George W. Bush’s European Visit

Following U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Europe, President George W. Bush departed on a European tour of his own.  Equipped with a message of peace and reconciliation, President Bush set off to mend U.S.-European relations and to cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation.  After a rocky first term isolated the United States from Europe due to its endeavor to bring democracy to Iraq, President Bush saw his second term as an opening to re-establish the friendship with America’s long-time allies.  As a sign of how critical the European alliance and support is to America, President Bush kicked off his tour in Brussels, which is home to the European Union as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

From Brussels, President Bush traveled to Germany and Slovakia, meeting with key European leaders including German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Europeans were surprised at the change in President Bush’s attitude from a “go-it-alone” unilateralism to a more receptive multilateral approach.  Furthermore, President Bush’s efforts to repair relations were demonstrated in his decision to focus on issues important to the European Union, as well as America.  Topics that dominated President Bush’s agenda with Europeans included discussions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian situation and Iran’s nuclear program. 

The international press has characterized President Bush’s European tour as an overall success that, for the most part, effectively healed previously strained relations between the United States and Europe.  Newspapers such as The Times of London hailed Bush as the new Ronald Reagan, who decades before was also on a mission to spread freedom and democracy.  Despite the increased cooperation, periodicals including Asia Times and El Pais emphasized the reality that profound differences remain between American and European interests.  This was highlighted by the debate sparked by European arms sales to China and security challenges in the Middle East.  By encouraging a relationship marked by collaboration and mutual regard, President Bush not only hoped to move America out of its previous position of budding antagonism, but also to improve international perceptions of the United States.

The following is an aggregation of international and United States news and analysis about President George W. Bush’s recent visit to Europe, the first in his second term.

Bush’s visit followed closely after that of U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice’s diplomatic mission to Europe a few weeks earlier. Bush traveled to Bratislava (Slovakia), Brussels (Belgium) and Mainz (Germany) in the hopes of rejuvenating European friendships. News analysis suggests Bush was well received in Europe, though he left many Europeans wondering about the veracity of his diplomatic gestures.

Early Report: Bush In Europe, Foreign Media Reaction
(U.S. Department of State, February 23, 2005)
European nations seem receptive to President Bush’s statements abroad. Many Europeans are still concerned, however, that the US may still have an interest in “form[ing] the world according to U.S. interests.” According to the State Department, Britain seemed most concerned with how Bush would deal with Vladimir Putin; the French are excited that Bush is finally acknowledging the necessity of working with Europe; and Germany noted that the US and Europe must learn to work together, despite fundamental differences of opinion. Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Turkey and Jordan and others also weigh in on this comprehensive analysis of Bush’s European visit.

Divide and Conquer: Bush’s Trip to Europe Exposes a Rift over the Big Question in Asia: What Does China Mean to Do with Its Might?
(Melinda Liu, Newsweek International, March 7, 2005)
A not-so-funny thing happened on George Bush’s trip to Europe last week. He went to ease the tension over the war in Iraq, but wound up laying bare a new dispute over China. To Europe, China is a one-dimensional “trade-driven soft power without a military threat,” says Willem van der Geest, head of the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels. So why not sell the country weapons? While the American view also emphasizes China’s economic rise, there is an influential camp (headquartered in the Pentagon) that sees Beijing as a potentially aggressive empire, probing to extend its commercial reach worldwide and its political and military influence from Thailand’s Kra isthmus through the China Sea to Taiwan.

The March of Freedom
(Cal Thomas, Washington Times, March 2, 2005)
Whatever else one takes from President Bush’s trip to Europe, it is obvious who’s on the offense and who’s playing defense. Twenty years after Ronald Reagan proclaimed freedom inevitable for what were then called “captive nations,” freedom is on the march as perhaps never before. Europeans will have to rethink their policy of vacillation, accommodation and surrender to evil.

North Atlantic Disinterest
(Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow Times, March 2, 2005)
Over the last decade and a half, new conflicts and interests have emerged that have discredited U.S. rhetoric. Now free from the Soviet threat, Western Europe no longer needs Washington’s protection. The latest in the string of conflicts in the Middle East did not spark the enmity between the Old and New World; it merely brought out the true extent of the contradictions. And the more polite Bush is to the Europeans, the more suspicious they become that the U.S. president is only trying to win their support for his next military escapade.

