Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hey Bush!

One of George’s lines has come back to haunt him. Thenews.pl reports.

Press reports claim that outgoing US president George W. Bush failed to contact any Polish politicians while bidding farewell to various heads of state at the end of his term of office.

President Bush made phone calls to leaders of the major global powers, writes the Dziennik newspaper, including Russian PM Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of France Nicolas Sarkozy.

The outgoing president also found time for a conversation with leaders of Denmark, Georgia and Greece.

But he apparently had no time for Poland’s politicians…

{…} In a presidential debate in 2004 with the then Democratic party contender John Kerry, - about the international nature of the coalition that invaded Iraq - the challenger said that the countries involved were only Great Britain, Australia and United States: “That’s not a grand coalition, we can do better," he said. Bush replied: “Actually, he forgot about Poland.”

It appears, this time, President Bush was the one who forgot about Poland.


Yup, much of the world has just breathed a sigh of relief. It’s over. Bush is finished.

The mistakes he made in his time went way, way beyond the linguistic, the grammatical. I just re-read Bob Woodward’s State of Denial, about Bush and the war in Iraq. It’s a much, much better book than Woodward’s first on the Bush presidency - Bush ar War - where his access to meetings of all the principles, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, was unparalleled. He was literally embedded into the regime. But with that closeness went Woodward’s critical distance. An awful book.

But State of Denial details the conflict and chaos within Bush’s administration as it ‘prepared’ for war brilliantly. Read it for all its shocking and awfulness.

The picture will stay always in my mind of how Woodward describes Bush sitting in the Oval Office listening to many people who knew that the US was about to make a terrible mistake and giving him detailed evidence of why this was so , and George looking as if he was concentrating as his little legs danced and jigged under the table.

Bush did things by instinct and he didn’t like it when someone was shattering his view that he must be, almost divinely in the right.

And now he has gone, off to his Texas ranch to set up a couple of Bush foundations and maybe even a library (with books full of words with no more than two symbols, natch...)!

But how will Obama approach Poland, America’s sometimes awkwardly over eager ally in Europe? Will Obama remember Poland?

He has a great chance to drop the anti-missile shield. Too expensive; maybe doesn’t even work; finance crisis, remember?

But nothing much is going to change as the US, Poland and all the others get bogged down ever deeper in Afghanistan. That will be. No change.

And I hope he doesn’t go, economically, down the protectionist route, like Democrats often do. That certainly won’t be in anyone’s interests.

But Poles generally don't share the huge expectations which now are going to weigh down on Barack’s shoulders, like they do in America, and maybe even in a European country like the UK, as well. Obama is a centre-right pragmatist, with a bright new shiney style. That’s it. He is movingly significant because of who he is - the first black president of the United States of America. But his politics? I think we should all calm down a bit.

And now Bush has gone, who are they gonna blame for all the other stuff he wasn’t responsible for? Maybe one day we are going to miss Old George. No more scapegoats.


Anonymous said...

Give us at least the day, heh?

We've lifted ourselves out of the fricken dark ages.

Even Reaganhead Pat Buchanan just went on and on praising Obama's speech.

beatroot said...

It's nice to see America as being a symbol of something progressive again. That's really what America should always be for. But I just feel sorry for the guy, because with expectations like the one he has, he is bound to fail.

and kennedy is not well at all...

Unknown said...

You hit the nail on the head BR. There is a lot of almost religious imagery floating around.. I hope people keep in mind that Barak is just a politician. He may be well meaning and full of ideals but he's not a magician or a savior. Having said that, after the departure of the Moron-in-Chief anybody in his place will be a huge improvement. Personally, I'm hoping for a string of indictments.

Brad Zimmerman said...

I suspect that Bush didn't contact Poland because Poland isn't a "major world power". I doubt he contacted Slovakia, either.

Anyway, it's good to see Bush out and Obama in.

beatroot said...

A politician who made a thing about kerry "forgeting Poland" is a politician that doesn't give a shit anymore. It's also dumb, if true. And Poland is not Slovakia in the US's scheme of things. Where are the Slovakian troops? where is the Slovakian initiatives for georgia, Ukraine? Nato, all that stuff? Where are the planned anti-missile shield in Slovakia? Come on, Brad, get real...

Frank Partisan said...

I expect the US to drop the missile-shield, in exchange for Russian help, with Iran over nuclear issues.

I'm certain the US will be opening up to Iran and Syria, because of the US's loss in Iraq. Their help is needed, to make it look like they have honor, as they leave Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot said “Yup, much of the world has just breathed a sigh of relief. It’s over. Bush is finished.”

Don’t underestimate the Obama and Clinton capacity to fuck things up beyond recognition. Tomorrow morning they jump into the deep end of the pool and neither has a CV indicating any possible chance of success in managing foreign policy or dealing with national security issues.

