Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Billionaire Soros makes ousting Bush No. 1 goal

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

PHOTO: AFP

George Soros, one of the world's wealthiest financiers and philanthropists, has declared that getting US President George W. Bush out of the White House has become the "central focus" of his life, and he has put more than US$15 million of his own money where his mouth is.

Soros argues that the Bush White House is guided by a "supremacist ideology" that is leading it to abuse US power in its dealings with the rest of the world, and creating a state of permanent warfare.

He has mounted a single-minded campaign involving a book, magazine and newspaper articles as well as multi-million dollar donations to liberal groups, all aimed at defeating Bush in the November elections next year, a contest he describes as "a matter of life and death."

The Hungarian emigre and finance genius has given nearly US$5 billion to oppose dictators in Africa, Asia and the former Soviet bloc, but now he is directing his energies at the elected leader of his adopted country.

"It is the central focus of my life," he told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday, after announcing a donation of US$5 million to a liberal activist organization called MoveOn.org.

The gift brings the total amount in donations to groups dedicated to Bush's removal to US$15.5 million.

Anti-bush dollars

Other pledges of cash have gone to America Coming Together, an anti-Bush group that proposes to mobilize voters against the president in 17 battleground states. Soros and a friend, Peter Lewis, the chairman of a car insurance company, promised US$10 million.

Soros has also helped to bankroll a new liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, to be headed by former US president Bill Clinton's former chief of staff, John Podesta, which will aim to counter the rising influence of neo-conservative institutions in Washington.

The 74-year-old investor, who made a fortune betting against the pound in the late 1980s and against the dollar this year, is to lay out the reasons for his detestation of the Bush administration in a book to be published in January, titled The Bubble of American Supremacy, a polemic which he has half-jokingly dubbed the "Soros Doctrine."

In the book, he will argue that the US is doing itself immeasurable harm by its heavy-handed role in the world.

"The dominant position the United States occupies in the world is the element of reality that is being distorted," he writes, according to an excerpt to be published in next month's Atlantic Monthly magazine.

"The proposition that the United States will be better off if it uses its position to impose its values and interests everywhere is the misconception. It is exactly by not abusing its power that America attained its current position."

The Bush administration's "war on terrorism" cannot be won, he argues, but is instead ushering in "a permanent state of war." He uses the emotive terms like "supremacist ideology" deliberately, saying that some of the rhetoric coming from the White House reminds him of his childhood in Nazi-occupied Hungary.

Fascist flavor

"When I hear Bush say, `You're either with us or against us,' it reminds me of the Germans," he said in Tuesday's interview. "My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me."

His remarks have infuriated the Republican party, which has accused him of promoting his interests with the steady flow of money to like-minded institutions, and avoiding federal limits on donations to political parties -- an allegation which Democrats consistently level at big business for its links with the Republicans.

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