Re: Geography behind "strategic" role, Volume 11, Number 6, February 14 - February 20, 2005
Bruno S Sergi believes that US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have to "successfully communicate most of their issues without reprimanding each other" for the summit talks to prove successful.
However, avoiding offence could be a tall order for the American president. Judging by the anti-Bush demonstrations mounted by Europeans throughout the Iraqi conflict, even among staunch allies like the Brits, Bush is not known for toeing the line of diplomacy.
Europeans should remember, before they start slipping into anti-American sentiment, that Bush offends many true-blue Americans as well. His paper-thin margin of victory to a second presidential term - less than 3 percent of the vote - is not what I would call a mandate, as the Bush administration is fond of calling it.
Bush's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the global initiative designed to reduce some greenhouse gases, is one testament to the Bush administration's indifference to anything that doesn't serve corporate (or religious) interest.
Even the Slovak government, generally so supportive of the US, opposes the Bush administration's stance on the International Criminal Tribunal. Bush won't sign, as he wants US citizens to be exempt from prosecution.
America's own track record of human rights violations is not sterling. The scandal at Abu Ghraib prison when American soldiers participated in the torture and inhumane treatment of Iraqi prisoners is one recent abuse.
The scandal caused Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan to say that the US had "lost its high moral ground and its ability to lead on peace and elsewhere."
America has a lot to offer - and to teach other countries. But someone should tell Bush what its strongest citizens already know: that humility is what makes us great.
21. Feb 2005 at 0:00