BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Talking Point  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
Forum
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 22 December, 2000, 15:54 GMT
George W Bush: Will he make a good world leader?
More than a month after the elections, we finally know that the next president of the United States will be George W Bush.

Following yet another defeat in the latest of his numerous legal challenges, Al Gore has conceded.

Foreign policy issues only played a marginal role in Governor Bush's campaign in the run-up to the election, and some observers have pointed out his lack of knowledge and experience in that area.

Will America's role in the world change? Or will the major policies remain the same? What do you expect in relation to your own country or region?

This was the subject of "Talking Point On Air" on December 17, 2000.

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your e-mails is posted below.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

  • Your comments since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    Your comments since the programme

    The new President and his team need to re-assess America's role abroad

    Mike H, England
    The new President and his team need to re-assess America's role abroad. Either they must commit to being the police force for the planet or keep out of regional issues. It's all very well to become involved in the Middle East and Northern Ireland (due to pressure from U.S. citizens who have ties to those places) but what about tackling China over Tibet or Russia's fight with Chechnya?
    Mike H, England

    A good world leader? Do we speak about the same thing? Mr. Bush is so far only the leader of the United States, or I am wrong?
    Joel, France

    The US presidency battle raged on with a lot of emphasis of 'how boring/likable is the man'? What does that have to do with politics? The people of America couldn't make their minds up, Florida made a pigs-ear of their election, and I just hope America can live with it. Reagan wanted to blow half the world away, Bush doesn't seem to know half the world exists.
    Steve Brereton, UK

    George W. will prove to be a most able President

    Stuart I.R, UK
    George W. will prove to be a most able President, in the Ronald Reagan mould. He has shown himself to be a uniter rather than a divider. He must surround himself with a strong team, and the rest will take care of itself. He will surprise those who have been so anti.
    Stuart I.R, UK

    Those who voted for a "lightweight" president with good advisers would of course be happy to have a "lightweight" dentist or surgeon operate on them with a good set of advisers?
    J. Ireland, UK

    Only time will tell if Mr Bush will make a good president

    Tony, UK
    Only time will tell if Mr Bush will make a good president. I just pray that he runs the whole country better than the way he ran Texas. American politics is too much about scoring points in presentation and brainwashing people. Thank God the UK is so far free from all the who-hah... people want facts and honesty from politicians, not some artificial persona.
    Tony, UK

    I think it's extremely unfair of all these people to criticise Mr Bush for the outcome of the elections. I believe that both candidates were equally capable of leading the country and wish we could have two Presidents. Unfortunately, the American Constitution does not work like that and they had to make a decision within a certain period of time. Whatever the outcome, the whole country is bound to that result, so should the whole world.
    Matt Uben, Detroit, USA

    I'm shocked at the hostility towards George W! You worry about "foreign policy!" Many have obviously forgotten Clinton was nothing more than the governor of a tiny, unimportant state (Arkansas). Mr Bush has been governor of Texas (an area and population larger than most European countries; with a more diverse population). Some claim him dim! A Harvard, Yale graduate! I shall also point out that the United States is a Republic NOT a democracy so popular vote means nothing. It gives small, low-population states equal representation in the presidential election. We're just glad the Clinton-Gore years are over!
    Kurt, Mesa, AZ

    There was no charisma on offer during this election

    Paul B, London, UK
    Let's be honest here...there was no charisma on offer during this election in the first place. People would be just as sceptical if Gore had won (well he did win the popular vote). Neither candidate really stood out as an "international leader" in this race and this was reflected in the close nature of the results. So I feel sorry for the American public who had to choose between these two - and for now, I guess we just have to give Bush a chance to prove himself.
    Paul B, London, UK

    Bush voters elected him to be President of the United States, not leader of the world.
    Henry Case, UK

    Bush isn't the be-all and end-all of the government in the US. Granted he is less experienced etc, but he does seem to have the sense to delegate. Some of the major problems in history have been caused by people who have to be the controlling force for every decision - it's just not possible for a country the size of the US
    Ellie Maclaren, Uxbridge, UK

    A world leader is someone who recognises that the world is much bigger than the confines of his or her pond. Mr. Bush, I'm afraid, doesn't know a whole lot about what is happening outside America or does not seem to care.
    Harsha S, San Jose CA

    Give the man a chance. He hasn't even been in office yet, and these non-Americans already know what the president-elect of the United States of America will do! We Republicans had to give Clinton/Gore a chance twice. Is there peace in the Middle East yet? No! Is there peace in Northern Ireland? No!
    Ted Chalgren, Maryland, US

    In Governor Bush, America has found itself a true successor to the Reagan presidency; hard-line, right-wing economics, diplomatic isolationism and an (if possible) more extreme approach to crime and punishment. All of this combined with an over-dependence on equally extreme advisers and a distaste of policy minutiae - the world, particularly the middle east and central Africa, has better gird itself for a collapse in any sense of American global leadership.
    James Laing, Oxford, UK

    This country cannot afford to move backwards, and make an already divided society more polarized

    M. Yasiri, Eden Prairie, US
    My fear regarding the presidency of George Bush is his governing style. He has been described by legislators in Texas who have worked with him as being kind and personable enough, however, he has also been described as not being a "detail man". He leaves much of this to his staff and a chosen few, who he selects primarily because they are his supporters. I see this as an opportunity for the conservative right-wing to make strong and successful attacks on such issues as human rights and abortion rights. This country cannot afford to move backwards, and make an already divided society more polarized.
    M. Yasiri, Eden Prairie -USA

    I think George Bush will make an excellent President. Most people overseas do not understand the reason for having the Electoral College. I agree with the person that wrote in: "We elect our President to run our country, not the world". I think the reason that many overseas people are afraid of George W is because they are afraid that he will cut aid to them! Rightfully so! The US is not the 911 of the world.
    Marie K, NY, US

    A delegator - at last. At least the Americans will not have to worry about "control freakery at the heart of government", which we in this country have to put up with.
    Tom Hunt, UK

