"When I say I'm confident, I am so because I understand the mentality of the American people," Bush said. "And I understand the mentality of our candidates. And there's no question in my mind, with your help, 2008 is going to be a great year."
"The winner of the 2008 elections will command U.S. forces still at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and against elusive terrorists with a deadly reach. The U.S. economy will remain burdened. ... America's moral leadership and decision-making competence will continue to be questioned," begins a study of foreign-policy choices for the next president, which a Georgetown University task force released last month.
Oil prices are at an all-time high, the dollar at new lows against the euro. Surveys find the United States' popularity and respect slipping in every part of the globe except Africa. A poll of 3,400 active and retired U.S. military officers by Foreign Policy magazine found that 88 percent agreed with the statement that "The war in Iraq has stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin."
Because of the invasion of Iraq, "America's strategic position in the world has worsened," said Josef Joffe, the editor and publisher of Die Zeit, a German weekly that's sympathetic to United States. "From a coldly realist perspective, Iraq was the wrong war against the wrong foe at the wrong time."
The removal of Saddam Hussein strengthened Iran and "by entangling itself in an interminable civil war, the U.S. has lost power to spare," Joffe said.
"Since 9/11, the United States has been exporting fear and anger rather than the more traditional values of hope and optimism. Suspicions of American power have run deep," Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state under Bush, and Joseph Nye, a Pentagon official under President Clinton, wrote in a December report published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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