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Top 10 Things President Bush Has Done Right

A Birthday Bouquet


Passport, the blog of Foreign Policy magazine, used the occasion of George W. Bush's 61st birthday (7/6/07) to print a list of things his Administration has done right in U.S. foreign policy. As they wrote, "Passport is usually pretty critical of the Prez. So for a change of pace and out of respect for the man's special day, here are the top ten things Bush and his team have gotten right during his time in office. No wisecracks, I promise."

Here, I took their list and expanded on each item.

1. Boosting Aid to Africa Threefold

American food aid delivered to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa
Photo: Stanley Foundation/Kristin McHugh
This story from the Washington Post says, "The president has tripled direct humanitarian and development aid to the world's most impoverished continent since taking office and recently vowed to double that increased amount by 2010 -- to nearly $9 billion."

2. Preventing a Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan have been arch rivals since independence in 1947. The addition of nuclear weapons into the dispute (India tested their first thermonuclear weapon in May of 1998. Pakistan got the bomb later that same month) could have meant global disaster. And it still could.

3. Taking Down the A.Q. Khan Nuclear Proliferation Network

A.Q. Kahn is considered the father of Pakistan's nuclear program. But several years ago, he confessed to leaking nuclear know-how and materials to Iran and Libya. Security experts suspect he also helped other countries including North Korea. Kahn is under house arrest in Pakistan. Critics say the Bush Administration should have acted faster on the Khan situation.

4. Getting Libya To Give Up Its WMD Programs And Renounce Terrorism

In late 2003, President Bush announced that "quiet diplomacy" had led to a breakthrough with Libya. Libya agreed to give up all weapons of mass destruction programs and allow international inspection of suspected weapons sites. The president has implied that Libya agreed to all this after seing how the United States reacted to Iraq's suspected weapons program. Critics paint a different picture.

5. Turning Independent-Minded India Into a Strategic Ally

A worker in an Indian uranium mine.
Photo: Stanley Foundation/FSN
The United States has engaged India on many topics. The most controversial is a plan to share nuclear technology with India in a way which critics say will do grave damage to the global Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

6. After a Rough Start, Sticking To a Pragmatic China Policy

There are no easy choices for the United States when it comes to China. Our interests in Chinese human rights, labor rights, and foreign involvement compete with the fact that China is a major American customer and big parts of America's foreign debt are held by China. The administration has done what it can to steer a middle course... which is often satisfying to no one.

7. Getting North Korea To Shut Down Its Nuclear Reactor (Eventually)

U.S. envoy to North Korea Christopher Hill.
Photo: Getty/Chung Sung-Jun
In what is considered a diplomatic "win" for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the more aggressive policies of Vice President Dick Cheney, the United States has made slow but steady progress in dealing with North Korea.

8. Decapitating Al Qaeda's Top Leadership And Not Having a 2nd 9/11

Proving why something didn't happen is difficult, but we have to acknowledge that there has not been another 9/11 level attack on America. And many members of Al Qaeda are no longer with us.

9. Giving Immigration Reform The Old College Try

The president's immigration reform bill ran into a buzzsaw of criticism from the right and the left. The bill eventually failed (twice), and now we are left with the same old broken system. The About Guides to Immigration have full coverage.

10. Challenging His Party On Harmful Ag Subsidies While Pushing Free Trade

The United States has seriously reduced the subsidies it pays to farmers and pushed for worldwide reductions to level the playing field for international trade.

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