Bush counts “strategic partnership with India” as achievement

January 16th, 2009 - 9:48 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 16 (IANS) President George W. Bush counts opening “a new historic and strategic partnership with India” and strengthening ties with China among major foreign policy achievements of his eight year rule.Urging Americans “to continue to engage the world with confidence in the transformative power of freedom and liberty,” he told US Foreign Service officials Thursday, “These are the ideals that gave birth to our own nation-these universal ideals gave birth to America.”

“And over the past eight years, together we have worked to advance these ideals. And every member of this department can be proud of the results,” Bush said at his last official function at the State Department.

“In the Middle East, we stood with dissidents and young democracies. Sometimes that was not easy to do. But we stood strong with those young democracies. We outlined a vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,” he said.

“In Asia, we deepened our alliances with old friends, Japan and South Korea, and we strengthened ties with China, Bush said.

“I’m not so sure if this is historically accurate, but we may be the only administration that has had really good ties with Japan, South Korea and China all at the same time.”

“And we opened a new historic and strategic partnership with India,” he said without referring to the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal or burgeoning ties in all spheres from defence to trade.

In Europe, Washington expanded NATO to include new democracies from the Baltics to the Balkans, he said noting “We work in a multilateral fashion to deal with issues like Iran and North Korea.”

In Africa, US helped resolve old conflicts and form new partnerships to confront hunger and disease and poverty, Bush said. He “also acted on this timeless belief, to whom much is given, much is required. We have been given a lot in our country.”

“And it’s not only in our strategic interests that we deal with hunger and disease, it is in our moral interest that we do so, as well,” he said.

“In the Western Hemisphere, we expanded trade and helped our fellow democracies deliver prosperity and social justice to their people,” he said. “And around the world, we built a coalition of more than 90 nations to fight terror and advance the cause of freedom in the great ideological struggle of our time.”

“In short, we’ve made our alliances stronger, we’ve made our nation safer, and we have made the world freer,” he added.

Welcoming Bush at the State Department ceremony, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice predicted history would be kind to the outgoing president.

“As the din of debate and argument fades, things that were once thought to be impossible are remembered years later as, well, inevitable,” Rice said. “That is why, Mr. President, history’s judgment is rarely the same as today’s headlines.”

In turn Bush declared: “History will say that Condi Rice was one of the great secretaries of state our country has ever had.”

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