The Charm Offensive Works
(Dick Morris,, March 1, 2005)
Nobody in Paris expected Bush to be re-elected. Subjected to 24/7 of liberal propaganda, the European man in the street felt that Bush was going to crash and burn in the U.S. election. Now, it’s not quite Woodrow Wilson arriving in the wake of the World War I victory or JFK bringing his charisma to the continent, but Bush and Condi Rice are cutting a swath through the Continent. No doubt about it. The statesmen of Old Europe seem to have lost their way in the thicket of self-interest, while Bush is holding out a clarifying lantern of idealism and commitment to democracy.

New Breeze Blowing across the Pond
(Tod Lindberg, Washington Times, March 1, 2005)
The less appreciated aspect of Bush’s charm offensive to Europe is that had it been only charm, Europeans would have found it offensive. There was substance to it as well. If Mr. Bush had gone to Europe and sounded once again only the main themes of his foreign policy vision promoting freedom, then regardless of how well he had re-articulated them, the result would have been, if not a dud, a sense of disappointment created among his listeners. Instead, Mr. Bush spoke to the issues that are of paramount concern to Europeans.

Bush’s Potemkin World: A World from Which Reality Has Been Banished and Where There Are No Rough Edges
(Tom Engelhardt,, February 2005)
So yes, last week European leaders stepped inside the presidential bubble, smiled, supped, shook hands, and said the right things to signal amity-restored; but they also understood that the very presence of the President in Europe and his visible unpopularity outside that bubble were indications of just how humbled the American “hyperpower” had been. And then they went their own ways.

Five Days That Shook World Politics
(M. K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times, March 1, 2005)
If the principal objective of President George Bush’s European tour was to heal trans-Atlantic rifts stemming from the great differences over the Iraq war, it was a success. Europe was willing to let bygones be bygones. But it became apparent during Bush’s harmonious tour of “Old Europe” that profound differences remained between the European vision and the neo-conservative world view that the Bush administration subscribed to during its first term. similar to the US-China-USSR equations of the Cold War era (when any two pillars of the triangle could together trump the third—the logic of the Nixon-Kissinger initiative toward China in 1972), a three-way equation involving the US, the European powers and China could be in the making—with far-reaching consequences for the US global domination of the 21st century.

Bush’s Grand Tour: How to Reach out to the Europeans - And How Not To
(Gerard Baker, Weekly Standard, February 28, 2005)
The Bush administration remains committed to revolutionary change throughout the world and, just as the Reagan administration did, believes America’s security is inextricably tied up with the advance of liberty well beyond its borders. Europeans, meanwhile, are ever more staunch in their defense of the status quo, however unfree that may leave people. Stability, not liberty, is their aim. Much is at stake in this next phase of U.S.-European relations. What a terrible irony it would be if, in its laudable efforts to reach out to Europeans, the United States were to encourage Europe to move precisely in the wrong direction.

Big Ideas . . .
(Donald Lambro, Washington Times, February 28, 2005)
George Bush’s whirlwind trip through Europe erased one of his presidency’s biggest criticisms—that America has lost the support and respect of major Western allies. Throughout the postwar insurgency in Iraq that led to its elections, Mr. Bush’s war critics both here and in Europe called him “stubborn” and a go-it-alone unilateralist who had plunged relations with our allies to its lowest point in years. They aren’t calling him that now.

Welcome To Bushland
(Klaus Brinkbaeumer, Der Spiefel, Germany, February 28, 2005)
US President George W Bush traveled through Bratislava, Brussels and Mainz to try to reacquaint with old allies. However, many Europeans are still skeptical, and Bush neglected to convince them of his perspectives.

Bush’s Trip to Europe 2005: The Ball Is in Europe’s Court
(David Kral,, European Union, February 28, 2005)
Chairman of the Czech think-tank Europeum analyzes what George Bush’s diplomatic trip really means to Europe. Kral notes that the fact that Europe was Bush’s first stop in his second term shows how important U.S.-European relations will prove in the next few years.

Bush Basks In That Reagan Glow
(Sarah Baxter, The Times of London, UK, February 27, 2005)
President George W. Bush is savouring headlines hailing him as a new Ronald Reagan spreading liberty in his wake after his tour of Europe. Yet behind the rhetoric of friendship, divisions of interest and ideology remain, with analysts warning the thaw in transatlantic relations could be threatened by the European Union’s determination to lift its embargo on the sale of arms to China.

