Bush, Dems Air Foreign Policy Debate

President George W. Bush and Gov. Bill Richardson
CBS/Getty/AP
Both President Bush and the Democrats tackled foreign policy in Saturday's weekly radio addresses.

The president said he would work with allies to get a UN Security Council resolution mandating a multinational force in southern Lebanon, where fighting has raged between Israel and the Hezbollah militia.

"This approach will demonstrate the international community's determination to support the government of Lebanon, and defeat the threat from Hezbollah and its foreign sponsors," he said.

The US government has insisted that any cease-fire should come with conditions to address long-standing regional disputes, including the insistence by Israel that Hezbollah be disarmed, something the Lebanese government has been unable to do.

The president had tough words for two of Hezbollah's biggest supporters.

Mr. Bush told Iran to stop sending weapons and money to the militants, and he warned Syria to stop its "support for terrorism" and to respect the sovereignty of Lebanon.

Mr. Bush called the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel "painful and tragic." But he said it presents a "moment of opportunity" to bring change to the Mideast.

"Transforming countries that have suffered decades of tyranny and violence is difficult, and it will take time to achieve," he said.

But, the president said the consequences in the end will be "profound" — not only for those nations, but for the U.S., as well.



The Democrats used their address to call for a new approach to America's foreign policy.

"What the Bush administration has failed to understand is that while diplomacy without power is weak, power without diplomacy is blind," New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said.

Richardson pointed to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants, escalating violence in Iraq, the stalemate with North Korea over its missile and nuclear programs and rising oil prices as evidence that "the world around us in on the verge of spiraling out of control."

Richardson urged changes like having a permanent Mideast envoy. He said had one been in place, the U.S. would've been in a better position to disarm the militants and protect Israel.

Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, is seeking re-election this year and is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2008. He was a U.N. ambassador and energy secretary during the Clinton administration.

On the domestic front, Richardson said, "We need a man-on-the-moon effort to reduce our dependency on foreign oil — go from 65 percent to 20 percent by 2015."

He recommended investing in alternative and renewable energy sources, "green buildings" that use technology and materials to save energy and improved fuel efficiency of cars and trucks.