The List: Bush’s G8 To-Do List

The annual summit of the Group of Eight industrialized countries is the picture of multilateralism at work. But behind the lofty public agenda, there’s also a lot of bilateral horse-trading. FP takes a look at what Bush hoped to elicit from his fellow G8 leaders and what he’ll have to do to get what he wants.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair


Bush wants: Blair to be popular again. His status as Bushs strongest ally in the war on terror has pummeled his poll numbers back home. To his credit, Bush at least seems aware of his radioactive effect on Blairs popularity. At a joint press conference at the White House in May, Bush apologized for his cowboy talk, which often sent the wrong signal to people around the world, adding that he wants Blair in office so long as I’m the president.

What he must do: Push for progress on aid for Africa and climate change, Blairs pet topics when he hosted the G8 at Gleneagles, Scotland, last year. Putting Blairs good deeds in the spotlightand keeping his distance during photo-opsshould help to combat descriptions of Blair as Bushs poodle in British editorials.

French President Jacques Chirac

Bush wants: Chiracs continued support on Iran negotiations. Despite the duos past clashes on Iraq and agricultural subsidies, Chirac and Bush are of one mind on Tehrans nuclear ambitions. Bush hopes to keep the French president in the sanctions corner and prevent him from blaming the United States for the collapse of the Doha round of international trade negotiations.

What he must do: Hold his tongue and avoid any suggestion that Dohas failure is Frances fault.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper


Bush wants: Canada to stay the course in Afghanistan. Since taking office in February, Harper has extended Canadas controversial mission there2,300 troops stronguntil 2009. Bush would also like Harper, a fellow conservative, to endorse the idea that the U.S.-Canada relationship is one of the few vital ones not in tatters.

What he must do: Develop more trade accords like the softwood lumber export agreement the two countries just inked. Harper also wants Bush to keep American anti-immigration advocates focused on the southern U.S. border.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

Bush wants: Koizumi to refrain from visiting the Yasukuni shrine before he leaves office this September. The shrine is dedicated to Japanese soldiers who died fighting for the emperor, and is considered by some to be a symbol of Japanese aggression. A pilgrimage this year would infuriate the Chinese, the last thing the United States wants as North Korea sets off its fireworks.

What he must do: Bush already rolled out the star treatment during Koizumis trip to Washington and Graceland. It was part thank you to Koizumi for supporting the United States in Iraq, and part encouragement to bypass the controversial war shrine on his way out of office.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel


Bush wants: Merkel to continue taking the lead on preventing Iran from going nuclear. In a recent Pew Global Attitudes poll, the proportion of Germans who opposed Irans acquisition of nuclear weapons was 97 percent, the highest in the world. But only 25 percent have confidence in Bushs international leadership. Hes hoping that Merkel can help him bridge the Atlantic divide.

What he must do: Engage in more Euro-speak on the importance of diplomacy. Merkel may also push for a more definitive stance on the closing of the U.S. detention facility at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, an issue she raised during her trip to Washington this year.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi

Bush wants: Prodi to conduct his planned end-of-year pullout from Iraq quietly while standing firm in Afghanistan. Bush will probably not tolerate any gloating over Prodis political rival, Bush chum Silvio Berlusconi, who faces an upcoming trial for fraud.

What he must do: Take seriously Italian anger about the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects that have allegedly taken place in the country. One current controversy, for example, is raging about the recent arrest of several Italian intelligence officials who were allegedly involved in the 2003 abduction of a radical Egyptian cleric on the streets of Milan. The kidnapping was apparently prompted by demands from U.S. counterterrorism officials.


Russian President Vladimir Putin


Bush wants: Putin to reconsider his opposition to sanctions against Tehran and Pyongyang. Barring that, Bush hopes Putin will delay plans for joint oil and gas ventures with Iran.

What he must do: In exchange for Russias cooperation on Iran, the United States announced in the run-up to the summit that it will allow Russia to enter the lucrative market of storing spent nuclear fuel. But if Putin continues to demand that the United States cools its support for Ukraines and Georgias NATO membership bids, Bushs patience with the Russian leader could wear thin. Either way, Bush must play nice at the meeting. Russia is still smarting from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheneys recent tongue-lashing for backsliding on democracy and using energy to intimidate neighbors. Dont expect similar language from Bush in St. Petersburg.

All photos courtesy whitehouse.gov

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