Were Fences Mended with the Chummy Approach? It’s Too Soon to Tell Real Results of Bush’s Trans-Atlantic Trip
(Tom Hundley, Chicago Tribune, February 27, 2005)
It’s too early to gauge what, if anything, was accomplished by Bush’s fence-mending trip to Europe, but the backslapping bonhomie with Gerhard, Jacques and Vladimir seemed to have at least improved the body language of the trans-Atlantic relationship. “These trips are just theater. What goes on behind the scenes is more important,” said William Drozdiak, president of the American Council on Germany in New York. What has pleased and flattered European leaders more than Bush’s first-name chumminess, said Drozdiak, is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s decision to appoint several dedicated Atlanticists to her team.

Bush’s Heroic Trip to Europe, And the Enigma of China - Editorial
(El Pais, Uraguay, February 27, 2005)
While President Bush and Condoleezza Rice made a good showing abroad, major strategic differences still set America apart from the European nations. There are many issues in which the US and Europe differ in opinion, such as Iran and China.
Also available in the Spanish language: LINK

‘It Was A Model Of Civility’
(The Guardian, United Kingdom, February 26, 2005)
Bush and Putin spoke in friendly words that hid possible differences in their world views. The Guardian reports on editorials on the Bush/Putin meeting from a variety of US, British, and Russian newspapers.

Moment of Reckining for the Alliance - Editorial
(The Japan Times, February 26, 2005)
When U.S. President George W. Bush began his second term, he said fixing relations with Europe would top his diplomatic agenda. A fence-mending trip to Europe has revealed how hard that will be. Both the United States and Europe must decide the purpose of their relationship and whether the trans-Atlantic alliance forged in the aftermath of World War II and during the ideological standoff of the Cold War is fitted to the realities of a post-Cold War world.

Candid Criticism
(The Guardian, UK, February 25, 2005)
George Bush’s charm offensive seems to have been fairly effective in Europe; Bush was better received in Bratislava than he had been in either Brussels or Germany. Relations between Bush and Vladimir Putin, however, were decidedly cooler than they had been on their first meeting in 2001.

Could Bush Be Right? Take Two
(Charles Hawley, Der Spiegel, Germany, February 25, 2005)
Hawley writes that “US President Bush’s love fest with Europe continued on Thursday in Bratislava. Sort of.” President Bush made some major critiques of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they still seem strongly allied.

Bush Caught in Putin’s Trap (French language version)
(Philippe Gelie and Laure Mandeville, Le Figaro, France, February 25, 2005)
U.S. President George Bush met yesterday in Bratislava, Slovakia, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush has used his visit to try overcome some differences with Europe. But this time it was President Bush who was left to try to justicy the actions of his government.

George Bush Gives a Lesson of Democracy to Vladimir Putin (French language version)
(Le Monde, France, February 25, 2005)
For several weeks, the American government and the Bush Administration has stated its concerns about the state of democracy in Russia and the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush expressed these concerns in person to Putin in Bratislava.

Big Bush Thoughts In Brussels
(Larry Kudlow, Town Hall, February 25, 2005)
President Bush’s moral-high-ground, idea-driven foreign policy was well represented in an uber-speech he delivered in Brussels and throughout his trip to Old and New Europe this week. While the president engaged in a bit of fence-mending, and a lot of public diplomacy, he remained decidedly on message.

Spain’s Seven Seconds with Mr. Bush  (French language version)
(Martine Silber, Le Monde, France, February 24, 2005)
President Bush flew through Spain last week, spending seven seconds with the head of the Spanish Government. “Hello. How are you my friend,” asked Bush in Spanish. “Very well, and you?” responded Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spanish government leader. The newspapers and magazines were quick to analyze this short meeting. 
English translation

Thousands Protest Bush Visit
(Katherine Becker, in Germany, The Australian, Australia, February 24, 2005)
More than 4,000 angry demonstrators showed up in Mainz to protest President George Bush. However, the protestors were kept far away from the president’s view, leaving a picturesque but empty city.

