Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bush's Incompetence Endangering Peace and America's Position in the World

I do not believe our country has ever had a leader capable of doing more harm to our nation than George W. Bush. I come from a background where it's acceptable to criticize the president's policies but it's just ingrained that people respect the office of the president no matter who occupies the White House. But I lost respect for Bush the man a long time ago. Now he's becoming a joke and that endangers our position in the world.

Here's an article from Chris Stephen of Scotland on Sunday that says pretty much what others are saying around the world about Bush and the G8 conference:
PRESIDENTS Vladimir Putin and George Bush exchanged barbed remarks yesterday at the start of a summit, confirming that relations between Moscow and Washington are at their lowest point since the Cold War.

It was all there in the body language. The two arrived for a press conference at the summit venue in St Petersburg with gloomy expressions, and the reasons were soon clear.

(snip)

Then came the issue of democracy. Russia is smarting from weeks of criticism from Washington about Putin's alleged backsliding on democracy. Bush rubbed salt in the wound on Friday: within minutes of getting off the plane he had a meeting with 15 human rights groups that accuse Putin of being an autocrat.

Yesterday Bush returned to the subject: "I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion," he said of his morning talks with Putin. "And I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing."

This was too much for Putin, who shot back: "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq."

Laughter broke out among the hundreds of watching journalists but Bush wasn't smiling.

A superficially folksy but otherwise sanctimonious president who is difficult for a majority of Americans to trust is not a pleasant sight. Throw in ideological rigidity and incompetence and the meltdown of the Bush presidency continues. Hints of promising change that we've been hearing for months now ring hollow. After five and a half years in office, Bush acts like he's still using training wheels or perhaps is perpetually still catching up after a two week fishing vacation while reports of crisis after crisis have piled on his desk.

Here's another view from Juliette Kayyem of the TPM Cafe:
This was going to be Bush's G8 Summit. He had, more than anytime in the last few years, strong support for a strong stance against Russia, Putin, anti-democracy and the disarming abuse of energy and oil agreements by the Kremlin Rising.

His visit to Germany, given Angela Merkel's strong disdain for Putin (she is Eastern German afterall), was a brilliant stroke of planning. Putin was odd man out.

Literally, in less than a few hours, the G7 leaves Bush as odd man out over the crises in the Middle East.

Bush knows how to run slick campaigns but he doesn't know jack about running the most powerful country in the world. I keep thinking of those old silent films where the German kaiser always looked a little ridiculous. That's our president. We can only hope he doesn't blunder into a wider war like the kaiser did.

4 Comments:

Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

In the current situation, I was particularly appalled by Bush's statement to the effect that the way to end this violence is for Hezbollah to lay down its arms and quit fighting.

This will go down as a classic in the annals of simple-minded effrontery.

I can understand victory-hungry Republicans running Bush in 2000, as poorly suited and qualified as he was. But by 2004, his incompetence was painfully obvious, even to them.

That Republicans ran him again, unchallenged, should forever stand as a black mark against them and a humiliating admission about the extreme disservice they're willing to do this country in return for another political win.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

President Putin may not be the most dedicated democrat among the G8 heads of state, but he knows more about foreign relations and diplomacy, by a factor of 100, than Bush ever will. Bush could learn from him. Bush should certainly show Putin respect in this area.

The relationship between the two men has obviously degraded to one of mutual contempt. This is a shame and lost opportunity for all concerned.

Bush's meeting with dissident groups is clearly an exercise in throwing red meat to dissatisfied neocon radicals back home. But it wasn't the only case of slapping his host in the face.

I thought it was particularly undiplomatic for Bush to use this summit to torpedo Russia's WTO aspirations. The only country I wish Bush would keep out of the WTO is our own.

11:45 AM  
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