Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Signs of Bush Mending Foreign Fences - to an Extent ; in This Week's Trip to Canada, He Emphasized Global Cooperation, but He Also Outlined Contentious Positions

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Signs of Bush Mending Foreign Fences - to an Extent ; in This Week's Trip to Canada, He Emphasized Global Cooperation, but He Also Outlined Contentious Positions

Article excerpt

Expect to see more of the kind of charm offensive that President Bush undertook this week in Canada, as he redoubles efforts in his second term to repair relations with traditional allies.

Just don't expect the warm words and conciliatory tone to extend to the kind of policy changes that allies would like to see.

The signs that Mr. Bush wants better relations with some of the countries his policies alienated in his first term are clear. In this week's Canada trip, which was his first official visit to the country as president, Bush said in a speech that "building effective multinational and multilateral institutions and supporting effective multilateral action" would be one of the "three great goals" of his second-term foreign policy - along with the war on terrorism and promoting democracy.

After a trip to South America and a summit with Asian-Pacific leaders last month, the president received Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo at the White House Thursday, and Bush praised Nigeria for its participation in African peacekeeping forces. Next up Saturday, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf visits the White House, and then the president welcomes Jordan's King Abdullah on Monday.

The emphasis on international relations was kicked off within hours of Bush's reelection by the White House visit of NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. But Bush's intention to pursue policies that don't sit well with many friends means the fence mending could be difficult, some experts say.

If anything, the president's willingness to press ahead with positions and policies that are unpopular to foreign ears suggests Bush envisions multilateral action that is carried out on America's terms.

"President Bush is clearly interested in trying to repair relations with America's traditional allies. The body language suggests he is not blind to America's isolation," says Charles Kupchan, a foreign- policy expert at Georgetown University in Washington. …

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