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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Your messages to Bush
President George W Bush arrives in Britain on Wednesday for a short visit before heading to Genoa for the Group of Eight summit of leading world powers.
His first state visit to the UK will include talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair, and a state dinner with the Queen at Buckingham palace.
In a BBC interview on the eve of his trip, President Bush reiterated his determination to develop a missile defence shield and to oppose the Kyoto treaty on global warming.
He said, "I've got an obligation to the working people of America to pursue a policy that protects the environment but also promotes economic growth".
What kind of welcome will he receive in the UK? What message would you like to send him?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
President Bush, your policies are like a breath of fresh air and I hope you succeed in converting the socialists in Europe. There may or may not be global warming but there is no proof that CO2 is the cause. As for the missile defence that is the business of the USA and any nation should do the best it can to defend itself.
From what I hear of the real behind-the-scenes Bush and his advisors, he should mind his own business, leave Europe alone and stop acting on the world's behalf. As many Americans have said on this page, Europe is leftist, and we are proud of it! Europe and the rest of the world never elected Bush or his cohorts, and in fact less than 25% of Americans actually did. So as far as I'm concerned, Bush can go and spend billions of dollars in NMD as long as his bases are not in Europe, and he can go on polluting America if he wants to, because I know full well that the more he is himself, the less time he will spend in office and that will not be a bad thing.
Global businesses, led by American based multinationals are the new colonists. They mould the weak countries into the image they want for their own ends. What do you as a patriotic American recommend in order to deal with colonial oppressors?
The Kyoto treaty allows China and other countries to pollute as much as they want. How can that be ecologically sound? Mr Bush represents the United States not the world.
As most Americans, I have no doubt that you will be out of office in four years. You represent all those who are powerful and don't give a damn about the rest of your constituents. I can name many examples - big oil companies, Arms manufacturers, etc. You obviously don't give a damn about the environment.
To tackle the two main issues; Missile "defence" enables the US to launch an offensive nuclear strike at any nation on earth without fear of retaliation. This is not a good thing.
Rejecting the Kyoto protocol is a ridiculously selfish and irresponsible move. Why should the US economy come before the environment of the entire world? California is having an energy crisis, so you turn to fossil fuels and nuclear power. This is also not a good thing. Have you NO plans for a solution involving renewable energy sources, which California has in abundance.
I would bring into absolute question the legitimacy of your presidency: never mind that you polled a greater percentage than Clinton in either of his elections - more people voted for Al Gore! And the presidency was handed to you by a set of politically loaded judges!
I need only mention that NMD should certainly be seen as offensive, increasing as it does the likelihood of "rogue nations" launching such a missile attack at all. Never mind the workability of the Kyoto protocol - your administration's rejection of it is purely negative and impelled by the industry that bankrolled your campaign and makes up your administration. All this, combined with the US's increased use of the death penalty, means that you are fast turning America into a "rogue superpower" comparable to China in the eyes of most of the world, whether you like that or not. Can that really be good for America?
I think it amazing that you should come here. You have made it quite plain on countless occasions that you have no interest, intellectual, economic or social in the world outside the good ol' US of A. Your attitude to foreigners seems to be akin to that of the little kid who eats all the cookies in jar leaving none for the rest of us. You seem to take pride in the fact your country is the greediest and most pollutant in the entire world.
Your supporters in their insular and prejudicial attitudes (as seen in this discussion) bring your country into disrepute. Do they not realise that this policy of "America First" will ultimately become "America Last" in terms of esteem and ethics?
Bush has hardly put a foot wrong since he was elected. In foreign policy, he has taken a much less pro-Israeli line, he has been tough but not too tough on the Chinese dictatorship and friendly to democratic Taiwan, he has told the IRA that they must disarm and he has tried to push freer trade in the Americas. He has appointed smart and able advisers and he has decided that defence policy should actually be about defending America's and its allies' citizens, rather than about raining death and destruction on its foes rather too late.
