I watched the speech of President Bush the other night in total amazement. Here is a man who has moved the nation dangerously to the right on social and domestic issues pursuing the most liberal and extreme foreign policy since the time of Woodrow Wilson. Like Wilson, Bush has shown complete disregard to the will of the American people, but unlike Wilson, Bush has no intellectual reasoning behind his policies, just a hole that he keeps digging deeper and deeper into. Bush has consistently put idealistic goals ahead of American security interests. For this history which is often times written by academics on the left may judge him kindly (as it judged Wilson, who was perhaps the most racist American President post Reconstruction but that is often forgotten by the people who have helped to reshape history), but the American people will not.
When he ran for President in 2000, candidate Bush stated that unlike President Clinton he would not put Americans in harms way for nation building, that he would never submit American troops to foreign command, and that he would assert American interests will without resorting to multilateralism or international institutions like the United Nations. Maybe Bush was just naive about foreign policy, or more likely candidate Bush threw off the realpolitik advisors that guided his father as well as Richard Nixon's dynamic foreign policy in favor of a group of idealistic thinkers whose own experiences in policy making were thin at best.
True conservatives like Chuck Hagel who know the horror of war have become more and more frustrated by the foreign policy of this administration which contrary to the knee jerk reaction of Democrats is actually pursuing left wing idealistic goals that are contrary to America's interests. Hagel is one of the few statesmen left in the Congress and his angry uncharacteristic berating of Secretary of State Condelezza Rice yesterday spoke volumes about his disgust with this policy.
The idea of embedding groups of American soldiers in Iraqi commanded units in a civil war is far more dangerous than sticking US troops under UN command. Bush's rejection of Jim Baker's suggestion of diplomacy towards Syria and Iran smacks of the sort of human rights driven foreign policy that conservatives attacked Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton for. Carter often times would not deal straight with nations that commit human rights violations and America became weaker for it. Bush will not deal with nations that support what he terms as Islamicfacism, even though both Syria and Iran have gown stronger because of Bush's actions and both could make Iraq that much more dangerous for American troops if backed into a further corner.
I expected Bush to discuss a rescinding of his disastrous debaathification policy towards the Iraqi government on Wednesday night. Instead he gave it one line, even though with Saddam Hussien dead and the Baath party strongly anti- Iran, the baath party and Saddamists could prove to be valuable allies in the coming confrontation with Iran. In then looming crisis with Iran, Bush has been forced to rely on the United Nations and Europe to get America's message across. He stated in Campaign 2000 that he would never do such a thing, but his disastrous war of idealistic choice to create a "Chicago on the Tigres" has forced us into a corner. Siding with the Shiites in a civil war only strengthens Iran and makes a confrontation with the Iranians be it over nuclear weapons or over the ever expanding hegemony Iran has in Central Asia (a dominance being promoted by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who are essentially backing pro Iranian forces in civil wars).
Equally disturbing is Bush's weak policy towards the rogue North Korean state. In 1994, President Clinton, that wild eyed liberal Republicans love to attack struck a deal directly with the late Kim Il Sung that bypassed interference from the UN and other regional powers. However Bush rejects such a direct approach which maximizes our leverage and strength in favor of a multilateral approach where the US can hide behind China and Russia allowing two dangerous nations whose interest differ sharply from America's to strike a deal with North Korea which will likely not serve our interests in the long term.
Promoting Democracy is a nice ideal, just like promoting nationalism was for Wilson in 1919. However much like the Wilsonian policy which led the creation of pressure points throughout the globe, Bush's policy has created some dire consequences for our security interests. Unlike 1919 sadly we cannot retreat to our own shores because we are the world's only superpower for better or for worse. Much like Wilson's failed ideals helped bring on World War II, Bush's irresponsible polices could hasten another global confrontation unless a savvy leader like Chuck Hagel, John Edwards, or yes Al Gore (had Gore been the President, America today would be in a much stronger global position) can take over this nation and undo the multiple blunders of the Bush years.
Providing Unique Commentary and Insight into Politics, History and Society since 2005
- 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.