As I See It
The question as we enter 2003 is will President George Bush persist in following the course he has been on for the past sixteen months, or will he wake up and realize the potentially disastrous consequences of pursuing that course?
Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign policy was “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” President Bush seems to have missed the “speak softly” part.
His bluster about starting a war with Iraq, unilaterally if necessary, and his continuing obsession with invading Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein, has not only raised eyebrows among many of our so-called allies, but has convinced much of the world that the United States, with its massive military might and threats to use that might against countries we disagree with, is the world’s most dangerous imperialistic threat.
What we need to be concerned about is the old adage that “an enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Countries throughout the world will find a common cause in the face of this perceived threat and unite against us. Instead of joining our war on terrorism, they may actually align themselves with the terrorists in what they may see as their only means of resisting the power of the United States.
Over the past few weeks, there seemed to be some hope that he was softening his autocratic stance. When North Korea let it be known that all along they had been violating their nuclear weapons treaty with the United States and were going to push ahead with more of the same, the Bush administration declared that it would respond not with a threat, but through diplomacy.
How strange that diplomacy is appropriate for dealing with an unpredictable psychopath, but war is the only way to respond to a tyrant. Both Saddam and Kim Jong Il are unsavory characters. Both have enriched themselves at the expense of their people; Saddam has used poison gas to suppress Kurdish opposition in his own country and Kim is diverting North Korea’s resources to building nuclear weapons and medium- to long-range missiles while his country starves. It’s beginning to look like Bush is trying to pin the tail on the wrong donkey.
So why is war the only way to deal with Saddam, but diplomacy is the appropriate policy for Kim? Could it be that China’s support for North Korea is a bit intimidating? Or is it because Bush has stuck our neck out so far in his blind hatred for Saddam that he can’t back away from that short-sighted intemperate position? Its probably both, but regardless, Bush is now back to beating the drums for going to war with Iraq, with or without United Nations support.
And then there’s the economy. Unemployment is at 6 percent, the numbers of homeless and people living in poverty keep going up, bankruptcies have hit an all-time high of 1.5 million in the past year, and the stock market is in the doldrums. Every time Bush rattles his saber for war with Iraq, public confidence is shaken and the stock market takes another hit. Doesn’t President Rush realize that his warmongering is having a more devastating effect on his own people and economy than on Iraq?
When George W. Bush’s father, carrying unprecedented popularity from his victory in the first war with Iraq, ran for re-election in 1992, he lost to an upstart who came out of obscurity with the message “It’s the economy, stupid!” If the Bush currently in the White House doesn’t change course and continues his zeal for his own war with Iraq at the expense of our economy, he is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, right out of the White House.
Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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