Bush: Strike three, you're out

Bush failed to achieve his objectives of leaving Middle East in better shape than he found it.

bush sad 88 (photo credit: )
bush sad 88
(photo credit: )
The writer is Counsel to Democrats Abroad Israel. He is part of the special panel analyzing the US elections in JPost.com's new section America Decides 2008 The visit of George Bush to Israel offers an appropriate occasion to look back on his presidency. Sadly, the record will show that President Bush has failed to achieve his objectives of leaving the Middle East in better shape than he found it. On the contrary, his brand of cowboy diplomacy has exacerbated tensions, has inspired extremists to accelerate their agenda of hate and violence, and in general, has made the vision of a peaceful Middle East dimmer and harder to achieve. The US Presidency is the most powerful political position in the world. If power can be defined as the ability to require other parties to conform to your will, it is clear that this president has squandered his power and will leave office with a presidency weakened. Going no further than the Middle East: is it at all possible to believe that the status of the countries that President Bush has affected is in conformity with his will? He has not successfully stabilized Afghanistan, which is witnessing a resurging Taliban. Al Qaeda is still dangerous and the uncaptured Osama Bin Laden regularly sends his video love letters. Strike One. The US has failed to stabilize Iraq with hostilities that have endured longer than World War II. It started on erroneous premises, and has exposed poor planning and leadership on the highest levels. The failures in Iraq are too well-known to require elaboration here. Strike Two. And finally, the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. Can it be fairly argued that Bush's influence, however benignly intended, has in fact been beneficial? Is the situation better or worse since President Bush took office? Hamas in Gaza has not accepted President Bush's proposal of a Two State solution, and works daily to bring about Israel's destruction. I could go on, but you already know the sad story. President Bush has been unable to fulfill his vision and to influence events positively. Either he lacks the power to do so, or he has misused his power. In either case, chalk this failure up as Strike Three. He's Out. President Bush still has a year to try to rectify his mistakes of the last seven years. I sincerely hope he succeeds. But if the past is any indication of the future, it does not seem likely. Nor is it likely that this visit will achieve any significant results. In 1992, the Democrat Clinton was elected to restore economic and international power to the United States after the faulty stewardship of George H. W. Bush. It will take another Democrat in 2008 to do the same after the ineffectual tenure of George W. Bush.