Assessing Bush: Foreign Policy

Jeff Alworth

In just over a week, the presidency of George W. Bush will creak, finally, to a stop.  The joke I keep hearing is that he's forgotten but not gone, and that's not far from the truth--turn on the news or pick up a paper, and nobody's talking Bush.  When a guy has made such a hash of things, I guess we all would rather look forward than backward (we're Americans, after all).  But for a week or so, I'm going to post on the legacy of the Bush administration because, whatever we think of the man who's leaving, we cannot forget what he's left us with.

Not the Man for the Job
It is one of those intriguing historical ironies that Bush will be remembered mainly as a war president, his administration dominated by foreign policy. Coming in, foreign policy was unknown and uninteresting to the governor--he hadn't traveled abroad nor did he evince any interest or much knowledge in the rest of the world. The early months of his presidency bore out his incuriosity, as he focused on No Child Left Behind, tax cuts, and his faith-based initiatives, outsourcing foreign policy to the Vice President. 

And then came 9/11.

Everyone knows the events that followed chapter and verse: Afghanistan, bogus build-up to Iraq, invasion and catastrophe, "Mission Accomplished," Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, secret rendition, "enhanced interrogation," the surge.  These events, when combined with the Bush diplomatic approach (if you can call that) of extreme bellicosity comprise an experiment historians might reasonably call "speaking loudly and carrying a small stick."  We have Bush to thank for running such a pure experiment--now we know exactly how badly this approach works in the real world.

The Bush Doctrine
The attacks on 9/11 allowed neocons to test certain hypotheses that would have been unthinkable without them.  Key was the National Security Strategy published in 2002.  In it, the White House argued that "anticipatory defense" (invasion) of even non-threatening countries was a legitimate measure in the age of terrorism.  Even this radical re-imagining of national defense didn't totally justify the Iraq war--its justifications were too thin ("we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud") and Iraq's link to dangerous terrorism too tenuous.  Already Bush is beginning to apply revisionism to this recent history, but the bulk of the claims appeared false even in media accounts.  It was not the failure of the CIA, but Bush, that created the justification for the war.  This shined a light on one enormous difficulties of "anticipatory defense"--how do you know when to anticipate?  With Iraq, Bush was wrong.

This National Strategy document had an additionnal purpose; it also became the cudgel the US wielded in its rudimentary diplomacy.  Thus did Bush serve notice to the "axis of evil" that if they didn't shape up, we'd shape them up.  In the months and years following our invasion of Iraq, the White House rattled its sabers toward Syria, Iran, and North Korea, using the threat of strikes as a replacement for engaged diplomacy.

Bush wishes history to exonerate him in the long view, somehow imagining that a stable Iraq will vindicate the Bush Doctrine.  But that ignores the massive failure of the Bush Doctrine according to its own logic.  The Bush Doctrine wasn't a philosophical treatise about bringing democracy to unstable countries.  Rather--and it's right there in the name--it was security strategy.  Judged on these grounds, invasion has proved to be a terrible method of tightening security.

Torture and American Exceptionalism
The Bush administration's foreign policy was animated by the idea of American Exceptionalism--that is, the belief that the US is a more highly evolved democracy than anywhere else on earth.  The entire GOP establishment, but especially pious Bush, felt that whatever the US did was almost definitionally moral and correct.  This kind of hubris led, perversely, to many of the darkest acts in our nation's history--a different kind of exceptionalism.  Relying on this view, the administration developed a series of legal positions allowing the US to permanently detain prisoners, to conduct torture practices explicitly condemned by the UN Convention Against Torture, to use "rendition" to transport prisoners to secret "black sites" where foreign countries would conduct torture.  Their rhetoric was clear throughout this period: we have to do this because we are the last bulwark of democracy willing to stand up to extremism.  They never got the irony.

In the years since these practices started, no evidence that I'm aware of has emerged suggesting they provided useful intelligence.  But they have certainly been a main factor in the declining status of the United States internationally and have now put US citizens and soldiers at risk for brutal practices in response.  In this way, the Bush administration has caught up with the 19th-century logic of the Geneva Conventions. 

Speaking Loudly and Carrying Small Sticks
When Bush took office, threats to the United States came from terrorists, Middle Eastern instability, the rising powers of China and Russia, and selected troublesome regimes like Burma and North Korea.  As he exits office, not a single one of these threats has diminished; thanks to our weakness in Iraq and our inability to dampen the rise of terror or even stabilize Afghanistan (that was our "success"), Bush has exposed the US's strategic weaknesses.  Worse: thanks to Bush's spectacular mishandling of foreign policy, the US's leverage to affect these situations has been substantially reduced.

