Iraq just experienced its worst bombing in two years and today was the deadliest day in Afghanistan in four years. While conservatives want to pretend that the history of America’s involvement in these wars started only when President Obama was sworn-in to office, the reality is that the new Administration is dealing with the fallout of eight years of incompetent war time management by the past Administration. Contrary to statements by his critics, President Obama has moved aggressively to clean up previous messes made in both theaters. In Iraq, he set a timetable for the extrication of American forces, pushed Iraqis to take control of their own future, and has been intensely engaged in resolving political disputes. In Afghanistan, the President has increased our resources and manpower while focusing on developing a strategy for a war that had been without one.
Today President Obama spoke at the National Archives where, surrounded by the documents that contain the principles that founded America, he confirmed the need for America to return to these principles and values by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
With America facing two wars and a global economic crisis of nearly unprecedented severity, it is tempting to relegate matters in Latin America to the back-burner. But for the last eight years, the Bush administration has pursued an episodic and ideological approach that ignored the concerns of countries in the regions. The consequences have been troubling. A new report from the Brookings Institution on the future of U.S. - Latin American relations argues that the U.S. must become a full partner in the affairs in its own hemisphere.
Today Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak before the U.N. General Assembly. For years Iran’s leader has brandished hate-filled language that fully deserves the world’s condemnation. But President Bush and his allies, like John McCain, have used this as an excuse to continue a failed approach based on hollow saber rattling that has done nothing to constrain Iran’s nuclear development and its growing regional influence.
Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states is an escalatory step that attempts to lock in its recent military gains through political action. Russia continues to hold the military and political initiative, and U.S. and its NATO allies have been able to do little to counter it.
It may not have seemed possible for things to get any worse for the Bush administration after last week, when the world witnessed the full-circle collapse of the Bush’s personality-driven approach towards Putin’s Russia and Musharraf’s Pakistan. Yet not only did the extent of the President’s failed policy toward Pakistan and Russia become more clear, but the events of the week also demonstrated the bankruptcy of the conservative approach toward Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe.
In another stinging blow to the Bush administration, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf resigned from office today. It has been a disastrous ten days for the Bush administration, which has seen the complete collapse of its Russia policy and now the failed end of its Pakistan policy.
While much about the conflict between Georgia and Russia remains murky, what has become increasingly clear is that, though US forces in Georgia certainly ought to have been aware, the Bush administration was caught completely by surp
News this morning that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has announced a halt to Russian military operations in Georgia is a welcome development. But for Washington the hard questions are just beginning.
When the Bush administration came to office, it pledged a renewed focus on Russia, led by Condoleezza Rice. When the President began his second term, he pledged support for democracy everywhere in sweeping, absolute terms. Eight years later, the conflict between Georgia and Russia shows starkly the failure of the Bush administration’s approach.