Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A Different Point of View: Bush's Foreign Policy Sucesses

RealClearWorld brings this interesting piece to us. Please read this article with attention. RCW focuses on five cases, 1) China; 2) India; 3) Africa; 4) Colombia, and; 5) Military Transformation. In the case of Colombia, the argument is quite convincing.



  1. Thank you. I really appreciate your kind words, since I wrote the Colombia article.

  2. The Carioca Grouch applauds efforts to seek silver linings in clouds, the warming qualities of the wool of black sheep, the good in his enemies, the political skills of Richard Nixons and Henry Kissengers and the artistic merits of Jerry Lewis comedies. That is why Oscar (the Carioca Grouch's name is Oscar, just like the fuzzy, garbage-can dwelling grouch on Vila Sesame -- Sesame Street) applauds the efforts of Real Clear World to find sunshine on a rainy day and pearls among the shellfish fed to swine.


    You knew there was going to be a ``but'', didn't you?

    I have to take exception to some of the -- shall we say noble, or ``Christian'' -- efforts to outline the foreign policy successes of the failed Bush administration by the sweet folks at RCW. On the other hand I think they show an excess of zeal that would be better described as Devil's Advogacy or better entitled ``Foreign Policy Issues that Bush Didn't Totally Screw Up.''

    On Colombia, the Carioca Grouch, is much in accord. You can't have progress without order and you can't have order with a bunch of armed, semi-illiterate Marxists loonies running around the jungle trying to finance a socialist revolution with cocaine and the proceeds of kidnapping. Cudos to Buszito, different than previous administrations, for supporting funding for a LEGITIMATE AND DEMOCRATIC Latin American government that wanted to send its own soldiers into harm's way against the nut jobs.

    Still, this was a program started by Clinton and its was the unique leadership of someone like Uribe that really allowed this plan to work. Colombia was probably the first democratic state in Latin America to take U.S. aid to make their army strong and victorious without resorting to authoritarianism. Still I'd like to see more middle and upper class boys and girls enlist in the army (their parents are kidnap victims after all).

    That said, yes, Bush didn't mess up and he even made things better, but let's not assume that he (or his administration) is totally responsible. You give money to WILLING people, things have a better chance of working out an the Colombians were willing before Bush and Uribe took power.

    The military transformation article is the worst of the lot. It makes shallow and false assertions about Obama's military policy. Bush and Rumsfeld had success in transformation of the military under Bush (and anyone who knows the Carioca Grouch knows how hard that is to say), but the article, especially its opening, seems, ro come, my friends, Americans, countrymen, not to bury (and eulogize) Ceasar (Bush) but to attack Obama.

    Obama is committed transformation of the military (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/defense/) and his commitment to Afganistan is an affirmation of the lighter nibler special forces. The call for more troops in Iraq wasn't a denial of transformation but a recognition of reality. You can't transform a country without boots on the ground, and Rumsfeld and Bush's policies on Iraq, and their insufficient troop levels led to Abu Graib, torture, half measures and ethnic cleansing. Bush may have transformed the military but the transformed military (as great as many of its individual soldiers, units, equipment and technology are) was not up to the task and led to serious blots on the honor of America, her soldiers and her Constitution. The transformation was a net loss because of how the transformed military was used.

    India, the Carioca Grouch like the India policy, but I can't imagine what Bush had to do with it. That may be unjust, unchristian, but it in the end kind of seems like a no brainer. Why wouldn't the U.S. try to seek better relations with the world's largest democracy and figure out a way to bring the country in to the responsible nuclear world. Congrats Bush.

    China, well, at what cost. Besides the U.S. depends on China as much as China depends on the U.S. this was a success of pragmatism not vision. And it also required us to swallow censorship, repression, slave labor and the cooption of some of America's greatest companies, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

    Africa.well yes, Compasionate conservatism showed itself in Africa, the least important place on the world stage right now. Yes, the Carioca Grouch is being grouchy. This is not because he is against the spending of more than $18 billion in Africa to fight AIDS, but because he doesn't think you can chauk up a moral responsibility as a foreign policy success. Next time I give some money to a mentally ill alcoholic on the corner, I'm going to compare myself to Mother Theresa.

    Porra. Even then, even with the goodness of what the U.S. admin has done under Bush with AIDS in Africa, he refused to end rules prohibiting aid to groups that help prostitues (a world-wide policy). In a region where prostitution is a major vector for transmission of AIDS, this is dumb, unscientific and counter productive. Cudos for caring, a pox on Bush for not thinking. Considering the scientific prowess of the U.S. the silly U.S. restrictions on aid (and the amount of money Bill and Melinda Gates spent on their own) is roughly equivalent to former South African President Makebi's insistence that AIDS is not caused by HIV. Too little, not well spent.

    So the Carioca grouch, do call me Oscar, has flipped off. I appreciate efforts to see good in people, but today, after 8 years of trying, I cannot forgive the bad of this shitty administration. Efforts to give the benefit of the doubt feel to me something like what you feel when you put a piece of aluminum foil on a dental filling (metal) and bite down. Uggg.

    God bless you all (execept those of you who are jerks)

    The Carioca Grouch