Wednesday, October 13, 2004
On this day:

Bush foreign Policy: "Bullying, Unreceptive, Brazen"

...according to this article in the New York Times.
It is a characterization of Mr. Bush's foreign policy style often heard around the world: bullying, unreceptive, brazen. The result, critics of this administration contend, has been a disastrous loss of international support, damage to American credibility, the sullying of America's image and a devastating war that has already taken more than 1,000 American lives. In the first presidential debate, Senator John Kerry argued that only with a change of presidents could the damage be

Mr. Bush had a sharp rebuttal, just as his advisers have long told a different story. In their narrative, Mr. Bush's presidency has been an era of historic change, of new alliances bravely embraced, critical relationships solidified, rapid adaptation to a mortal threat and, above all, a bold undertaking to advance freedom in the Middle East through Iraq.

The whole article is worth a read, but I have to warn you that it's 5 pages long. Reading between the lines (as one has to do when reading any New York Times piece), what emerges is the sense that 1) America has never been more credible; 2) international support for the U.S. hinges, as it always has, on the interests of other nations as they perceive them; 3) America's image may be "sullied" in some quarters, but there are many nations who are very appreciative to have the friendship of the U.S.; 4) that the "devastating war" in Iraq has concentrated the attention of friends, foes, and fence-straddlers on the necessity of dealing with situations that are threats to U.S. and global interests; and 5) that the position of the U.S. as a global hegemon inevitably inspires rivalry, and no President can soften the determination of those left behind to apply restraints.