Earlier, I mentioned that Bush managed an inverse Roosevelt--speaking loudly and carrying a small stick.  This will be the enduring lesson of the Bush years.  His administration has demonstrated that its not possible to invade your way to peace; nor can you threaten your rivals into behavior you wish to see.  Countries like Iran and North Korea, erstwhile evil axis team members, now know that the US will not invade.  Standing up to the US is great domestic politics, so our diplomatic leverage has been diminished, and the hands of tyrants strengthened.  And we have done much to fray long-held strong relationships with Europeans.  When Bush took office, US might was unparalleled and our influence at an all-time high.  Eight years later, we find ourselves despised and disrespected internationally, our influence badly weakened.  There is reason to think that much of the animus is directed at Bush, not the US, and that after another eight years, an Obama administration may have repaired the damage.  That remains to be seen.

History will unfold some more before Bush's reputation is solidified.  It is extremely hard to imagine a scenario in which any improvement in the world situation improves Bush's standing, however.  More likely, it will be a cautionary tale that will cast a 40-year shadow across politics in the way Vietnam did before it.  The "Bush Doctrine" will stand in as one of the great foreign-policy disasters in US history.  And Bush himself will become the cautionary tale of arrogance and ignorance that almost did us in.

Comments

  • james mattiace (unverified)
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    George Walker Bush has actually made my own life more dangerous living overseas. It was a great, but brief honeymoon when Obama was elected. Several cab drivers gave me fist pumps and shouted Obama when I got in the cab and spoke my heavily American accented Arabic on the morning after Election Day.

    Unfortunately, the honeymoon is over and Americans as well as Egyptians and Israelis are targets. (Perhaps if the Bush Administration had not vetoed then abstained from a meaningless Security Council resolution....)

    I will give Bush credit for one thing though - Libya disarmed their nukes and I can't see any reason other than our invasion of Iraq. (Or maybe Qaddafi is really that crazy.)

    Missing Oregon and the start of session right now.

    James Mattiace Kingdom of Morocco

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    And let's not forget Congress was complicit in many of Bush's sins.

  • Pedro (unverified)
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    Assessing Bush: Foreign Policy

    TOTAL FAILURE!

  • Brian C. (unverified)
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    I'll stick with the objective view. Much as I disapprove of W's performance and never voted for the man, there's plenty of blame to be spread around. The knee-jerk fervent hatred directed toward him always seemed at least slightly irrational and misplaced to me. Wouldn't want to have to walk the last 8 years in his shoes either. Glad it's over, wish him well and hope he can rehabilitate his legacy somewhat like Jimmy Carter did. Time to change the guard and move forward.

  • Howard (unverified)
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    Does winning in Iraq help at all?

    You know, versus leaving last year and watching a slaughter take place?

    And as far as I can tell Obama will be getting us out of Iraq the same way and time as the Bush led progress dictates today.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Howard... I think you need a little history lesson from Hideki Tōjō...

    "...U.S. General Douglas MacArthur issued orders for the arrest of the first forty alleged war criminals, including Tōjō.... Tōjō was moved to the Sugamo Prison.

    He was tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes and found guilty of the following crimes:

    * count 1 (waging wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law)
    * count 27 (waging unprovoked war against the Republic of China)
    * count 29 (waging aggressive war against the United States)
    * count 31 (waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth of Nations)
    * count 32 (waging aggressive war against the Netherlands)
    * count 33 (waging aggressive war against France)
    * count 54 (ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others)..."
    

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideki_Tojo

    Howard... you don't get to "win" an act of aggression? You get HUNG for waging aggressive war.

  • (Show?)

    "Winning in Iraq"? You're kidding, right? "Winning" implies a goal was attained. What goal have we "won"?

    Even if the ethnic violence in Iraq is less now than it was a year or two ago, so what? The result to date of the invasion has brought NO benefit to U.S. strategic or even imperial interests (if you favor that kind of thing) as a result of the Iraq War. What exactly, I ask you, have the hundreds of billions of dollars, the tens of thousands of wounded, and the thousands dead secured us? Security? No. Al-Qaeda weakened? No. Justice for 9/11? No. Regional stability? Hardly. Did we even cheap oil??? Nope, not even that! It's drained our bank account, ruined our reputation, weakened our military and strengthened our enemies more than it has hurt us:

    The only "winner" has been the theocracy of Iran, which has had the #1 check on their regional and world ambitions--Saddam Hussein--removed courtesy of the United States and with our own blood and treasure.

