The Magazine

The Tempting of the President

ADVANCE EDITORIAL from the April 21, 2003 issue: The postwar temptations that President Bush must resist.

Apr 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 31 • By FRED BARNES
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The United States has allowed France to exert influence that far exceeds its economic or military strength. One source of this power, France's U.N. veto, will be curtailed quite naturally as Bush turns away from the U.N. as a vehicle for American foreign policy. But it will take boldness to dash French power in another arena, the G8 summit of industrialized democracies. The G8 is antiquated. Neither France nor Canada has an economy that warrants membership. What's needed is a new organization that includes representatives of the dollar (U.S.), yen (Japan), pound (Great Britain), and euro (Germany), plus Italy and nations with rising economies (India, China, Russia). The president may balk at going this far, and indeed it would look vengeful. But he should at least let the world know that lining up with France against the United States will have adverse consequences.

It's a cliché to say the stakes are high in postwar Iraq, but it's true. The success of the Bush presidency is conditioned, in part, on success in creating a reasonably stable democracy in Iraq and in using leverage gained from military victory to curb WMDs and terrorism. Both before and during the war, Bush showed great courage in resisting temptations to prolong arms inspections, to placate the coalition of the unwilling, to appease world opinion, to delay the war, and on and on. Great courage will be required once again, this time to resist the softer temptations of the postwar world.

--Fred Barnes, for the Editors