Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.26.02


Bush's domestic or foreign policy -- which is worse?

Last week, a group called the "Democratic Iraqi Opposition of Germany" briefly occupied the Iraqi embassy in Berlin.

The good news is that German Special Forces were able to defuse the situation and bring the occupation to a peaceful conclusion.

The weird news was the statement by White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer who said:

"We have an unequivocal position that this action is unacceptable, even against a regime that is as evil as Iraq's".

Finally, a non-American group pops up that is willing to challenge the authority of Hussein and our White House finds their actions "unacceptable". Was this because the group's name contains the word "Democrat?"

Why the knee-jerk condemnation? I guess the Bush administration wishes to maintain some semblance of internationally accepted standards of behavior. They'll try like hell to get us all on board for bombing the citizens of Baghdad to flinders but can't condone any invasion of diplomatic territory.

The point is that there is no point.

This administration has no cogent foreign policy. They want what they want when they want it and if our allies don't like it, then they are against us.

When was the last time both Canada and Britain told us that we were all wet on any foreign policy issue?

Condoleeza Rice showed support for our lamebrain foreign policy by re-iterating the call for Hussein's ouster. She stated that Sadaam was "an evil man."

Do you get the feeling that the administration is treating all of us like a bunch of toddlers listening to bedtime stories?

The constant theme of "evil" and evil-doers" put out by this administration is embarrassing. Our government cannot justify it's quest to invade Iraq so they are trying to convince us that Sadaam has horns, a tail, and tortures puppies in his bunker.

Not only have we tolerated his ilk in the past we have propped up and financed monsters just as fiendish. Check the net under "Shah of Iran" for example.

Currently we are seeing General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan granting himself the power to dissolve parliament. He also forbid his two main opposition leaders from running in any future elections. Is there any question that his alliance with the U.S. has emboldened such a dictatorial maneuver?

Thursday's paper has Bush "willing to wait" on blowing up Iraq. I guess the fact that the entire world was opposed to this course of action plus the vast majority of the American public finally got through to George and his policy wonks.

(Actually, I doubt that world and domestic opinion was of any relevance to his decision. Probably the benefits of having a foothold in oil-rich Iraq was outstripped by the political downside i.e. losing the next election.)

Next up is George's "Healthy Forests Initiative."

This bold move to combat forest fires will open up areas in the northwest to logging. Just so you understand, Bush wants to put logging concerns in charge of the health of our forestlands.

This is the industry when unchecked strips forests bare, causing massive erosion and turning thousands of acres into a moonscape. This brilliant idea is comparable to putting Osama Bin Laden in charge of our anti-terrorism efforts.

As idiotic as this proposal sounds it is at least consistent. We have suffered big oil concerns in charge of our nation's energy policies, the NRA influences gun regulations, the arms manufacturers dictate our stance on landmines, the Christian Right influences our international population control funding and our education policies.

Again and again special interest trumps national interest.

The arrogance of this administration just leaves the average citizen gaping in disbelief. Bush policy is knee-jerk, shallow-minded and, above all, short sighted.

We will pay dearly for his policies -- both domestic and especially foreign -- for many years to come. 2004 cannot come soon enough. I hope we still have a democracy when election time rolls around.