WASHINGTON – Ahead of this week’s
Bush probably will get some of what he wants at the meetings Tuesday through Thursday in . But with only nine months left in his term, Bush may find his ability diminished to persuade European leaders, just as it is with Congress. That is a reflection of the president’s low public approval ratings and the anticipation of a new administration that will set policy.
European leaders know the new president could shift course on. For that reason, they may seek to put aside some decision, including commitments to Ukraine and Georgia, until after Bush leaves office in January.
“I think this NATO summit is basically the ‘Goodbye George’ summit,” said Daniel Hamilton, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. “A lot of the energy is looking beyond the administration.”
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President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin embrace following a media conference at the G8 summit site in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, July 15, 2006. Bush is beginning his farewell tour on the world stage trailed by questions about how much clout he still wields. Unpopular abroad, as he is at home, Bush nevertheless has been a commanding presence among world leaders for the past seven years. Now, with fewer than 300 days left in his term, other presidents and prime ministers are looking beyond Bush to see who will occupy his chair a year from now. Bush will meet with Putin next week in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)