Monday, October 4


The L.A. Times had an article yesterday entitled "U.S. policies stir more fear than confidence":

The disparity represents two dynamics: The world has yet to understand how Sept. 11, 2001, jolted America's sense of security, and the U.S. has underestimated how much international credibility it sacrificed in the Iraq war.

Analysts suggest that America's foreign policy wouldn't significantly change if Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record) defeats President Bush (news - web sites) in November. The division between the men, as seen by much of the world, comes down to style and personality.

Although his policies have yet to be fully articulated, Kerry is considered by much of the international community as the antidote to a bullying Bush administration. Bush's recent speech at the United Nations (news - web sites), analysts say, reaffirmed that the president was an ideologue with little inclination for building consensus or defusing terrorism by quieter means such as political and economic reforms.

"It is such a great humiliation," said Viktor A. Kremenyuk of the USA-Canada Institute in Moscow, "for other countries to be in a situation where they have to swallow something they do not like. And the one who makes them swallow this doesn't even try to put a decent face on this sorry business."

This is something the Bushies and their supporters simply cannot understand. The first condition of leadership is TRUST. If a leader is not trusted s/he will not be followed, and thus not a leader. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al have destroyed the bond of trust between the U.S. and the rest of the world, and they don't even care or think it matters. They believe leadership is determined by who's got the biggest baddest weapon. By their definition, Saddam Hussein was a leader. By our definition, he was a tyrant. Tyrants compel people to get in line. Leaders persuade them.

Bush and Cheney are sorely lacking in the ability to persuade. They know how to bully, coerce, bribe and threaten, but are clueless as to how to proceed in any matter where force is either not an option or an undesirable one. And unless I miss my guess, it's going to take a lot of persuasion and leadership to get the world back into our corner where we need them. Bush is incapable of it. Kerry excels in it.


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