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(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))
I BELIEVE, in spite of what I hear, that President George W. Bush is a grudge-holder. He is also a "capable realist" when dealing with those who opposed the Iraqi invasion. However, Mexico, Chile, even Canada have learnt just how low their standings have sunk after they failed to give the US their support over Iraq.
Bush cancelled the Mexican and Hispanic Cinco De Mayo celebrations at the White House and Chile, another Security Council member that withheld support, had to watch with as much grace as it could muster as Washington accelerated, then signed, a free-trade agreement - that Santiago had waited for months to initial - with Singapore, an enthusiastic ally.
Bush cancelled a visit to Canada, a traditional friend-turned-miscreant. It seemed he never forgave James Baker, secretary of state under his father, who he thought did not work hard enough during the senior Bush's bid for re-election in 1992. But when he needed someone of stature to get him out of the mire of the Florida recount in the 2000 election, he deftly turned to Baker.
We will see what happens when Bush meets President Jacques Chirac, President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on French soil at next week's G8 summit in Evian.
Perhaps it is too much to expect - but diplomacy is the art of the possible - Bush to exchange handshakes (and a few significant words) with Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad who, along with the leaders of China, India and several other nations, has been invited by …