Saturday, March 22, 2008



Often when critics of the Bush Regime talk about the ill-effects of its cloddish and disastrous foreign policy, souring of relations with our allies is a common theme. This morning's Washington Post has a preview of a book, A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons by Chile's Ambassador to the UN, Heraldo Munoz. It will confirm all your worst fears about the resentments and ill-will Bush and his team stirred up in their mania to attack Iraq.
In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.

The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, Heraldo Munoz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, writes in his book "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons," set for publication next month.

"In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Munoz writes.

But the tough talk dissipated as the war situation worsened, and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned. Munoz's account suggests that the U.S. strategy backfired in Latin America, damaging the administration's standing in a region that has long been dubious of U.S. military intervention.

When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama talk about the need for repairing the damages to our international standing and our relationships with other countries, it's not a bunch of hot air. Bush behaved like a spoiled brat a bully and a cowboy when dealing with other heads of state, heads of state with strong friendly relations with the United States. According to Munoz, the Bush Regime "sought to thwart a last-minute attempt by Chile to broker a compromise that would delay military action for weeks, providing Iraq with a final chance to demonstrate that it had fully complied with disarmament requirements."

And the Bush Regime wasn't just spying on American citizens. It was spying on diplomats as well, not just Iranians and North Koreans and Iraqis, but on the diplomats of friends and allies. And everyone knew it. Munoz writes about how diplomats would gather "in a secure room at the German mission that was impervious to suspected U.S. eavesdropping. "It reminded me of a submarine or a giant safe," he told the Post. Predictably, that got Bush angry at the Germans. How dare they prevent him from spying on diplomats!

John Cole was someone who pretty much bought into the Bus approach in the run-up to the attack on Iraq. Cole defended the Bush foreign policy agenda aggressively and wholeheartedly. Today he says he was wrong, not just wrong, but "wrong about everything. War should always be an absolute last resort, not just another option. I will never make the same mistakes again."
I was wrong about the Doctrine of Pre-emptive warfare.
I was wrong about Iraq possessing WMD.
I was wrong about Scott Ritter and the inspections.
I was wrong about the UN involvement in weapons inspections.
I was wrong about the containment sanctions.
I was wrong about the broader impact of the war on the Middle East.
I was wrong about this making us more safe.
I was wrong about the number of troops needed to stabilize Iraq.
I was wrong when I stated this administration had a clear plan for the aftermath.
I was wrong about securing the ammunition dumps.
I was wrong about the ease of bringing democracy to the Middle East.
I was wrong about dissolving the Iraqi army.
I was wrong about the looting being unimportant.
I was wrong that Bush/Cheney were competent.
I was wrong that we would be greeted as liberators.
I was wrong to make fun of the anti-war protestors.
I was wrong not to trust the dirty smelly hippies.

Welcome back, John Cole. But please don't think this entitles you to run for Congress as a Florida Democrat in November.


This morning's NY Times examines how McCain dealt with our European allies' hopes that-- should worse comes to worst and he manages to win the presidency-- "he could repair America’s tattered reputation." The Times suggests he has shifted "course on some of the policies that have alienated [our] allies, in areas like global warming and torture. But he is making his foray even as he embraces what much of the world sees as the most hated remnant of the Bush presidency: the war in Iraq." Somehow it seems to have slipped Times reporter Michael Cooper's mind that McCain has embraced Bush's medieval policies regarding torture and isn't exactly up to speed on climate change either. Embracing Bush's agenda in South Carolina and parts of suburban Texas might help solidify the Know Nothing sector of the GOP around McCain but Europe isn't exactly the place to emphasize one's agreement with anything remotely Bushian. "Bush is so unpopular, even with America’s allies, that people in Britain and France told pollsters last spring that they had even less confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs than they had in President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia."
[S]ome analysts question whether a new tone, however welcome, and the adoption of a few policies that are more in line with the rest of the world would be enough by themselves to improve America’s image, given the searing unpopularity of the Iraq war-- which Mr. McCain strongly supports-- in much of the world.

“In terms of public opinion, I think the war in Iraq is paramount,” said Nicole Bacharan, an expert on the United States at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris.

...In London, a skeptical editorial in The Independent, headlined “A hawk lands in London,” called Mr. McCain’s misstatement about Iran and Al Qaeda “a troubling error” but went on to say that “a McCain brand of hawkishness is likely to be less inflexibly, and ignorantly, ideological than George Bush’s.”

Which isn't really saying much at all.

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At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember this?

Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war
Secret document details American plan to bug phones and emails of key Security Council members
Read the memo
The Observer, Sunday March 2 2003

The United States is conducting a secret ‘dirty tricks’ campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.

Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.
... (More)


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