I’ll also give you a prediction; Clinton will resign or be forced out prior to the end of the first term of office.

beatroot said...

Don’t underestimate the Obama and Clinton capacity to fuck things up beyond recognition.

jan, I am old enough not to expect much or anything from political establishments. it's what they do best. But can't you just hear the long sigh of relief? This has been a particularly bad presidency. In fact, worse than Nixson...

beatroot said...

and what Ren says about Obam's flexible foreign policy is probably in the right area...there will be a new style in the State department.

Anonymous said...

Firstly Nixon was a success in foreign policy and a failure in domestic politics. Lets see if Obama and company can have any success at all, in any sphere. The swords won’t come out until the first screw up occurs then we have Hilary as a convenient scapegoat. If any radical departures from foreign policy or security policies start occurring he’ll never survive the minefield his domestic opponents will prepare for him.

Besides hasn’t he already committed to unwavering loyalty to the Jewish lobby with respect to policy on Israel and Iran? His speech on this was very clear and left little to the imagination.

Anonymous said...

Well 57, my guess is that your prediction above will be about as spot off as your prognostication Obama had no chance of winning the election.

But who knows? I really don't care about their cv's. What I care about is that Obama has a brain and a certain decency/sense of fairness, which were altogether lacking over the past coupla decades (or was it even more?). And he won't be listening to the likes of Cheney, et.al.

I think his speech left him a lot of wiggle room. We don't know what his Mideast policy will be aside from actually talking with folks over there which is in inself a major policy shift.

But Hillary certainly can be blamed if there are screwups. Brilliant!

Nixon. I don't even want to think about those years anymore.

Anonymous said...

Sumptin miraculous:


Anonymous said...


The Democrats can still blame any shortcomings or failures during the Obama administration on the fact that they don't have a "super-majority" in the Congress. I think we'll be likely to hear that as an excuse in the future.

I think that the Bush administration has also "made history," however; it has been to this date one of the most (if not the most) Communist-leaning and Left-leaning administrations ever in the U.S. (torture, spying, preemptive war, capital punishment, obsession with "public health and safety," multi-million dollar bailouts, etc.) Of course the administration prior to Bush's was not completely innocent of such things, either.

The Obama administration will likely bring things back to the centre-right. There may be a type of "imperial renaissance" and strengthening of U.S. power on the international stage.

Remember whose foreign policy Obama had said his own would reflect. The foreign policy of Bush senior, of (in some ways) Reagan, and of JFK.

beatroot said...

I think that the Bush administration has also "made history," however; it has been to this date one of the most (if not the most) Communist-leaning and Left-leaning administrations ever in the U.S. (torture, spying, preemptive war, capital punishment, obsession with "public health and safety," multi-million dollar bailouts, etc.)

That's an...unusual way of looking at it...

Anonymous said...

Black is white, red is green, blue is yellow.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the challenge of pronouncing 'Lech Kaczynski' put him off.

Anyway, good to finally see the back of him.

The expectation heaped on Obama's shoulders is a bit scary but he can hardly fail to be an improvement on the last administration. What a shower....

~JS said...

Pardon me, but Obama faced overwhelming challenges just to get to where he is...OK?

People seem to forget that the challenges did not only begin now for him...remember why the day was historic in the first place...

beatroot said...

Yeah, w said that, JS. So that's him. Doesn;t make him a good president. he can;t trade on WHO he is forever...

Anonymous said...

By calling leaders of the warring factions in the Middle East just this morning on his first day in office, he's done more than Bush in eight fucking years.

Unknown said...

Amen to that. WRT Bush 'forgetting' to mention Poland - it serves Poland well for trying to be his lapdog. It is a bit embarrassing to hear Chris Matthews cracking jokes about 'the coalition of the willing' consisting of Poland and Bulgaria. Personally I was hopping to find out this morning that Bushe's motorcade en route to Crawford got diverted to Huntsville. No such luck so far...

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said...“By calling leaders of the warring factions in the Middle East just this morning on his first day in office, he's done more than Bush in eight fucking years.”

He apparently spoke to everyone except Hamas, sounds like same old same old. That means he failed to speak to 50% of the warring parties.

Lets look at the list of whom he spoke with:

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak – bought and paid for friend of the US, despotic dictator grooming his son for the throne.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas- corrupt to the core and can’t seem to get elected in a fair election. Hanging on to power in the west bank only with Israeli help.

Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert- don’t worry be happy Barak or I’ll call the Jewish lobby.

Jordan's King Abdullah – a clan of traitors to the Arab cause with Palestinian blood on their hands. However he has a lovely wife!

I marvel at the progress, in American culture is Hollywood illusion and politics completely interchangeable?

Anonymous said...

