The annual State of the Union speech made by the US President is of interest not only for Americans, but for the entire international community seeing the speech’s statements the ideas of the direction for the US foreign policy for this year.
Many experts estimate the President Bush’s State of the Union speech as the start of his pre-election campaign. It is obvious that all important statements of the US politicians are being made counting on the November elections. In any case, As usual, the biggest part of George Bush’s speech was devoted to providing security to the USA. Two years ago the so-called “axis of evil” (Iran, Iraq, North Korea) was called the main issue of the US foreign policy. Last year this “axis” “dried out” to Iraq. After Bush’s State of the Union speech in 2003 everyone understood that the war was inevitable. And soon the war broke out.
It is time to estimate the first results of the work of the US administration aiming at providing security of the country. According to President Bush, significant results have been achieved, but it is still early to be calm. In general, we are on the right track and no obstacle can stop us.
President Bush had to speak on the situation in Iraq because throughout last year the Iraqi war was in the focus of the international public opinion. George Bush did not elaborate much the issue of the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, he just mentioned that if Saddam’s Hussein’s regime had not been overthrown, Iraqis would continue developing WMD. One more interesting Bush’s statement on Iraq, “combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein, and the people of Iraq are free.” Yet last year the US administration was not cooperating much with the UN. However, later the occupation of Iraq demonstrated that the UN support is critical for Washington. There are constant doubts if deploying the troops of the USA and their allies on the territory of the sovereign country is legitimate.
According to Bush’s speech, the primary target for the US foreign policy in 2004 is Middle East. Special objects for the US scrutiny will be Iraq and Afghanistan along with “developing democracy” in the region. For this purpose, new TV network will be created (probably the capacities of the Voice of America are no longer sufficient), and additional funds will be allocated to the National Foundation for Democracy.
President Bush said nothing in his speech of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Road Map peace settlement plan, although in 2003 the USA paid much attention to this issue. For instance, President Bush met Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.
Probably, the White House decided not to apply its energy in vain and concentrate on Iraq, at the same time letting Israelis and Palestinians to solve their issues themselves. Speaking on the Middle East, President Bush said that “we will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, so those nations can light the way for others, and help transform a troubled part of the world”.
President Bush said nothing about Russia and many other countries (except for those provided support to the US in the Iraqi war). This is not extraordinary because the speech is called “On situation in the country” and addressed to Americans. However, one statement attracts attention. Speaking of fighting terrorism, President Bush said that despite the success it is too early to be satisfied and the “killing” in “Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Mombasa, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and Baghdad” proves this. It is hard to imagine that Washington is not aware of the acts of terrorism in Moscow and Stavropol region of Russia in 2003, which resulted in loss of the lives of dozens of people. Many experts already paid attention to the fact that after the explosion of the electric train in the town of Essentuki in December 2003, President Bush expressed no condolences. Although the US President did so earlier by offering “any kind of assistance” during the seizure of the Nord-Ost musical theater by terrorists and saying that “the civilized countries will gain a victory in struggle with terrorism” after the explosion in Tushino at the music festival. Does the current lack of attention mean that Russia is no longer a partner of the anti-terrorist coalition led by the USA?
Bush’s statements on the US foreign policy seems to be of double meaning as well. On the one hand, the objectives of the US administration are clearly defined. On the other hand, one can understand that the White House still intends to make decisions on critical issues unilaterally. The opinion of the international community is still not of importance for the USA. For example, the USA needs the UN just as a tool for solving momentary tasks. The President said that America is not going to ask for permission to protect itself. One may assume that President Bush means himself and his special mission under the word “America”.
One more statement of President Bush was about the budget proposals he is going to submit to the Congress in two weeks. This budget will provide funding the war, defense of the country and will allow to solve some important domestic issues. George Bush recommended the Congress to cut extra spending and save the people’s money. Probably, he does not relate the war to “extra spending”.