WASHINGTON – Will the re-elected President Bush (search) encounter more of the same troubles and attack them in the same way?
Yes and no.
There are constants on the global horizon to bedevil Bush in his second term.
Terrorists have not gone out of business: Usama bin Laden (search) and Musab Abu al-Zarqawi (search) are still threatening the United States and its friends with a 21st century unprecedented kind of warfare for which there is no sure playbook.
The insurgency in Iraq and the specter of terror remain the overriding challenges for Bush in his second term, just as they were in his first. And this time around there is much more to worry about.
North Korea's nuclear program remains unchecked, a threat to its neighbors. Negotiations to make the Korean peninsula nuclear-free are stalemated.
Iran may be on the verge of making nuclear weapons and is increasing its support for militant groups. European intermediaries have been unable to strike a deal with Tehran to stop enriching uranium.
Bush grappled with these problems and many more in his first term, with mixed results.
He went to war with Iraq and was accused by friends and foes around the world of a trigger-happy, go-it-alone mindset.
A possible clue to the way he may operate in his second term is the use Bush made of diplomacy after overthrowing Saddam Hussein as an alternative to force to try to stop the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs. And he succeeded in bringing allies and other concerned countries along with him.
While Bush emphasized consistency at any price during the campaign, "one may assume there now is an ability to draw conclusions and to adopt a more international posture," said James Dobbins, a former American diplomat who specialized in nation-building in Afghanistan and other troubled countries over a long U.S. diplomatic career.
"The election is over, there is no need to maintain we never made a mistake," said Dobbins, director of international security and defense policy at the Rand Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based research group.
In fact, Dobbins said in an interview, Bush already has made a course correction, realizing the limits of unilateralism and taking a more centrist approach.
"People learn," he said.
Dimitri Simes, president of the Nixon Center, offered Ronald Reagan as an example of a president who focused on his legacy — and not on his political supporters — in his second term.
While Bush used "rigid rhetoric" in the campaign, "there is much more understanding of the complexity of foreign policy and of errors and the circle around him," Simes said in a separate interview.
While conservative "polemicists" were key advisers in the first term, "the president realizes that some of these people let him down," Simes said.
Dov Zakheim, an undersecretary of defense for part of Bush's first term, notes "the core team that is making Iraq policy is not the same core team that was making the policy six months ago."
Zakheim, in an interview, cited Robert Blackwill, of the National Security Council, and John Negroponte, ambassador to Iraq, as relatively new to the team. Zakheim also cited U.S. military commanders now in Iraq as "people who have a good feel for how to manage the trends in the country."
James Phillips, Middle East analyst at the Heritage Foundation, is inclined to the view "it will be the same Bush."
But, Phillips said in an interview, "he may make tactical adjustments in policy."
Iran looms as important in Bush's second term as Iraq was in his first, Phillips said.
"Bush may try to pull the European allies into a multilateral strategy, especially on the nuclear issue, even if only to prove he is open to that," Phillips said.
Predicting a period of tensions with Iran, Phillips said the U.S. position would harden and use of force was possible. But, Phillips said, "I am hopeful it can be resolved short of war."