Yesterday, I had a post about the results of America's 'war on drugs' in Latin America, and its disconnectedness with reality. Mark Kleiman has an excellent column on the hubris of the Bush administration foreign policy and how it relates to their failed policies from the war on opium in Afghanistan to global warming.
"We don't believe targets and timetables are important, or a global cap and trade system. It's important not to jeopardize economic growth." the US chief climate negotiator Harlan Watson said recently about global warming, but with a few word changes it could be the mantra for all of Bush's policies. From Kleiman's column, 'The Reality-Based Community':
Not only has the Bush Administration failed to figure out what it can't get away with any more in domestic politics, it's making the same mistake internationally. Now that the Iraq adventure has gone sour, decreasing the leverage we have over other governments and increasing their leverage on us, playing the arrogant hegemon isn't just rude, it's stupid. (That's one good argument for getting out of Iraq ASAP.)
By now, in the neocon fantasy world, we were supposed to be working with a friendly (let's not say "puppet") regime in Baghdad, rolling in money and in a position to hand out huge concessions and oilfield-services contracts as the Iraqi oilfields got back into production, with forward bases putting us in a position to dictate to Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran, and with no more troops tied down in Iraq than we wanted to keep at those bases as a means of power projection. That didn't happen. We've got our army stretched to the breaking point trying to not to lose Iraq and Afghanistan until after Inauguration Day of 2009, and suddenly we need help from the Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, the Pakistanis, the Syrians, and the Iranians, not the other way around.
Allies, to Bush, are someone to lecture, not someone to negotiate with as equals. With the fiasco in Iraq, we no longer have the luxury to behave as if the world is going to defer to us automatically.
But just as the Bush administration has failed to reform or modify its ways in domestic or internal policy in the wake of the Congressional elections, Bush has made no alterations to America's loss of influence in the world given his failure to impose democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush doesn't seem to realize that political capital can run two ways. Just as you can gain it, you can lose it. And as Tony Blair found out loyalty runs only one way for George W. From 'Yo Blair 'to 'No Blair' is a effortless transition for the president.
Bush has foolishly bet the house on the winning hand that a victory in Iraq woud give his administration. He and Cheney can't psychologically change their spots or their policies easily. And since their policies were never shaped by facts, but only by the hubris that they had unlimited power to do as they wished, it is going to make for a very tough reckoning.
Didn't the Greeks have a word for it?...retribution.
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