A lot has been made in the last couple weeks about how the administration's foreign policy has went down the crapper. Kevin Drum says, "the administration seems to no foreign policy at all anymore." Josh Marshall wonders if our policy towards North Korea is a fraud, or a joke, or a fraud and a joke. Let's take a look at the two big reasons the administration is floundering.
The first is obviously Iraq. In a lot of ways Iraq reminds me of an August morning in 2004. August 4th to be exact. On that day both George Bush and John Kerry descended on Davenport, Iowa for separate political rallies. Having two presidential campaigns in town on the same day strained the police force as they had to help with motorcade traffic and security. Three banks were robbed in Davenport that morning, the first bank robberies there in years. While the mice were away, as they say, or at least stretched thin, the mice played.
That is what Iraq is doing to us militarily, and without that stick, the carrots just aren't as tasty. Our failures in Iraq have indeed led us to a quagmire, one where we can't even call for back-up at a time where we should be calling all cars.
As bad as Iraq is, our problem with the empty headed octopus is certainly scarier. After all, we could leave Iraq soon if necessary, but we're stuck with the octopus. What I'm talking about here is that it seems to me that President Bush has lost interest in being the leader of the free world. Take a look at the recent G-8 summit. Bush sure looked to be more interested in what was for dinner than any of the number of crisis currently facing the world.
With the world's elite at his fingertips, Bush was far more concerned with hitting the door after the G-8 crafted a mealy mouthed statement than attempting to advance resolutions to any of our current problems. Sure, he took time to swear into an open mic, but that only really went to show how little of the problem he grasps.
Since Bush has been AWOL from any serious foreign policy lately, the different tentacles that make up the octopus that is the Bush administration has largely been left to their own accords. Our foreign policy is now suffering seriously from a lack of leadership at the top. They just stumble around from hot spot to hot spot with no real direction as different departments pursue different policies to achieve different means to the same problem.
Now I'm sure that part of this can be explained by the fact that this is an election year, and with Bush's approval ratings in the low to mid thirties, he needs to keep his head low as the republican party tries to regain control of the House and Senate, but there is no excuse for disappearing from the foreign policy scene just for partisan political reasons. People die when foreign policy suffers. But I sense it's even more than that. Perhaps it has a lot more to do with Cheney and Rove being slightly out of the equation, but something is wrong with Bush these days, and I don't know if he can ever get back on track.