    One of the biggest disasters in the new Millennium

    Malcolm Coelho, London, UK
    The election of George Bush to the Presidency of the United States will go down in American history as one of the biggest disasters in the new Millennium. Whilst Al Gore may not have endeared himself to ordinary American in his hard fought campaign, he at least has the experience of what it takes to be President. The world awaits with extreme anxiety the results of every political and economic move of Bush both on the domestic and international scene at this crucial turn into the second year of the millennium.
    Malcolm Coelho, London, UK

    George W. Bush will most likely prove himself to be the most inept president since Gerald Ford but hopefully Dick Cheney will appoint an experienced cabinet to make up for the president-elect's inexperience and sheer ignorance.
    Franz Kuo, Arlington, VA (USA)

    President-elect Bush, unlike the Democratic Presidents and Party, has demonstrated that colour is no barrier to ability. We blacks who support the Republicans have continually noticed that the GOP continues to act by putting blacks in high and responsible positions while the Democrats only depend on them for their undiluted support. It is high time that African-Americans wake up and smell the coffee and recognise who their real friends are.
    Ivor B. Ford, St. John's, Antigua/ Barbuda

    Colour is no barrier to ability

    Ivor B. Ford, St. John's, Antigua/ Barbuda
    President-elect Bush, unlike the Democratic Presidents and Party, has demonstrated that colour is no barrier to ability. We blacks who support the Republicans have continually noticed that the GOP continues to act by putting blacks in high and responsible positions while the Democrats only depend on them for their undiluted support. It is high time that African-Americans wake up and smell the coffee and recognise who their real friends are.
    Ivor B. Ford, St. John's, Antigua/ Barbuda

    You need look no further than to Bush's ability to co-opt the opposition into bosom allies to appreciate his potential on the world stage. And, regardless of your personal position on the death penalty or gun control, Bush's position on these issues demonstrates his alignment with his constituency rather than bowing to the fuzzy dangerous ideals espoused by the media and their phosphor drugged adherents.
    W. Bottles, Los Angeles, CA.

    George W. Bush is far from being a weak president. I am curious to know why so many people are putting him down when they know so little about him.
    Jim Cunningham, USA

    How can a man who knows almost nothing about foreign policy be a good world leader?
    Anu, Kathmandu, Nepal

    The reality is that even if he were not particularly interested in Bosnia on its own merits, for example, the cost of the refugee problem to European allies alone makes it in US national interests to remain engaged

    Karen Ingvoldstad
    I don't think people should mistake Bush's campaign with post-election reality. Although his rhetoric may have been concerning for countries such as Bosnia, once he gets into office reality will jump up and bite him. The reality is that even if he were not particularly interested in Bosnia on its own merits, for example, the cost of the refugee problem to European allies alone makes it in US national interests to remain engaged. I think your Bosnian caller from London was on target. US troops are overstretched in their roles abroad, many do multiple tours in Bosnia. But is there really an alternative to the peacekeeping role?
    Karen Ingvoldstad

    I find it troubling and absurd that Dubya George Bush is stepping into the shoes of America's finest-ever president. He is undeserving of the office, and gloats at the death penalty like a wild inbred. In getting him elected, the GOP has committed one more crime in its evil progression. President-elect he may be, but he isn't the leader of my free world.
    Adam Mitchell, Nottingham, UK

    Bush does not seem to be man who is used to thinking on his feet and definitely would have a tough job to do following on Clinton's footsteps

    Nara, Singapore
    Bush does not seem to be man who is used to thinking on his feet and definitely would have a tough job to do following on Clinton's footsteps. He may have the advantage of being underestimated and this may actually be his strength in days to come. People might think he may be a pushover and try and deal with him accordingly. He may not be world leader material but then in today's world who can claim to be one? The rules and games are fast changing and you might have to contend with leaders who are ultimately just puppets in the hands of the bureaucrats, who actually run the show in every country.
    Nara, Singapore

    The numbers of Americans joining the U.S. military has been declining and the threats to U.S. strategic interests are now in the Middle East, Asia and South and Central America. Under a Bush Administration, there will be a shift in U.S. foreign policy to these areas. When the U.S. military is involved, there will be less attention given to humanitarian, peacekeeping and nation-building activities. The Bush Administration will be a geopolitical one and its military will be focused on geopolitical problems of terrorism weapons of mass destruction, cyber-warfare and missile proliferation.
    Greg Piatt Brussels, Belgium

    I think George Bush may have to depend too much on his advisors. If it comes to the crunch to make a hard decision, can he do it responsibly? If he does not personally know how that decision will effect the people he is making that decision on, then this may well cause more problems for the USA and the hatred towards it by many countries in the world.
    Matt Farmer Brisbane, Australia

    Having to rely on Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice is not a good sign at all

    Tan Soon Hui Singapore
    I feel that George W. Bush is a very weak President whose position would be further undermined if eventual recounts in Florida show that Al Gore actually won that state and thus the presidency. If this happens, how can he command the respect of other world leaders?
    Having to rely on Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice is not a good sign at all.
    Tan Soon Hui Singapore

    We think that it is a very bad thing that George W. Bush came to power. He does not give enough importance to the environment, to climate change and to global warming. The fact that America has the highest consumption of energy pro capita should incite the U.S. to assume a more responsible attitude towards the global environment. The new administration will tend once more to put the economic interests, especially those of oil companies, above the urgent necessities of structural ecological change in the oil dependent economies of America and the world. For conferences about emission quotas and global agreements, such as the one wish recently failed in The Hague the objectives and the philosophy of the new administration could represent a frightening future.
    Michael Franke, Germany and Anca Ogrezeanu (Rumania)

    I think for most of us in Pakistan it would be indifferent to us. The only way it would affect a middle class Pakistani would be economy, the US dollar and the Pakistani rupee that is.
    Dilawer, Pakistan

    During Bush-Gore debates I found Bush having greater moral and religious values. He sounds humble and down to earth. The majority of the six million Muslims of America has voted for Bush. This was a pre-planned move decided during the pro-Palestine rally held recently in Washington DC in front of the White House. It was no surprise that the rally was not shown on television in spite of massive media coverage during the rally. I hope that Bush not only helps a majority of Americans with their religious beliefs and moral values, but also makes the world a more peaceful place to live in.
    NA, USA

