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Mugged by reality

North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and those pesky congressional scandals have finally caught up with George W. Bush

10/19/2006 9:32:20 AM


Lesser mortals are captive to the world, but supermen make their own reality. That, a year or two ago, was the boast of White House über thug Karl Rove. Now, it seems, an oops — or two, or three, or four — is in order. North Korea has an atomic bomb. Iran is on its way to building one. More US soldiers were wounded in Iraq past month (776) than at any time in the last two years. And the combined congressional sex and influence-for-sale scandals threaten — thank heaven — to throw the Republicans out of power in the House and possibly the Senate. Makes one wonder why the mainstream press thought the Bushies were so invincible for so long. Bush bashers’ glee in the face of this turn of events is tempered, of course, by the sobering fact that these developments — with the exception of the domestic scandals in Congress — are bad news for the world, which is more treacherous and unstable today than it was before 9/11.

Terrorist maestro Osama bin Laden, still inconveniently at large, performed a satanic service by awakening the international community to the true scope of the Islamist threat when his minions attacked Washington and New York. But, in the wake of those murderous outrages, it was the serial miscalculations, missteps, and lies of George W. Bush that have delivered us to the brink of crisis in three discrete theaters of confrontation.

North Korea. It is not unreasonable to assume that President Bush provoked tyrant Kim Jong Il into reactivating his nation’s nuclear-weapons program, which — due to the limited but nevertheless successful diplomatic efforts of President Clinton — had been slowed or put on a back burner. When Bush attacked mistaken nuclear renegade Saddam Hussein, he took his eye off Kim, a certifiable menace. Kim calculated — correctly it seems — that he could defy North Korea’s lone international ally, China, and simultaneously thumb his nose at Bush. The punishing international sanctions that have been readied for Pyongyang were not enough to deter Kim, who has already demonstrated that he is willing to starve millions of his subjects to preserve his room for international maneuver. Make no mistake: Kim is the villain, but Bush is his enabler, his provocateur, his unwitting inspiration. By diplomatically isolating the United States from working and effective relationships with other nations as a result of his foolish Iraq war, Bush has emboldened Kim. It was a gross miscalculation, born of the arrogant belief that America alone can police the world.

Iran. The situation here is even more muddled than it is in North Korea. The Iranians secretly and systematically violated their promises not to build nuclear weapons. The radical-Islamist Iranians continue to insist, in the face of international disbelief, that they seek nuclear capacity only for the peaceful purpose of economic development. But so grave are concerns about Iran’s true motives that even France and Germany are willing to take a hard line against it. The problem is that China and Russia, indispensable nations in this case, are not. A nuclear Iran, while not welcome, does not pose the same threats to the Chinese and the Russians as it does to Americans and their European allies.


A quantifiable factor in the position Russia and China take regarding this issue is that both nations make a lot of money trading with Iran. Those vital economic ties give them confidence that they have leverage with Iran that the US does not enjoy. Inexplicable as it may seem to us in America, the Russians and Chinese don’t think and act precisely as we do in matters of nuclear proliferation unless the threat to them is black and white. Even North Korea appears in shades of gray, at least for now, to the Chinese, which shares a border with Kim. America’s problem is that while we want to constrain nuclear development, our greater interest lies more in maintaining our pre-eminent position than in fostering nonproliferation. We’ll adopt a more flexible position only if we perceive compromise to be in our interest. Witness the hard line the US has taken with Pakistan’s nuclear program, but the softer approach we’ve taken with India. No one doubts that the Pakistani program poses a threat to world peace, especially when the strong influence of that nation’s radical-Muslim faction and its ties to terrorists are taken into account. But few warm to the prospect of a fully nuclear India. And in the face of a Europe that is more hostile to the US than usual because of Bush’s Iraq adventure, which angers the millions of Muslims who now live within European borders, China and Russia correctly calculate that despite its military might America is at a diplomatic disadvantage. These are harsh realities. But they are the fruits of Bush. Tough talk and cowboy conduct have their price.

Iraq. The root of international instability grows worse with every tick of the clock. The number of insurgent attacks against US forces has doubled over the past year from 400 to 800 each week. Even the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, now admits that local violence is more threatening to Iraq than insurgency, with more than 6000 Iraqis dead in the past two months. That’s more than the number who died during the war’s first year. Against this grim backdrop the US is making plans to keep 140,000 troops in Iraq for four more years.

