Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How constructive was the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration?

Document 1: extracts from the article “What Bush Got Right” by Fareed Zakaria in NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE, August 8th 2008

… President George W. Bush now enters his 23rd consecutive month with an approval rating under 40% … No matter what he does, or what happens in the world, the public seems to have decided that Bush has been a failure … Barack Obama, of course, promises a wholly different approach to the world … A broad shift in America's approach to the world is justified and overdue. Bush's basic conception of a "global War on Terror," … has been poorly thought-through, badly implemented, and has produced many unintended costs that will linger for years if not decades. But blanket criticism of Bush misses an important reality. The administration that became the target of so much passion and anger … is not quite the one in place today.

The foreign policies that aroused the greatest anger and opposition were mostly pursued in Bush's first term: the invasion of Iraq, the rejection of treaties, diplomacy and multilateralism. In the past few years, many of these policies have been modified, abandoned or reversed … the foreign policies in place now are more sensible, moderate and mainstream … For many people the decision to go to war in Iraq is now seen as a mistake. But wherever one stands on that issue, it is overwhelmingly clear that the administration made a series of massive blunders in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. It … arrested tens of thousands of Iraqis, mistreated and tortured some of them, and used overwhelming military force against all perceived threats … The result was a perfect storm in international affairs, a failure that kept getting worse. (

Document 2: cartoon by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (2005)

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