At today’s press conference, NBC’s David Gregory noted that, three years ago, the Bush administration predicted that “the invasion of Iraq would create a new stage of Arab-Israeli peace,” but that hasn’t happened.
In response, President Bush proudly declared that American foreign policy no longer seeks to “manage calm,” and derided policies that let anger and resentment lie “beneath the surface.” Bush said that the violence in the Middle East was evidence of a more effective foreign policy that addresses “root causes.” Watch it:
UPDATE: The video is now working.
QUESTION: Mr. President, both of you, I’d like to ask you about the big picture that you’re discussing. Mr. President, three years ago, you argued that an invasion of Iraq would create a new stage of Arab-Israeli peace. And yet today there is an Iraqi prime minister who has been sharply critical of Israel.
Arab governments, despite your arguments, who first criticized Hezbollah, have now changed their tune. Now they’re sharply critical of Israel. And despite from both of you warnings to Syria and Iran to back off support from Hezbollah, effectively, Mr. President, your words are being ignored.
So what has happened to America’s clout in this region that you’ve committed yourself to transform?
BUSH: It’s an interesting period because, instead of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of violence and instability.
For a while, American foreign policy was just, Let’s hope everything is calm — manage calm. But beneath the surface brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested on September the 11th.
And so we’ve taken a foreign policy that says: On the one hand, we will protect ourselves from further attack in the short run by being aggressive in chasing down the killers and bringing them to justice.
And make no mistake: They’re still out there, and they would like to harm our respective peoples because of what we stand for. In the long term, to defeat this ideology — and they’re bound by an ideology — you defeat it with a more hopeful ideology called freedom.