    As a British citizen living in Seychelles I am somewhat bemused by the relevance of a discussion on the effect of George Bush's presidency to the rest of the world. We can talk all you want but in the end George Bush will do what all politicians do - anything to win another election. Bosnia, Somalia, India, Russia, the Middle East - it doesn't matter what is good for the areas, so long as it is good for Bush's domestic ratings. Why worry about what will happen because it's all about George Bush's (and other Politicians') desire for power, and nothing else.
    Karl Handy, Seychelles

    Your comments during the programme

    Surely the point about the American election was how close it was: The Americans didn't see much to distinguish them, why should the rest of the World?
    The American president will be pragmatic: Anything which will have an effect on the American public - and the next presidential election - or senate election - will be pursued energetically. They have an army, they have an arms industry - both have to be encouraged. The Isreal/Palastine issue is an internal American one: The Jewish vote won't be ignored.
    Alan K. Farrar

    The majority of the media is so far left of centre that I suggest that they read the mood of the nation... a nation that wants the middle ground

    Mary H. Cruz, Florida, USA
    Every one needs to sit back and get a grip! We have not elected a demon with two heads and horns! And yes, we did elect him according to our laws that were in place on November 7. Under votes in this country are nothing new. Hooray for the Supreme Court that stepped in to make sure that my vote, cast in accordance with directions given to me, was counted. I wonder if all this hue and cry would exist if they had ruled for Mr. Gore. The majority of the media is so far left of centre that I suggest that they read the mood of the nation... a nation that wants the middle ground.
    Mary H. Cruz, Florida, USA

    HELP! America (and possibly the world is heading into the darkness of Middle ages). Isn't there still a way to stop Bush from becoming a president?
    Andrew, New York, USA

    You ask will Bush be "a good world leader?" Are you speaking of the same Bush who actually has bragged of not reading the international section of the newspaper? The same Bush who cannot name a significant book he has read? The same Bush who has set foot outside the United States three brief times? The one who cannot stand meetings? The one who has people read briefing papers to him? Who never works a full business day as Governor of Texas? And the one who retires about nine o'clock every night...
    John W. Chuckman, Maine, USA

    I think Mr Powell will be a good sec. of state and will compensate Bush's lack of knowledge. I think Europe, at least the pro-Europeans, have to be glad when the US is going to be a bit more isolationist because Europeans now have to care for themselves, which raises the need for increased European co-operation.
    Robbert Bloem Leiden, Netherlands

    As the new U.S. President Bush was entirely elected with money provided by the major oil companies and the U.S. arms industry, his overseas policy should be obvious to all but the totally naive. His political appointees in the next few weeks will also reflect his paymasters policy in the search for ever increased profits and world domination regardless of the cost to the rest of the planet.
    Nigel Clark, Germany

    His "compassionate conservatism" is without substance and incapable of solving domestic problems

    Steven Lange, Germany
    Bush has a huge legitimacy problem. His "compassionate conservatism" is without substance and incapable of solving domestic problems. Certainly nothing will be done to reduce the inequities that increasingly divide Americans. Unless a huge foreign policy success falls into Bush's lap to distract attention from his domestic problems, he will be under pressure to create external enemies to try and unite Americans behind him. He is only a figurehead, but could be dangerous depending on which of his father's cronies get the upper hand in the White House staff.
    Steven Lange (US citizen), Germany

    Al Gore may have been part of a sleazy leftish political machine, but George Bush is an inexperienced, lightweight empty suit, puppeteered by the sleazy right GOP powers. It still amazes me that my nation's political system laboured so long and mightily to produce two such noisome gnats.
    John Hartnett, Tampa, FL, USA

    President Bush is not a power-crazy "democrat". Therefore, unlike Gore and Clinton, he knows that the role of the president is a role of servant and not master. The "God save us" cries of the "democrats" are just reminiscent of their view for democracy: "we're the democrats, thus we're entitled to government, no matter what the people want". Like Gore, who tried to manipulate the election result!
    Nicholas, UK

    It will be business as usual as regards foreign policy

    Nikki, Perth, Australia
    It will be business as usual as regards foreign policy. I feel that Bush will be in much the same mould as Reagan, in that he will assemble some high-powered f.p analysts in his team. The danger here being another Iran Gate!
    Nikki, Perth, Australia

    I just don't understand those people who are waging a cheap talk war against Bush, when nobody knows yet, through his actions, if he will be an able President or not.
    Richard Blakston, Singapore

    His nomination of Colin Powel as SOS an give vital message to world on his foreign policy. It seems G.W Bush is going to be a tough president for nations like Iraq. But GWB will have to strive hard to himself a good world leader.
    Govinda Poudel, Kathmandu, Nepal

    Did I miss something? WORLD leader? I was unaware that world elections were being held. Or is this one of those American things, like the World Series, where the rest of the planet is excluded to ensure a USA victory? As American leader however, I suppose he can't do any more damage than Reagan.
    Chris H, UK

    Your comments before we went ON AIR

    Those who think the election of Bush was a mistake are those who wish for America to remain weak and timid. The world is a dangerous place. Clinton/Gore, with their reliance on polls and the back of the American worker, partied for 8 years and reaped the rewards of the economic policies of those that came before them. The Clinton/Gore experiment is finished. It is time for America to continue fulfilling it's destiny as an economic, cultural, and military leader under the leadership of G.W. Bush and his staff.
    Scott Thrasher, CA, USA

    The appointments made so far and expected might suggest that the US will take a more reasoned approach to foreign policy

    Ann Smith, Virginia, USA
    I sincerely hope this does not mean that jumped-up lieutenant colonels (or their ilk) and their handlers create more misadventures, such as Iran-Contra. On the face of it, the appointments made so far and expected might suggest that the US will take a more reasoned approach to foreign policy. However, as in most US administrations, most of them will be untested in their new roles and their actions/ reactions cannot be predicted with certainty.
    Ann Smith, Virginia, USA

