Thursday, May 17, 2007

The President and Wolfowitz

Wow!  This is one of the most insightful analyses of the terrible tragedy of this administration.  As Kristof accurately points out, the tragedy is NOT that everything they've done is wrong or bad, but rather the many good things they've done (I'd also add school reform in the U.S. to the list -- an admittedly short one) have been undermined by:
coming across as unilateralist, sanctimonious, arrogant and incompetent.

In December, the White House held an event to call attention to malaria. But Mr. Bush’s staff barred me from attending: They apparently didn’t want coverage of malaria if it came from a columnist they didn’t like.

I can’t recall an administration as suspicious and partisan as this one, one so disinclined to outreach, one that so openly adheres to the ancient Roman maxim of Oderint dum metuant: Let them hate, so long as they fear.

So Mr. Bush, unwilling to concede any error, unwilling to reach out, unwilling to shuffle his cabinet, staggers on. And the U.S. itself has been tainted by the same haughtiness; long after Mr. Wolfowitz has gone, and even after Mr. Bush has gone, the next president will have to detoxify our relations with the rest of the world.

Moreover, even in those areas where Mr. Bush has done well, like foreign aid, our strained relations with the rest of the world have undermined our ability to succeed.

It would be hard to find a better argument for an Obama administration.
May 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

The President and Wolfowitz

As Paul Wolfowitz is to the World Bank, the U.S. is becoming to the world.

We should look at the battle unfolding at the World Bank not as the story of one man falling to earth, but as a moral tale of the risks the U.S. faces unless the Bush administration spends more time rebuilding bridges it has burned all over the world.

Mr. Wolfowitz genuinely aspired to help Africa develop, but he ended up isolated, friendless and vulnerable; receiving no credit for his genuine accomplishments; and unable to make progress on the issues he cares about. And the U.S. is in a similar position today.


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