Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Idiots in abundance

The mighty New York Times is puzzled:
When this administration took office just over two years ago, expectations were different. President Bush was a novice in international affairs, while his father had been a master practitioner. But the new president looked to have assembled an experienced national security team. It included Colin Powell and Dick Cheney, who had helped build the multinational coalition that fought the first Persian Gulf war. Condoleezza Rice had helped manage a peaceful end for Europe's cold war divisions. Donald Rumsfeld brought government and international experience stretching back to the Ford administration. This seasoned team was led by a man who had spoken forcefully as a presidential candidate about the need for the United States to wear its power with humility, to reach out to its allies and not be perceived as a bully. But this did not turn out to be a team of steady veterans. The hubris and mistakes that contributed to America's current isolation began long before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. From the administration's first days, it turned away from internationalism and the concerns of its European allies by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdrawing America's signature from the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. Russia was bluntly told to accept America's withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty and the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into the territory of the former Soviet Union. In the Middle East, Washington shortsightedly stepped backed from the worsening spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, ignoring the pleas of Arab, Muslim and European countries. If other nations resist American leadership today, part of the reason lies in this unhappy history.
Nah. You think? Maybe people will listen now when some of us say you need more than an attitude and a handful of foreign policy "experts" to lead the greates country in the world.


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