April 20, 2009

Can't Blame Bush Forever

Marc Comtois

The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl makes an observation and then wonders...

New American presidents typically begin by behaving as if most of the world's problems are the fault of their predecessors -- and Barack Obama has been no exception. In his first three months he has quickly taken steps to correct the errors in George W. Bush's foreign policy, as seen by Democrats. He has collected easy dividends from his base, U.S. allies in Europe and a global following for not being "unilateralist" or war-mongering or scornful of dialogue with enemies.

Now comes the interesting part: when it starts to become evident that Bush did not create rogue states, terrorist movements, Middle Eastern blood feuds or Russian belligerence -- and that shake-ups in U.S. diplomacy, however enlightened, might not have much impact on them.

Indeed, as Victor Davis Hansen writes:
[D]id the “their old America did it, not my new one” Obama approach win his country anything? Russians helping out to prevent a nuclear Iran, or stopping the killing of dissidents abroad, or promises not to bully the former Soviet republics? More European combat units going to Afghanistan? Mexico vowing to curb illegal immigration? Turkey ceasing its new anti-Western Islamic screeds?

His supporters would rejoin, “Oh, but give him time. He’s sowing the field with good will for a bountiful harvest of future cooperation”. I do think he’s sowing, but a minefield rather than a crop, whose explosions will be as inevitable as they will be numerous. Sarkozy’s crude dismissal and appraisal of Obama (nothing is worse for a liberal administration than to have their idolized French brethren bite their extended limp hands) are the templates of things to come.

And back to Diehl:
Obama is not the first president to discover that facile changes in U.S. policy don't crack long-standing problems. Some of his new strategies may produce results with time. Yet the real test of an administration is what it does once it realizes that the quick fixes aren't working -- that, say, North Korea and Iran have no intention of giving up their nuclear programs, with or without dialogue, while Russia remains determined to restore its dominion over Georgia. In other words, what happens when it's no longer George W. Bush's fault?

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and yet I still get pooh-pooh'd when I mention to my very liberal friends that one of the reasons the WTC is not still standing today is because Clinton did nothing when the US was attacked by al Qaeda on US soil, and when they attacked the Navy ship USS Cole, when they bombed American hangouts abroad, when they bombed embassies abroad, when Clinton refused to give the kill order on an easy assassination of bin Laden.

Guess what happens when the little kid gets away with kicking the big kid in the knees every day. He gets a little more bold and goes for more. They bombed the WTC the first time and what'd we do about it? Nothing.

But hey, that's ancient history, let's talk about Bush and how mean and awful he was. Right?

Posted by: Patrick at April 20, 2009 12:33 PM


If Bush did not create enemies determined to attack the US (there was an infamous security briefing about Al Queda determined to attack the US one month before the Sept.11 attack), then neither did Clinton.


Early criticism from pundits are not worth the electronic paper the're written on. Reversal of Bush policies may not yield the results that right wingers demand but sometimes doing the right thing does not win any friends among enemies. Is that a reason for not closing an infamous prison or insisting that the military and CIA do not use torture against suspected enemies. Also just listening to those who disagree or entering into discussions with those that have been seen as enemies should not and do not limit future actions by a President. The approach to foreign policy we are seeing now was well known to voters. Only the right wing who so avidly wishes failure for Obama seems to jump the gun at every handshake with a foreign leader.
Also remember that Reagan the great hero of your kind used Carter as a punching bag for his first four years so lets get some historical perpective instead of the hysterical you've used here. Looking forward to your non reply.

Posted by: Phil at April 21, 2009 11:32 AM

Sorry to disappoint you.

Posted by: Marc at April 21, 2009 1:39 PM


Every time I seriously try to engage there is nothing forthcoming from you. Why is that? My name is Phil not fil.

Posted by: Phil at April 21, 2009 10:11 PM
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