Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Post-Bush World

Can we afford to sit back and wait?

You've heard of NAFTA. Well, now we have COBTA!

I draw on two points from Fareed Zakaria's cover editorial for June 11th, as I have boldfaced below:
Today, by almost all objective measures, the United States sits on top of the world. But . . . . We have become a nation consumed by fear, worried about terrorists and rogue nations, Muslims and Mexicans, foreign companies and free trade, immigrants and international organizations. The strongest nation in the history of the world, we see ourselves besieged and overwhelmed. While the Bush administration has contributed mightily to this state of affairs. . . .

In any event, it is time to stop bashing George W. Bush. We must begin to think about life after Bush—a cheering prospect for his foes. . . . . In 19 months he will be a private citizen, giving speeches to insurance executives. America, however, will have to move on and restore its place in the world. To do this we must first tackle the consequences of our foreign policy of fear. Having spooked ourselves into believing that we have no option but to act fast, alone, unilaterally and pre-emptively, we have managed in six years to destroy decades of international good will, alienate allies, embolden enemies and yet solve few of the major international problems we face.

In a global survey released last week, most countries polled believed that China would act more responsibly in the world than the United States. How does a Leninist dictatorship come across more sympathetically than the oldest constitutional democracy in the world? Some of this is, of course, the burden of being the biggest. But the United States has been the richest and most powerful nation in the world for almost a century, and for much of this period it was respected, admired and occasionally even loved. The problem today is not that America is too strong but that it is seen as too arrogant, uncaring and insensitive. Countries around the world believe that the United States, obsessed with its own notions of terrorism, has stopped listening to the rest of the world.

More troubling than any of Bush's rhetoric is that of the Republicans who wish to succeed him. . . .
Aye, there's the rub! A review of the recent Republican debate is indicative of what they have coming down the pike: extra-constitutional and theocratic governance, war, terror and empire-building. If repulsed in 2008, the same crowd - both indicted and unindicted - will be back at it in 2012 or 2016: the Iran-Contra's 3rd generation morphed and metastasized into more virulent anti-democratic strains.

Personally, I think Zakaria's statement
. . . it is time to stop bashing George W. Bush.
is both premature and minimalist. With 592 days to go, the full extent of the Cost of Bush to America (COBTA) cannot be fathomed.
  • How much further will the heightened surge and air war against insurgents Gaza-fy Iraq?
  • How much more will the future re-building blocks in Iraq be pulverized?
  • How much more will our military services, particularly the Army, be degraded?
  • How much more blood and treasure be squandered?
  • How much longer can we risk a Bay of Tonkin incident in the Strait of Hormuz?
  • How much longer can we risk re-starting the Cold War and re-igniting an arms race with the Neo-Soviets?
The congenital and unrepentant liars who lied us into Iraq are still in power, lying to extend their occupation of Mesopotamia, and lying to "lock in" future presidents to this illegal, ruinous and depleting aggression.

Let's not count our losses until their dealin's done. The full COBTA is still undetermined. Full-spectrum resistance to Bush and Cheney must continue. Investigate and impeach.

Because, what if it turns out 592 days from now that invading Iraq is not the greatest mistake Bush has made?