Many believe that President Bush is little short of a moron. Seemingly, this has become the excuse, if not the justification, for the monumental incompetence of the world’s single most powerful country in managing its foreign affairs. In a recent survey featured in the Financial Times, 32 percent of Europeans consider America the greatest threat to world stability. This is not the age of superpowers; it is the age of one superpower. With the balance of power tipped so heavily in America’s favour, it has been able to botch various foreign operations with relative impunity, knowing that no other nation could match its economic and military strength. Securing Iraq’s oil was easy while Saddam was still around and the Iraqis were crying out for Western liberation. After that, it got messy as the lack of an exit strategy became obvious. Bush tried to clarify the situation: “The solution.is more than a military mission. Precisely the reason why I sent more troops…” Enough said.
Thankfully, a presidential election is around the corner and this all will land in someone else’s lap. Iraq will soon be an unpleasant memory, right? Wrong. Of the six major candidates, only one opposed the war in Iraq from the outset. Some of the others have now said that, had they known then what they do now, they would not have supported the war. Convenient, but what is this new information? Perhaps the unwillingness of Iraqis to be dictated to by a foreign government was the surprise. Or maybe it was the seething mass of fanatics, extremists, bigots, zealots and fundamentalists (each caring only for its personal agenda) that have surfaced since Saddam’s toppling that was new. I think not. No, the epiphany was that there was no quick fix to Iraq’s civil instability once the oil was secured and Saddam was removed.
Bush’s approach has now made Iraq beyond the ability of repair. He would disagree, of course, as he recently informed the Australian Deputy Prime Minister that “we’re kicking ass.”
America is now firmly wedged between a rock and a hard place: It either continues to spend lives and money unsuccessfully or it withdraws in abject failure, having again bitten off more than it can chew.
This inability to learn from its mistakes, combined with a penchant for armed interference, makes America dangerous to itself and to the rest of the world. Aggressive foreign policy at the first perceived sign of threat is not the way to go. America is currently the only superpower; China, I think, will soon join it. It is an immense, communist nuclear power. Sound familiar? It should. The last time there were two nuclear superpowers there was a 50-year-long Cold War to go with them. When China fills the power vacuum, will the American government’s response be intelligent and mature? Or will it be as before, going in with all guns blazing on the flimsiest of premises? We can only hope not. After all, we won’t be able to blame that one on Bush.
Joy Hansen is an exchange student majoring in English. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.