Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bush's Blunders -- How Not to Get Along in the World


On September 12, 2007 the world was pretty much one -- in support of the United States. We had more friends than we knew we had. That good will was quickly squandered by a President who not only carried a big stick but liked to stomp with a swagger. Now we live in an increasingly global world where it is important for nations/peoples to get along.


Walter Russell Mead in a chapter near the end of his book God and Gold -- which I'm almost finished with -- takes up the sticky issues of living together as nations. That is -- the issues that make for problems and the resistance that is present on the part of those who aren't fans of a nation as powerful as the US. Here is comment on the Bush administration and the ways in which it has alienated not only foe but friend.

The first four years of the administration of George W. Bush were almost a textbook example of the dangers that American foreign policy faces when it ignores the enduring importance of collective recognition in international life. Its European policy trampled openly on the sensibilities of Cold War allies, raising questions about the structure of the Atlantic alliance in ways that seriously reduced public support for that alliance in much of Europe. At times the Bush administration seemed to glory in its relative isolation and its capacity for unilateral action, and it was only too happy to remind countries like Germany and France that they were not the great powers they had once been.


Then, regarding the war in Iraq and its effects:

What proved to be an unnecessary and poorly planned war in Iraq reminded America's allies of the limits on America's wisdom. With gratuitous slights and grandiose posturing, men like former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld made American power odious in much of the world. This was not wise; it risked waking old memories and disturbing old ghosts best left to slumber in peace. The chief European allies of the United States are to a large degree former foes: Satans or aspiring Satans brought low by the crushing power of the maritime system." (Mead, God and Gold, p. 378)


Whether you thought or think the Iraq War was a good idea, things are a mess today largely because of the ineptness and the callous disregard for the ideas and beliefs of those who once were allies. What Mead writes should cause us to consider carefully who we would elect President. Should we not be listening carefully for evidence of an arrogance that would further isolate us in the world?

1 comment:

Will said...

Pastor Cornwall:

You might be interested in reading Charles Freeman's Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy that was published by the United States Institute of Peace. In his book, Dr. Freeman states: "The assumption is that the universal embrace of a common dogma will eliminate sources of international conflict and promote disinterested cooperation between states. Yet history provides litte support for this theory and much evidence to the contrary."

Dr. Freeman continues: "...ideological conviction transforms relations between states into a conflict between moral doctrines and claims, in which seeking compromise is seen as unrighteous or immoral."

So you see, Pastor Cornwall, even Dr. Freeman's many years of foreign service experience in the business of peace taught him that the idealistic view "can't we just all get along" cannot be translated into realism--unless one sacrifices his ideological convictions. Compromise is fine so long as one's ideological convictions are not jeopardized.

There is much I would want to say to you about this including why the Russian, German, and French resisted an Iraq invasion. Instead, I suggest you ponder why God told the Hebrews in Exodus 23:20-33 to never compromise their ideological convictions and to see the current occupants of the Promised Land as enemies.

Jesus refused to compromise His ideological convictions and He was crucified. Yet, He became the Savior of the World. Christians who refuse to compromise their ideological convictions will be attacked while those who do compromise will lose their faith.

May God grant you His revelation.

Sincerely,
Pastor Will Coats