Bush in Europe: The Germanys Bush Wasn’t Able to See
(Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, February 24, 2005)
During his recent visit to Mainz, Germany, George W. Bush had a different view of the city than the enthusiastic crowd that had greeted his father there in 1989. The younger Bush was entirely sealed off from ordinary Germans on his seven hour visit.
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Bush’s Harshest Critics
(Markus Rettich & Wolfgang Stock, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2005)
U.S. President George W. Bush is about to wrap up his fence-mending tour in Europe, and it seems that both sides have been sincere in their desire to improve at least the atmospherics in the trans-Atlantic relationship. The same cannot be said about Europe’s media. A study by Media Tenor—a German-based international media research institute—shows that leading European newspapers and TV stations still produce twice as many negative statements about the U.S. as positive ones (even if that criticism slightly decreased from December to January). The finding that European coverage can be more critical of the U.S. than even the Arab media mirrors results of previous Media Tenor studies. Does European media coverage paint the wrong picture of America? Content analysis alone cannot answer that question, but it can show that journalists in different countries create different realities. In addition, these findings can help explain why public opinion research has found that “anti-Americanism is deeper and broader now than in any time in modern history,” as the Pew Research Center stated in a recently published report.
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Containing Bush
(Sidney Blumenthal, Salon, February 24, 2005)
The president doesn’t seem to realize it, but the Europeans still don’t buy his neocon vision – and they’ve backed him into a corner on Iran.

Sorry, No Free Dinner!
(Li Xuejiang, People’s Daily, Beijing, February 24, 2005)
Bush will not return home from his Europe tour empty-handed, for the two sides not only share the same values, but also still have mutual needs. But neither smiles nor handshakes can bring the two parties into pre-Cold War closeness, since it’s no easy job at all to balance US unipolarization and hegemony against European multi-polar needs and independence inclination.

Into the Lions’ Den
(The Economist, February 24, 2005)
Europeans had widely different expectations for George W. Bush’s trip abroad. GEORGE BUSH had one chief aim on his trip to Europe: to find out if his European allies would help with security challenges in Iraq, Iran and beyond. But to do it, he first had to change the mood, from unilateral to co-operative. On this trip, President Bush became the first president to recognize the European Union for serious negotiations.
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Bush Does Brussels
(Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, February 24, 2005)
Bush was in Europe on his “freedom agenda” conceptual trip, but according to diplomats, Brussels was not impressed.  ‘Old Europe,’ to use Rumsfeld’s disdainful term, is in reality an increasingly integrated, powerful bloc.  And, although Bush’s trip was to Brussels, it was really all about Asia (China) and the Middle East.  Its true that Bush avoided his trademark born-again Christian fundamentalist rap that makes cultured Europeans cringe. But he insisted he wants to see “an arc of reform,” which for many Europeans still means regime change by force.  What’s more, while he may have vaguely encouraged the EU’s diplomatic approach, he didn’t outright endorse it, thereby ringing alarm bells in every diplomatic desk.  As a PR exercise, Bush’s trip to Brussels was carefully coordinated to convey the impression of open arms, but skepticism remains the name of the game in the EU.

Why Are We Welcoming This Torturer?
(Victoria Brittain, The Guardian, UK, February 24, 2005)
By meeting with U.S. President Bush on his diplomatic tour of Europe, Europe is condoning the Bush Administration’s horrendous torture tactics.

Germans Believe Debt of Gratitude Has Been Settled
(Roger Boyes, The Times of London, UK, February 24, 2005)
There seems to be little chance of Germans rethinking their opposition to Mr. Bush: there has been a fundamental change in German attitudes to the United States. “Never in the history of the United States was anti-Americanism so broadly spread and so deeply anchored as today,” Mariam Lau, one of Germany’s shrewdest commentators, said.

George Bush and Europe
(The Economist, February 24, 2005)
If anyone still doubted that hypocrisy, or at least inconsistency, is endemic in international relations, this week surely proved the point. As George Bush toured Europe emphasising, in speech after speech, that the central principle of his foreign policy is the effort to spread liberty and democracy, Europeans queued up to mutter about how many American allies are unfree and undemocratic, and how contradictory it is to use guns and tanks as prime tools in that cause. The Economist asks: Why the heck is the European Union planning to sell more arms to China?
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Bush’s Europe Tour Hard to Achieve Its Aims - Opinion
(People’s Daily, Beijing, February 24, 2005)
Superficially, great change has indeed taken place in the atmosphere of Europe-US relations. What’s more, most Europeans seem do not doubt about Bush’s sincerity in seeking for European support. A famous British critic points out that the Iraq war has brought home to the Americans that although the United States is an indispensable country, this does not mean that it could conquer the world on its own. However, in Europe, nobody, whether politicians or the general public, believes that there would be fundamental change in the Bush administration’s foreign policy during its second term. Apparently, as long as US foreign policy remains unchanged, Europe-US contradictions will continue to exist, and the two purposes of Bush’s European tour are hard to be realized.

