BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 18 June, 2001, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Bush's European debut: The verdict
Bush fans in Warsaw
Bush's style was a hit with the Europeans
By defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus

President George Bush's first political expedition to Europe was strong on charm and short on substance.

The president politely restated his positions on contentious issues like global warming and missile defence. And the Europeans, in turn, expressed their reservations.

Bush and Putin in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Bush and Putin's meeting: Warm but insubstantial
Nonetheless President Bush seems to have gone down well, not least because of his tone.

He stressed a willingness to listen and consult. He set out the arguments behind policies which make the Europeans uncomfortable. And he did so in a way that suggested he has a better command of the facts than many people expected.

Mood music

His European trip was proof positive that in modern diplomacy, style is every bit as important as content.

President Bush's summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin achieved little in policy terms. But the mood music was very positive - something that could be critical as Washington and Moscow seek to deal with a highly divisive agenda in the months ahead.

In short, Mr Bush seems to have confounded the clichés. I watched the president closely at the Nato headquarters last week speaking on missile defence.

Bush speaking at the Nato headquarters in Brussels
Bush reasoned with leaders on defence
He offered a passionate and reasoned argument in favour of his missile defence plans. Those who insist on simply registering the president's occasional verbal gaffes are rather missing the point.

He has a hugely experienced foreign policy team. And he seems intent on bringing about radical change in the global strategic landscape.

Of course, the differences between the United States and its European allies are still there. There are going to be further battles ahead.

But Mr Bush has at least succeeded in putting a human face on policies that many European governments still regard as unpalatable at best.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

13 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush's Nato charm offensive
12 Jun 01 | Americas
Analysis: Bridging Nato's divisions
12 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush and Aznar agree to disagree
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories