Sunday :: Dec 3, 2006

US Middle East Allies Worry About Bushco's Policies


by Mary

Two term presidents in their second half of their second term often spend more time on foreign policy as their power to push their domestic agenda is reduced while their ability to wield their power in the foreign arena is still intact. Bill Clinton used this time in his presidency to try to help bring peace to some longstanding problems in the world. For Bush, the recklessness and disastrous mistakes made early in his presidency by invading Iraq have seriously weakened him on the foreign policy front which means he will have a hard time changing the international perception he's created that the United States is a rogue nation.

This past week was supposed to show that Bush still had the reins in firmly in hand in the Middle East as he, Cheney and Rice all participated in meetings with the leaders of our longtime allies. Yet, from all indications, after the week's diplomatic forays those allies are even more worried about Bush and his ability to straighten out the mess he's made over there. The LA Times has a piece titled Mideast allies near a state of panic which lays out the problems this past week's round of visits has reinforced in the Middle East.

President Bush and his top advisors fanned out across the troubled Middle East over the last week to showcase their diplomatic initiatives to restore strained relationships with traditional allies and forge new ones with leaders in Iraq.

But instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, the president's journey found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse.

NPR also had a piece this morning with some of the prominent journalists in Lebanon, Damascus and Jordan where they expressed the concern that Bush was still clueless about what was happening there. As Nabil al-Sharif in Jordan said, people had hoped that Bush could do some good, but after listening to the speech he gave, they are even more worried as his speech was just recycling the same old statements he's made a million times before. Everyone said that one thing the Bush administration misses is how Iraq is not an isolated problem today. There are three incipient civil wars and the only resolution would be to work on getting a just peace in all of them. Otherwise, there would be hell to pay.

What everyone agrees is that one of the biggest concerns today is that rather than helping cleaning up the mess he made in the Middle East, Bush could make things drastically worse. Indeed. Having a reckless, thoughtless, petulant and stubborn fool in charge of our foreign policy does make things rather dicey.

Mary :: 11:56 AM :: Comments (18) :: Digg It!