    Bush is just the mannequin in the window. The real president is Dick Cheney and the likes of Tom DeLay and Trent Lott. Learn about these men and be afraid!
    Kate, Texas

    I cannot understand why so many people are scathing about Mr Bush. His ignorance of the world outside the USA is not abnormal for an American. I am sure his advisors will put him right on foreign affairs.
    Nick Page, UK

    Whether or not the right man won, the wrong one didn't. The prime requirement of the US President is that he puts country before self or party: a criterion that clearly excludes Gore, who should never have been allowed near the White House, not as candidate, not as VP. That he was constitutes a failure and condemnation of the political process. And ours is no better. How do you choose between Blair and Hague, between - in the Lincolnshire phrase - muck and nettles?
    Noel Falconer, Couiza, Aude, France

    Buckle up North America the next four years are going to be bumpy

    John Grace, Canada
    Buckle up North America (and the entire western world) the next four years are going to be bumpy. Mexico and the US have just elected right-wing governments and we're all in trouble.
    John Grace, Edmonton, Canada

    The hand is now dealt. Whatever your feelings towards either candidate, give George W Bush a chance. He knows he has to compromise to find the middle ground, since his was not an outright victory.
    Phil W, UK - currently in USA

    I would prefer to see the Republicans take the flak for it

    Richey Smith, Wales
    I'm not too disappointed that Bush won. The American economy is going to nosedive into recession in the near future, and almost certainly during the new president's term. I would prefer to see the Republicans take the flak for it and get voted out rather than the Democrats, who will surely do a better job of restructuring the country's finances.
    Richey Smith, Wales

    I think that some people are judging Bush rather harshly because they are concerned about his "foreign policies" - but we don't know what he is going to do yet. Maybe we should wait a while before we condemn. We "jolly foreigners" might be pleasantly surprised.
    Alison , Reading, England

    I recall similar aspersions were cast on Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, indeed, any state governor who gets elected president but is unknown abroad. The fact is, three of the last four US presidents have been state governors without experience at the national and international level. In that same period of time we have seen the Camp David accords, the collapse of communism, victory in the Gulf War, and the longest period of prosperity in our history. Somehow these alleged country rustics were able to bring that about.

    I did not vote for this man and I have no idea how he will turn out. I am always amused, however, by judgments from abroad which exult in the supposedly imminent US debacle. Some of the comments in this feature, however, carry schadenfreude to a new high. I am inclined to think they say much more about the persons making the remarks than about any pending US disaster.
    Bert Johnson, Alexandria Virginia USA

    After reading the negative comments from the mostly liberal Europeans, I am convinced that George Bush will make a fantastic president. Finally, an American leader who puts American interests first.
    Rob, New York, NY

    I pray for our country and the world now that Bush is to be our next president. The environment will continue to be headed for disaster at such a critical time when the world needs to unite in order to help heal our polluted planet as he is poised to further promote offending corporations so that they will be given a free rein to continue their poisonous policies.I am also concerned that Bush will want to lavish funds on the military and promenade its prowess around the globe.
    Nora Golub, Soquel,CA,USA

    George Bush is an able, intelligent, decent man with degrees from both Yale and Harvard He has experience in the "real world" of business, both success and failure. He served as an F-102A fighter pilot, and for 6 years as Governor of one of the largest states in the US. The issues he discussed in the campaign were essentially the same as Gore; however, his solutions are different.

    He has as much foreign policy experience as did his predecessor, Bill Clinton, former Governor of one of the smallest states in the US. Prior to becoming President in 1945, President Truman had very little foreign policy experience; yet, he brought about the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift. Bush's judgment, wisdom, and courage will determine how successful his foreign policy will be over the next 4 years... as well as the events themselves that no one can predict, and that no one controls.
    Richard Palmer, Springboro, Ohio USA

    Why is the world judging a man they know little off so harshly? This was the way Ronald Reagan was judged many years back. Even Bill Clinton, how many of us REALLY gave him a chance? This is the genius of American resiliency - when you least expect them to act, then they shine.
    Sayo, Lagos Nigeria

    Isolationist trends in the US are a blessing for all other nations

    Vlad, UK
    Phil Escolar wrote that we should anticipate a diminished American role on the world stage. That's the whole point, and that's why Bush is a ray of hope for all non-Americans. The less American leadership in the world the better.
    Yes, by all civilised norms Gore won, and the US election has become a bad joke, and yes, Bush looks ignorant and not exactly quick, but that is America's business. They have chosen him - at least their law says so.
    For the rest of us, the less Bush will stick his nose out of the US affairs, the better. Isolationist trends in the U.S. are a blessing for all other nations.
    Vlad, UK

    To hear all this pre-inaugural criticism from our British friends is to be expected (since we do it to them), but to hear the same from all of you Americans, what a disappointment! Can't you at least wait for ONE official executive action from the man before you attack him?
    Benito Cereno, Tempe, AZ

    The very idea about G. Bush as a world leader is wrong. World is ruled by the "Big Money". Bush has no more influence than my cat.
    Louli Andreev, Vienna, Austria

    Just because Bush's ideas may sound good, it doesn't mean they are. Tax cuts mean less revenue for the state, so spending has to be cut. Without more money, education won't improve. If you think that the "pop-science" environmental theories will make life unliveable, wait and see how life will be in fifty years' time without environmental controls now. And then there's the Star Wars defence programme.

