US President George W. Bush, in a column published yesterday, said he was ready to work with Democrats on the eve of their takeover of Congress and said that a new strategy "to help the Iraqi people" was under way.
Bush wrote in the Wall Street Journal that winning the war in Iraq and making his tax cuts permanent were top priorities, two issues in which he has butted heads with Democrats.
"Together, we have a chance to serve the American people by solving the complex problems that many don't expect us to tackle, let alone solve, in the partisan environment of today's Washington," Bush wrote.
"To do that, however, we can't play politics as usual," he said in the column that appeared one day before lawmakers were to take their oaths of office.
"Democrats will control the House and Senate, and therefore we share the responsibility for what we achieve," he wrote.
Bush, whose Republican party's electoral defeat on Nov. 7 was widely attributed to the unpopularity of the Iraq war, said he would soon lay out a new strategy to help the Iraqi government gain full control over its affairs.
"Leaders in both parties understand the stakes in this struggle. We now have the opportunity to build a bipartisan consensus to fight and win the war," he wrote.
While reaching out to Democrats, Bush also warned that partisan bickering could lead to political deadlock in the final two years of his presidency.
"If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate," Bush wrote. "If a different approach is taken, the next two years can be fruitful ones for our nation."
"We can show the American people that Republicans and Democrats can come together to find ways to help make America a more secure, prosperous and hopeful society," he wrote. "And we will show our enemies that the open debate they believe is a fatal weakness is the great strength that has allowed democracies to flourish and succeed."
Bush promised yesterday to present a new Iraq policy in the days ahead amid warnings that even members of his own Republican party opposed escalating the unpopular war.
The president has previously said he is considering "all options," including a temporary increase of US troops in Iraq.
"In the days ahead, I will be addressing our nation about a new strategy to help the Iraqi people gain control of the security situation and hasten the day when the Iraqi government gains full control over its affairs," he wrote.
Bush was scheduled to meet congressional leaders of both major US parties yesterday for informal talks on a range of issues including Iraq, an administration official said on Tuesday.
"I'd expect a range of topics about the year ahead to be discussed among the group, including Iraq," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Bush has been holding consultations ahead of a speech, expected as early as next week, in which he is likely to unveil a new strategy for Iraq, possibly including an increase of troop numbers there.
Most opposition Democrats, some prominent Republicans, and the top US military commander in Baghdad, General George Casey, have warned against a prolonged expansion in military presence.
Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is strongly opposed to more troops, describing it to a newspaper columnist as a policy of "Alice in Wonderland."
And one of the most respected Republican foreign policy experts, Senator Richard Lugar, has urged the White House to first consult with lawmakers.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures