Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France and a longtime humanitarian, diplomatic and political activist on the international scene, says that whoever succeeds President George W. Bush in the White House may restore something of America's battered image and standing overseas, but "the magic is over."...Maybe it was always smoke and mirrors.
Asked whether the United States could repair the damage it has suffered to its reputation during the Bush presidency and especially since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Kouchner replied, "It will never be as it was before."
"I think the magic is over," he continued. U.S. military power remains, he noted, and the new president "will decide what to do - there are many means to reestablish the image." But even that, he predicted, "will take time."
Kouchner began the 90-minute event with a speech that emphasized that "there is not just a new diplomacy, there is a new world."