    If US security is the issue, wouldn't it be better to show the "Red Chinese" that it is not in their interests to bomb, rather than spend billions of dollars on a system which will never be used? For, if there were a nuclear war, it wouldn't matter whether anyone could actually hit the US with a bomb: the fallout would kill everyone in the US as much as it would kill everyone else in the world. The Chinese understand this; it is a pity that Bush doesn't.
    Ben Wiles, London, England

    I think Bush will do a good job. And why shouldn't he? He is humble, he has resolve, rock solid beliefs, and a very capable team. He has continued to surprise his even his most cynical detractors. When Clinton first came to power, people thought he was inept, as well. He surprised many too (and I'm a Republican!).
    Frank R. Giles, Nashville, TN, USA

    Extend a hand of welcome to the new leader

    Kenneth Berthiaume, University of Iowa, USA
    It is not surprising that the comments appearing here reflect a widespread ignorance of the American electoral system and the principles of justice established in our Constitution. What astonishes me is the extent to which Gore's cleverly orchestrated campaign to undermine confidence in Bush's abilities to lead appears to have succeeded overseas. Everyone, in America and around the world, would be best served if we drop the partisan rhetoric and extend a hand of welcome to the new leader.
    Kenneth Berthiaume, University of Iowa, USA

    George Bush may not be a world-class intellectual, but he is just the kind of American (and world) leader who is most desperately needed now. You can count on his good-old-American common sense, humility, practicality, and ability to surround himself with extremely competent advisors. What our country did NOT need now is his opponent, an arrogant "intellectual" intent on micro-managing government (and our lives), and promoting American intervention and "nation building" overseas.
    Michael Clague, Gloucester, Virginia USA

    Give the man a chance, if it means a little US isolationism that might actually be a good thing. The real worry is that the US will now continue to pollute and the world will continue to warm, I suggest moving to higher ground.
    SG, UK

    Bush will be a "one-termer"

    S.Kennedy, Seoul
    As a non-American, I am neither Republican or Democrat but it is quite clear that the best man for the job lost. President-"Elect" Bush? I don't think so! He was not elected, he was handed a victory by a Republican Secretary of State and endorsed by a Republican Supreme Court. Gore has vast political experience and I believe Bush will be a "one-termer" and Gore will trounce him in 2004. It is extremely scary that the leader of the free world cannot name the leaders of India and Pakistan. Bush will be another Reagan. Gore, don't give up heart, please come back in 2004.
    S.Kennedy, Seoul

    I've read a large portion of the comments submitted about George W. Bush, needless to say, I feel most are judging a man they know nothing about. Some call the man a fool and incompetent - the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is, GWB received degrees from two of the nation's most prestigious universities. He is a reserved man with marked intelligence. The truth is, he doesn't have much world-wide experience, but many of this nation's greatest presidents have been ridiculed and berated until they proved to the American public and the world that they could lead the world's most powerful Nation; namely, FDR, Reagan and yes, even Clinton.

    Until GWB has entered his place atop the world stage, no one has a basis to judge his actions as President. I think Americans and the world may be surprised at his success.
    Philip Hill, San Diego, CA

    There is little that does not effect American interests and values

    Michael Brenner, NY, USA
    President Bush's "leadership" is predicated on the same criteria Reagan's leadership was. He will be at the mercy of his advisors, most of whom have wide experience. This does not mean that the world stands to benefit, however; it is quite the contrary. Ms Rice, the probable new National Security Advisor, advocates the withdrawal of US troops from Bosnia.

    Many other policy points are more frightening. Bush's strong advocacy of a National Missile Defence is misplaced in this post-Cold War world. His generally isolationist foreign policy ignores the fundamental truth of American post-Cold War foreign policy and globalisation in general - there is little that does not effect American interests and values.
    Michael Brenner, NY, USA

    I am an American without party loyalty who initially supported Gore. I have spent a fair amount of time in the UK, and I realise that you often are not exposed to the details of what transpires here. The details indeed vindicate the Bush presidency. I am satisfied with the result. The UK is our closest friend in the world as well as a nation I am quite fond of, and I assure you that both America and Britain will benefit from this result. The people Bush has surrounded himself with are remarkably capable. His practice of delegating authority will be well served.

    The American constitution and our rule of law should send a subtle message to the world: this is the reason the US is the longest standing republic in the world. Events like this would topple some other countries. That didn't happen here.
    John Hare, Dallas, Texas USA

    Being elected to the planet's most powerful position by less than half of the population of his country is bad enough, but bringing at the same time no great burden of preconception about world affairs promises disaster. In his position, he had better become a statesman!
    Kilian S, Dublin, IRL

    Just because Bush has made a few mistakes does not mean that he is an airhead in world politics. His record shows that he has been an able Governor in Texas. Bush is surrounded by a top quality Foreign Policy team not only that but receiving his father's legacy of uniting the Western world after the fall of communism to face new issues in the Persian Gulf. Don't judge too soon.
    Simon Mould, Seattle, USA

    Its sad that the highest court in America failed to deliver fair justice

    Siva, Canada
    Its sad that the highest court in America failed to deliver fair justice. The US Supreme Court judges are just humans and the majority wanted to hand over the Presidency to GWB and not to bother fundamental rights of voters or world opinion about justice. Its time for Americans to think about having an appeal system in place; appeal to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom if Americans believe in fair and free justice for all. Gore, you are great and what can you do when the system fail.
    Siva, Canada

    Without prejudice - America will be never be the same for the first four years!
    John Dias, Scarborough, Canada

    In these terrible days, when we have seen our election stolen in a manner we normally lecture other 'developing' countries against, it is very gratifying to see that someone SOMEWHERE gets it. The comments on this page are so accurate that I am all the more amazed at my own countrymen for being less perceptive about Bush than BBC viewers are.
    Perry Brown, San Jose, USA

    We can only echo Mr. Gore, "God Save America"

    Sally McDonald, USA
    I think we in America have every reason to be concerned and afraid. Freedoms can be lost very quickly and Americans didn't seem to show a willingness to fight for even the freedom of vote. George W. Bush isn't just incompetent, he's very frightening. We can only echo Mr. Gore, "God Save America."
    Sally McDonald, USA

    Why is everyone so surprised at the election of George W. Most Americans are apolitical, know very little about their local governments let alone the world. A huge percentage of the people do not vote and if they do, their vote is based on who is wearing a nicer suit or dress or who is supporting a better hair style.
    Mansour El-Kikhia, San Antonio, USA