    Honestly, Howard, I would hate to see what you call a loss, or even a tie, if Iraq is your idea of a win.

  • janek51 (unverified)
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    "The knee-jerk fervent hatred directed toward him always seemed at least slightly irrational and misplaced to me." Maybe that's because li'l George is the worst president EVER. Thank God he didn't get to privatize Social Security. Explain to me, someone who was born with Truman in the White House, who watched the Watergate hearings during college, someone who never HATED a US president before, why I hate GWB. What you Bush supporters seem to be oblivious to is---Bush earned us knee-jerkers' hatred and disgust. It didn't start out that way. I think it's time to hold him, Cheney, and the rest of the war criminals accountable so that it doesn't happen again. Or let's at least have George & Cheney waterboarded on an international broadcast and see how long they can keep their respective smirk and snarl on their faces. I'll settle for that, and then we can move forward.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    janek51 Or let's at least have George & Cheney waterboarded on an international broadcast.

    Put that on pay per view and it would pay off the national debt.

  • Howard (unverified)
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    Who since Sadam's regime was removed, with much approval from most Iraqis, have we been at war with in Iraq? Have we been at war against the Iraqi people? Not hardly.
    Against the new Iraqi government? NO. Who's been killing Iraqis with roadside and suicide bombs?

    Iraqis have their own elected government running their country yet blues here appear to either not recognize this or view it as meaningless.

    How is it that a democrat elected Iraqi government and a US exit is not a goal achieved? It's one thing to retain oppostion to entering the war but to cling to the agression, invasion, occupation labels as if Iraq has no government makes no sense.

    Winning is the opposite of losing. Losing would have been conceading defeat, quitting and an earlier exit by the US leaving Iraq without adequate ability to maintain security plunging the country into chaos and massive death.

    Instead we have turned over province after province to Iraq armed forces, Iraqi police and the Iraqi government just as was the hope and plans all along. It took longer than anyone would have preferred and is not complete. But that does not equal failure.

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    The knee-jerk fervent hatred directed toward him always seemed at least slightly irrational and misplaced to me. Wouldn't want to have to walk the last 8 years in his shoes either.

    Brian, how would you objectively rate Bush's foreign policy? Bush lacks the ability for introspection, and throughout his tenure, could not learn from his own experiences. I have written what I regard to be an objective take on his foreign policy--one can look at and refute the points. So, tell us why he did well.

    Howard, define winning before you declare victory. For extra credit, use the definitions the Bush administration used in early 2003. Good luck.

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    How is it that a democrat elected Iraqi government and a US exit is not a goal achieved?

    It's really amusing, Howard, that you've been tippling GOP Kool-Aid so long that you no longer have the capacity to use the adjective "democratically," even when it has nothing to do with American elective politics. I don't doubt that your eyes can therefore gaze upon the situation in Iraq and see success.

  • anon (unverified)
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    Plenty of trainwrecks to talk about no doubt. Cutting taxes while waging war. Allowing uncontrolled deficit spending. Wall street cronyism. Katrina. The list goes on and on.

    But one thing cannot be argued.

    We have not been attacked on our own soil since 9-1-1.

  • Howard (unverified)
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    Oh for dying out loud. OK democratically elected. Or elected, or any other way you choose. Iraq has their own government that runs their country. No not all of it yet as the security transition is not complete. Is that Kool-aid or reality?

    Come on folks.

    Are you seeing no difference between the current status in Iraq and leaving a year or two ago?

    You entire viewpoint on Iraq seems to be one that imagines that we have already left in defeat and all is a complete loss.

    "Total failure"?

    And 1 to 3 years from now when we are all but out and the elected Iraqi government runs their entire country, (and oil fields), it will still be a total failure?

    That's not very amusing.

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    First of all, Howard, the time-table for leaving Iraq has already been set up by the Bush administration.

    In regards to your definitions: "Winning is the opposite of losing." No, it isn't. Winning is achieving a goal. No strategic, economic, military or political benefit has been accrued to the U.S. by the Iraq War. In fact, the world has only been made far more dangerous by ignoring the real front in the war on terror--Afghanistan--and by freeing Iran to do as it pleases.

    The result of "crying wolf" in regards to WMDs will surely come back to haunt us down the road, as it already is now that no one is willing to believe or support us in regards to Iran. That is the real legacy of our Iraqi adventure.

