Libya’s capitulation is a boon in the War on Terror (Gurr)

If there is one area in which the Bush administration has failed the United States, it is foreign policy. To act like President Bush’s swagger of arrogance has done anything but embarrass, injure and offend this country is just plain crazy. He has done more to encourage proliferation and sabotage international peace agreements than any leader in recent history.

Let’s recap the last few years: He managed to launch an unprovoked, unfounded and unending war with Iraq. He abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He successfully alienated most of the international community while reinforcing international stereotypes of America as an egotistical, self-absorbed bully that doesn’t play well with others. He refused to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, potentially provoking another arms race. He refused to enforce the Non Proliferation Treaty. And under Bush, the United States is trying to develop new nuclear weapons for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

Bush’s actions destroy American credibility, aggravate proliferation and produce a climate of mistrust and international tension unseen in decades. To label the Bush administration’s foreign policy a sensational success is to blatantly lie. In the international arena, Bush’s actions amount to a miserable catastrophe. The potential long-term effects are terrifying.

Libya’s agreement to dismantle weapons of mass destruction is a solitary achievement in an otherwise disastrous string of Bush induced international failures. Of course Khadaffi was afraid after the United States invaded Iraq-in fact, most of the world was frightened. Such an erratic, unilateral decision to invade would alarm anybody.

But scaring the occasional rogue nation into submission doesn’t make the world safe and it certainly doesn’t gain the United States any respect or trust around the world. It establishes foes by putting other countries on the defensive. It reinforces American-aimed fury, increasing suspicion and, consequently, proliferation. An inconsistent foreign policy founded on fright is both shortsighted and precarious.

The conservative claim that it’s good to convince the rest of the world that the United States may attack at any time is illogical, dangerous and nothing to brag about. Last week, expressing concern about Bush’s arrogant mishandlings, Maureen Dowd reiterated President Clinton’s argument that “unless America wants to occupy every country in the world, maybe it should concentrate on making friends instead of targets.” There’s a promising idea: invest American resources in building relationships instead of bombs. Terrifying the rest of the planet into obedience is absurd and asking for trouble.

An effective foreign policy develops and maintains international agreements based on trust rather than fear, cooperation rather than intimidation. Libya’s dismantling of weapons material is praiseworthy, but as a whole, the Bush administration’s foreign policy is disastrous. Our long term stability and credibility are undermined when Bush bullies other countries into surrendering, worsening an atmosphere already steeped with rapid proliferation and growing mistrust. If this policy of intimidation continues, the United States won’t have allies-it will have hostages.

Not only has Bush alienated the rest of the world, he has also done a terrible job of fighting terrorism. Contrary to conservative claims, there has been no “comprehensive assault” on terrorism. In fact, the only things that have been comprehensively assaulted under Bush are Iraq, the economy and the average American’s intelligence.

The Bush administration’s foreign policy has destroyed any credibility and respect the United States may have had in the international community. His international actions have sabotaged peace agreements, intensified weapons proliferation and heightened mistrust. Despite short-term progress, Bush’s arrogance is jeopardizing American security. The United States deserves more than his pompous pretension; it deserves the world’s respect, not its terror.

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