    My confidence in the USA's best friend, the UK, has been shaken by all these comments. I'd like to point out that we elect our president to run our country, not the world, and it's up to the world whether they accept him. I can't believe all these people accept Clinton, who has disgraced us, and aren't even willing to give Bush a chance. As for catching up with the rest of the world, send us Margaret Thatcher and I'll vote her in.
    James F, Wash DC, USA

    The last time a few Englishmen thought our leaders were not the leadership type, I think we formed a fairly successful country and as far as delegation of power that's the sign of a good leader. Only those who think they know everything and don't need help are those who are doomed to failure. George W. will shine.
    Elliott , Atlanta, USA

    Possibly the darkest day for American politics

    Jim Smith, London, England
    Of course not. The man is a fool, bereft of political experience or wisdom, and with a passion for legislated murder that surely terrifies anyone with the shred of a conscience; whose candidacy was nothing more than a revenge fantasy on behalf of his father anyway. Possibly the darkest day for American politics since the death of FDR. God Help America.
    Jim Smith, London, England

    I think he will be mostly just a figurehead, he more or less admitted that himself. I watched him last night talking about how he likes to delegate. Of course he does, he's too dumb to do anything himself, he has to delegate.
    B Maguire, UK

    No - Dubya is an ignoramus who in this election has shown scant regard for democracy. He knows little of the world and does not have the powers of concentration or the attention span demanded of an international figure, therefore I do not believe he will be a good world leader. The upside is that he is not going to be the leader in this presidency. Dubya will be surrounded by advisors who are men and women of experience and knowledge, and who will be the ones taking the real decisions. Whilst it is clear that Bush has won this election by intimidation and fraud, there is one good thing to come out of the whole sorry mess - America will no longer be able to lecture the rest of the world about the sacredness of democracy and the importance of law and order. Dubya himself got to the White House by nepotism.
    Matthew Salter, London, UK

    Could anybody imagine a cheeky boy who is reluctant to behave himself making a good world leader?

    Kiyomi, Germany
    I see no wish and capacity in Bush to learn more of the world than his advisors feed him the knowledge of. Assuming by his attitude, I even suspect that he couldn't help making blunders from time to time just to get a kick. Could anybody imagine a cheeky boy who is reluctant to behave himself making a good world leader?
    Kiyomi, Mönchengladbach, Germany

    George is, if nothing else, very representative of the American population. With this said, I shed a tear knowing that this is true. How much do you want to bet that he doesn't know what the UK prime minister's name is?
    Elliot Levin, Portland, OR, USA

    We'll just have to give him some time to see what he does

    Alex V., Northern Virginia, USA
    I'm a staunch Democrat and Gore-supporter, who is dismayed and disgusted at the circumstances in which he lost. There are many people to blame for his defeat, but I don't find Bush to be one of them. So, with frequent sighs, I'll accept him as my President. As far as his inexperience on the world stage is concerned, well, we'll just have to give him some time to see what he does. He may not have the intelligence of his predecessor, or even his opponent, but he's smart enough to surround himself with decently competent advisors. If he starts doing things like summarily withdrawing troops or aid or jeopardizing arms treaties, then we should worry. It's interesting to note that, not too long ago, there was another candidate who, in his successful run for the presidency, was often criticized for only being a state governor with relatively little experience in world affairs. Yet in the end, he turned out to be a decent world leader. His name? Bill Clinton.
    Alex V., Northern Virginia, USA

    I know it was his most celebrated gaff, and that it is now seen by many as just unfortunate, but it seriously worried me that the prospective leader of the most powerful nation on planet Earth was unable to name the leaders of a sixth of the population! It demonstrates that the Bush team do not view foreign policy as a high priority, but an isolationist USA is simply inconceivable in this day and age. God help us all.
    Idris, London,UK

    It is worth pointing out that during the campaign, the Republicans have been reduced to defending Mr. Bush's record by claiming that the governor of Texas doesn't have much power to wield! Furthermore, he is blind and ignorant to vital environmental issues, almost symbolises the nations dismal human rights record, and is extremely unlikely to act to clean up the horrible campaign financing system.
    Manu, Antwerp, Belgium

    As a partisan Democrat I am appalled at this result. However, like most Americans I recognize Bush is the legal President-elect. This does not mean that we accept him as legitimate. The goal know is majorities in the Congress in 2002 and defeat of Bush in 2004. Also, for those outside of the US there is little affection for Gore in the Democratic Party. Do not look for him to be accepted as the candidate. And, as for world leader: Bush can not even lead his own country and knows about as much about it (outside of Texas) as he knows of the world.
    Steven Watson, Louisville, KY, US

    I'm afraid that he will face a serious lack of respect from most other leaders

    M. Ferguson, UK
    In response to Greg of St Louis, how does he imagine GWB will make an excellent 'World Leader' when he clearly knows so little about the world. I'm afraid that he will face a serious lack of respect from most other leaders, who are used to dealing with intellectual 'equals'. Candidates for the Presidency should face a mandatory intelligence and global awareness test before candidacy.
    M. Ferguson, UK

    Bush will just be a puppet to big business and the real string-pullers in the US Govt - it'll be at least 4 years before there's anyone with a positive IQ in the White House (Hillary Clinton?). Though he shot himself in the foot by not allowing Clinton to campaign on his behalf and by his party's acceptance of the ballot design, I am disappointed on Gore's behalf that a candidate polling a third of a million votes more than his opponent is not elected - the will of the people, More disappointing still is that by conceding so late he may have destroyed his chance of winning the Democrat nomination in 2004. Watch Bush sink into obscurity and take the UK-US 'special' relationship with him.
    Richard T, London, UK

    We will see a heightened respect for other nations sovereignty, especially regarding territorial issues

