- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

Scrambled omelet

Britain’s former ambassador to the United States yesterday warned of “mayhem” if President Bush, wounded by the midterm congressional elections, abruptly changes course in Iraq without consulting his staunchest ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Sir Christopher Meyer, ambassador here from 1997 to 2003, told the British Broadcasting Corp., “For better or worse, we cannot dissociate ourselves from whatever change of policy may emerge from Washington.”

Britain has more than 7,000 troops in Iraq, down from a high of about 10,000 during the invasion three years ago.

“We are there. We are fully integrated in what is going on, and the consequences of that must be, and I hope this is happening already, that we are being fully consulted and our views taken into full account, as things start to change in Washington,” Mr. Meyer said in the radio interview.

“You can’t unwind the past. You can’t unscramble the omelet. We are there, thousands of our troops are there. But I think it would be a recipe for even greater mayhem if we were to go careening off in one direction and the United States in another.

“The answer to that is proper consultation between the two big allies and to ensure forcefully that our views, if they happen to differ from those of the United States … are conveyed with all the vigor at our command.”

Reassuring Manila

The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines yesterday reassured President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that the congressional elections will have no affect on U.S. policy toward her country.

“Ties between the two countries will remain strong,” Ambassador Kristie Kenney told the Philippines television network, ABS-CBN, after meeting with the president.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop reaffirmed the ambassador’s message in an interview with the Agence France-Presse news service.

“Congress is a bipartisan group who knows the Philippines well, and I don’t expect we will see any change in course.”

India’s advantage

Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen thinks the relations between his country and the United States have reached “unprecedented heights” under the Bush administration.

Mr. Sen noted that the improvement in relations, which were tense during the Cold War, began to improve under President Clinton, who visited India in 2000. He called that trip a “watershed event.”

“The relationship was, however, propelled to unprecedented heights from the time that President Bush assumed office,” he told the newsletter of the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Inc.

The ambassador said Mr. Bush viewed India as a major trading partner and a key ally from the time he took office. India’s importance, he added, has grown since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

“President Bush perceived India not through a distorting subregional perspective but in a broader perspective of an emerging global player with which it would be in the interest of the U.S. to build a strategic partnership,” he said.

Mr. Bush, in a press conference Wednesday, said he will continue his efforts to win Senate approval during the upcoming lame-duck session of a major deal to allow India to purchase U.S. nuclear technology for civilian use.

“I’m trying to get the nuclear deal done,” he said.

The deal, passed by the House, was being held up in the Senate, even before the Republicans lost seats in Tuesday’s elections and control of both houses of Congress.

Mr. Sen, in his interview with the trade publication for municipal lawyers, said approval of the nuclear deal will spur investment in both countries.

“I hope that there will be bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate of the kind demonstrated in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Mr. Sen said. “This will generate greater investor confidence in both countries.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]

washingtontimes.com.


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