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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Bush and Europe: Has the trip been a success?
US President George W Bush has attended the inauguration of a new Nato-Russia council in Rome.
The council allows Moscow to join Nato's decision-making process, and is aimed at uniting the efforts of Russia and the alliance in the fight against terrorism.
The Nato summit concludes Mr Bush's tour of Europe, during which he has visited Germany Russia, France and Italy.
While in Russia, he signed a treaty with President Putin in which both leaders agreed to cut their countries' nuclear arsenal by two-thirds.
And in France he praised the unity which the United States has with its European allies, and spoke of his determination in the fight against global terrorism.
What do you think of President Bush's visit? Is there a special relationship between the US and Europe?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Bush's trip to Europe was successful in that it shows us that Europe does not support the war on terrorism. It boggles my mind to think that Europe would rather stand by and twiddle it's thumbs while terrorists plan their next hateful, murderous attacks on Western civilization.
There used to be a special relationship between our countries; after all, many Americans are of European descent. I see this relationship deteriorating quickly with enough blame to go around for everyone. Let's focus on the positive and do what we can to make this planet better a better place.
Gloria Smith, USA
You have to understand that George Bush was not elected by the American public, he was appointed by our Supreme Court. I do not agree with most of the things that he does, nor do most Americans. Quit lumping us all together. I thought Europeans were a lot smarter than that. We want a healthier environment; we also feel he is using terrorism to avoid the real problems that exist in our country, not just those you want us to focus on. Get off our backs and quit saying "Bush" and the American public in the same breath. It insults me. I did not vote for the man.
America is in a no-win situation. If we keep to ourselves, the world labels us isolationist. If we engage in world affairs, we are accused of hegemony. I think Europeans needs to grow up and understand that America is in a position to lead and we will. Its always easier to complain and play the "victim" than it is to take responsibility. We know its fashionable to bash America among western nations simply because we're the 800-pound gorilla in the jungle. We step on peoples toes and fall over ourselves. Doesn't mean we're "bad" or anything. Bush is not a warmonger. War was brought to us. We're just telling the world to wake up and do something about it because it is a threat to the civilized world, not just America.
From some of the comments here can I take it that Americans now regard criticism of President Bush to be unacceptable even from non-Americans in their own countries? Its a sad day when a country that thinks it invented the word "free" tries to smother peoples right to speak out and protest. Maybe that's why so many here think that Russia is now their friend.
I think that the trip was a success! It is very important to know if one's friends will turn their back on you when things get long and rough. This trip has opened many eyes to what Europe is to the USA.
It is my dream that some day this so-called special relationship comes to an end, the United States withdraws all its military forces from Europe and leaves the continent to defend itself. And my other dream is to have the US government stop providing foreign aid to countries and use the money for domestic and military purposes. I'm so tired of you foreign whiners.
It is time for the Americans to realise that this world is about coping with each other and about gaining mutual benefit, not about pursuing our own interests or gaining power over others.
During the course of history, having many neighbouring countries has forced Europeans to learn some of that. I think that is why the general mindset is so different between EU and the US.
Scott Wilson, New Zealand
From an American perspective, there is nothing more important than the war on terrorism.
Europeans need to wake up and support Israel (the only democracy in the Middle East) and the US, the only nation that seems willing to ensure our freedoms live on.
The President's trip was a resounding success. The protests, a blip on the radar, if that. There are always malcontents, it's what fuels their sorry lives. The visit to Putin is, perhaps the start of something truly meaningful.
G.C. Jordahl, USA
Bush is a weak leader who is more interested in grandstanding than in addressing deep issues. He talks about unity as he pursues policies designed to alienate and separate nations. He thinks the war on terrorism can be won the way we won World War Two so he makes jingoistic speeches on the beach at Normandy. I don't think we are any safer or more united today than before September 11. What has he accomplished?
Until September 11, nobody truly bothered about the relationship between the US and EU. Now it's time these two nations came close together, united and stayed focused on mutual interest for the benefit of worldwide peace.
Reading these boards always reminds me why I don't care about Europe at all these days.
As long as this administration keeps ignoring its people and its allies, a trip like this cannot be successful. Just as troubling is the European attitude that all Americans support the Bush administration. He didn't even win the popular vote in the last elections. Not that Al Gore would have been any better though.