    Phil Escolar, Indiana, USA
    We should anticipate a diminished American role on the world stage in at least two respects. First, military intervention and "international police action" can certainly be expected to be curbed due to the basic tenets of Republicanism. In other words, we will see a heightened respect for other nations sovereignty, especially regarding territorial issues. Under a Bush presidency, the NATO action against Yugoslavia probably would not have taken place, and if a similar situation arises elsewhere, you can pretty much bet that the US will stay out of it (unless a clear and imminent danger is posed to American economic interests). Second, we can safely predict more intimate military cooperation (in terms of equipment and strategic policy) between the present NATO allies and the US, perhaps at the expense of furthering relations between NATO and the Chinese, Russians, et al. It boils down to this: GOP presidents (and Bush will certainly do follow suit) tend to favor perceiving global relations through the eyes of NATO, while Democrat administrations are a bit more conciliatory towards potential enemies of the West. Also, you can pretty much wager the house on Bush making quick moves to re-solidify defense and economic ties with the powder kegs Israel and Taiwan.
    Phil Escolar, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

    How can Josh Thomas possibly say the will of the people was done when the man who won the popular vote is not actually the president? And according to stories on this website he won it by some 50 million votes. Will of which people exactly? Whilst it is still obviously far too early to judge president-elect Bush's ability to be a truly international leader, let's look at the things we already know. He wants to withdraw American influence from areas all over the world, can't name world leaders and has only been in politics for 6 years, hardly the qualities of an elder statesman. Having said that it appears he will have several experienced and worthy people in his cabinet (Dick Cheney and Colin Powell amongst them).
    James, Sheffield, UK

    The world coped with that other intellectual giant, Ronald Reagan, for 8 long years. Let's just hope this is only for 4 years. Then bring on the next Clinton (Hilary)/Bush (GW) election. She will run rings around him. About time America had a female president and caught up with the rest of the "free" world.
    Graeme, England

    A spoiled rich kid who doesn't want to work. Personal profit before environment. A few wars maybe, that otherwise wouldn't have happened? The rich get richer, the poor get poorer still. Will Kalki rescue us in 2003?
    Morgan O'Conner, U.S.A.

    The only consolation is that Bush is a lame duck before he starts

    Neil Halliday, Croydon, UK
    God help us all. The only consolation is that Bush is a lame duck before he starts having lost the national popular vote and squeaking in by winning the state run by his little brother. Chin up Al, the Democrats should sweep in during the 2002 congressional elections and there's always 2004 - people are always ready to punish failure rather than reward success.
    Neil Halliday, Croydon, UK

    I suspect we will see many parallels with the Reagan years - a charming lightweight advised by hawks. World Peace will remain shimmering on the horizon throughout this administation. It is indeed a sad day for the international community.
    Paul Hannay, Auckland, New Zealand

    Mr Bush says that he is "pro life" and yet he is also very pro death penalty and pro guns.
    Patrick Nairne, Tonbridge, England

    I've just had a brilliant idea that could save Americans millions in tax-payers money. Next time, instead of running a presidential election campaign, why not just give the names of the 2 candidates to the Supreme Court and ask them to choose?
    Rita Kitto, Geneva, Switzerland

    As an American living abroad who happily has been able to deal with this whole mess of an election from afar, all I can say is--Thank God, Bush has a team of advisors.
    Jessica McShan, Cambridge, UK

    So far GW is the best president we've had in 8 years

    Randy Simmons, Burlington USA
    So far GW is the best president we've had in 8 years. If he trips he will fall. If he is not aware he will take a hit. If he is less than perfect he will be judged.
    Randy Simmons, Burlington USA

    The US have consistently promoted 'freedom' and 'democracy' around the globe, and have been able to point at there own country as a model. The model is now tainted. Bush didn't win the majority of the popular vote, and effectively 'stole' Florida's electoral college votes (and so the election) by using his friends in high places - he has no moral mandate within his own country and so the world is left without a model, and indeed is left with an encouragement to those who would seize power without 'the will of the people'.
    KP, UK

    I do hope his foreign policy advisers keep him off the subject of democracy in other countries

    NDerek Mcintosh, Aldershot, England
    I'm afraid that my purely outside view sees a monstrous foul up in the vote counting in Florida. Surely, there would have been no problem in a "simple" recount? But if the American people are happy with the President-elect, so be it. I do hope his foreign policy advisers keep him off the subject of democracy in other countries. He has done very well for a baseball commissioner, hasn't he?
    Derek Mcintosh, Aldershot, England

    The real winner was capitalist big business. And when the global economy goes down the pan in a few months time because profit-driven market forces are fundamentally uncontrollable, and inevitably produce severe downturns every now and then, will all those then suffering from unemployment, poverty, unpayable debts, pathetically low welfare benefits, mental anguish and the like, still feel that a free market politician was the right choice to make?
    Max Hess, Folkestone, Kent, UK

    The most powerful leader in the world, who doesn't know the names of half of the other leaders! Scary to say the least. Bush better not have any skeletons in the cupboard, because if he does, this could be a bumpy ride in the White House.
    Derek,ex-pat, Brazil

    George Bush was a disaster, and his son will be no better

    John Thomas, Bristol, England
    As an American living over here, can I just say I've never been more happy to be living in England as today. The travesty that is the US election has made Americans the laughing stock - the only consolation being we can laugh at ourselves too. George Bush was a disaster, and his son will be no better. Al Gore was born to be president, has a much wider knowledge of world politics, and is much more able to lead the country. Heavens, George W doesn't even know the current Indian Prime Minister! Personally, I think Al Gore will come out of this better, in the long term. George W has to unite the country - a job hard enough, but for him it will be impossible. Come 2004, Gore will roll him over and govern as a truly elected, majority-led President of the USA. Then, I may consider returning to my homeland!
    John Thomas, Bristol, England

    George Bush will have a tough time as leader due to the 50-50 split in the Senate. As for his knowledge of Foreign affairs - well, enough said. A President who doesn't know who is the Prime Minister of the world's most populous democracy, India ? It makes you shudder at the prospect !
    Sanjay Khosla, London, UK

    I personally think he is incompetent and will not be able to keep up the role of 'world leader' as Clinton has for the past 8 years. I think it is a disaster for the rest of the world, not just the USA. Al Gore deserved to win the election because of the popular vote and the courts should have ruled a recount or revote, without this how can you have democracy?
    Rob, Liverpool, England

