Lame duck foreign policy

The World

Secretary Rice has been all over the globe in the past few weeks because the Bush administration is trying to cram a lot in its past few months, trying to leave some kind of legacy behind. But Secretary Rice has sounded defeated in more than one of her recent press conferences. Historically it’s tough to get much accomplished during a president’s last months in office, and this analyst says that’s partly because other world leaders know the clock is ticking. But there’s a difference between not cooperating and challenging the U.S. and the same analyst says it’s not a good idea to provoke an outgoing president because a lameduck president in a way is unconstrained. President George H.W. Bush responded to Saddam Hussein’s challenges with a massive air raid during his last days in office, for example. Today with Russia’s it’s a lot trickier and this former ambassador to Georgia says Bush must proceed carefully. Still it’s not as if an outgoing president can’t get anything done in his waning days, and this analyst sites two examples from George H.W. Bush’s presidency. It is in the best interest of the U.S. and NATO to sort out the Georgia conflict before the next president takes office, and that’s because the transition to a new administration takes a long time.

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