president remains resolutely in the mode he displayed during the campaign: asserting the need for aggressive preemptive action to defeat nations suspected of supporting terrorists.

No matter how many hairshirts the press weaves the guy he's not putting one on.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 5, 2004 10:59 PM

The Brookings guy is a bit confused, I think. Rather, events have shown that Euros and others are looking for a sweeter package on the same beliefs. At least, they seemed to love Clinton, and, say what you will about it, he was willing to stand up to them (land mines, other areas) and stand for American interests.

Posted by: John Thacker at December 5, 2004 11:11 PM


I'm continually amazed that the MSM never remotely considers the fact that our "allies" have alienated the President, and us.

Posted by: at December 5, 2004 11:21 PM

Bush has nothing to be contrite for regarding any of our allies.

I believe you, hairshirts just don't come in his size.

Posted by: at December 6, 2004 12:06 AM

G.W. is only copying the media's "humility, contrition, or moderation".

Isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 6, 2004 3:35 AM

Believe me, the fact that the President DIDN"T back down a whit was the most noticed thing about the trip and it's the thing I've heard mentioned more than any other. It thrilled his fans and earned more than a little grudging respect from a lot of the doubters.

BTW, I feel sorry for the poor schmuck at State who was tasked with dredging up all those old MacKenzie King quotes. King a courageous war leader? The entire war effort was run around him while a small coterie of saratraps isolated and managed his musings and hesitancies.

Posted by: Peter B at December 6, 2004 6:32 AM

It's always important to preserve other nation's plaster saints. You don't go to France and insult Napoleon.

All these clowns who want Bush to somehow be contrite just don't get it. He won the election. He is successful in Afghanistan. He will soon be successful in Iraq. The death of Arafat is making a deal in Judea, Samaria and Gaza more likely. As Hannibal Smith of A-Team fame might say,'Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?'

Posted by: Bart at December 6, 2004 10:06 AM