Bush's New-Found Diplomatic Style

NPR's Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that President Bush seems to have abandoned "cowboy diplomacy" in favor of a new, softer diplomatic style.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DANIEL SCHORR reporting:

Three-quarters of the way through his term in office, President Bush has apparently decided to put away his cowboy spurs and try a softer touch.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: Inherent powers and pre-emptive attack are terms that have almost disappeared from the White House lexicon. The President has bowed to the Supreme Court, and for the first time, acknowledged that detainees have rights under international law spelled out in the Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners.

The Pentagon has issued a memorandum to that effect, covering service personnel. It is unclear whether intelligence agencies will follow suit. Some of the arrogant favoritism to administration friends may be diminishing. The Army is ending its no-bid contract with the giant Halliburton company, once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney.

American diplomacy has taken on a softer tone. North Korea and Iran are admonished to give up their threatening arms programs, but there are no ultimatums. Iran is offered a bag of economic and energy goodies as an incentive to cooperate, and when no reply is forthcoming, the United States joins other countries in referring the issue to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

The summer session of the G-8 Industrial Powers in St. Petersburg this weekend may provide a test of President Bush's current diplomatic style. If he does not seize the opportunity to criticize his host - President Vladimir Putin - for backsliding on democracy, he will disappoint his core conservatives at home.

But the confrontation will provide an indication of whether cowboy diplomacy for President Bush is really over. This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.