Leaders Dispute NATO Role in Iraq
But NATO officials have privately said there is little chance for a significantly expanded role anytime soon. NATO has taken over the multilateral force in Afghanistan with great difficulty -- efforts to send six Dutch Apache helicopters to Kabul were stymied until Luxembourg came up with the money, for instance -- and NATO officials said the alliance cannot play a major role in Iraq until it completes its mission in Afghanistan.
Chirac took other opportunities to needle the administration. He said he told Bush and the other leaders about his "concern and thoughts" that the large U.S. budget and trade deficits may hurt currency markets and push up interest rates. He also warned that efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East ran the risk of backfiring.
"We must stand ready to help. But we must also take care not to provoke," Chirac said. "For that would be to risk feeding extremism and falling into the fatal trap of the clash of civilizations: precisely what we wish to avoid."
Echoing a common European complaint about the administration's approach, Chirac said the Arab world did not need "missionaries" of democracy. Instead, he said, conflicts such as the long-running struggle between Israelis and Palestinians must be addressed.
"The conflicts ravaging the region are today the paramount obstacles to its development," Chirac said. "We must take measure of the resentments and frustrations from one end of the Arab world to the other, fueled by the daily spectacle of violence and humiliation in places so laden with history and symbols."
In addition to the democracy initiative for the Middle East, the G-8 leaders adopted and released a long list of agreements and "action plans," including plans to accelerate global trade negotiations, eliminate poverty through entrepreneurship, provide greater security in international travel and stop the spread of nuclear proliferation.
Administration officials said the proliferation plan was especially significant because it built on a speech earlier this year by Bush and included an agreement to stop the transfer of nuclear reprocessing technology to new nations for a year. But some experts said the plan was relatively modest and had been watered down to win agreement from the other nations.
"The administration set overly modest goals and I don't think they achieved those goals," said Robert J. Einhorn, who was a senior nonproliferation official in the Clinton administration.
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