What Bush Achieved in Europe: Divisions Remain over Key Issues with Traditional Allies, But the Atmospherics Changed
(Howard, Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 2005)
Three days of intense dialogue allowed continuing differences—on Iran, China, and global warming—to come out in the open. Indeed, that may be the trip’s most lasting accomplishment: It put the bitterness over Iraq in the rearview mirror and returned relations to a more normal dialogue, where both accord and disagreement surface. Still, it’s unlikely that the visit did much to turn around a deeply anti-Bush European public.

US and Germany Bury Differences
(BBC, UK, February 23, 2005)
The BBC reports that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany and U.S. President George W. Bush are working to find common ground and forget their disagreements over the Iraq war. Their views were well aligned on the subject of Iran.

Continental Comment: Mixed Headlines Greet the Commander
(Richard Bernstein, New York Times, February 23, 2005)
Europeans watching President Bush’s trip are clearly glad to see an American president once thought hostile showing a friendlier, conciliatory side. Still, most of the press commentary after Mr. Bush’s “new era” speech in Brussels on Monday night was heavily tinged with skepticism about whether the changed tone of American pronouncements would be followed by practical trans-Atlantic cooperation. Essentially, commentators were asking after the speech in Brussels whether Mr. Bush has a sincere willingness to listen to Europe, or whether the American president was just giving Europeans a chance, finally, to agree with the United States.

Don’t Sell Arms to China
(Henry J. Hyde, Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2005)
George W. Bush is in Europe in the wake of historic victories for democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and the Palestinian territories. He hopes for Europe’s support for a global foreign policy, the hallmark of which will be “governments that answer to their citizens.” Against this backdrop, there is a dangerous development taking shape in the EU’s security policy toward China, one that runs counter to the advance of liberty and threatens U.S. security interests, as well as those of Japan and Taiwan. The major European countries have resumed arms sales to China at an alarming pace and plan to terminate altogether the arms embargo imposed by the EU following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The new EU policy will provide the Chinese leadership with a significant propaganda coup and strike a blow to the pro-democracy movement in China.
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Mixed Headlines Greet the Commander
(Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, February 23, 2005)
President George Bush visits Germany to mixed reviews. Many Europeans are glad to see a friendlier version of the American president. But the German media remains skeptical and asks whether Bush’s friendlier talk with actually result in changes in America’s actions internationally. 

Europe, Unbow Yourself
(Matthew Rothschild, He Progressive/Common Dreams, February 23, 2005)
European leaders need to put their smiles away and unbow themselves. They shouldn’t placate Bush. He only wants to push them around, this time with charm (such as it is), next time, like last time, with disdain.

Smiles Belie Fault Lines
(Dan Froomkin,, February 23, 2005)
Amid the smiles, the backslapping and cheerful joint statements coming out of President Bush’s European trip, some troubling international fault lines are also coming into focus.

Europe’s Take on Bush Is a Mixed Bag
(Bennett Roth, Houston Chronicle, February 22, 2005)
In central Belgium, attitudes about Bush and his diplomatic outreach seemed to track a difference in generations. Those who lived through World War II were more open-minded about him than younger people.

Poll Shows Doubts over Bush Democracy Push - Associated Press
(New York Times, February 22, 2005)
President Bush is calling on European leaders to support his campaign to spread democracy abroad at a time people in many of those countries have doubts whether that should be the U.S. role in the world, Associated Press polling found. A majority of people in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said they thought it should not be the U.S. role to spread democracy, according to AP-Ipsos polls. A majority of those living in Canada, Mexico and South Korea also disagreed with that role.

Explaining the War - Review & Outlook
(Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2005)
The trans-Atlantic rift is not so much about the prosecution of the war on terror, but about whether it does—and should—exist. President Bush has said that he wants to mend the rift, and no doubt he does. But he’s come to Europe fully aware, as his remarks last week make plain, that the differences between Europe and the U.S., whether passing or not, run to the heart of what happened on September 11, 2001.
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Arsenals of Tyranny
(Frank J. Gaffney Jr., Washington Times, February 22, 2005)
President Bush may be reluctant to remind his hosts in Europe this week that they are “either with us or against us.” But if they serve as arsenals for tyranny by providing weapons and technology transfers to China, the Europeans and Russians should understand Americans will clearly see them for what they are: “Against us.”

