President Bush’s plummeting approval rating in the U.S. looks like a kind of “present” for his 60th anniversary on July 6th. And a lively debate over a possible successor to President Bush in the 2008 election is on.
Relations between Russia and the United States have recently grown colder, and with reason. Just take a look at the decision of Washington to tug Ukraine into NATO. As early as this November, Ukraine may be officially invited to integrate into the organization during NATO’s next summit in Riga.
I have come across an amazing fact during my latest trip to the U.S. Speaking to quite a few ordinary Americans about issues pertaining to U.S.-Russia relations, I learned that they did not share the opinion of the U.S. elite, which regard Russia an enemy state. The rank-and-file Americans were a bit confused – how on earth Bush and Cheney could lecture Putin if the latter’s approval rating is 75% while the former two have 29% and 12%, respectively.
Save for Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, President Bush’s approval rating is the lowest one U.S. presidents have had over the last 100 years. A misbegotten war in Iraq is the main reason. The issue of illegal immigration is yet another reason. There are 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. at the moment. They demand that their children be provided U.S. citizenship, free education, medical insurance etc. President Bush suggested that any illegal alien who had not break the law be granted U.S. citizenship. At the same time, Bush also proposed the building of a “fence” along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep fresh aliens from crossing it. American society went nearly hysterical over the proposed security fence on the southern border. U.S. television began broadcasting reports about enthusiasts who build fences on the border having bought construction material and equipment at their own expense. Other TV reports featured zealous U.S. housewives collecting trash left by illegal aliens while crossing the border area: empty water bottles and special footwear resembling Russian valenki (felt boots). The footwear reportedly enables immigrants to leave no footprints on the ground during an illegal crossing over the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Bush administration’ policies relating to economic security and social welfare is yet another sensitive issue for President Bush. The number of middlemen in the public heath system has become so high that even representatives of America ’s middle class cannot afford medical insurance these days.
The November election for U.S. Congress is just round the corner. The Republicans are most likely to lose it. The 2008 presidential race does not look so faraway either. Some pretty weird scenarios are still within the bounds of possibility e.g. Hillary Clinton vs. Condoleezza Rice. Both of them are tough politicians. However, Mrs. Clinton could be at a disadvantage if she becomes a Democratic presidential nominee. The thing is, a U.S. president is traditionally supposed to promote family values, which are not, without doubt, Mrs. Clinton’s strongest point. The Monica Lewinski scandal has little to do with the situation. The former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who recently survived a heart attack, is rumored to have made up his mind on having a ball big time. Rumor has it that Bill Clinton is dating a number of women. If there is no smoke without fire, the former president’s romantic pursuits will be reported far and wide by political adversaries of his wife.
The Republican Condoleezza Rice has some problems of her own in terms of family values. She is single, and nobody knows if she has a boyfriend. Her marital status is a breeding ground for gossip. Shortly after the 2008 presidential campaign kicks off, we are likely to hear about some women who would “admit” to having an affair with Rice. Such “confessions” would effectively eliminate her as a presidential candidate.
Another scenario would be based on a fight between two political dynasties. On other words, President Bush’s younger brother Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida , would compete against Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton and John McCaine seem the most likely rivals in the upcoming election provided that no new players climb the political scene. Senator John McCaine holds the highest approval rating among the potential Republican nominees. As for U.S.-Russia relations, McCain would be a pretty deplorable case. McCaine not only loathes Russia , he does not like Americans who sympathize with Russians either.
In light of the above, we might as well recall George W. Bush as one of the most Russia-friendly U.S. presidents. Despite all the calls in U.S. Congress and the media, President Bush has not changed his mind with regard to his attendance in the upcoming G8 summit in St. Petersburg. He is still on good friendly terms with President Putin of Russia. One can poke fun at George W. Bush for his simpleton’s manners, but it is during his presidency that the U.S. and Russia have became allies, the first time over the last few decades At least in the fight against terrorism, the U.S. and Russia sided with each other.
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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