George W Bush had ‘limited horizons’ before becoming president

GEORGE W Bush freely admitted his ignorance of international affairs at his first meeting with Britain’s ambassador to the US, according to newly released files from the National Archives.

Sir Christopher Meyer reported in early 1998, almost three years before he became US President, that Mr Bush knew his world view was “largely limited to the Texan and Mexican horizons”. 

President Bush’s two terms in office would be dominated by US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

National Archive files show Mr Bush wanted to broaden his outlook, but felt unable while governor of Texas in case voters in the state thought he was taking his eye off the ball.

Sir Christopher reported that over “an amiable 40-minute conversation” in the governor’s office in Austin, Mr Bush said he had not made up his mind whether to follow in his father’s footsteps and run for President.

“He was concerned for his family. Washington was a zoo, an ugly place. Of course he could not deny that he had a real interest in running.

“To me George W had the look of a man who really wants to run. Of course, at this juncture, he has no interest in a foreign ambassador going back to Washington and telling everyone that he has made up his mind to run for the presidency,” Sir Christopher added.

Mr Bush also said Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair seemed to be “a good fellow”, and Sir Christopher said he would enjoy meeting him.

He concluded that if Mr Bush decided to seek the Republican nomination, he would be regarded in Washington as “by far the front runner”.

He said: “This meeting confirmed my first snap opinion of George W: Very personable and with a good self-deprecating sense of humour..

“His world view – as he is well aware – is largely limited to the Texan and Mexican horizons. There is not much that he can do about this until 1999.”

Mr Bush served two terms as president between 2001 and 2009.


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