- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt sharply criticized President Bush's foreign policy yesterday in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, decrying the president's "go it alone" attitude.
On everything from global warming to international treaties and ballistic missile defense, Mr. Gephardt portrayed the administration's approach as unilateral and perplexing to the rest of the world.
"Europeans are worried that America is on the sidelines," he said. "They think the Bush administration has embraced a go-it-alone policy that undermines international security, hurts our economic and environmental interests, and prevents us from seizing a historic opportunity with the Russians. This is a chilling message."
The White House did not respond to the remarks yesterday.
In criticizing the president, Mr. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, joined Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, who two weeks ago called the president's foreign policy isolationist just before the president left for a meeting with international leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Former President Jimmy Carter also has voiced concern about the president's performance on international issues.
Both Mr. Carter and Mr. Daschle later toned down their remarks. Mr. Daschle said the president appeared to have been successful in negotiating an end to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Mr. Putin. Two other Democrats, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, last week praised the president for his diplomatic approach to missile defense and the ABM Treaty.
But Mr. Gephardt found problems with the president's policies at almost every turn particularly on Russia. He said Mr. Bush missed an opportunity to critique Russia's human rights record under Mr. Putin, and risks missing another opportunity by pushing ahead with missile defense unilaterally.
Last month Mr. Gephardt led a congressional delegation to London, Berlin, Brussels and Moscow, and he said leaders in those countries are worried about the president's policies.
Political observers believe Mr. Gephardt used the speech to give a picture of what his foreign policy might look as he considers a bid for president in 2004. He emphasized the importance of collaboration and negotiation with other countries on topics such as reducing global warming and allowing Russia to join NATO.
Mr. Gephardt said working with Russia is essential to opening talks with North Korea and China, and would help build a stronger policy to prevent new nations from gaining nuclear weapons.
He also said it would help develop international efforts to battle problems such as AIDS.
"I am convinced that the key to this partnership is to identify common threats, build common institutions, and promote a common commitment to democratic values," he said.
Mr. Gephardt had specific barbs for some of Mr. Bush's staff. He said White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has confused the Russians on missile defense and, as for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Mr. Gephardt said he "seems to be off concocting a new defense strategy without bringing in the uniforms who are going to have to carry it out. "
About the only praise Mr. Gephardt had for the administration was for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who he called "a good thinker on a lot of these issues." Though, he said, only now is thr former general gaining the influence he should have in the administration.

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