Wednesday :: Mar 17, 2004

The Great Misleader Excels as a Divider


by Mary

Remember how George W. Bush campaigned on how he was a "uniter, not a divider"? Well, if we've learned anything after the past 3 years, it is that rarely have we had a President so capable of doing a worse job on this front. This for a man who once had been given the tremendous opportunity to reach out to all those that relied on him after 9/11. In the United States, overwhelming numbers of people, both Democrat and Republican, put their hopes in him to act as a real leader would: to bind our wounds and to help us chart a way into the future that built upon our hopes and not our fears, on wisdom and not revenge. At the same time people all over the world said, "we are all Americans now," in an outpouring of solidarity. Yet in a remarkably short time, he succeeded in destroying this sense of unity and brotherhood due to his intransigence, his arrogance and his hubris.

Weekly his blatant partizanship polarizes more people and every week he is in office, the numbers that feel strongly about him grows. And if we think that this is bad, there is even worse news on the international front. Just as the rightwing propaganda machine geared up to a full throat roar because "some leaders" would prefer to see someone else besides Bush elected in the upcoming election, the Pew Research Center published their latest world survey report, "How does the world view the US?" Last year, the opinion polls showed a dramatic drop in the opinion that the US was held in comparason to the period right after 9/11. This year, one year after the start of the Iraq war, the numbers were even worse. For someone who wanted to lead the world (as Bush told Bob Woodward he expected to do), he is failing miserably.

A year after the war in Iraq, discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished. Opinion of the United States in France and Germany is at least as negative now as at the war’s conclusion, and British views are decidedly more critical. Perceptions of American unilateralism remain widespread in European and Muslim nations, and the war in Iraq has undermined America’s credibility abroad. Doubts about the motives behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism abound, and a growing percentage of Europeans want foreign policy and security arrangements independent from the United States. Across Europe, there is considerable support for the European Union to become as powerful as the United States.

And although a good number of Americans still believe that terrorism is less of a problem after the war in Iraq (still not aware of what a huge lie it was to say that attacking Iraq would address terrorism), most people in the countries surveyed disagreed:

These notions are not shared elsewhere. Majorities in Germany, Turkey and France – and half of the British and Russians – believe the conflict in Iraq undermined the war on terrorism. At least half the respondents in the eight other countries view the U.S. as less trustworthy as a consequence of the war. For the most part, even U.S. military prowess is not seen in a better light as a result of the war in Iraq.

So much for Bush's vaunted world leadership and his mythical success in waging the war on terrorism by attacking Iraq.

NPR reported on this story and one of the items it put in its lead was how one bright spot was that even though other Muslim countries were growing more negative about the US, Turkey's attitude was more positive this year. Well, I guess we can count on Turkey to back us up in the next dogfight in which we parttake? (I think this is another case of NPR's "making sure to tell the good news" when normal people might think that things are pretty bad.)

Do you think Bush really believes that those that don't follow him support the terrorists? In actuality, he is the problem. By alienating broad groups of people, Bush's policies have encouraged anti-Americanism that can only promote the terrorists' goals.

Mary :: 7:31 AM :: Comments (3) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!