Only in America could a phrase such as “cowboy morality” be seen as a term of flattery.
And it seems fitting that such a phrase is being used to describe our president’s view of the war on terror. Like solitary John Wayne riding on a horse to punish a wild bunch of savage Indians who have committed some atrocity, George W. Bush sits at the reins of the nation just a-lookin’ and a-searchin’ (if I may use a bit of cowboy lingo) for a terrorist to come within range of his trusty six-shooter. However, it seems that many parts of the world have quite a different take on our beloved cowboy Bush.
Recently, Nelson Mandela, champion of civil rights and former president of South Africa, joined the chorus of foreign voices who are appalled at what they call Bush’s arrogance. Of course, Nelson Mandela is not the first to make this point, but I personally feel that when a man of his stature speaks, we should probably listen. And I think that his claims are not too far from the mark.
Now, I know many Americans might think that arrogance is a good thing. After all, we are the most powerful nation in the world, right? So why not flaunt it as we kick down Saddam’s door and bring him to justice?
I have serious problems with a president who says, in his State of the Union Address, that we can pursue such a major war alone. Where do we draw the line between arrogance and stupidity? Regardless of how powerful the United States Army is, if we have no support in the rest of the world, where do we turn if something goes wrong? What will we do without allies? Even if we could win by ourselves, what good would it do if the rest of the world were opposed to our action? Do we really need to further solidify our place as the most hated nation in the world?
And yes, I know that if we really got into trouble England would most likely help us, but that’s not the point. Such blind individualism mixed with pride is a dangerous combination. Look at the Roman Empire, look at the Vietnam War, hell, look at Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas.
Arrogance breeds overconfidence, which breeds defeat. History has certainly proven that fact. So before Bush calls Saddam out to a duel, maybe he had better make sure his six-shooter is loaded and that he’s got a friend in the saloon watching out for him, just in case.
Travis Atria is a senior majoring in English Literature. His hate mail can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.