Bushies lose influence at home & abroad

Yesterday I wrote a column for Al-Hayat about how the Bush administration has been losing political influence at home, and the probable effects of this for Middle East diplomacy. (Short version: for Iraqi nationalists– good; for Palestinian-Israeli peace hopes– bad.)
Of course, the Bushies are also significantly losing influence overseas, as well as domestically. When their almost-puppet government in Baghdad ends up being all lovey-dovey with Teheran and cutting some really interesting deals there… when the Uzbeks etc start talking about cutting back US basing rights… when Bush feels obliged to say something about how human actions have contributed to global warming…. Well, when all these things happen you have to see that Washington’s global influence and ability to maintain the conceited illusion that it is “the indispensable nation” is starting to erode.
Of course this is not going to be a rapid or problem-free process. Nonethless, I think the time really is coming when people who are peace activists and US citizens can take the conversation with our compatriots about the kind of relationship that our country ought to have with the rest of the world to a whole new, much more constructive level.
I plan to write a bunch more about about this over the days and weeks ahead. But I can’t now. I have to drive off to Blacksburg, Virginia, to get to the tail-end of a big Quaker meeting that’s taking place there and catch up with some old f/Friends. Back home tomorrow.

17 thoughts on “Bushies lose influence at home & abroad”

  1. I suspect we will learn more about America “losing influence overseas” after the Germans cast their ballots in two months time…and as an American, I am proud that we are taking a stand for basic human rights for Uzbeks even at the risk of alienating their repressive government – and risking our bases serving the NATO effort in Afghanistan.
    as reported by Helena’s Christian Science Monitor:
    “It follows a string of complaints by leaders such as Uzbek President Islam Karimov suggesting that the West was behind uprisings in three former Soviet republics in the last two years

  2. Hammurabi, I do not know how to break this to you, but the U.S. is not serving the NATO effort in Afghanistan. It is the other way around – NATO is serving the U.S. effort there.

  3. “Islam Karimov suggesting that the West was behind uprisings in three former Soviet republics in the last two years

  4. “Islam Karimov suggesting that the West was behind uprisings in three former Soviet republics in the last two years

  5. Hammurabi,
    Have a look there at the poll of the PEW research Center if you want to see what former Europeans allies think of US.
    And while you are at it, take the time to look at what think other countries in the Middle East or in Asia.
    The results speak for themselves. Most foreign countries have a very bad image of the US and the downslide is especially steep in the case of the EU countries.
    The comments are somewhat positive, underlining that between 2004 and 2005, the number of positive scores have progressed from 38% to 41%, for instance in Germany.. yes, but in 200 they were still reaching 78%.. And given the size of the sample, these 3 points of difference may not be significative due to the confidence interval.
    And don’t nurture too much illusions on the EU support of Bush policies. Just look at the coalition of the so-called willings : the number of countries involved has sunk from about 32 to 20.. Significant allies have withdraw and other are going to diminish their presence : Berlusconi has announced that he will withdraw 300 troops in september. Poland has announced she wants to bring her troops home fro Christmas. The Brittish say they want to diminish their troops from about 9000 to 2000-3000, leaving the country to the Shiites militias .. err.. the Iraqi forces.

  6. “West” is to be commended for its efforts to help extend to Ukrainians and Iraqis the privileges its own peoples take for granted…but noone said that freedom always comes easily or cheaply.”
    Also not brings those rids on US tank without any supporter inside they came to dived the Iraqi society and trying with sick thinking to rule the country, like Ahmad Aljalabi and others which Cleary lying with Iranian in same bed…

  7. “The British say they want to diminish their troops from about 9000 to 2000-3000, leaving the country to the Shiites militias .. err.. the Iraqi forces.” (Christiane)
    Yes, I guess that’ll be one interesting thing to come out of this. If the London attack does not lead Blair to maintain or increase British troop levels in Iraq, won’t this be an admission of disagreement with the Bush policy of “fighting them over there (i.e. in Iraq) so we don’t have to fight them at home?”
    Obviously whoever did this, assuming it was Jihadis, didn’t want to to be sucked into fighting solely in Iraq. And unless they were Iraqi “insurgents,” which seems pretty unlikely, their action doesn’t seem to justify increased use of force in Iraq, or continued occupation thereof.

