President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.
In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood.
Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”.
The unilateralism that marked his first White House term has been replaced by an enthusiasm for tough multilateralism. He said that his focus for his final six months in office was to secure agreement on issues such as establishing a Palestinian state and to “leave behind a series of structures that makes it easier for the next president”.
Mr Bush is concerned that the Democratic nominee Barack Obama might open cracks in the West’s united front towards Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. At the EU-US summit in Slovenia, he pressed for tougher sanctions against Iran unless it agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment programme verifiably[…]
The President was keen to bind his successor into a continued military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, but offered only cautious optimism about a recent decline in violence. Asked about corruption allegations dogging Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, Mr Bush insisted: “I have found him to be an honest man.”
[…] he delivered a thinly veiled warning to Mr Obama that his promises to renegotiate or block international trade deals were already causing alarm in Europe and beyond.
The President knows that Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain will have to distance himself from the current Administration. “He’s an independent person who will make his decisions on what he thinks is best.”
Tip of the hat to the handsome and talented Distributorcap, without whom I would not have found the story, and who has much more intelligent commentary that I could ever have!