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March 31, 2005

The Bush Doctrine

Tony Coppola

      After four years, numerous diplomatic failures, and a new Secretary of State, Bush still doesn’t get it. Coming off his diplomatic trip to Europe, Bush decided that he would appoint two controversial unilateralists to major positions. His choice for U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, is a telling one. Mr. Bolton has constantly criticized multilateralism, claiming that the United States should be the only country that has power in the Security Council. This is coming at the same time when Secretary General Kofi Annan is trying to improve the structure of the UN. Many conservatives are saying that a harsh critic of the organization is the right person to help guide this reform. But Bolton is not only a harsh critic; if it were up to him, the UN would not exist. To make matters worse, Bush followed up his nomination of Bolton with the recommendation that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz should be the new president of the World Bank. Wolfowitz, another unilateralist, is the supposed ideologue behind our current War in Iraq who wrongly promised Mr. Bush that the Iraqi people would welcome us as liberators. Bush is just daring the European Union to veto the appointment of Wolfowitz.

      What kind of message does this send to Europe? Bush is clearly still bitter over the refusals of Germany and France to participate in the Iraq War. His next four years will be no different than his first four. Bush, it seems, would rather get into a pissing match with the Europeans than cooperate with them on anything. Diplomacy is not a one-way street; many Europeans will continue to refuse to help the United States in its efforts, if it continues to throw things in their face. Bush was not willing to compromise when he assumed the Presidency, and he is not willing to compromise now. Inviting unilateralists to run multilateral organizations is not the best way to make headway in his ambitious global agenda.

      Iran is about to acquire nuclear capability, North Korea already has nuclear weapons, and American soldiers are dying everyday in Iraq. All of these situations will be best addressed in conjunction with our European allies. But Bush does not care. He proclaimed at the start of his unilateral tirade that, “you’re with us or against us,” and that, “I do not do nuance.” It is likely that Wolfowitz and Bolton will exhibit the same attitudes in their respective positions. Both the World Bank and the United Nations have had problems in recent years, and it is likely that these two Bushies will only cause more problems. Without a doubt, the World Bank will play a big role in the rebuilding of Iraq, and Mr. Bush has decided that one of his cronies who failed in the military planning in Iraq should have a hand in its economic planning.

      Certainly, Mr. Bush will have a very special legacy. It is clear that something is happening in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East. If Mr. Bush embraces diplomacy then that something might just turn into democratic reform. But if these same stubborn policies that we have seen for over four years continue to win out, it is all the more likely that tyranny will just tighten its grasp on the Middle East. We cannot achieve success alone, but Mr. Bush won’t have it any other way.

Front Page (March 31, 2005)

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