Thursday 7 November 2002

World braces for 'triumphant' Bush.

The world now faces President George W. Bush triumphant after the midterm elections. His Republican Party is in command of both Houses of Congress, and Bush can claim a potent new mandate for an assertive foreign policy whose unilateralist "America First" implications have disconcerted friends and foes alike.

"We are dealing with a power that has no limit in its dealing with foreign issues," said Mohammed Shaker, head of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations, whose wariness of a Bush administration unrestrained by any other branch of government was widely shared beyond U.S. shores.

Diplomats in Washington Wednesday, while noting that the executive branch was always in charge of foreign policy, suggested that the Republican majorities in Congress would give the Bush administration even more self-assurance in foreign policy, and adding weight to its more hawkish voices and weakening the doves.

"My guess is that one of the losers of this election campaign might be (Secretary of State) Colin Powell, who has been seen by most foreign governments as a voice of caution and of wisdom in an administration that otherwise seems largely filled with hawks," commented one senior NATO diplomat based in Washington.

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