Tags: zakaria | obama | learn | bush

CNN's Fareed Zakaria: Obama Could Learn from George H.W. Bush

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 06:29 PM

By Greg Richter

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When it comes to considering consequences before making public statements, President Barack Obama could learn a lot from one of his predecessors, George H.W. Bush.

So says CNN host Fareed Zakaria.

"George H.W. Bush, whom President Obama has repeatedly cited as his role model for conduct of foreign policy, was very careful not to make promises or threats that you can't carry through, and that you can't see through to the end," Zakaria said Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room."

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Zakaria pointed to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Bush was under pressure to call the Russians "evil" and to encourage and celebrate the activity as people began to cross the border that just days earlier would have resulted in them being shot.

"Bush was very aware that that could unleash consequences that he couldn't control," Zakaria said. "There were Russian troops still in Germany and Poland and Hungary. So he said nothing. He didn't want to use fancy words that would make him feel good and seem like the right thing to say, unless he had a specific plan of action to see through not only the first day, but the second, third, and fourth day."

The Obama administration has not followed Bush's lead as it pushes for a "limited" military response against Syria for using chemical weapons on civilians, Zakaria said.

"There has been some tough talk, but not a clear plan of action to back that tough talk up," he said.

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