Monday, December 5


We've known this for some time, but it's becoming ever more obvious that Bush's foreign policy is badly hurting Brand America. A significant number of Corporate Annual Reports and other investor communications have included statements that the war in Iraq is at least partly responsible for certain downturns. The tourist industry and American brands marketed globally have suffered particularly. Only businesses in a few select industries, such as those that supply and support the war effort, have actually benefited.

If Bush is an oil president, he's not a Disney president, nor a Coca-Cola one. If Vice President Dick Cheney is working diligently to help Halliburton rebound, the war he helped lead hasn't worked out nearly so well for Starbucks.
In this context, it's not surprising that Republican realists like Brent Scowcroft (who warned in a Wall Street Journal essay before the war that "it undoubtedly would be very expensive, with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy") are making noise again. And it would make perfect sense if an increasing number of those Bush CEOs were by now pining for a return to Clinton- style multilateral globalization of a sort still championed by many Democrats.

Neither of these camps will seem particularly appealing to progressives, but they pose a genuine threat to the imperial globalists who seem incapable of extracting themselves from Iraq. Indeed, intra-party rivalry among the Republicans, which is likely to increase as we enter an election year, could play a vital role in turning White House hawks into dead ducks.

All the better if this transformation is sped by dissatisfaction from corporate leaders re-evaluating the costs of Bush foreign policy and deciding that empire just doesn't pay.

After the first term of Bush I, many CEO's (including my own at the time) decided that Bill Clinton's vision of a cooperative international economy would be more of a boon to American business and supported The Big Dog -- it paid off, "big-time." It's time for more American business leaders to declare what a disaster Dubya's policies have truly been.

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