He has also completed Clinton's policy in refusing to ratify the obsolete and damaging Kyoto treaty. Since Clinton did absolutely nothing for 8 years to comply with the treaty, the only way in which America could reduce its emissions by the target date would be to buy lots of credits from Russia and Ukraine, which would not reduce its energy demand or global warming at all. America and the world will be paying for Clinton's poisonous legacy for a very long time to come.
We'll probably never know who won the vote in Florida, any more than we'll know who won the 1960 election, but Bush has certainly done America proud so far.
Firstly, Mr. Bush's refusal to sign the Kyoto agreement is not helpful given that the USA is the world's number one polluter. It is up to the rest of the world to sign the agreement and show Mr. Bush that the world does not revolve around America.
Secondly, Britain should refuse the U.S. defence shield because:
1. It will only serve to alienate other nations -both friendly and not so friendly.
2. It will spark another arms race -possibly with China.
3. The programme will use the Menwith Hill tracking station and will therefore make Britain a viable target of missile attacks.
4. British citizens will not be protected. We will serve as a human shield for American citizens.
5. Does anyone remember "Protect and Survive"?
It is time Mr. Blair focused Britain on Europe instead of spending time with a man who got the U.S presidency by default.
Please take note that you are one country in the world, you are not the world. You're problem lies in the fact that you think you are the world and that you can do as you please. Thanks to your gung ho tactics, your economy may last, but you will all die from a poisonous atmosphere. You may think that missile defence is defence, but are you so slow witted that you don't see that Russia, China etc will build new missile systems that can break through your new and expensive defence? Prime minister Blair may say he wants NMD, but he's a poodle, and the rest of the country doesn't want it.
Informed Americans, please accept my apologies, this rhetoric was not aimed at you.
I am sorry to read so many nasty, ill-informed comments about President Bush from my own countrymen. The environmental extremists in particular will say anything in pursuit of their half-baked ideas. Let me address three of the points being raised in this discussion. First: Bush is the legitimate President of the US. As numerous independent assessments have shown, even if the Supreme Court had let the illegitimate Florida recounts continue, Bush would have still won the election.
Second: global warming is not proved. Why should any nation (including our own) sacrifice its economic well-being on the altar of junk-science? Let's find out what's REALLY going on with the climate and then work out what can REALLY be done about it. Third: what on earth is wrong with defending yourself? Bush isn't planning any new weapon of destruction. He's trying to make sure maniacs in rogue states can't kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people by popping off long-range missiles. I only hope the UK will benefit from the protection of the NMD.
How can we take seriously a politician who has, before his presidency, allegedly only visited three countries overseas? Any politician who is elected to lead the world's one remaining superpower has bestowed upon him or her the responsibility to act in the interests of the world, and not just the sectarian oil interests of the USA. The Kyoto Agreement represents a statement by the world about the state of the world. It is the duty of the American president to acknowledge that the USA produces 25% of emissions that lead to global warming; it earns 38% of global GDP, and is in the best position to develop technologies that reduce the threats posed by global warming. Any American president must acknowledge the responsibility to act in the global interest.
Mr Bush, you are welcome to the UK, as are any of your country's people. But I ask you to listen to world opinion, as your predecessor did, and act responsibly in whom you claim to represent. The view from here is that you represent a narrow and sectarian interest. Prove that you are wrong.
While I agree with most people that it is good to have a political leader that cares about his/her country, first and foremost, we all have to accept that we, the global citizens, have a duty to protect the environment and the interests of our allies around the globe. May I remind the President of the United States that just because he comes from the most xenophobic place on the planet (please note the earlier quotes), it doesn't mean that you should ignore everyone else's view points, because at the end of the day they may come back to haunt you. Please also note that if you we are having the terrible unseasonable weather that we are having in France, rather than sun in most US cities, you would understand why the climate is a big issue. It is affecting our lives and destroying our crops already - just you wait until it starts to affect yours!