    I believe the Republicans have shown the world that there is no democracy in the USA. After so many republican-monitored mischiefs, Mr. Gore lost an election he has clearly won. Shame on the US and its Republicans for such an unfair and undemocratic election. I am sure George Bush will make a mess of his 'job' at the White House.
    Sandrine, Africa

    Read the small print, and get your heads down

    M. Bailey, Brussels, Belgium
    A born-again Christian who believes in the death penalty, is anti-abortion, anti gun-control, anti the Kyoto environmental agreement, wants to dig up Alaska to get yet more oil, and wants to move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Read the small print, and get your heads down. This man isn't just dim, he's dangerous.
    M. Bailey, Brussels, Belgium

    Having read the replies so far, mainly from the USA, it seems that Bush lives up to his name - just a little shrub! Just to make it a little clearer, the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA describes a shrub as any woody plant that has several stems, none dominant and when much-branched and dense, it may be called a bush. I rest my case!
    John C., Warwick, England

    So far, Bush's conduct has left much to be asked for. In contrast to Gore, he has resorted to every means to ensure his presidency despite any poll-result. Also, Republican supporters have moved to a very partisan attitude and would not be content with anyone but Bush grasping the Presidency. This all means, that Gore may morally and by popular vote be the better president, but Americans should find it easier to rally behind Bush. Thus, ironically, the Republican president elect has the best possible chance of becoming a good president, only because his Democratic adversaries behaved so much better than him.
    Aron, Grenoble, France

    He seems to have served his purpose for the Republicans

    Graham Dewar, NY, USA
    Clearly George W Bush is incapable of holding this office competently. If you were a fan of his father's then you'll be ok, since all his cronies are running the team. That leaves GWB as a figurehead - and a pretty unimpressive one at that. He seems to have served his purpose for the Republicans - got them into power, I guess he'll be sitting back and enjoying the high-life for the next 4 years. Oh dear.
    Graham Dewar, NY, USA

    He will look into building the long-overdue missile defense system

    B.H. Thomson, Seattle, USA
    While the two major candidates didn't differ significantly on many of the major issues, I'm pleased that Bush won. As our new president, he will cut taxes for both the poor and the rich, revitalize the educational system through vouchers and local control, and let citizens have more of their own retirement money that's coerced from them. He will look into building the long-overdue missile defense system that may well end up protecting the academics who criticize it from Red Chinese missiles. He'll also fight unfounded, pop-science environmental theories, whose supposed cures will make life unliveable for humans. (I really enjoy the fact that the internal combustion engine will remain legal under a Bush administration.) OK, I do have to concede something to my liberal counterparts. Bush *is* a terrible speaker, although that doesn't indidicate that he has bad ideas.
    B.H. Thomson, Seattle, USA

    There's no reason why Dubya can't be a good world leader. With his conciliatory words to democrats and a strong team behind him he could be great, despite his shortcomings of lack of experience and disinterest in detail. The world watches and waits.
    Tharg Thargson, London, UK

    We always say "may the best man win". Today the best man lost!
    A. S. Memee, Seychelles

    He doesn't look fit to govern a small town let alone a large state or the whole of the United States

    Steve Lovell, Leeds, UK
    I'm usually very apolitical, especially when it's not even my country, but I do feel that Bush is a real worry. He doesn't look fit to govern a small town let alone a large state or the whole of the United States. From what I understand he represents outdated Southern values such as anti-abortion and the death penalty etc. Not only this but the sheer lack of articulation and understanding of world issues is astounding. On a simpler note, why should we trust anyone who comes from a family where they name their progeny after themselves? (Except for the 'dubya' bit).
    Steve Lovell, Leeds, UK

    I don't think that anyone as obviously xenophobic as GWB can possibly do well on a world stage. He has a tough act to follow. IMO President Clinton has been the best president that the US has had for many years. I wait to see what develops.
    Steve, Manchester, UK

    Let's wait and see. I hope that he will be less pro-Israel than Gore or Clinton and will be more pragmatic when dealing with the Middle East peace process.
    Mohamed Benomar, Casablanca, Morocco

    For every person serving abroad in international organisations for human development, this is a sad day! Bush has reiterated over and over that he will cut support in these fields. The world from now on to 2004 will be a sad place to live.
    Lars Narfeldt, Sweden / Sierra Leone

    The first three months will be the litmus paper

    Clement Chiwaya, Malawian/ USA
    Having surrounded himself with people like Cheney and Colin Powell, many believe George Bush will just be a figurehead. The first three months will be the litmus paper for the former Florida Governor.
    Clement Chiwaya, Malawian/ USA

    America's role in the world will most assuredly change from one that was knee-jerk and poll driven to one that has America's best interests at its core. No longer will our troops be used as humanitarian peacekeepers or garbage collectors to the world. Sorry, Mr Blair. I know you wanted Mr Clinton's next in-line, but you will have to deal with a Conservative who will make you think before you act.
    Barbara, St. Louis, USA

    George W. Bush might be the biggest reason I should move back to the UK!
    Katherine, Brit, living in Seattle, WA

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Michael Brenner from New York, USA
    "I think you'll see a far more isolationist policy"
    Peter C. Kohler from Washington DC, USA
    "Bush wants the US to practice humility"
    Matthew Parks from Cape Town, South Africa
    "We don't need a bullying world police"
    Olusyi A Fayanju from Boston, USA
    "Bush will re-think what it means to be the leader of the world"
    Babatunde Shonekan from Lagos, Nigeria
    "There is always talk of lack of experience"
    Sham Naarai from Port Louis, Mauritius
    "Mr Bush is not a happy man"

    Inauguration:

    Bush presidency:

    PICTURE GALLERIES

    Texts and transcripts:

    AUDIO VIDEO

    TALKING POINT
    See also:

    14 Dec 00 | Americas
    14 Dec 00 | Americas
    14 Dec 00 | Americas
    13 Dec 00 | Americas
    13 Dec 00 | Americas
    14 Dec 00 | Americas
    14 Dec 00 | Entertainment
    14 Dec 00 | Americas
    Internet links:


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

    Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.


     E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Talking Point stories

    © BBC ^^ Back to top

    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
    South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
    Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
    Programmes