Dear Sir,

For those who take an interest in such matters they must have wondered, even during the run-up to the elections, however George Bush had been selected as the Republican candidate. To paraphrase Kissinger on Reagan, “I never understood how he was elected governor - let alone President”. But elected he was, despite not having a majority of the overall vote, and through controversial vote counting in Florida, (where his brother is Governor) and a final ruling from the supreme court (packed with Republican appointees) finally made it to the White House. With hindsight so much falls into place. Probably the “writing was on the wall” when even campaigning, his knowledge/interest in foreign affairs was noticable by its absence. This continued indifference may have given the Israelis the feeling they could go ahead with their settlements in Palestinian areas, which in turn led to the tit for tat violence over the last two years that have reached a death toll of around 2000 on both sides, and as we know, continues unabated today. If ever a group needed somewhere to “hang their hat”, have a reason to commit their cruises, the Israeli - Palestine issues was it. Who knows how far this, allowed situation to continue, by the USA, provoked Sept 11? From this Afghanistan was the target of Bush, and while the regime blamed for the 11/9 atrocity, it is ironic to think they were the ones backed and helped by the USA during the Russian occupation there. That Afghanistan is now “liberated” is firstly at what cost, more collateral damage from US bombing than in their 23 years of previous warring, and wedding parties of 200 (among others) being accidentally killed makes it a high price to pay. The whole country being tribal, with their individual warlords makes one wonder at the future. On to Iraq, and talk about making friends in the world, at present Bush has alienated the whole Muslim world, (whatever some parts pay lip service to him) has split trusted, long term allies in Europe from the US, looks likely to destroy the idea and credibility of the United Nations, and what more can we pile on top of this Well, there is North Korea of course, who do/will have a nuclear capacity together with the fourth largest standing army in the world, where a good part of its population are living off grass and tree bark, with a projected 4 millions starving in the near future unless something is urgently done. Somehow all the diplomacy between the USA and N.Korea has disappeared with the arrival of Bush, and the tension builds up in that area. Of course, it may seem cynical to suggest this, but the oldest rule in the game is, “When you have a problem at home, create an incident on the borders, to divert the public's attention”. Iraq could fill the bill here, and at home under the Bush presidency, from Clinton leaving the economy well, “in the black” for the first time in decades, in his first two years the US have the biggest deficit ever. Plus a weakened dollar, tax benefits for the wealthy scandals in the stock exchange, and a general decline in that area. But it's not all bad news, military spending is up! Not a great track record so far, and with elections in sight, (they start campaigning almost a year in advance) what more can we expect from President Bush, - a legacy we are unlikely to forget for a long time for sure.

Graham Phillips

Palma

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