Posted by Peter
The Diplomad: The Risk-Taker: George W. Bush: The Risk-Taker: George W. Bush
An excellent State of the Union message, superbly delivered. Ronald Reagan couldn't have done it any better.
It's quite an experience sitting in front of a large screen TV in a foreign land surrounded by foreigners -- many of them not friendlies -- listening to the President of United States speak. W did us proud. Even the most ardent critics in the audience could find only nits to pick, e.g. "He says he's going to reform immigration, but why does it take so long to get a visa?" "He says he wants freedom for Iran, but why didn't he mention freedom for [fill in the blank]."
This is a man who is not afraid to draft and push the world's agenda. He had nothing politically to gain by liberating Iraq. He could have followed the tried-and-true tepid measures of the past: more UN resolutions, more "consultations" with the EU and Muslim countries, a bombing raid here and there, etc. Instead he went right for the root of the problem: the existence of Saddam's regime and the climate of fear and oppression that ruled Iraq. On elections in Iraq he could have stalled and postponed and begged for help: instead he put his faith in the US military's ability to deliver on security and in the people of Iraq's desire for freedom. On Afghanistan, he could have limited himself to some ineffectual missile strikes, some UN resolutions, an appeal for the arrest and trial of the Al Qaeda thugs. No. He gambled his Presidency on removing the Taliban, crushing Al Qaeda, and moving Afghanistan towards democracy. On the Palestinian question, he could have followed the failed policies of the past: schmooze with Arafat, give him money, pretend that he didn't control the "radical" elements, consult with the EU, keep sending special envoys hither and yon, etc. No. Bush cut off Arafat, refused to deal with the Palestinian authority until they held free elections, and now we have a chance, more than ever before, for a solution.
Last November 7 we wrote,
Let's be blunt. You don't want to be on the wrong side of an American President who has shown he will literally "pull the trigger"; a President with the solid backing of the Senate, the House, and the American people; and, to top it off, a President who has nothing to lose politically and has made clear that he will spend his political capital. You don't see this combination often -- and when you do, you take notice.
We stand by those words and note that the world has taken notice. They can call him names, and rant and rave all they want. Those of us conducting the foreign policy of the USA in the "hard countries," far removed from the salons of Paris, know when we have a winner: George W. Bush.