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    "Winning" a war means that you've reached some sort of stable state in the conflict. At this point, the only thing stable about Iraq is that there isn't as much violence as there was a couple of years back. But absent large numbers of US troops and a huge expenditure of American money, the situation would collapse pretty quickly.

    Then there's the matter of the four million displaced Iraqis. A couple million of them internally-displaced and another couple million mostly in Jordan, Syria. Many of them have nowhere to return to, their presence in the neighboring countries is generally destabilizing to the region, and it'll likely cause problems down the road that someone other than George W. Bush will have to deal with. All part of the grand scheme, I suppose.

    If anyone thinks the "surge" was anything more than a transparent attempt to hold things together for another year so that the Iraq War could be passed off onto someone else's plate, I've got a proverbial bridge to sell you. By staving off a collapse of Iraq until the election, Bush didn't have to actually either "win" or "lose" the war. Someone else is going to get stuck with that decision.

    As to why so many people had "knee-jerk fervent hatred" of Bush since even before he was elected, wel count me in. I was pretty sure he was a whiny, ignorant, self-absorbed jerk just from watching him in interviews and debates back in 2000. Whiny, ignorant, self-absorbed jerks don't tend to make good presidents, in fact they have a propensity for screwing things up. And I really don't like seeing people screw up my country. I actually sort of hate it.

  • Howard (unverified)
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    Come on now, The time table is still vague at this point and dependent upon Iraqi security forces releaving US troops in the remaining provinces.

    The surge has by any and all legitimate assessments worked and has resulted in the stabilization of Iraq, reduction of violence and an accelerated transition Iraqi security and control. The Bush administration has no longer any input to any timetable.

    Winning in war is killing your enemny, stopping their attacks and establishing security. That has and is happening.

    Winning in context to Iraq today is the government of Iraq and Iraqi forces relieving all US forces. Extrapolating out that outcome to be totoal failure is funny business.

    Opinionizing about how dangerous the world was and is is subjective and quided here by partisenship.

    Characterizing the Afghan front as "ignoring the real front on the war on terror" is pure partisen exageration.

    There was no igoring.

    How was "Iran freed to do as it pleases"?
    Oh brother ""crying wolf" in regards to WMDs will surely come back to haunt us down the road""

    really? no one was willing to believe or support us in regards to Iran forever. No different than Clinton years. Your imagining an Iraq legacy.

    Stability has arrived to much of Iraq. Many entire provinces are free of all violence.
    Provinces which are already absent US troops. Those have not collapsed.

    Iraq is rebuilding and dispaced Iraqis are returning. That is a stabilizing process if anything.

    Are you a surge expert? Bridge expert?

    Everyone but Harry Reed knows the "surge" was a success. Even Barak Obama knows it.

    I really think some of you are applying too much imagination. Most likely it's a bi-product of the "knee-jerk fervent hatred" of Bush?

    Funny, when I saw Clinton in early debates I found him to be a self-absorbed jerk too.

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    Howard, the rationale for invading Iraq was to bring security to the US. It was founded on the bogus rationale that Iraq was connected to al Qaida and possessed WMD. Now Iraq IS connected to al Qaida. Tell me how winning this war has ensured US security.

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    Everyone but George W. Bush and his band of merry neocon day-dreamers knew our troop levels were too low going into Iraq to successfully control the population. Go look at the Janes online assessments starting in 2003--the closest thing to a neutral, a-political opinion you're going to find--if you find my partisanship makes me an unreliable source. Remember that Shinseki guy? Most professional military planners agreed with him. John Kerry called for an increase of 40,000 combat troops to Iraq during his 2004 campaign.

    The only thing worse than fighting a pointless war is to do it badly. Bush's correcting in 2007-2008 for mistakes made in 2003 and compounded in the intervening years by ignoring evidence is hardly laudatory.

    The surge was an overdue correction packaged as a brilliant breakthrough: "Hey, I know, maybe more troops in the theater will help us control things better!" Well, duh, right? The application of intelligent counter-intelligence strategies that went along with the surge (and which, yes, have had success) only lead to the other question of why it took so long to implement techniques that have been standard since Vietnam and earlier. The answer seems to be: Bush, Rumsfeld, and of course, Cheney.

  • Howard (unverified)
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    So now the surge did work, we are winning the war but that's not the bar we need to cross?

    That must mean the only way it's not a total failure is if WMDs are found before Bush leaves office?

    Just kidding.

    Jeff, come on, I'm sure you've heard discussions on how a stable and friendly Iraq alli helps our security. Just as you hear of al Qaida in Iraq prior to our invasion. And having that presence in the middle east has and will help. Just as Lybia came arounjd.

