Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 is the year, no, make that 2006 ...

Howard La Franchi wonders in today's Christian Science Monitor whether the Bush Administration is going to be hampered in its efforts to gain support from other allies and partners on key matters. Full disclosure: I am one of the people quoted in the article giving my own two cents.

"Stopping Iran's nuclear program. Limiting the growing influence of an increasingly authoritarian Russia over the former Soviet empire. Making more friends than enemies in the Arab world. Those are just some of the major foreign policy challenges the Bush administration will confront next year. But to do that, experts say, it must shake off the legacy of 2005 - a year aimed at rebuilding America's bridges to the world that instead kept the US in the diplomatic doghouse," he observes.

The administration did not get its preferred scenario: a revived Anglo-German entente at the "heart of Europe" that would reorient the trans-Atlantic relationship. Merkel did not win a convincing victory in Germany; Blair's tenure as the effective "head" of the EU was dominated by the budget squabble. Secretary of State Rice spent her last visit in Europe dealing with the rendition issue instead of being able to focus attention on the future.

2005 was heralded by Rice as the year of rebuilding relationships. Looks like this course of study will have to be repeated in 2006.

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