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Americas misfortune is that in the era of globalism it has elected a President with a very narrow political vision. Bush is far out of synch from contemporary international issues and this was never more evident than in the bundle of issues he had packed in his diplomatic pouch to Europe.
It seems that Bush has three major goals that have global implications. He is determined to outdo global warming as the biggest danger to the planets environment. He has already scuttled the Kyoto protocol on climate change and is ready to unleash his drilling pals on the most treasured natural heritage of this country. He actually believes that human beings have no hand in the deteriorating condition of our environment.
Secondly, he is determined to spend billions in a quixotic pursuit of a missile defense shield that at the moment is in the realm of science fiction. Bush in a uniquely Bush way does not believe in the facts of global warming but has much faith in the fiction of missile defense (MD).
Thirdly, he is determined to alienate Europe and re-ignite the cold war with Russia.
True to his above ambitions, Bush went to Europe to persuade Europeans to stop protesting against his plans to pursue a missile defense shield, to forget Kyoto, and to pitch for a further expansion of NATO.
The European position that the US was being utterly irresponsible in scuttling Kyoto and ridiculous in pursuing MD is well known. Clearly US interests on these issues as defined by Bush are not in synch with Russia and EU. So what was the purpose of the trip?
To employ the now legendary Bush charm and his personal leadership style to make Russia and Europe acquiesce to alter their national interest, ignore reason and science, and cooperate with him as he embarks on a unilateral mission to jeopardize the future of the planet and prepare for war against Russia. This was truly a tall order.
The Europeans on the other hand were only interested in how many words he would bungle in the process of antarrticulating (articulating) his vision for a united and preposterous (prosperous) Europe.
Far from being charmed, EU President and Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson remarked that it was the goal of European leaders to develop institutions like the European Union that would balance the United States. Is this a call for containment of the US? While Europe is going left of center, especially the UK, Germany and France, the US is moving towards the right of center.
While Europe is becoming more and more committed to multilateralism, the US under Bush is becoming more unilateralist. While Europe is focusing more and more on global issues such as global warming and growing global economic inequity, the US is turning inward. It is obvious that not only are the two allies moving away ideologically, they are also moving in opposite directions on international issues. EU is moving toward the center of global affairs and the US is becoming more self-centered and looking away from the center.
George Bushs plans for a missile shield are an affront to the international community. It is an act of unilateralism that will destabilize the world and compel others, particularly China and Russia to rebuild and redevelop their nuclear arsenal, because both of them perceive it as aimed against them. Neither Europe, nor China nor Russia are buying the American paranoia about the threat from rogue states. Russia in particular is upset with Bushs comments on NATO expansion. Putin made a telling comment. This is a military organization, he said, and it is heading towards our borders. Why?
The only positives that came out of this tour was the support for the US from lesser powers like Poland and the promise to agree to disagree on environment from Sweden.
An interesting development in Europe is the reelection of Tony Blair with a stronger mandate. The way this leftist, former Clinton crony adjusts to the conservative Bush may very well determine several issues such as US involvement in European security and the US agenda in the UNs security council (think Iraq sanctions).
The worlds fears about Bushs lack of global vision have all been confirmed. One of the most important issues today is the growing economic inequity and the opposition to globalization. While Bush was in Europe, anti-globalists were once again protesting in Sweden. Bush had no comment. Indeed Bush has yet to touch upon the issue. Maybe he finds it difficult to say globalization, but he must realize he will have to deal with it sooner than later.
The sooner Bush realizes that global power comes from and demands substantive global engagement, the better it would be for continued sustenance of US international preeminence. Global leadership requires global vision.