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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Three more years 

Billmon's post - Hogtied- summarizes the foreign policy bind into which Bush has tied the United States:
. . . one of the great ironies of Shrub's presidency: an administration that came to power determined to win maximum freedom of action in foreign policy by going it alone (or recruiting ad hoc coalitions that would submissively follow Washington's lead) has ended up virtually paralyzed by the consequences of its own hubris. Consider:
With the bulk of the U.S. active duty army marooned in the Iraq quagmire, pre-emptive (much less preventative) war is off the table. Syria, Iran and Hugo Chavez can all thumb their noses at the hegemon with relative impunity, secure in the knowledge that the 82nd Airborne won't come knocking on their doors any time soon.
Bush's inbred arrogance, Field Marshal Von Rumsfeld's moral cluelessness and the neocons' casual contempt for "soft power" have made the United States radioactive not just in the Islamic world but to public opinion in much of the rest of the world as well. Governments that might once have considered enlisting in Uncle Sam's army won't risk it now. . . .
Without a sensible energy policy. . . the U.S. is in no position to threaten Iran with meaningful economic sanctions . . .
Likewise, the U.S. can't risk alienating or destabilizing the House of Saud, lest the kingdom fall into the wrong hands (or none at all) sending oil to $150 a barrel. This makes any talk of "democratizing" the Middle East into a cynical joke . . .
We're not even trying to squeeze Chavez . . .
The failure of the neocons' go-it-alone attempt to isolate North Korea has left Kim Jong Il with a half dozen more nukes, and forced the administration to make a humilating U turn towards appeasement.
The Republican regime's out-of-control fiscal policies have given the People's Republic of China a senior unsubordinated claim on the U.S. Treasury and unprecedented potential influence over the U.S. financial markets. This rules out any attempt to "contain" Beijing or counter its reach into traditional U.S. fiefdoms like Latin America, and could become particularly problematic if the Chinese ever move militarily against Taiwan.
The GOP's drive to steamroll opposition to free trade -- instead of looking for practical compromises on labor and environmental standards -- could soon make it just about impossible to pass any more trade deals, unless the Republican House leadership intends to start using stress positions on party dissidents and holding votes open for three days instead of three hours . . .
the administration has marginalized the United States in the shaping of an International Criminal Court it someday will feel compelled to join . . .
[the Bush administration] virtually destroyed NATO without creating a replacement vehicle for managing relations with either the "new" or the "old" Europe. . . [and]handed out a string of security IOUs in Central Asia that it will be hard pressed to honor without Russian cooperation . . .
The unilateralist fantasy . . . has collided with global reality -- one part economic integration, one part political disintegration, shaken and stirred. And reality has won, tying the colossus down almost as tightly as the Lilliputians did Gulliver. Now the question is: What can Gulliver do about it? Or, even more importantly, what will Gulliver try to do about it?
Not to mention Guantanamo, which will be a national shame for the United States for the next several generations.
And the world has three more years of having to try to deal with these jerks and trying to keep them from causing any more trouble. We really do need to figure out some occupational therapy kind of thing, something harmless to keep the Bush administration busy and occupied and out of the way.
Maybe an expedition to build a bridge between the two peaks of the Mount Kilimanjaros . . .

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