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Irrelevant?


Fri, Oct 26th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Two recent headlines concerning Mr. Bush have me on more tenterhooks than usual. I am really getting tired of being insulted by someone so intellectually incurious and inexact. The first in the Washington Post was "Bush Deplores American Timidity", and the second, "Bush Declares That He Remains Relevant."

Bush's solution to our timidity is to remain unmoving regarding any indication the public is not in sync with his policies. As he puts it he will continue to have a, "sustained strategy to keep reminding people of the benefits of trade and the benefits of helping people become free."

After nearly 7 years of this administration this appears to be code for everything will be fine if the government continues to stick to promoting industry and business needs and ignoring social network problems and domestic needs (catastrophes such as Katrina).

Instead he thinks invading a country smaller than California - one tenth our population, weakened by a recent war, two thirds of the country monitored as a no fly zone, certified by the UN one week before the invasion not to have reconstituted weapons programs, thus destabilizing the whole geographic area - proper foreign policy.

Then insisting and forcing as much as possible an unwanted election on the Palestinians and when, much to his discomfort, Hamas won, declared them a terrorist organization. Although international organizations have declared the election to be done as democratically as most other elections he continues to act as if the old regime is still legitimate.

Mr. Bush has taken the most powerful office in the world and made it irrelevant in many spheres:

• By mismanagement of the Iraq fiasco he has demonstrated our military's limitations to the world. Iran and Russia can thumb their noses at us for they know our assets are tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are diminished to the point of going to Moldova, Albania, Kazakhstan, and Macedonia to beg for additional troops since England is removing half of theirs. Right now, these tiny nations together have 198 troops in Iraq.

• The mismanagement above has nearly restarted the cold war. Premier Putin is so dismissive of the power of the U.S. he was 30 minutes late for his meeting with Secretary of State Rice. Surely this was a calculated insult.

• While the Armenian resolution is not helping, Turkey like the rest of the Middle Eastern countries, long ago lost faith in our policies. Favorable responses in Turkey to the U.S. (according to the Pew Foundation) dropped from near 50 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in March of this year.

• We are reduced to supporting and arming the Baathists Sunnis in Iraq that kept Hussein in power and until the spring of 2007 were the people most aggressive in killing American servicemen. Once the fundamentalist Islamists are controlled there is no real reason for them to continue to support America, but will still have the guns.

• Bin Laden is still in Pakistan thumbing his nose.

• Fundamentalist Islamists around the globe with no direct ties to Bin Laden are recruiting under the name of al Quida because of the cachet.

• There has been no domestic initiative of any note in the past 7 years.

To sum it up his only claim to relevance is the veto pen. This is a totally negative relativism. He is reduced to reacting to world events. Our standing in "old Europe" and certainly in the Middle East and Asia is so low no American initiative will garner any support.

This administration is reduced to saber rattling and dangerous brinksmanship. This has alarmed and angered the Europeans and Middle Eastern nations. It has also alarmed and angered some Americans that are watching the administration closely. That doesn't make them timid or soft. In my book it makes them realists.

This may be the mad man diplomacy of Nixon trying to make the other nations believe we are crazy enough to use nuclear weapons to impose our will thus frightening them into submission. It is convincing up to a point for many in the wider world believe we are led by folks that do not allow fact based information to guide our policies. Unfortunately, we are dealing with some leaders in the Middle East that may be able to use the crazy ploy even more honestly.

A republic is defined as a system of government where the leaders are responsible and, supposedly, responsive to the people. Rather than being responsive to the will of the majority this administration is reduced to calling the majority names. I wonder how relevant that is.

Robert Sauer is from Preston. He can be reached at r.sauer@mchsi.com

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