Advice for the British PM: Careful about going against the very loud and unambiguous will of your people for the sake of sucking up to an American president: his government might, at a crucial moment, make you realize it was all for nothing, like Donald Rumsfeld did today.
Let me guess: is the UK part of Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" now too?
Maureen Dowd in the New York Times
today speculates that perhaps it was Bush's intent all along to drive the world away:
Now we've managed to alienate our last best friend. We are making the rest of the world recoil. But that may be part of the Bush hawks' master plan. Maybe they have really always wanted to go it alone.Maybe it has been their strategy all along to sideline the U.N., deflate Colin Powell and cut the restraining cords of traditional coalitions. Their decision last summer to get rid of Saddam was driven by their desire to display raw, naked American power.
It's actually been my suspicion all along that this is a pattern throughout the actions of the Bush administration from day one. Think about it: almost everything they have done in terms of domestic and foreign relations has been interpreted as "stupid," "clumsy," and "ineffective." This is only so if their intended result from, say, spiking Kyoto, or openly displaying contempt for the UN, or doing nothing about our economy and racking up record deficits in record time are not what they wanted.
This may seem strange, but suppose all this were in fact what they wanted--a drying-up job market, a tepid consumer economy, and no international friendships--but enough power to make sure we don't need friends anyway. If you look at these results and more as something one might have a reason to want--just not the common public--they may be savage moves but they might have logic behind them, if you wanted to undo much of the world created by the latter 20th century. Contemplate: could someone want that, and if so why?
Consider as one example: why would Bush want to embrace Tony Blair, his country's Clinton politically, in the first place? If I were a neoconservative president, wouldn't I instead use him if I had to till he was dried up, but do what I could to assure he fell and, hopefully, the Tories were restored? By linking Blair so much to this Iraq matter Bush is killing both birds with one stone--securing British involvement and destroying Blair. And Blair is apparently too trusting to see it, still blinded by Clinton to seeing not all American presidents really want to be your friend. Blair will be remembered as one of the more tragic PMs for this, but there is no doubt his power in England has been rent asunder and I can just see the Mayberry Machiavellis laughing at how easy it was to play this sucker.
Then consider too the degree to which Bush has demonstrated that he is willing to go to war even if the people of the US are against it, and how he acts like a president not so much assured of re-election as certain he will not have to face having to run anyway. Remember this is a president who, no matter how many or few votes he got, is the result of an election never properly completed; that technically he was never elected anyway.
Reasons to be wary?...