Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Can Leadership Get Any Worse?

We are finally going to the U.N., and to countries such as France and Germany, to request assistance and share the burden of Iraq. Fairly. One wonders why this hasn't been done earlier.
The effort to secure international assistance is "a tacit admission that we don't have the forces there to get the job done," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "If we don't turn things around in the next few months we are facing a very serious long-term, problem."

Why do I characterize this as a failure of leadership? Simple. If Senator McCain's statement is to be taken at face value, we now seem to be negotiating in a position of weakness. This is a great turnabout from the mood and stature around the world we wielded after 9/11. Then, we could ask, even demand, in negotiations with a position of strength, for nations to help us in a fair and equitable way. Win-win for everyone, and most of all for us, because we're driving events.

Now, on the other hand, we're being driven by events. Since in the initial war buildup we played hardball with negotiations, and overestimated our strength, we in the end poisoned some of those relationships, and made it clear we could go it on our own, with the help of a few traditional friends (not to mention a number of "rogue's gallery" allies). We scorned the very idea of needing the help of "Old Europe", or the U.N., and then marched into war in arrogance and lack of full preparation.

The situation has changed. As Senator McCain states it, if we don't get help now, "we are facing a serious, long-term problem". This almost sounds like a bailout. In other words, we are becoming dependent on assistance now, and everyone knows it. This is not, and no longer, negotiating in strength. It is weakness. Looking at the whole picture, from the beginning of the war process until now, it is incompetence and bungling.

Whoever was driving this process really thought they were the smartest and baddest people in the world. The only ones who understood the rod and mantle of power. What a joke. They have ruined the highest state of global solidarity in memory, post-9/11 sentiment, and fumbled negotiations for a very expensive and perilous war that could have been easily handled otherwise.

They have fumbled away great opportunities, and, like sorceror's apprentices, caused havoc with power. Since the sane individual doesn't agree with their "power-or-else" philosophy, and may indeed believe that ordered and respectful relations are the keys to world peace and prosperity, nothing in the overall picture has been irretrievably lost. Only some time, and we know there are those who are set on striking us. To them, we must turn our attention, along with our freedom-loving and peace-nurturing friends and allies around the globe.



We must also finish the job in Iraq.

We must also stop blowing opportunities to weave freedom around the globe, by the heart and not the sword.


Finally, I give credit to President Bush for finally changing direction, at this late stage of the game. I expect some of the civilians who have misled you to see their proper end. Unemployed.