Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, March 31, 2008

Once Again, Media Set Up Bush For Failure

Like it or not, President Bush got the nation through the tragedies of 9/11, established, put weight behind a new set of foreign affairs policies to deal with the era of global terrorism, and (on his second try) established effective warfare methods against terrorist forces -- thereby presiding over an administration that will have long historical legs.

So why this?
Bush Seeks to Salvage Legacy at NATO and Putin Summits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush left on Monday for his farewell NATO summit and a final heads-of-state meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in a bid to salvage a foreign policy legacy frayed by the Iraq war.

Seeking to reassert himself on the world stage in the twilight of his term, Bush will press NATO for more troops in Afghanistan, try to keep up momentum in the alliance's eastward expansion and attempt to ease strains with Russia.
The article goes on to talk about Bush's unpopularity in Europe and world leaders who "are looking forward now to the next president in Washington" -- kind of like the reporter who wrote this report, ya think?

It is true that lame duck presidents with low popularity ratings (which most lame duck presidents have) have trouble getting buy-in to their long-term policy goals, but Bush has never appeared to be a president who is too concerned about his legacy. Rather, he's been a do what needs to be done president, a who cares about the polls president.

Who are the leaders of Europe "looking forward" to, anyway? Another Clinton, whose anti-military mindset led us to the brink of 9/11? A McCain, who can be expected to continue a foreign policy stance not dissimilar to Bush's? Or an Obama, who combines inexperience, an anti-military mind-set and advisors who are pro Arab terrorist (in the sense that they are anti-Israel)?

If this were eight years ago, despite the blue dress hanging in the evidence room, a similar Clinton trip was covered more as a final love-fest, an opportunity for good friends and allies to get together one more time. Interestingly, both Bush and Clinton had controversial missile defense system proposals -- something the media is not reminding us of today. Here's a CNN story from the time:
BERLIN -- Plans by the United States to build a National Missile Defense system threatened to overshadow the harmony of President Bill Clinton's three-day visit to Germany as he received the International Charlemagne Award in Aachen, Germany, on Friday for U.S. contributions to postwar European unity.
That was followed by seven paragraphs about how problematic the missile defense system is (including a defense of the system by Sandy "Stuffed Shorts" Berger), then:
Clinton's lengthy meeting with Schroeder, followed by a late dinner on Thursday night, signaled a deepening personal friendship but a growing number of issues that German pundits fear may threaten strong ties. ...

Clinton is the first U.S. president to receive the Charlemagne award and arrived for church services and an afternoon ceremony in Aachen, the eighth- century capital of Emperor Charlemagne, whose empire at its height stretched from northern Spain to the Elbe in Germany.
Not quite the same tone, eh? No lame duck talk, no looking forward to the next president. And I have to think that if Bush had won a Charlemagne award, the press surely would be awash with talk of American imperialism under the Bush "regime."

No matter how the media sets it up, Bush's goals for the trip are straightforward: Do what he can to advance the NATO membership of Georgia and the Ukraine, and try to get his rogue state missile defense system installed in Europe -- both over the protests of Vladamir Putin. (By the way, the press is not full of article about world leaders "looking forward now to the next president in Moscow" because they know Putin's not going anywhere.)

So let's look back over this story over the next week to see if Reuters and the rest of the world press has once again set up high negative expectations about Bush, only to be disappointed by his success, as they have for eight years now.

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