Final Word from Tuesday, November 9, 2004

It's payback time for foreign leaders who helped Bush during the election campaign, according to the International Herald Tribune. This means mainly Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin. The CR doesn't play a key role in American foreign policy, as MP Petr Nečas of ODS noted last week, but Stanislav Gross did play a tiny part in helping Bush win reelection. After Bush called Gross on Sept. 6, the Czech cabinet agreed to postpone the withdrawal of personnel from Iraq until after the Iraqi elections early next year. This helped the CR stay out of the pre-election headlines in the U.S. as yet another country abandoning Bush. It also left open the possibility - however remote - of convincing the Czechs to extend the Iraqi assignment even longer. The U.S. owes Gross a small debt of gratitude, if it can ever get over the disappointment of losing the Gripen and ČSA deals. U.K. Russia Italy George W. Bush

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