  8. ” leaving the country to the Shiites militias .. err.. the Iraqi forces.” (Christiane)”
    Yah; Bader Militias Iranian created, Iranian believe, background and Iranian tool, exactly like Hezbollah Militias in south Lebanon.
    This move not means that Blair disagreement with the Bush policy; I read it opposite that Bush listen closely to Brits how to control Iraq because they are the best in understanding Iraqi and how to control them back to WWI.
    The Brits playing this game for long time in the region by supporting of Al Al-Subah in Kuwait and Al-Saud in Alhujaz and also in most of these tinny Islands in the Arabian Gulf and Yamane.
    I wonder why US put Hezbollah in the list of terrorists groups and blaming the Syrian government where it’s clearly Iranian body on different land starting by its leader Hussein Nasrallah, where in Iraq Bader Militia supported by US and Brits!!.
    It’s clearly this reflected the attitude that US playing the games even with EVIL I worry these evil not turned around and miss direction like Bin Laden & Saddam did

  9. Welcome to Blacksburg! The Friends who are here, who visit our store, are a wonderful addition to our community.

  10. If the Jaafari regime is such a puppet government how on Earth are they allowed to get so cozy with Iran, a supposed Axis-of-Evil member?
    And wasn’t Askar Akayev a US ally? As much as Karimov was? Why would the US then overthrow their own ally? The notion that the US was behind that overthrow and the others in Ukraine and Georgia is ridiculous, and it’s sad to see Salah fall for such foolishness.
    Hammurabi, the USA was a staunch ally of Karimov’s Uzbekistan until recently. Any stand for basic human rights there must come with a mea culpa for supporting Karimov in the first place. The US owes that to the Uzbek people. The US would still be supporting Karimov now if not for the massacre in East Uzbekistan. Now there is international pressure to condemn Karimov, and only then does the US face that pressure and try to break away from Karimov.

  11. Janinsanfran,
    Yes, Berlusconi said that 300 Italian troops will come home in September. I wonder why the newspapers make all this fuss about it. It was already announced some months ago (when Calipari was shot down by the US I think). Berlusconi isn’t all that clear as to whether it is the beginning of a full withdrawal or what, as usual. He has elections looming and along with the Spanish, the Italians were the most opposed to the Iraq war. So with the UK bombings and the looming elections he is trying to deal with his public opinion without angrying Bush too much.

  12. Inkan– Jaafari is in the typically tough bind of someone who’s a Petain (let’s say) rather than a full-blown Quisling. After my discussion with faiza in Boston a few weeks ago we agreed that both Jaafari and Abu Mazen are probably sincere, well-meaing people who have chosen for whatever reason to try to make the best of a bad sitation by focusing on cooperting with the power-that-be– but this, at a time when their respective powers-that-be generally continue to try to wholly control (rather than merely “cooperate with”) them.
    In both cases– Jaafari’s and Abu Mazen’s– these individuals also strongly seek to include the more militant nationalists in their coalition.
    The analogy between the two isn’t perfect, because the political lineups inside the two countries are different. But that, basically, is why I described him as an “almost-puppet” rather than a total puppet.
    I expect him to continue to try to increase the distance between himself and the occupation forces.
    Hammurabi– Of course I support the democratization forces inside Uzbekistan. If they come to power don’t expect them to kowtow to Washington, though. They presumably well understand the role Washington has played propping up Karimov for these past years.

  13. “In both cases– Jaafari’s and Abu Mazen’s”
    I don’t agree with your view Helena…
    Abu Mazin at least well known to majority of Palestinians people, But Aljaafari simply Iranian just looking deep in his biography you will find, last week there is article in Assharqalwast I think Aljaafarie spoke in Arabic exactly like the Iranian speak (the accent and the words he used) that’s why these Puppets normally speak English in most of there interviews inside Iraq when he should speak Arabic if he care about his people, respecting his native nationality.
    In addition he had no history that he were influential political figure inside Iraq and the only follower I believe these the Iraqi/Iranian background who support him, most of the Bremer setup political Puppets almost all of them had no ground inside Iraq just they works in favor to US, only Kurdish leaders they represented well and they had major support with the north area of Iraq.

  14. If one can drawn some amusement from the Recent Pew Poll on US status across the world ,there is a kind of mordant humour in a poll that finds Canadians head the list of those who think the US is a”violent power”,ain the fact that in Europe more think better of China than the US.!! How do you do it ,George,How do you do it ?

  15. Brian,
    The report is well worth the reading. It’s full of “surprising” results. For instance the countries who sent troops in Iraq were asked whether they thought it was the right decision. Only 24% of the Spanish said so, explaining why Zapatero withdrew them immediately after winning the elections. Poland is often seen as a staunch ally of Bush coming just after the Brittish.. yet only 24% of her citizen think it was the right think to do.. just the same result as Spain. (These results can be seen in chapter III : Opinion of US policies).

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