They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bush foreign policy struggling

The Mercury News

These are dreary days for U.S. diplomacy.

A string of disappointments in recent weeks has left Washington's role as a global power broker diminished. The unalloyed U.S. support for Israel during two weeks of fighting with Hezbollah insurgents in Lebanon and American refusal to agree to a quick cease-fire are leaving the Bush administration ever more isolated internationally.

U.S. relations with its allies had shown signs of improvement in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the signs of strain are growing:

-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to agree in Rome with European and Arab allies on terms for a cease-fire to end two weeks of Israel-Hezoballah violence.

-President Bush and visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had to concede a six-week-old plan for quelling violence in Baghdad had failed. Bush ordered more U.S. troops to Iraq's battered capital - a setback to hopes for a big drawdown of U.S. troops this year.

-Efforts to get North Korea and Iran to restrict their nuclear ambitions remained stalled.

-World trade talks collapsed.

"This president has a very firm world view that is not about to be changed by facts or realities. There are good guys and bad guys," said Ivo Daalder, who was director of European affairs in the National Security Council in the Clinton administration.

"Right now, Israelis are the good guys and Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are the bad guys," said Daalder, now a fellow with the Brookings Institution. He said the administration's refusal to deal directly with Hezbollah, Syria or Iran "is a manifestation of this world view: We don't talk to bad people." Read more