BUSH CONTACTS THIS WEEK POINT TO CHANGES IN US FOREIGN POLICY

As the new Bush administration settles into the White House, the US State Department makes its first contacts and arranges its first meetings, pointing to a change in US foreign policy. Whereas the Middle East was the focus of the Clinton administration’s foreign policy, it is clear that the US foreign policy under President Bush will be more oriented towards old friends and neighbours, as we can see from the first spate of meetings. As governor of Texas for six years, George Bush will have understood that more and more “Chicanos” (Mexicans) are moving north into US territory, where their integration is not always easy. Indeed, precisely in Texas, there is a situation of exclusion and segregation, the Caucasian and living with their backs turned to each other. George Bush will have learnt that to halt this tide of immigrants, his country has to help the Mexican government to improve living conditions on the other side of the border. In it is in this context that Vicente Fox will travel to Mexico on 16th February. The USA’s other neighbour to the north, Canada, is also in focus. The Canadian Foreign Minister, John Manley, met Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, last Thursday and this week, the British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, flies to Washington. Last Friday, the Japanese Foreign Minister, Yohei Kono, met Colin Powell to discuss joint Japanese-American policy towards North Korea. Old friends and neighbours are then the flavour of the day in Washington. Does this mean also that old enemies will again be the victims of Washington’s caprices?

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON