Thursday, November 16, 2006


From the Australian :

Mr Bush is being pressed to take a more pragmatic approach to threats confronting the US, as pressure continues to build on his administration to open a dialogue with Iran and Syria over their roles in Iraq.

One of the most stinging rebukes yet from his own party following (the US mid-term) electoral rout, in which the Republicans were swept from power in Congress, came yesterday from New York's Republican governor, George Pataki.

At a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Mr Pataki - the US's longest-serving governor, who is stepping down at the end of the year ahead of a possible presidential run - said the Bush administration had put ideology ahead of pragmatism in its decision-making.

Mr Pataki said: "Where were the pragmatists, where was the looking at the practical problems and saying 'OK, we're going to look at an American solution to this problem'?

"Too often ideology was imposed on what should have been a practical solution to the problems we face."

Mr Pataki told the Harvard audience he felt the mid-term vote was decided not on Iraq itself but on how the Bush administration had handled the war, saying: "We do need to rethink military policy in Iraq."

Asked by The Australian after his speech if he felt the Bush administration had allowed ideology to drive US foreign policy, Mr Pataki replied: "I think we just have to continue to reach out to all the different members of the global community in an understanding way and not in a confrontational way.

"I'm a great believer, when you have intelligent dialogue and respect for both sides, that you can find common ground. It's not easy but it's what the United States needs to seek more of in the global community."