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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2370

Bush Administration Destined to Go out Not with a Bang but a Whimper

Sunday Discourse - by Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

Bush administration is heading into its final year not with a bang but a whimper as events in Pakistan clearly make his presidency a geographic divide. His deviousness in inventing a rationale for going to war in Iraq will stand out as an eye sore. One saving grace: he was not presumptuous enough to mould American foreign policy like Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. He brought a new slant deemed the 9/11 international drift. Nations fighting terrorism may have benefited from that outlook, as Bush never hesitated to call a terrorist by any other name unlike the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton who is dividing terrorist into good and bad ones. Bush presidency transformed the American electorate by creating an unmitigated Republican majority from 2002 to 2006. That majority has evaporated and Republicans are now distancing themselves from their president.

Post 9/11 saw over 3 million job losses, over 40 percent drop in tourism and travel incomes and a gigantic change in the economic dynamics which George Bush tried to overcome by introducing massive tax cuts, a Nations airlines suffered over 20 million dollars in the first three months, which the Congress rectified somewhat with a $17 billions aid package, a proven capitalistic approach to recovery by insisting. The US economy, usually a reliable predictor of presidential popularity, grew sloppily during the first fours years of the Bush presidency. It recovered somewhat after that oblivious to the post 9/11 dynamics and neglect of global competitiveness issues and 5 major hurricanes and many jungle-fires that hit America during the years 2002 to 2007.

Everything that has happened in Iraq since he declared "Mission Accomplished" in the spring of 2003 is deemed a failure according to his critics. Bush has continually claimed that Iraq has an elected government, held elections and the people of Iraq are voting in large numbers. However, Bush has not satisfied both the militant conservative base and the eternally moderate US electorate to any recognizable degree.

As Bush announced his guest worker programs for Mexicans coming over the border, the US Census department announced that there are 35 million people living in America who were born outside U S A. Bush’s attempt to sound inclusive ran into trouble due to his fuzzy relationship with the conservative right wingers. America needs the visitors here and they will continue to come. The religious right led by the Catholic Church is working towards inclusiveness.

There is some optimism in America that the thorny issue of immigration will be settled eventually. To say that contradiction and paradox have become bedfellows in the Republican Party’s sleepover for the past five years is to ignore the dynamics of “give and take play” which is truly American. Diversity and conflict are part and parcel of healthy optimism. It also safe to state that a large portion of Bush's Republican base does not feel betrayed because profit motive and free entrepreneurship, the twin towers of good economic life are very much alive and kicking.

The legacy of George Bush seems defined by three factors - 1. an attempt to dabble in the politics of the Middle East-removal of a ruthless dictator in Iraq and a belated attempt to establish a Road Map for Peace between Israel and Palestine, 2. a stable economy amidst major natural and planned events (9/11) disasters and 3. Free trade policies and inclusiveness at the borders.

George Bush is no Kennedy. Neither does he pretend to be one. He decides and acts on a whim and is harshly result-oriented and oblivious to consequences. He is no sophisticated internationalist, nor a flamboyant orator.

In the 1940s USA was inspired by high-minded ideals of FDR, who perceived Hitler's threat to our civilization perhaps even before Winston Churchill. Truman, too, was an enemy of tyranny; in March 1947, he told a joint session of Congress: "I believe that it must be the policy of the US to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

This was called the Truman Doctrine. Like Truman, Bush will be adjudged a failure or a success on the outcome of his "support of free peoples, not on how he mispronounces words or whether he wind surfs like some politicians.

His greatest test will be how Iraqi government fares—amidst the creation of a myriad of sectarian fiefdoms, with militia warlords holding sway through a combination of terror, criminality and the offer of some protection for a poverty-stricken and desperate population. The surge in American troops to 160,000 may have caused the casualty number to go down in the last two months. The 38 American fatalities in October and 37 deaths in November were among the lowest monthly figures since the March 2003 invasion. The number of insurgent attacks on US and Iraqi government forces per month has fallen from 5,000 at the beginning of the year to 2,000.

According to Information Clearing House

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq - 1,139,602

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq - 3,897

The War in Iraq Costs - $480,375,968,732

- Asian Tribune -

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