Just because the citizens of the USA think Bush is now a really deep thinker, don't expect Europeans to be taken in by his nonsense. He always was a second rate choice for the job and the American people have only themselves to blame. And apparently his aids have made the timetable so strenuous he's tired - I wonder who will look better when he meets the Pope. I still have a few pictures with added captions from the last time they met!!
I believe that this trip has been most instructive for us Americans in reminding us that Europe no longer needs our assistance, capital or well wishes. Instead, perhaps the time has come to forge a "special" relationship (which no one in America even knows about) with Russia rather then the EU. After all, the EU is completely grown up now. The 50+ billion we invest in Nato and defence to keep the European states stable can be redirected to the people who really need it - Russia.
When your country is attacked, destroying any sense of security previously felt, maybe then you will understand why the "war on terror" is so important to us.
Since when did the US need Europe? As with all wars in the past, the only time America gets involved is when it is attacked itself. Many Europeans have been fighting a war on terror for hundreds of years, in some cases terrorism funded by US citizens. And then Americans ask us how we'd feel if we were attacked! It's no surprise that there is so much bad feeling between the two continents. I don't think a lecture by Bush will do anything to help.
It is interesting to see all of the comments here disparaging Bush and his policies as well as the reaction in Western Europe to his visit. Who would have thought ten years ago that a US president would get a warmer reception in Russia than in Germany? The truth is that I actually think we have a better friend in Russia now than in Western Europe, with the exception of the UK. I think that Europe has been very hard on Bush, in most cases unjustly. The things mentioned, the war on terrorism, our lack of support for Kyoto and the ICC all enjoy the overwhelming support of the American people. The ICC in particular goes against the US constitution which states that there shall be no court over the US Supreme Court. So, stop picking on Bush and at least realize that your disagreement is with the American people. This trip has been a success in that it has shown the divide that now exists between the views of the average American and European.
I think the trip was very successful. The USA has been battling a variety of stereotypes in Europe, and the current visit gave us an updated view on what the current US government wants to achieve both here and in the Middle East. We should not be striving for unity between the US and EU, but for mutual co-operation and dialogue. As long as we stay focused on the latter instead of the former, both parties will feel validated.
Now that he's gone back to the ranch I hope we'll all get a break from his droning rhetoric.
The EU needs to live in the new era and not in world war times and feel indebted to the US. Despite the historical similarities between the two continents there is a major difference in the way they think today. Therefore the EU needs to take a stand and pursue its own best interests, especially in foreign policy matters.
David du Parc Braham, London, UK
I believe the trip to Europe by Mr Bush has been a serious blow to US prestige and the last wake-up call for its misguided foreign policy. I've never remembered so many protests against any government leader. The USA has to realise that it's the age of electronic information, Propaganda and diversions are a thing of the past.
I follow the news quite closely, and I didn't even realise he was on a European tour. I think that says all that needs to be said about the state of our "special relationship".
Ed Karten, UK
The trip may have been sufficiently productive with the heads of European states for Bush to return home and deem it a success. The fact remains, however, that a vast majority of European citizens are seriously troubled with most of Bush's policies. Most troublesome are his capital punishment and environmental policies, where most Europeans see a disaster in the making. The most unfortunate aspect of all this is that it appears most Americans like Bush's current policies. Let's just hope he's swiftly replaced at the next election.
To Mikko in Finland: You've made a common mistake, which is to believe the European press. If you read the New York Times - it is online - you will see that there are indeed voices of dissent. Of course, Le Monde and the Independent sell more papers by appealing to Europeans' sense of righteous indignation. The line is often blurred between "George Bush" and "Americans". If Bush does not support the ICC, Europeans say "Americans think they are above reproach." As someone who tends to agree with the European majority on these issues, I find this misguided criticism very tiresome. And when this country does anything right - such as waving immigration rules to take in Sudanese refugees under the Clinton administration - no one pays attention! Is it any wonder we get defensive?
There are more important things in the world today than this tiresome war on terrorism. Has this cowboy nothing productive or proactive to say at all?
I think Bush's trip has been largely successful, although he may not have achieved everything he set out to achieve. We will see, in the weeks and months to come, how much unity was achieved.
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