An American in Brussels - Editorial
(Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2005)
The transatlantic relationship has evolved and matured from its post-World War II model. Still, the interests of the United States and Europe remain broadly aligned. Islamist-inspired terrorism, instability in the Middle East and nuclear proliferation are as much threats to Europe as to the United States, if not more so. The Bush administration needs to make clear that it cannot tackle these problems alone, and it needs to drop its outright hostility to some multilateral efforts that are important to Europeans, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court. For their part, European leaders should move beyond their own post-Iraq grudge and work alongside the United States to prod Iran to abandon its nuclear program, help stabilize Iraq and help promote freedom in the Middle East.

Road to Damascus: Bush Uses His Brussels Speech to Highlight Major Change in the Middle East - Leading Article
(The Times of London, UK, February 22, 2005)
Mr. Bush is to be encouraged by what he described as an “arc of reform” in the Middle East running from Morocco to Bahrain to Iraq and on to Afghanistan. He is also correct to imply that the EU could and should do more to promote political reform in the countries surrounding Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

An Aw-Shucks Visit - Opinion
(Baltimore Sun, February 22, 2005)
In the view of many of Mr. Bush’s supporters, America is a revolutionary power, while Europe is devoted to stability. Europeans might counter that revolutions of a democratic nature are fine, but that Mr. Bush’s tactics are deficient. Somewhere in there are grounds for agreement—or at least acknowledgment—and all sides at the moment seem determined to find them.

Transatlantic Trip: On His First Day in Europe, Bush Offers Soothing Words but No Substantive Policy Changes
(Nicholas Watts, Salon, February 22, 2005)
George W. Bush attempted to draw a line under the most acrimonious transatlantic split in a generation Monday by reaching out to Europe over the Middle East, climate change and the common values that bind the two continents. But his conciliatory words fell short of offering substantive change on policy.

A Bid to Mend Frayed Ties: In Key Address, Bush Reaches out to Europeans As well As Their Leaders
(Howard Lafranchi, Christian Science Monitor, February 22, 2005)
If the president hopes to entice Western leaders to join in building a “strategic agenda,” he will have to narrow Europe’s political differences with his vision for America. And that means reaching the people who vote these leaders in and out of office. This public-diplomacy goal of the trip was clear Monday, when Bush rose to the stage of a Brussels concert hall for what he called “an opportunity to speak to the peoples of Europe.” “Together we united this continent with our democratic values,” the president said, referring to World War II and its aftermath. Now the “Euro-Atlantic family” is “essential to peace and prosperity across the globe.”

Beneath All the Bonhomie, Deep Divisions - Analysis
(James Kirkup, The Scotsman, UK, February 22, 2005)
James Kirkup offers an analysis of Bush’s trip to Belgium. According to Kirkup, “The bad man over the sea had come to town, but instead of bringing thunder, he offered cookies; derided by Europe’s intelligentsia as an illiterate cowboy, Mr Bush even quoted Camus.” However, he warns that the U.S.-European friendship could be temporary.

Europeans Ask: Is Bush a Wolf in a Granny’s Suit?
(Der Spiegel, Germany, February 22, 2005)
President George Bush visits Europe to mixed reviews. German papers comment on the visit, and wonder how many of Bush’s words will translate into real actions. Germans wonder about the future of Iran, Iraq, and the Chinese weapons embargo.

Peacemaker Bush Offers New Alliance with Europe ‘For Freedom’
(James Kirkup, The Scotsman, UK, February 22, 2005)
U.S. President George W. Bush met with French President Jacques Chirac and other European leaders to try to mend fences across the Atlantic. Bush put forth his positions on Iran, Syria, and China. According to Bush, ““Iran is different from Iraq. We are in the early stages of diplomacy [with the Iranian government.] The results of this approach now depend entirely on Iran.”

Europeans, Lend Him Your Ears
(Reginald Dale, International Herald Tribune, February 22, 2005)
Why is that so many people think they know what Bush thinks, while so few appear to listen to what he says? The phenomenon is particularly widespread among Bush’s many critics in America. But it also seems to have afflicted Europeans, who long ago formed their opinions of Bush, often on the basis of crude caricatures in the European media, and don’t want to change them now.

