Contemplating his imminent departure, many Chinese are openly expressing affection toward the man they call Xiao Bush, or “Young Bush,” to distinguish him from “Old Bush,” the 41st U.S. president.
“Bush made some mistakes in foreign policy, especially with Iraq, but for the Chinese, he had been a true friend,” said Mao Baoshu, a retired nuclear specialist who was attending the exhibit Tuesday.
Many Chinese credit the Bush administration’s free-trade policies with helping the Chinese economy blossom over the last eight years. They appreciate its efforts to rein in the fiery anti-Beijing rhetoric of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. And Bush’s attendance of the opening ceremony of last summer’s Olympics, at a time when many world leaders were urging a boycott because of China’s human rights record, is viewed with deep gratitude.
“We will never forget that the leader of the most developed country in the world stood up to pressure to come to the Olympics,” Mao said.
The Christian Science Monitor also reports on Bush’s foreign relations track record:
President Bush garners widely positive reviews for his management of relations with two rising global powers – China and India – but encounters criticism for his direction on US-Russian relations.
In particular, many experts praise him for resisting pressure from foreign-policy hawks to adopt a more confrontational stance toward China. Others highlight last year’s watershed nuclear cooperation agreement with India and predict that it will come to be seen as a cornerstone of Mr. Bush’s foreign-policy legacy.
“You have to say he handled an emerging China pretty well, particularly after he abandoned the word ‘competition’ that he used early on,” says former US Rep. Lee Hamilton, now president of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington.