Bush Promises to Strengthen Military, Better Foreign Policy

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Casting an eye to world affairs, President Bush arranged a Camp David meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair for next month and said the United States would pursue its global agenda with "strength and authority."

Bush wrapped up his first week in office yesterday with a flurry of foreign policy activity. He held ceremonial swearings-in for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and for Secretary of State Colin Powell, both of whom were officially sworn hours after Bush's inauguration Jan. 20.

Bush's working visit with Blair was scheduled Feb. 23-24 at the Camp David retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. Bush said nurturing relationships with Britain and other allies will be a priority of his presidency. Blair and former President Clinton had an especially close official and personal relationship.

Bush will meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox on Feb. 16 in Mexico and will have White House talks Feb. 5 with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

By week's end, Bush had made customary courtesy calls to leaders of 12 friendly nations.

Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Bush's father was president, assured his new boss, "I will give you everything I have in this new job."

On Rumsfeld's watch at the Pentagon, Bush said, he hopes to take on "the new threats of a new century," such as the spread of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the use of computer technology by terrorists. He also said he hopes to upgrade teh institution of the armed forces and their armaments so that those serving would receive "the tools they need and the respect they deserve."

"We will strengthen the bond of trust between the American people and those who wear our nation's uniform," Bush said.

Bush made clear that his administration's main focus would be on displaying "the strength and authority of America" on the world stage. …