I am at Dulles Airport right now, leaving for Miami in a few minutes. I will be down there with France’s Trade Minister and the French Ambassador to the U.S. and a few hundred others interested in French-American economic and political affairs.
After the way I was treated yesterday by overzealous imported police officers who are pumped up on the adrenaline of bashing a few innocent DC citizens as their policeman-in-chief, well the President, is inaugurated, I am all too happy to be leaving town.
I only have a minute but will be back later today with more commentary when I am in Miami and hopefully when my article I’ve been scrambling on for days is done.
But we are in a time, at least for a day or two, when even die-hard opponents of Bush are being respectful of his inauguration and of seeing the will of the people in the U.S. implemented tomorrow.
Here is a press comment I just received from European Parliament Member (a member of the German Green Party) Cem Oezdemir. It’s a magnanimous yet informed comment on Bush’s next term from Cem — who I know has serious problems with the Bush team’s foreign policy thus far:
PRESS RELEASE — Brussels, 19 January 2005
For a better second term of US President Bush: Strengthen international cooperation and diplomacy
Commenting on tomorrow’s second inauguration of U.S. President Bush, Cem Oezdemir, MEP, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said:
Emancipated from the need to be re-elected, American Presidents are freer to form the agenda of their second term. I hope that George W. Bush uses this room to manoeuver to reinvigorate the transatlantic relationship. The placement of known transatlanticists in key State Department posts gives hope of better times to come.
I take statements from the Secretary of State-designate Condolezza Rice about the importance of relationships with traditional allies as a policy impetus for the second Bush administration. Their policy in Iraq has proved disastrous and discredited the U.S. in the world — the Administration must learn from this experience. Similarly, their stated goal to democratize the Middle East would be torpedoed by a militarily aggressive policy toward Iran. A constructive strategy, which could tame Iran’s regime with the goal of democratic change in the Middle East must involve international organizations and the cooperation of democratic allies.

A lot of people will be giving Bush a new honeymoon on foreign policy issues — but all I can say is that all of those pundits who thought that Iraq had been so disastrous that the neocons would be out and the realists back in, were amazingly off target.
I argued that I saw no empirical evidence of neocon decline — and I think that we need to be careful of giving Bush too much room to run right now.
More later. . .from Miami.
— Steve Clemons