As the US Presidential election gets under way and Vice President Gore and Governor George Bush lie neck-and-neck in the race, the Portuguese press reports on what the election of Bush would mean. The main advisor in George Bush’s team on foreign policy and defense, the hawkish Condoleeza Rice, who has already pronounced herself on Russia’s future IMF funding, defends the position that the US forces should leave the Balkans. She maintains that the USA should supply logistic and intelligence support but leave the manning on the ground to the European partners in NATO. This lady is tipped to be Bush’s National Security Advisor, if the Republic candidate is elected. Governor Bush himself has stated that in his opinion, US soldiers are involved in too many peace-keeping missions around the world. He wants a US military force which is more “warriors”, to make and win wars, than “peacekeepers”. Madeleine Albright reacted against Condoleeza Rice’s comments: “I am the United States Secretary of State (Foreign Secretary) until next January 20th and this (Rice’s comments) damages the country’s foreign policy”. Vice President Gore backs up Albright’s comments with a reiteration of the “world policeman” doctrine : “Without the USA’s participation in peace missions, the country will not be able to exercise its leadership over NATO. Without this leadership, the alliance may be condemned and peace in Europe may not be long-lasting. Governor Bush’s proposals would be the greatest change in our external policy for 25 years”. Reading between the lines, it seems we can all expect more of the same. As they say in Hollywood, “the show must go on”.
Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Lisbon 2000-10-24
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now