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President Bush regrets his legacy as man who wanted war

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article4107327.ece June 11, 2008 President Bush regrets his legacy as man who wanted war ’I think
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 10 6:42 PM
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      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article4107327.ece

      June 11, 2008
      President Bush regrets his legacy as man who wanted
      war

      ’I think that in retrospect I could have used a
      different tone, a different rhetoric’
      Tom Baldwin and Gerard Baker in Ljubljana

      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.
      “I think that in retrospect I could have used a
      different tone, a different rhetoric.”

      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”. He said that he found it very painful
      “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to
      meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have
      an obligation to comfort and console as best as I
      possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure
      that those lives were not lost in vain.”

      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      term has been replaced by an enthusiasm for tough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: “They can either face
      isolation, or they can have better relations with all
      of us.”

      Mr Bush told The Times that when his successor arrived
      and assessed “what will work or what won’t work in
      dealing with Iran”, he would stick with the current
      policy.

      Shaul Mofaz, a hardline Israeli minister, has
      suggested that a military strike on Iran is
      “unavoidable”. But Mr Bush said: “We ought to work
      together, keep focused. His comments really should be
      viewed as the need to continue to keep pressuring
      Iran.”

      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 also offered words of encouragement for another
      ally, Gordon Brown, whom he will meet on Sunday. He
      said that he needed no advice on coping with political
      adversity. He is “plenty confident and plenty smart,
      plenty capable — he can sort it out”.

      But 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.

      “There is concern about protectionism and economic
      nationalism,” he said. “Leaders recognise now is the
      time to get ahead of this issue before it becomes
      engrained in the political systems of our respective
      countries.”

      Acknowledging that his refusal to ratify the Kyoto
      Protocol once created consternation in Europe, he said
      that there was now a recognition that that richer
      countries needed to “transfer out of the hydrocarbon
      economy”. He insisted, however, that any binding
      emission targets would have to include China and India
      to be workable.

      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."

      Asked if the US is ready for a black president, Mr
      Bush says: "I think the fact that the Democratic Party
      nominated Barack Obama is a statement about how far
      America has come.

      "Having that all that, it's going to be important for
      the American people to figure out who can handle the
      task of the 21st Century. It's a challenging job."

      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.
      “I think that in retrospect I could have used a
      different tone, a different rhetoric.”

      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”. He said that he found it very painful
      “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to
      meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have
      an obligation to comfort and console as best as I
      possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure
      that those lives were not lost in vain.”

      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: “They can either face
      isolation, or they can have better relations with all
      of us.”

      Mr Bush told The Times that when his successor arrived
      and assessed “what will work or what won’t work in
      dealing with Iran”, he would stick with the current
      policy.

      Shaul Mofaz, a hardline Israeli minister, has
      suggested that a military strike on Iran is
      “unavoidable”. But Mr Bush said: “We ought to work
      together, keep focused. His comments really should be
      viewed as the need to continue to keep pressuring
      Iran.”

      The President is 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 also offered words of encouragement for another
      ally, Gordon Brown, whom he will meet on Sunday. He
      said that the Prime Minister needed no advice on
      coping with political adversity. He is “plenty
      confident and plenty smart, plenty capable — he can
      sort it out”.

      But 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.

      “There is concern about protectionism and economic
      nationalism,” he said. “Leaders recognise now is the
      time to get ahead of this issue before it becomes
      engrained in the political systems of our respective
      countries.”

      Acknowledging that his refusal to ratify the Kyoto
      Protocol once created consternation in Europe, he said
      that there was now a recognition that that richer
      countries needed to “transfer out of the hydrocarbon
      economy”. He insisted, however, that any binding
      emission targets would have to include China and India
      to be workable.

      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."

      Asked if the US is ready for a black president, Mr
      Bush says: "I think the fact that the Democratic Party
      nominated Barack Obama is a statement about how far
      America has come.

      "Having said all that, it's going to be important for
      the American people to figure out who can handle the
      task of the 21st Century. It's a challenging job."
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