Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Just like I said...

In my post last week about Hugo Chavez' remarks calling President Bush "the Devil", I said:

I can't offer much analysis (really, do I need to?), but I will say that if he's saying it, others are feeling it. Bush has burned a lot of bridges and we're getting ever closer to paying the price for it.

Taking a cue from me (I wish), the Washington Post did a story illustrating exactly what I was talking about: "Anger at U.S. Policies More Strident at U.N.".

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad grabbed headlines last week by blasting U.S. policies from the dais of the U.N. General Assembly. But while their words were harsh, in many ways they merely expressed in bolder terms what a number of other world leaders and foreign diplomats believe.

One could argue that these guys have no right to criticize us on human rights abuses, especially not when one nation forces women to cover themselves from head to toe in public and the other has a despicable history of killing and exploiting Indians or looking the other way because of profits from oil.

On the other hand, one could argue that we have no place judging them since they haven't undertaken irresponsible wars that got tens of thousands of civilians killed. In any case, a lot of people around the world are a lot less willing now to excuse us for what they view as our shortcomings. That, at least, is our own fault.

Resentment of American power has also been exacerbated by the United States' close association with Israel during the recent war in Lebanon and even the administration's campaign for greater democracy throughout the Middle East. A theme running through a number of the speeches delivered here is that democracy cannot be imposed through force.

Now, I'd like to rub this in the faces of those who supported a "unilateral" war in Iraq.

The rising anger at American policies comes as some U.S. officials privately acknowledge that they feel stymied on many international fronts: The war in Iraq is going poorly, the drive for sanctions against Iran's nuclear program has faltered, the disarmament talks with North Korea are all but dead, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is frozen, and the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region seems unsolvable.

Some people hate the fact that the US actually has to cooperate with other countries to get things done, which means that we can't afford to piss them off and actually have to make concessions now and then. Well, even if cooperation were a bad thing, it certainly doesn't mean we can afford not to do it. Just take a look at what we've failed to accomplish in Mr. Bush's 5 years of Presidency.

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