You’re OK, But Your President…
(John K. Glenn, International Herald Tribune, February 22, 2005)
Bush still has an opportunity to reach out to Europeans, and he is doing the right thing by going first to Brussels, the home of most of the major EU institutions. If the visit and the rhetoric of diplomacy are followed up with substantive efforts at cooperation, there is hope for mending the rift between the United States and Europe. Despite the rhetoric that makes news, the people on both sides of the Atlantic can tell the difference between leaders and longer histories of friendship.

Take Bush At His Word - Opinion
(Deutsche Welle, Germany, February 22, 2005)
George Bush definitely ruffles feathers in Europe. But in his recent speech in Brussels, Belgium, Bush stressed the importance of renewing the transatlantic relationship. Europeans would benefit by listening carefully and accepting it as an honest offer.

The Gloves Are Off: The European Press on Bush’s Visit
(Der Spiegel, Germany, February 21, 2005)
United States President George Bush started his five-day European tour this week, commencing in Brussels, and touring Germany and Slovakia as well. Der Spiegel looks at what the press in Germany, France and Britain had to say about the visit.

Bush in Europe to Mend Ties
(Deutsche-Well, Germany, February 21, 2005)
“Now is the time for us to set aside differences and to move forward,” President George Bush said before setting out upon his five-day trip to Europe. Bush started his diplomatic trip in Belgium, hoping to mend transatlantic ties and forgive differences of opinion relating to Iraq.

Sullenness for the Stepfather
(Fred Kempe, Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2005)
The failure to organize a town hall meeting for President Bush may seem a small diplomatic matter during a trip that will be stage-managed for success. The larger problem is the drift in Germany’s political culture since the first President Bush visited Mainz that falsely sees his son as the enemy in the face of dangers and opportunities that can only be addressed with the U.S.
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Say Yes to Europe
(Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post, February 21, 2005)
The Bush charm offensive in Europe has limits, and so in fact it should. The Europeans are wrong to want to sell weapons to China, wrong not to come forward with more help for Iraq’s transition and wrong (this goes especially for France) to resist tougher action on Sudan’s genocide in Darfur. We don’t want a president who makes nice with Europe on these issues. We want a president who can sway European attitudes. But there’s a second basket of subjects where the opposite point holds: where the administration gratuitously alienates Europe out of ideological inflexibility or shortsighted indifference. Unless it backs the Europeans on the things that they are right about, the United States can forget European support on its priority issues. Consider climate change, for example.

What the Prez Can Do in Europe
(Peter Brookes, New York Post, February 21, 2005)
America’s foreign-policy stance has been to solve the world’s problems multilaterally if possible, and unilaterally if necessary. Europe, as it has moved toward the European Union, has embraced multilateralism. The Europeans simply don’t see the logic or necessity of unilateral actions. They’re also less inclined to advance freedom and democracy abroad if it means undermining stability and/or their own economic interests. In Europe’s eyes, diplomatic engagement trumps confrontation to a degree that strikes many Americans as naive, if not foolish. All this makes finding common solutions to solving common problems more difficult, but not impossible.

Transatlantic Relations: What George Bush Must Now Do
(Philip H. Gordon, Handelsblatt/The Brookings Institution, Germany, February 21, 2005)
The director of the Center on the United States and Europe discusses Bush’s recent trip to Europe. Europeans were delighted by Condoleezza Rice’s visit and her insistence that “realism” not “neoconservatism” will be the focus of the State Department. This, coupled with Bush’s visit to Europe, makes many Europeans hopefully that diplomacy will indeed be apriority in Bush’s second term.

Bush In Europe: Time For Some Making
(Richard Walker, Radio Netherlands, February 21, 2005)
U.S. President George Bush takes his first trip since reelection with a charm offensive to Europe. The three day visit is supposed to improve diplomatic relations with European leaders who opposed his positions during the Iraq war.

Bush’s Charm Offensive Deja-Vu - Opinion
(Kristy Milne, He Scotsman, UK, February 20, 2005)
President George Bush’s charm offensive through Europe shows scenes of camaraderie unimagined in the past year. Bush shares dinner with Jacque Chirac, croissants with Tony Blaire, and Donald Rumsfeld jokes with the Germans. However, Milne notes that these supposed new friendships are downright misleading.

Winning Back Europe’s Heart - Opinion
(The New York Times, February 20, 2005)
The New York Times asked the question: What do Europeans want from the United States? Many Europeans from a variety of nations posted their responses, ranging from “no new wars!” to “listen up.”

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