Saturday, August 07, 2004

We're on autopilot

After reading this article, it occurred to me…is our national and foreign policy running on auto-pilot? Do we hear of phone calls from Bush to Putin demanding that he address the Yukos issue to ensure oil price stability? No. Yeah sure, behind the scenes via back channels etc., but how about public posturing/political pressure and the face-to-face style that all modern US presidents have embraced, thereby utilzing every tool in the political toobox?

The president has visited the mid-East twice in the entire time he’s been in office, both times to make speeches, spending no more than 3 days each. His engagement with NATO is nil. Powell is not the president yet he’s acting like one in front of foreign leaders on Bush’s behalf, not to mention Bush’s record days in office on vacation, in this day and age.

I remember a time once when presidents traveled around the world to assert US leadership that the world respected and was, indeed, guided by. Now, we only know how to flex our military muscle (a blunt instrument of power, recognized since Sun Tzu to modern guerilla war strategist Ho Chi Minh) and apparently have lost the ability to practice the lost arts of diplomacy and international politics.

Results of this presidency and Republican-controlled Congress are irrefutable. What’s more damning, as history will show, the Democrats had nothing to do with it as Republicans have full sway (as possible in a representative demcracy short of a single-party system) to do whatever they want to for 4 years now. And what’s tangible to show for? Something to really think over in the next few months.