Mr President, if you truly are the Christian that you claim to be you might wish to ask yourself the following question: When you die and meet the Lord, what is he going to say to you? Is he going to thank you for putting money before protection of God's creation, is he going to thank you for approving of the executions of countless people? Will He really think that you have done to others as you would like them to do unto yourself, and have you ever considered the command Thou shalt no kill? Perhaps you should rethink your stance on the environment and human rights, or else perhaps you should stop being a hypocrite and admit you love power and money more than God and your fellow brothers and sisters on earth. Just a thought, Mr President.
If the rest of the world is prepared to let America hold a gun to the world's head - see missile defence, the potential development of low yield nuclear weapons, the resumption of nuclear testing and a refusal to accept environmental interests ahead of financial gain - should we really be that surprised if it also decides to pull the trigger? Despite suggestions on this site that 'leftist' Europe is resisting America's will, I see very little opposition to some of America's most controversial ideas from governments in the EU.
Thankfully we all live in the same small planet. Those outraged by the American government's behaviour can take solace in the fact the US will suffer the same fate as the rest of us if and when our worst fears are realised.
As an outside observer I have been stunned by the attitude of the US in general since the beginning of the saga which finally saw you elected, in perhaps the most debatable and from the outside apparently rigged election in living memory in a "civilised" country. Indeed, the US is the world's largest economy, but it also has the resources to finish the rest of the world off. The US economic success was built on a platform of technological advances and improved productivity techniques. Mr Bush seems hell bent on repaying those that bankrolled his election campaign with a series of initiatives that spell disaster for the world's ecological balance. Just because you are the biggest child in the playground does not mean you do as you please.
Congratulations George, your policies are a crowning achievement of small town thinking. To suggest that a country, which emits a quarter of the world's CO2 yet, accounts for barely four percent of the world's population doesn't have to listen to or agree with anyone else shows a stupefying level of arrogance. Perhaps one fine day when the USA style compensation legislation is used in some future UN world court, the rest of us will have the satisfying luxury of suing you for every cent over the damage you will have done. Drilling for oil in Alaskan wilderness? How will Hollywood reinterpret history to present the US as the heroes in the story of global warming? Quite a challenge!
Mr Bush, the burden of proof is on your side. You have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that significantly changing the composition of the atmosphere will not have dangerous consequences. Not the other way around.
Gordon, Tacoma, USA
President Bush, please keep up the great work. Don't listen to many of these leftist European snobs! America is great because it does not follow the socialist ways of many of these Europeans. I'm glad you dumped Kyoto because it would have hurt the American economy. And please continue with missile defence. Hello, many of you leftist Europeans. Wake up! Missile Defence is a DEFENSIVE shield - not offensive.
J P Traylen, New Zealand
Remember that the Europeans are competitors, Mr President, and that it is your job to serve American interests, not theirs. The cold war is over, our military and social alliances are outmoded, and the economic competition is on. You might just let them know this.
Mr President, I am ashamed that you represent my beloved country. I hope that our European neighbours will forgive such an embarrassment and remember that you will be voted out of office in four short years. Your poisonous and jingoistic ideals will soon be forgotten and soon, as a global community, we can get on to the business of sound environmental policy. Europeans, please forgive our faux pas of electing this buffoon.
Rahul Mahajan, UK / India
If there is one thing that everyone in the world has, it's an opinion of what America should or shouldn't be. Should Bush listen to the side of the world that tells him to get out of the way because the New World Order doesn't need America anymore, or should he listen to the side that wants the US to step up and be captain of the team? With the world intent on vilifying the US whichever way it turns, it's no wonder Bush has begun behaving unilaterally.
Here's a little side note for all of the Europeans and their misguided criticisms of President Bush's legitimacy. Mr Bush garnered a higher percentage of the popular vote than did Mr Clinton in either of his elections. You have the nerve to question President Bush's mandate without paying attention to US rule of law. The Electoral College elects the US President not the popular vote. It's always been that way, this is not news. My anger is directed towards the former President who in both of his elections earned less than 48% of the popular vote and dragged the majority of the voting citizens in this country along with him on his ill advised ego trips. Kyoto is dead, missile defence is going to happen and most importantly, clean your own house before you start complaining about ours. Good job, Mr Bush.
