Bush and his political friends

The World

American Presidents have long forged close relationships with other world leaders, but perhaps no other American president has focused as much on personal diplomacy as President Bush. At one time, Bush was chummy with Vladimir Putin. That informality appears to be gone these days. That’s not surprising, says this former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, and he cites U.S. action that has gone against Russian interests, like the missile defense shield and promotion of NATO membership for former Soviet countries. The analyst says when Reagan forged a relationship with Gorbachev, it came after they had hammered out political differences, whereas with Bush, friendship has come before policy. That approach hasn’t worked well in Pakistan either, where Bush said he would take Musharraf at his word. That personal loyalty has now brought the U.S. to a less than perfect situation in Pakistan. This analyst says that’s because Bush relates first to people and then policies. He says this has lead to the situation in Georgia, where Bush has overestimated his relationship with Putin, just as the Georgian President may have overestimated his relationship with Bush, an overestimation that may have been encouraged by Bush himself.

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