    You just don't to aknowledge any up side not losing. No, the need to see all things Bush as horrible outcomes is too strong. So the left finds ways to describe everything imaginable as ruined, harmed, destroyed by Bush. Katrinna was a lesson in that. Governmment buearacracies droppeds the ball at all levels just as they would have with Gore or Kerry. Just as they have in Centrallia with I-5 closing repeatedly. But even that has been laid at Bush's feet in news stories.

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    To get back to the broader themes that Jeff outlined, I'd like to offer this about Bush's management style and how it contributed to his record. Bush is responsible for getting us into Iraq, but Rumsfeld's advice and strategy seems to be a big part of why it has dragged on so long and so badly. Gates is a better secretary by far.

    But the Bush administration has famously picked appointees for loyalty above competence, and returned loyalty in kind even in the face of staggering incompetence ("Heck of a job, Brownie," etc.) It's pretty clear Bush figured out Rumsfeld was a problem, and not just a political one, before he canned him after the 2006 elections. But he stuck by him for several years too long. I think this has been a pattern of our detail-challenged president: pick somebody you can trust to run the show, then rely on them for all your information--the proverbial "Bush Bubble." The well-known difficulties of both defense and intelligence experts for getting around Rumsfeld (and let's face it, Tenet) seem to have been compounded both by those leaders but also by Bush himself. I believe there are similar examples of this kind of management that run through and through the last 8 years (Cheney's free rein/reign for example.)

    I don't know if this is part of the CEO 101 training Bush got as part of his Harvard MBA,i.e. "give your managers the space they need," but it's a management style they would do well to study and warn against to future would-be leaders.

  • MiMi (unverified)
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    As chronicled here, the Bush Doctrine is the basis for things like the current IDF incursion into the Gaza. How far will Obama go to explicitly reverse that? I think AIPAC has created an animated gif that says it all.

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    The surge has by any and all legitimate assessments worked and has resulted in the stabilization of Iraq,

    Not in any long-term sense it hasn't. The whole argument against removing US forces now is that the country would fall apart if we left. A country that falls apart when it's not being occupied by a foreign army is one in which the war hasn't been won. Maybe Obama thinks the surge actually worked, but then a lot of Democrats (and Republicans) were stupid enough to vote for the war in the first place, thinking that it would be over in a matter of weeks. Anyone with half a brain should have been able to tell that wasn't going to happen.

    As for Clinton, I didn't like him much, either. But at least he didn't come off as an ignorant moron. Or at least someone who wanted you to think he was an ignorant moron. George Bush has made it a point to try to come off as someone who didn't take to book-learnin', making fun of people with educations, despite his own Yale and Harvard degrees. That kind of two-faced, willful display of unenlightened idiocy is a pathetic way to run a country. Smart people make mistakes enough, but ignorant people? They make even more.

    As for your idea that Iraq's going hunky-dory these days, violence there is on the upswing. And the idea that large numbers of provinces have been turned over to the locals is pretty funny. Ground operations in some areas are under Iraqi control, but the US provides all of the helicopter and jet support. The US still controls all operations in the most populous areas.

    Only trickles of refugees are coming back into the country or returning from where they've evacuated to in-country. Most of them are still refugees. Most areas still don't have the same level of water, sewer, or electrical service they had before the invasion. Not to mention all the housing that's been destroyed.

    Foreign journalists in Iraq still can't go out on the streets without the threat of being attacked or kidnapped. Not, I suspect, that you care about journalists, but that was something they could do pre-2003. If the situation for foreigners in Iraq is still worse than it was in Saddam's day, is the war over?

  • (Show?)
    Jeff, come on, I'm sure you've heard discussions on how a stable and friendly Iraq alli helps our security.

    An "ally" that can't even manage to secure its own country by itself, that needs US support in dollars and military force just to keep its leaders in power is of absolutely no use as an ally. It's a black hole for money, materiel, and manpower. It's a South Vietnam.

  • bendskier (unverified)
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    Did I say something wrong, referring to the great Vanity Fair article?

    Why was my post removed?

  • Howard (unverified)
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    darrel, You're sure going out of your way to spin things negatively. Why? Do you want things to be terrible? You are not accurate at all. You're on the vietnam train it appears.

    But the facts do not align with your take. You embellished everything about Iraq.

    And with the long term ally in that location US interests will be better served.