I'd like to pose some questions for President Bush: Are you aware that there are more people living outside the US than within its borders? If so, why are you trying to threaten the whole planet for the sake of political expediency and short term profit? And if not, surely you'd be better off spending some money on a clearly lacking education system in your country. Wake up! We only have one planet on which to live and, like it or not, it's up to us to make sure we don't wreck it !
Kyle M. Tate, USA
Please choose between working for the oil/ arms companies or working as US President.
Welcome to Europe Mr Bush! On behalf of the overwhelming majority of sane Europeans I apologise in advance for some of the noisy, unwashed and unrepresentative individuals who may try and disrupt your visit. Ignore them. They are just sad that their side lost the Cold War.
Mr Bush you were selected not elected, you do not represent the majority of Americans. Just go away.
Simon Morgan, England
I'm wondering if Europe will keep him, because I don't want him back....
Thank you, President Bush, for standing firm to protect my economic and national security. We're very proud of you.
I would suggest he went backpacking around the world for...oooh...at least four years to help him get a better idea of the other people who live in it.
Even after permanently damaging the supposedly protected wilderness of Alaska, there will still be vast energy shortages for America if it continues to guzzle fuel as if the world had limitless supplies. The basic fact is that America needs to undergo a fundamental change in attitude towards the environment. You can't claim to care for the planet whilst being utterly unwilling to modify your lives in the slightest. It's time to look seriously at renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency. America is obsessed with driving massively polluting cars, and having air conditioning on at inhumanly cold temperatures. It may be the American way of life, Mr. Bush, but it is not one you should be proud of, and it certainly should not be protected.
America feels it may act as it wishes in every respect, but it does not have a monopoly on the planet, and more importantly does not have a monopoly on suffering the effects of its selfish environmental abuse.
First Mr Bush (I really can't call you Mr President), you shouldn't be here because you lost the vote last year. However, on your flight over you should have at least grasped that the world consists of more than just the USA and that global climate change will not stop at US Immigration. Your NMD scheme is not defensive. Most of Europe, indeed the rest of the world, consider it to be extremely offensive (in all senses of the word). I fear, though, that multilateral is altogether too long a word for you. It is said that travel broadens the mind; let's face it, you have an awful lot of air miles to earn.
Dennis J. , USA
Please remember that you were not elected by a majority of the American people. You will follow what you believe, but listen to the majority, especially on the environment, who say environment should come ahead of economics by a wide majority.
I have to disagree with the general opinion about President Bush. Compared to the last president, Bush is someone we can trust. At least he can stand up for his convictions, and not be swayed by the rest of the world's new 'thing'. Think about it, the USA is the most powerful nation on Earth, the nay-sayers of this great nation must be insecure. While we complain about the USA and its world views, just remember who would be there to help you if a war broke out on your soil...
"Britain has been stuck in the middle between Europe and America since 1945"... Well, Britain, it is time to stop being so cynical of the USA and reclaim your glory, the honour you held in WWI and WWII.
I'm glad you're returning to Europe. You claim to be willing to listen to alternative ideas and viewpoints, but please don't forget that listening is more than letting sound waves bounce off your eardrums. Listening means allowing yourself to be influenced by other ideas and viewpoints. Try to treat our allies with the respect they deserve. Remember that while you're there to represent US interests, you also have responsibilities to the rest of the world. Please bring me some Belgian chocolate, I'll pay you when you get back. Send my warmest regards to the Queen and the PM!
Do you feel any pangs of guilt that, thanks to your personal narrow-minded environmental views, our children (including your own daughters) are likely to grow old in a very different and considerably less pleasant world than the one we currently enjoy?
Guy Chapman, UK
Can someone write down and give him a description of how blinkered and wrong his views are on global warming, preferably written in large letters with crayon in short words of less than 6 letters. Although I still don't hold much hope of him understanding or acknowledging it.... Wake up, Bush, the oil companies who have you in their pockets (not the other way round) are running America now, not you. Sort it out.
18 Jul 01 | Americas
14 Jun 01 | Europe
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