Looking back at Bush’s blunders — Analysis

From the tragic to the comic, here’s a recap of some of the standout foreign policy snafus of the George W. Bush years

Newly released state papers reveal that George W. Bush admitted in 1998 he “did not know much about international affairs.” Winning the presidency two years later, Bush would go on to demonstrate this on numerous occasions.

The files, released by the British National Archives, reveal Bush told then-UK Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer that, in Meyer’s words, “he did not know much about international affairs and that he would do well to broaden his experience.”Bush declined an offer to travel to the UK because of his focus on Texas’s upcoming election. However, two years later, Bush would become governor after receiving a crash program in international diplomacy.

Here’s some of Bush’s even less shining moments.

Massaging Merkel

Foreign policy is an arena defined by unspoken rules and protocol, with ‘don’t grope the German chancellor’ a seemingly obvious diplomatic commandment.

Yet Bush did just this at the 2006 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, back when Russia was still invited to the group’s meetings. Strolling into a meeting room, Bush ambushed Angela Merkel from behind, attempting to massage the German chancellor’s shoulders. Merkel, taken by surprise, threw her arms into the air and shrugged off Bush’s impromptu massage.

This incident became viral online at that time. Even in the years prior to the #MeToo movement, Bush was still accused by Democrats. “sexual harassment.”

Achievement of the Mission

Bush, in a typical case of counting his chickens appeared on deck of USS Abraham Lincoln to announce the end of major combat activities in Iraq in May 2003, just two months after it began. Behind Bush stood a huge banner. “Mission Accomplished,”Bush stated that he believed it. “the United States and our allies have prevailed”Iraq.

It turned out that the war would quickly turn into an insurgency. ISIS would gain power and, although the combat mission of ISIS would end significantly in 2011, the US would still be in Iraq up to the present. The vast majority of American and Iraqi casualties, both military and civilian, would also take place in the years following Bush’s ill-timed speech.

The speech became a symbol of Bush’s unrealistic expectations for the war, and in 2009 he told reporters that “clearly, putting ‘Mission Accomplished’ on an aircraft carrier was a mistake.”Bush also admitted to the same thing that Saddam Hussein did not possess the weapons of destruction he had promised him. “a significant disappointment.”

Escape from the Press

Bush visited China in 2005 after urging the Chinese Community Party (CCP) to become more Taiwan-like. “has delivered prosperity to its people and created a free and democratic Chinese society”By embracing Western-style democracy.

As China does not consider Taiwan a separate country, Bush’s statement got the trip off to a bad start, and the president’s problems only piled up from there. Bush got into a heated argument with a reporter about a lackluster press conference held in Beijing alongside Chinese President Hu Jintao. “off [his] game.”

“Ever heard of jet lag?”Bush answered, then made his way to the exit. Bush, entrapped behind two closed doors, was obliged to return to the podium, to laughter from the crowd, and tell the journalists. “I was trying to escape. But it didn’t work.


Though some of Bush’s confidants insist that he was exceptionally well read and informed, the then-president often displayed a loose command of the English language, mangling common phrases and idioms, and seemingly inventing new words on the fly. Here’s a few of his most notable blunders on matters of foreign policy.

  • “You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror” – From a 2006 CBS News interview, three years after connecting Iraq to the war on terror and invading the country

  • “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” – An unfortunate, and perhaps revealing, slip-up during a 2004 speech

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