The bipartisan study group co-chaired by former Republican secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton appears to be working toward a series of recommendations that may result in a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq before 2010. But the big question is whether the pull of that reality will be strong enough to disengage Bush. Even if it is, the new nuclear reality that Bush has helped to foster will still be with the world.

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I would like to invite the writer of this article to please leave my country. Thanks

POSTED BY BrockBannister AT 10/18/06 8:26 PM

Great article and good breakdown of the issues. I'm not a huge fan of Baker or Hamilton, but I'm willing to hope that what they are working on will be considered. Perhaps BB (above) needs to learn the basics of common courtesy.

POSTED BY diana AT 10/18/06 9:08 PM

Exhibits the brilliance of a seventh grader with a reaction to puberty.

POSTED BY marv AT 10/18/06 10:02 PM

POSTED BY an aware American AT 10/18/06 10:03 PM

I would like to invite the writer of the first comment to kindly leave the country. Now.

POSTED BY an aware American AT 10/18/06 10:06 PM

I work these issues on a daily basis, and spend 1/3 of every year "over there". The author of the article is spot on. Ignorance WAS forgivable, but for those of you that are still "buying the bullshit", you amaze me. God help us all.

POSTED BY Beenthere AT 10/18/06 10:33 PM

CrockB above is typical of the mindless dimwits who have supported the resident White House idiot. I'm sure he and the shrub both leap with joy at the US casualty reports coming out of Iraq.

POSTED BY jayjay AT 10/18/06 11:15 PM

This is the most honest and logical article that i have ever read about current events. Obviously Pro Patriotic Americans will not like hearing the truth so they will shun this article. This is whats on the minds of non Americans not effected. Thank you for this article, and please carry on writing more. I am not anti America, I am not Anti Arab, I am not anti Peace. But I am anti BS and propaganda, and this has non of that.

POSTED BY Actavist AT 10/19/06 2:01 AM

Excellent! But "Terrorist maestro Osama bin Laden, still inconveniently at large, performed a satanic service by awakening the international community to the true scope of the Islamist threat when his minions attacked Washington and New York," is not true. Bin Forgotten is a bogey man - 9/11 absolutely an inside job. Don't take my word for it. Just see the Google Video "911 Mysteries," and you will believe. Message for BrockBannister - do you live in Crawford, TX?

POSTED BY hsk01945 AT 10/19/06 11:45 AM

If this author, or any author, wants to have their thoughts seriously considered by the other side, it would be better to leave out the obvious "bashing" and talk facts. The world's issues did not take place over a few short years, so neither Bush nor Clinton can get all the credit or blame. This article seems to be blatantly one sided, therefore it is difficult to consider seriously.

POSTED BY BenFranklin AT 10/19/06 11:54 AM

Bush = Trouble, Clinton = No Trouble

POSTED BY florida AT 10/20/06 8:32 AM

It has amazed me for some time now how idiotic some people are over this matter, how on earth anyone with a brain could still support bush and his cult henchmen? If anyone can tell me exactly what these men have done to avenge the acts of 9/11 I will gladly listen with an open mind. The only thing I can think of is that they have come after U.S. citizens instead of truly and aggresivly tracking down these murderous thugs. But I guess Bin Laden moved to Iraq sometime after 9/11. We have some 25 thousand troops in Afghanastan while we have 140 thousand in Iraq and we just handed over the Afghanastan mission to the U.N.. You remember them they are the ones bush called irrelavant at the start of his personal war.

POSTED BY snappa45 AT 10/20/06 9:56 AM

The Republican party is nothing but lip service to regualr Americans unless your white, rich and a christian. Other than that don't bother knocking. The hypocrosy of the party is amazing. It took the Democrats 40 years to loose the house and senate the Republicans only took 12 years now thats saying a lot.

POSTED BY snappa45 AT 10/20/06 10:00 AM

I read these comments as well as most in our local papers and I wonder if anyone has constructive comments or is this just a bash fest. Making comments about the mental ability of thers, calling names, etc. What contsructive ideas do we have out there to stop (not appease) terrorism, to strengthen our security, to improve the condition of people worldwide?

POSTED BY BenFranklin AT 10/20/06 10:54 AM

I think we should go back to the days of the king, where one man took control and thought over everything. And if the people thought the king was bad or stupid, they killed him. Now all we are ever doing is running around in circles blaming republicans, democrat, aristicrats, diplomats, liberals, conservatives. blah blah blah. Lets all believe the media cause the media is 100% truth... no propaganda no sensationilsm nothing 100% pure truth. Yeah right.

POSTED BY Actavist AT 10/24/06 10:31 AM

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