Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Will you look at the man? He's a Freudian delight; he crawls with clues!

It's with a sense of bitter irony that I note Fareed Zakaria's ridiculous piece "What Bush Got Right" about foreign policy came out in the same week yet another foreign policy disaster arose given in large part to the continued incompetence of Bush's entire administration in this arena. They've been in over their heads since he first took the oath of office and, contrary to Zakaria's assertion to the contrary, nothing has happened to change that situation.

I don't like to write or even think about these sorts of global crisis these days. Truth be told I've been irrationally trying to focus on other stuff in the hope that it would blow over, resolve itself or the adults in the Western European community would step in and bring and bring a peaceful resolution to the fighting.

I'd be the first to admit that's a naive and unrealistic approach. It's just that I have a hard time with accepting the alternative; that our leadership are nothing but a bunch stupid children. I find myself very nervous watching Bush and Cheney poke at Russia over the conflict in Georgia. I've used the example many times but it's akin to being trapped in a room with a monkey that's playing with a grenade. Eventually he's going to figure out how to pull out the pin...

I'm second to nobody in my opinion that the "tough guys" that make up this administration are really a bunch of blustering pansies. One thing I've learned is that the guys that talk the most smack are usually the guys that spent most of high school stuffed in a locker. They're the guys who are cheerleaders or look for excuses to get out of going to Vietnam. They're cowards who can't back up the crap that comes out of their mouths. As a man I don't have much of an opinion of the manliness of men like Bush and Cheney.

Having said that I also recognize it's for exactly this reason that they feel they have something to prove, especially if they're own hide isn't on the line. That's why I'm not sure the tack that Matt Yglesias (via Digby) takes in calling them out is the best one to use here.

"This highlights, I think, some of the limits of the kind of bluff-and-bluster approach to foreign policy that seems popular among conservatives these days. Or, rather, it highlights the fact that popular as bluster-based policy making is on the American right it can have some extremely high costs and that, tragically, a large proportion of those costs can wind up being borne by the people who were nominally supposed to be the beneficiaries. "

Bush has been throwing some extremely bellicose language at Russia yesterday. The kind of language I can't remember being used by an American president since at least the Berlin Wall came down. Pointing out that he's all hat and no cattle might not be the best thing to do here. On a personal level he's a coward. But he's also an incurious, stupid coward who has demonstrated zero predilection towards considering the consequences of his decisions whether to our security as a nation or the well-being of the troops under his charge.

I believe the phrase is "don't poke the bear." In the case of George W. Bush I would change that to "don't poke the teddy bear, it's not stuffed properly."


Randal Graves said...

What Bush Got Right? Since when does Newsweek print blank pages?

C'mon, dean, everyone knows that you throw military solutions at any and all problems. Eventually, everything will be reduced to a pile of steaming rubble, ergo, you win because you have less piles of steaming rubble. Iraqi is mess = USA victory.

Unconventional Conventionist said...

You simply can't write "What Bush Got Wrong" because it's entirely too long and is still being written to the tune of about $12 Billion per month.

Also, the Europeans or anybody else not in the US for that matter, doesn't need Yglesias to tell them how blustery and stupid this admin is.

They Already Know, which is why They All Do What They Want Without Us Having Influence In Any Way.

Russia is just the latest to not give a damn.

Fran said...

Do you hear the applause from over here in NY state? You should.

Bravo dear Dean!

What Bush got right... um, like nothing?

This Georgia thing, to hear him take Russia to task for invading a "sovereign nation" really ticks me off.

Swinebread said...

Chicken Hawks kill… that’s the straight dope and they ARE cowards like you said. What happy glue has Zakaria been sniffing? Oh yeah corporate media money…

Don Snabulus said...

I am going to have to disagree with your assessment just a little. While I agree the Bush's presidency is an unprecedented disaster on many fronts, their approach to the Russia/Georgia conflict has been light years better than their Middle East policy.

I base this on something as flimsy as Bush's interview with Bob Costas and a couple of news reports, but hear me out anyway.

From what I've seen, the Bush administration has matched Obama's words much more closely than McCain's. In fact, McCain's kneejerk bellicosity towards a major nuclear power should give anyone with any sense of self-preservation a LOT OF PAUSE.

Nobody in the administration is blaming Georgia for immediately withdrawing thousands of troops and nobody that I've heard is talking real brinksmanship with the Russians. True, they obviously advocate for the Georgians but they've even allowed the French of all people to go negotiate a cease fire. I can't imagine the Bush of 2002 doing the same.

Sadly, this is an oil fueled conflict. I expect more to come and we need someone objective to handle it rather than someone who has never seen a war he didn't like. With Russia, that could get millions of Americans nuked.

I, for one, am thankful that Bush went with the side of negotiation for once even if it was done with a certain amount of bluster.

That doesn't even begin to make up for 1.2 million dead innocents, 4.7 millions displaced people, or giving our reputation over to torturers. Nonetheless, since we probably won't see him tried for his crimes, we should at least see a slightly better than disastrous foreign policy move for what it is.

Dean Wormer said...


C'mon, dean, everyone knows that you throw military solutions at any and all problems.

Not ALL problems. Flatulence, for example, remains exempt from military influence although we have carpet-bombed the Hormel factory.


Isn't it great? Bush took one of the greatest nations on earth and made it irrelevant. Genius!


Yeah, it's crazy. He acts like he hasn't pissed away all our moral standing in Iraq. We have no leverage.


Disagree with me? That's unprecedented. ;-)

Here are a couple of comments that led me to write this post. The first from Bush himself- "Russia's government must respect Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward resolving this conflict."

It doesn't read as bad as it sounded. Bush's use of the word "must" had a very menacing tone to it.

Then there's Darth Cheney's comment that Russia's actions "...shouldn't go unanswered."

Considering the track record of these two guys on diplomacy and use of military force I think you can see where I'm coming from.

I think you may be being a bit too charitable with these guys. Here's what I think may have happened behind the scenes- neocons in the administration encouraged Georgia in this action and implicity implied we'd support them if Russia got involved.

Who knows what these neocons were thinking. I assume they thought it would never come to that and continued to buy in to the administration's delusional self-image as tough guys. In the end they were writing checks that nobody could cash.

Once it became clear that Russia wouldn't be cowed these people scurried away from support of Georgia and instead encouraged a diplomatic solution. A solution our own state department is incapable of delivering in these days of diminished U.S. stature.

I share your gratitude that this did not end with U.S. military involvement but I will continue to be nervous when situtations like this arise until January, 09 when an adult (Obama) is sworn in.

Randal Graves said...

You're assuming the adult will win. By the way, pick up your Presidential Medal of Freedom for all of your work reconstructing Iraqi schools.

Don Snabulus said...

Told you my evidence was flimsy. I guess even Bush was swayed by the awesome power of Costas' field of smarm.

I hope the grownup wins too...so does Europe.

The Kurds know all about being sold out by American neocons. Something tells me they are going to find out again. (Not that they do themselves any favors with their own behavior) Georgia needed to keep their animus in their pants until they were in NATO, but Russia was looking for an excuse.

Dean Wormer said...


Thank you for that award!


It is odd how most of the world and most of America could want us to have a change in leadership here and still the small percentage of kooks may prevail.

We are going to war with Kurdistan.