WASHINGTON (AP) – The national security adviser under the first President Bush says the current president acted contemptuously toward NATO and Europe after Sept. 11 and is trying to cooperate now out of desperation to “rescue a failing venture” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brent Scowcroft, a mentor to the current national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, also said in an interview published in England that Bush is inordinately influenced by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger,” Scowcroft told London’s Financial Times. “I think the president is mesmerized.”

Scowcroft said the Bush administration’s “unilateralist” position was partly responsible for the post-Sept. 11, 2001, decline of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

“It’s in general bad,” he said. “It’s not really hostile, but there’s an edge to it.”

Early on, he said, “We had gotten contemptuous of Europeans and their weaknesses. We had really turned unilateral.”

Although slightly diminished since then, the unilateralist policies remain fundamentally little changed, Scowcroft said. Recent overtures to cooperate in Afghanistan and Iraq with the United Nations and NATO were “as much an act of desperation as anything else … to rescue a failing venture.”

On Israel and Sharon, the former security adviser said Sharon calls Bush after strongly retaliating for a Palestinian suicide attack and says: “”I’m on the front line of terrorism,’ and the president says, “Yes, you are.”‘

Scowcroft said Sharon “has been nothing but trouble.”


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