When Bush went to the Middle East to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel as the Zionist he has become, he was criticized by a Palestinian leader who survives on U.S. aid. When he went to Riyadh to plead for an increase in the flow of oil, he got a token concession from the king.
In Pakistan, the new government has been negotiating a truce with the radicalized frontier provinces, which would leave the Taliban with a privileged sanctuary from which to prepare their annual offensives to overthrow the government in Kabul and expel the Americans, as their fathers expelled the Russians.
As Russia and China move closer together to oppose U.S. missile defenses and the U.S. presence, military and economic, in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Latin America seems to be going its own leftward way. The halcyon days of the Alliance for Progress are long gone.
The world seems to be waiting for Bush to depart and for the next American president. For the foreign policy differences between John McCain and Barack Obama are as real and stark as they have been since the Reagan-Carter election of 1980, or the Nixon-McGovern election of 1972.
Looking back on the years since 9-11, it is hard to give the Bush foreign policy passing grades. We pushed NATO eastward and alienated Russia. We have 140,000 Army and Marine Corps troops tied down in Iraq in a war now in its sixth year, from which our NATO allies have all extricated themselves. We have another war going in Afghanistan, where the situation is as grave as it has been since we went in.
The Bush democracy crusade was put on the shelf after producing election triumphs for Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And the Bush Doctrine of preventive war, after Iraq, appears to be headed there, as well.
America remains the first economic and military power on earth. But after seven years of Bush, we no longer inspire the awe or hopes we once did. We are no longer the world hegemonic power of the neocons' depiction. And the reason is that Bush embraced their utopian ideology of democratic empire and listened to their siren's call to be the Churchill of his age.
Of Bush, it may be said he was a far better politician and candidate than his father, but as a statesman and world leader, he could not carry the old man's loafers.
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