President Bush will present his second-term agenda to the American public in his State of the Union address to Congress next Wednesday. Analysts say Mr. Bush has ambitious proposals for foreign and domestic policy. Congress's response is uncertain. Leta Hong Fincher has this report.
In his inaugural address, President Bush pledged to promote the growth of democratic movements, with the long-term goal of ending tyranny in the world.
"And as hope rekindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
But political analysts say some of the darkest corners of the world now enjoy closer relations with the United States because of the war on terrorism.
Thomas Carothers is a co-author of a new book on promoting democracy in the Middle East, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a research group in Washington D.C. Mr. Carothers says there is a significant gap between Mr. Bush's rhetoric about spreading democracy and the reality of U-S foreign policy.
"The war on terrorism requires us to seek security cooperation with a number of pretty nasty regimes politically, whether it is the government of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and so forth."
Mr. Carothers says that in his first term, Mr. Bush alternated between being a realist, silent about human rights abuses committed by U-S allies in the war on terrorism, and an idealist, saying that democracy helps undercut the roots of radicalism. Mr. Carothers points to U-S relations with Pakistan as an example.
"Here was Pakistan in the hands of a dictator who was in fact manipulating the rule there to increase his dictatorial powers. Bush would meet with him and suddenly it was Bush the realist. He said about Musharraf at one point, quote, 'he's tight with us on the war on terror and that's what I appreciate.' OK, that's not an idealistic statement. But then he'd turn around and give a speech about his dream of freedom in the world."
In a recent news conference, Mr. Bush indicated that despite his inaugural address, which made freedom the top priority of the U-S government, there will be no immediate change in U-S foreign policy. He said, for example, that he will continue to work with China to disarm North Korea, while at the same time reminding Chinese leaders to respect human rights.
"I don't think foreign policy is an either/or proposition. I think it is possible when you're a nation like the United States to be able to achieve both objectives."
Mr. Bush is also likely to use his State of the Union address to give more details about his domestic agenda. Analysts say that includes an ambitious overhaul of the government retirement program known as social security.
Mr. Bush wants to create personal investment accounts for younger workers as a way to make the system solvent. He adds that he will not increase social security payroll taxes for current workers.
John Fortier is a political expert at the American Enterprise Institute for public policy research in Washington D.C. Mr. Fortier says Mr. Bush will face serious opposition to his social security plan from Republicans and Democrats alike.
"Getting the votes for that and getting the funding for that I think is very difficult. The transition costs, even if people were all on board moving to the system, the transition costs are very large, we have large deficits. Finding a way to fund that either by borrowing, raising taxes, cutting benefits, all of those things are potentially on the table--those are all controversial."
Analysts say second-term presidents have traditionally had few legislative achievements. They say Mr. Bush must act now to make the most of the political capital he won in November's election, before the government bureaucracy slows him down.