Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The New York Times News Analysis: For Bush, a Taste of Vindication in Mideast

More shocking pain from The New York Times > International > Middle East > News Analysis: For Bush, a Taste of Vindication in Mideast: "...predecessors in the Oval Office, his father and Bill Clinton, both spoke of the latest signs of progress in an appearance at the White House. The first President Bush was restrained, pronouncing himself 'very pleased,' but cautioning that much work remained to be done.
Mr. Clinton was more ebullient, noting that the Iraqi elections 'went better than anyone could have imagined.' In Lebanon, he said, 'the Syrians are going to have to get out of there and give the Lebanese their country back, and I think the fact that the Lebanese are in the street demanding it is wonderful.'
Asked about huge demonstrations on Tuesday, sponsored by Hezbollah, that demanded just the opposite, Mr. Clinton said: 'I find it inconceivable that most Lebanese wouldn't like it if they had their country back. You know, they want their country back and they ought to get it.'"

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"...even as sharp and consistent a critic of Mr. Bush's foreign policy as Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat, gives Mr. Bush some credit for the latest stirrings of liberty along the eastern Mediterranean.

"What's taken place in a number of those countries is enormously constructive," Mr. Kennedy said on Sunday on the ABC News program "This Week." "It's a reflection the president has been involved."

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut and a frequent ally of Mr. Bush on national security affairs, was in the audience for his speech on Tuesday and was more effusive.

"Look, this moment in the Middle East has the feel of Central and Eastern Europe around the collapse of the Berlin Wall," he said in a telephone interview. "It's a very different historical and political context, and we all understand that democracy in the Middle East is in its infancy. But something is happening."

Mr. Lieberman said Mr. Bush deserved credit for at least two things: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the continued American military presence in Iraq, which he said showed "the proven willingness of the United States to put its power behind its principles."

Indeed, Mr. Bush cast the United States' current posture in a long, bipartisan tradition of American foreign policy, from Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points to Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, Harry S. Truman's Marshall Plan and Ronald Reagan's unwillingness to accept Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe."

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