Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bush's National Lampoon: European Vacation

Bush's recent romp in Europe - an attempt to convince "Old Europe" that despite our actions and policies and words that we really are the defenders of peace and freedom and capitalism and motherhood and apple pie - may have underachieved, showing that Dear Leader is consistent. Some summaries of the results of his adventures follow.

From Lost in Europe:
At the last minute he rescued his summit with Vladimir Putin, who refuses to soften his authoritarian measures, with a step toward safeguarding Russian plutonium that could be used for nuclear weapons production. This programme was negotiated by Bill Clinton and neglected by Bush until two weeks ago.

Putin's crackdown on dissent and democracy generates some "concern" by the administration, but apparently no more than the un-democratic practices of Pakistan,Turkey, Egypt, etc. Either good allies are hard to find, or easy for this administration to lose.

Ceasing the finger-pointing is the basis for European consensus on its new, if not publicly articulated, policy: containment of Bush. Naturally, Bush misses the nuances and ambiguities.

The Europeans have committed their credibility to negotiations, the Iranians have diplomatic means to preclude unilateral US action, and Bush - who, according toEuropean officials, has no sense of what todo - is boxed in, whether he understands it or not.

And from Bush's Geopolitical Legacy:

Apparently, he [W.] thinks that he will be remembered for advancing "liberty"
in the world, and perhaps particularly in the Middle East. This seems to me most unlikely. I think he will be remembered for having anchored a major geopolitical shift that will be lasting - the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis.

What happened after 2001 is that George W. Bush, in his failed attempts to intimidate western Europe and Russia, accomplished the remarkable feat of speeding up the divergence between Europe and the United States to a point where a major fissure is in the process of being consolidated.

There will be three geopolitical stories to watch. One will be the economic competition between Europe and East Asia for the central role in the accumulation of capital in the coming decades. ... The second will be the struggle of what might be called some middle economic powers that are also regional giants - India, Brazil, South Africa, at least - to maintain their balance and assert their role (and alliances) in this new geopolitical arena. The third is to see how the United States will be able to adjust to these new realities in which its real and perceived role will be much less than it is now.

And last but not least, referenced from the excellent tomdispatch.com, George W. Bush, Europe's Godfather in Spite of Himself:

The United States settles for aspiring to global hegemony, marginalizing the United Nations, rejecting a multi-polar world and seeking to impose, problem by problem, the formation of coalitions over which, by happy coincidence, it systematically presides. Faced with this imperial, not totalitarian - an appreciable difference - but nonetheless authoritarian, Republic, Europe has but a single alternative: unite or obey.

What the European Council of Heads of Government never was able to do, George W. Bush succeeded in achieving: the citizens of all of continental Europe and a good number of Britons, whether their governments were left or right, whether their Prime Ministers had committed themselves in the American wake or had refused, all these citizens purely and simply rejected their choices and American methods. George W. Bush was midwife to the birth of a European public opinion.

It's fascinating how quickly Bush Ltd's extremist approach to the world outside Crawford, TX has polarized it against America. As we anger growing economic giant China by mincing words on Taiwan and encouraging Japan to militarize, and alienate Europe through contempt for Kyoto, the U.N., the International Crimincal Court, etc., we may find ourselves sucking hind teat on the tripolar sow. And as India's recent partnership with China shows (India, China declare a trade partnership), even friendly nations are starting to think that the costs of alliance with the U.S. don't justify the shrinking benefits.

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