Inexplicable 11th hour reversals of Bush foreign policies 124

 Gordon G Chang writes on the Contentions site of Commentary Magazine:

 Is the Bush administration crumbling? Asia experts Liu Kin-ming and June Teufel Dreyer, in postings on the Taiwan Policy Forum listserv today, ask a pertinent question.

The answer, unfortunately, is “yes.” An exhausted Dubya is now doing everything he once said he would not. The President, for example, is rewarding North Korea prior to surrender of its nuclear weapons. On Wednesday, the administration agreed to talk with Iran even though the Islamic Republic is continuing to enrich uranium and undoubtedly maintaining a covert bomb program. And on the same day, it was revealed that the Bush White House isundermining democratic Taiwan to please communist China by refusing to sell the former defensive weapons. Next month, the President will be joining the likes of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe to honor Chinese autocrats at the opening ceremony of an event recently described as the “Totalitarian Olympics.”

Mr. Bush probably won’t have to sit next to Sudan’s Omar Bashir–seating is said to be alphabetical for attending heads of state–only because the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday asked for an arrest warrant for the genocidal ruler.

The American leader who believes so much in freedom and democracy has done more than any autocrat to support the strengthening coalition of authoritarian states. Getting little in return, Bush is yielding on almost every request from Beijing and most of them from Moscow. In doing so, he is abandoning American allies and undermining critical American goals. By reversing course on major initiatives, he is eroding American credibility. Now, it seems every foreign policy of the Bush administration is, well, Kerryesque.

Some will argue that the President’s recent radical turns are only recognizing reality because Russia and China have been frustrating American initiatives. As an initial matter, it was Bush administration policy that helped put these two authoritarian giants into positions from where they could bedevil America and the rest of the international community. Yet more important, the President’s policy changes come too late to be effective. Now, even if they are the right approaches–and I do not think they are–they can only make the United States appear weak and irresolute. It would have been preferable for the administration to have stuck to its principled stands, which at least had the possibility of leading to enduring solutions, especially if they would have been continued by the next administration.

The President should have realized that, so close to the end of his term, the best he could do was to cause no further harm. Yet we are now witnessing policy disarray in a White House that has lost its confidence and bearings.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Friday, July 18, 2008

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