  • Lani (unverified)
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    George W. Bush was the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

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    I don't have to "spin" anything. All I have to do is read news reports. My assessment of the situation is far more accurate than yours; you can't even acknowledge the fact that there's a refugee problem in with Iraq. That's just not willing to face reality.

    You don't even seem to understand that Iraq isn't likely to become a "long term ally" if American troops are pulled out. The Iraqi government is far friendlier with Iran than the US. Many of the leaders in the Iraqi government spent years in exile in Iran. George Bush had to go to Iraq under cover of secrecy, Ahmadinejad announced his visits in advance. Most of the population in Iraq is Shiite. The only other majority Shiite country in the world is Iran. You're living in a fantasy world if you think the US is going to be closer to Iraq than Iran is, unless it's at the point of an occupier's gun. And that doesn't make for much of an ally.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    Posted by: james mattiace | Jan 12, 2009 3:56:45 PM

    George Walker Bush has actually made my own life more dangerous living overseas.

    Be glad you're not a Texan. They'll be whipping boys for years!

    BTW, this ain't over by a long shot. His "best" might be yet to come.

    The Brits are already positioning themselves to play down their role as allies. He said his Presidency will be judged by the War on Terror. Brit foreign minister says it was a mistake. There's your verdict on his foreign policy!

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    Jeff, I agree with most of your assessment, but there is an area in which Bush did OK. And it's very significant. That's China. Although Bush came into office with some in his administration seeing China a enemy number one (it seemed the great power most likely to challenge us and provided a great justification for expensive (and mostly unneeded) military systems), 9/11 and the war on terror changed their focus.

    My favorite international strategist, Tom Barnett, has a new book coming out. He just put a quote from it on his blog (see here) I agree with the following, knowing it to be controversial (sorry it's a bit long):

    "The lack of a serious U.S.-China confrontation in the years since 9/11 is the most important dog that did not bark during the Bush-Cheney administration. In the grand sweep of history, this is arguably George W. Bush's greatest legacy: the encouragement of China to become a legitimate "stakeholder" in global security--[Deputy Secretary of State Robert] Zoellick's term. This sort of effort at grooming a great power for a greater role in international affairs is a careful balancing act, and the Bush team sounded most of the right notes, from reassuring nervous allies in Asia, to avoiding the temptation of trade retaliation while simultaneously pressuring Beijing for more economic liberalization, to drawing China into the dynamics of great-power negotiation over compelling regional issues like the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. We can always complain that Bush-Cheney didn't do more to solidify what was the most important bilateral relationship of the twenty-first century, but we cannot fault them for any lasting mistakes, and that alone is quite impressive. Indeed, history will be likely to judge this success as greater than the Bush administration's failures in Iraq."

  • Andrew (unverified)
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    “‘President Bush is leaving office and he’s not being held accountable for his offenses. There is a laundry list of things he could be charged with,’ said activist Jamilla El-Shafei, who organized the shoe-throwing protest.”

    “El-Shafei inflated a 25-foot (eight-meter) effigy of Bush with a long Pinocchio nose at Dupont Circle, away from the heavy flow of tourists, and invited activists and people passing by to throw shoes at it.”

    “‘I hated Bush before it was cool,’ read one banner.”

    (No author listed). (2009, January 20). US activists vent their rage as Bush exits. http://www.google.com/. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hub8Ww0HIvGpSGIqOyxruAZX1kcw

    Activist Jamilla El-Shafei has become one of my role models.

    The effigy of George W. Bush with a long Pinocchio nose at Dupont Circle is an apposite way to represent Bush.

    Indeed, Bush is a liar of alien proportions.

    As indicated by the banner—it is now in vogue or fashionable or cool to hate Bush.

    Courageous activists like Jamilla El-Shafei add strength and decency to American existence.

    The American people frown upon people who carry on with an ignoble fear of the criminal activities of Bush.

    The American people have no tolerance for cowards who figuratively or metaphorically kneel before Bush’s tyranny with trembling and ignominy and in fear and disgrace.

    The American people have no tolerance for cowards who obey Bush’s corrupt authority in the face of reason—under what I shall refer to as the “Milgram” psychological effect.

    Stanley Milgram conducted experiments revealing that people are however predisposed to obey very powerful authority even when they know full well that what they are being told to do is wrong.

    Milgram had been studying why people irrationally and blindly obeyed Hitler’s orders to kill Jews in the face of reason where they were reasonable people otherwise.

    The American people must work together to put Bush behind bars.

    The American people must fight without exception and seek accountability against Bush—even through the last day of Bush’s life.

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