I don’t often write about politics on this blog, but a couple of articles in the UK press caught my eye. In an interview with the (London) Times at the outset of his trip to the UK, President Bush admitted “that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq,” expressing “regret at the bitter divisions over the war.” The Times reported that Bush now aims “to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.”
Yet Bush’s attempt to heal old wounds seemed to fall on deaf ears.
The (London) Independent also issued a scathing editorial today reflecting on Bush’s visit and his presidency: “[P]erhaps Mr. Bush’s most significant legacy, as far as Britain is concerned, will be the destruction of the instinctive trust of America and its leaders that once prevailed here. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Bush has done more damage to relations between our two nations than any president in living memory. This rupture is not an accident of circumstance; there are no impersonal forces of history to blame. This sorry state of affairs is the consequence of the actions of a single leader and his small coterie of advisers. … And whatever the future holds for transatlantic relations, there will be very few in this country who watched President Bush’s plane depart yesterday without a feeling of profound relief that the end of this disastrous presidency is finally in sight.”