American politics has become so personal and nasty largely due to the behavior of the President's own party during the 1990s that few Journalists or members of the public are willing to attribute any ideological label to the President other than "Conservative". However a close examination of the Bush record will indicate that he is the most liberal American President in International Affairs since Jimmy Carter and possibly since Woodrow Wilson.
President Bush and his neo-con friends have little in common with the conservative wing of the Republican party that features isolationists such a Pat Buchanan, Israel baiters such as Columnist Robert Novak, and tough unilateralists such as Ronald Reagan. Under Bush's watch America has ceded world leadership to mixture of international organizations and adversarial second tier powers such as France, Germany, Russia and China.
Bush's world view resembles that of Woodrow Wilson in several ways. Like Wilson, Bush has forcefully advocated the international order and alliance building through a set of treaties and agreement. Like Wilson, and unlike most American's of Wilson's time Bush is an unabashed free trader, and was as Governor of Texas very open and cordial with the leadership in neighboring Mexico. Bush was so friendly with the Mexicans he strongly rejected the conservative attempts to stop free public education for the children of illegal immigrants, which passed in California as proposition 209 and whose leadership in Florida were strong supporters of Pat Buchanan.
Unlike Wilson, Bush believes in nation building contrary to his campaign promises of 2000. In 1919 Woodrow Wilson rejected European efforts to get the United States to occupy Constantinople, the capital of the defeated Ottoman Turkish Empire (Turkey had been an ally of Germany during the first world war and had been defeated by the British and Arab forces after a four year struggle: American soldiers had never taken part in war against Turkey, and thus Wilson stayed out of the region.) The British, the French and the Greeks then attempted on their own to redraw the boundaries of the previously mighty Turkish state, which led us to the current state of affairs in the Middle East. The current Iraq had never been a nation previously and had been under Turkish rule since the late 1400s, something the British failed to recognize when drawing the new international boundaries. Much like American efforts to divide Korea after World War II along the 38th parallel, the division of territory was to be ill fated, as was any British occupation of the region.
Neo-Conservatism, which George W. Bush and his followers subscribe to is actually a revised form of classic liberalism. Like liberalism, Neo-Conservatism seeks to promote Democracy at all all costs even if it undermines American interests and security as it clearly does in Iraq. Bush and the neo-conservatives have also in the liberal tradition, advocated an open immigration policy including amnesty for illegal aliens which puts Bush and his cadre at direct odds with the conservative wing of the Republican party. In dealing with the two greatest threats to American security from rogue nations, Bush and his allies have punted the ball, trying to force multilateral talks with North Korea and allowing the Europeans and the United Nations to take the lead on dealing with Iran. Both policies could have dangerous, if not catastrophic consequences for the United States.
With regards to North Korea, Bush and his administration are counting on the Chinese to protect American interests in the region, a very region where China is on a daily basis threatening American interests both politically and economically. In Iran, Bush has counted on European nations that his administration insulted in the lead up of the Iraq war to reign in the rogue and terrorist supporting regime in Tehran. Moreover, Iran has been strengthened in the region thanks to American intervention in Iraq. Now Iran, the most anti-American state in the Middle East (which by the way is a limited Democracy) has a staging ground for anti-American activities in a nation currently occupied by American forces! How's that for irony! Iran continues to export terrorism into Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. Yet thanks to Bush's liberal worldview, America is neutered in facing this very real threat.
Bush's worldview of promoting Democracy and open borders for immigration and trade are in the style of classic liberalism but not in accordince with America's conservative tradition nor our current national security interests. While Bush and his cadre may be idealists of the highest order, they are far from being the conservative guardians of the American way that they have portrayed publicly.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.