The hype surrounding Obama totally amazes me. Yes he's black, yes he's well-spoken and yes he's oh so smooth. There are countless black presidents around the glove, however, who give democracy a bad name and who loot and steal from their countries' coffers. Let's hope Obama can serve as an example for these klepocrats. Heaven knows, the world is in need of black politicians who don’t act like despots and one-party state dictators, e.g. Mr Bob Mugabe.

~JS said...

beatroot: he can;t trade on WHO he is forever...

JS: I agree, but what i meant was that HOW (not WHO, remember the content of our character stuff?) he got to be president already presupposes overcoming huge challenges already, so let's stop all the challenge-mongering, the guy CAN deal...

Anonymous said...

How is it the same old same old when Bush didn't speak to much of anybody ever?

And 57, are you soooo sure Obama didn't speak to somebody in Hamas? Or if he didn't today, that he won't tomorrow?

If you were in his shoes, would you be totally transparent in your dealings with foreign powers?

beatroot said...

There are countless black presidents around the glove, however, who give democracy a bad name and who loot and steal from their countries' coffers.

??? I think you are mssing the point about finally having a black guy in the White House. he got there after generations suffered in the US much worse than even in the old South Africa. That is his significance. America has just become more civilised. That's something to celebrate.

And, yeah, he has great style when speaking etc. That's good - I love listening to great speeches.

But...just because he is black does not make him a good or bad leader. and the reason that there are corrupt leaders in africa is NOT because they are black. So I don;t like the tone of your comment, to be frank. It's like saying Maggie Thatcher must be a good leader because she was a woman..

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said... “are you soooo sure Obama didn't speak to somebody in Hamas”

I doubt it because he would double cross the pro-Israel lobby by doing so, and his commitment to them was clear and public. Unless Israel changes it’s policy about negotiating with Hamas then I see no change in US policy. Thus the US has no credibility in the Middle East.

I think the Obama administration will be pre-occupied with domestic economic matters and therefore not inclined to do anything fancy on the foreign policy front. That is so long as they aren’t put into some crisis situation, forcing them to act and if that doesn’t happen expect symbolism over substance in the foreign policy. I don’t think this is isolationism but the practical need to prioritize putting the American house in order first. I think the last thing Obama needs is a major distraction from beyond America’s shores, however he will not be able to control this variable.

Anonymous said...

What committment to what lobby?

My guess is that Israel will be talking with Hamas soon enough.

And what goes on in the Middle East has a tremendous impact on the economic situation in the US.
Wars and belligerency cost money.

And BR, maybe Obama can set a good example for some white leaders, too. After all, he is part Ajrysz:


Anonymous said...

This was one his well-known policy speeches and Hillary gave a similar one to the same group.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) delivered the following remarks on Israel, Iran, Iraq and the Middle East to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Forum held on March 2, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois.

“the same time, we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs.
This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza.
Israel Must Freely Defend Itself When Attacked
And when Israel is attacked, we must stand up for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself.”

I call this the business as usual speech.

Frank Partisan said...

Israel is the US's satellite in the Middle East, not the other way around. One of Obama's advisors said if it wasn't for Israel, the US would need 100,000 more troops in the Middle East.

Israel stopped arming Georgia, and made overtures to Russia. That is in exchange for staying out of the Middle East. The Israel/Palestine situation is a sideshow to Russia. Israel doesn't want Russia being friendly to someplace like Syria.

Iran will not be attacked, but courted.

Anonymous said...

More like a trying to get the Jewish vote speech.

Was the bit about "Israel Must Freely Defend Itself When Attacked" actually a part of the speech or a headline from the article you quoted? The phrase, lacking a period, sticks out kinda funny in the passage.

And a lot depends on what is meant by "defend."

And what is meant by "deter" and "repel."

C'mon, the guy is a politician. We'll see how it pans out.

Anonymous said...

More a matter of question right now than of debate. But I was wondering...

Bush/Cheney mentioned a number of times that there should be pursuit of a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine situation. I remember though when seeing a debate back in 2004 the Dems in general seemed against this.

Has President Obama said anything about pursuing a two-state solution? Or is he opposed to it?

Anonymous said...

Well, aside from him and Abbas being politicians, it seems Obama made it very clear yesterday that he is in favor of a two state solution:

US President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday phoned Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to affirm his dedication to push through an Israeli-Palestinian final status peace agreement during his time in office.

A statement released by the Palestinian Authority said that "Obama promised that he'll continue efforts to push the peace process forward in order to arrive at a two-state solution."



Or earlier from Obama himself on youtube:


beatroot said...

In fact, his first call to a foreign leader was to the palestinians...whuch is interesting...and maybe significant.

Anonymous said...

Thinking back on the Bush days, the Einstein quote often comes to mind:

"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind."

Unrestrained nationalism seems to spell disaster for any country; and likewise for humanity as a whole.

That goes on here in Eastern Europe, as well. Why do many among the Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and other communities feel the need to cast the blame for the world's evils on one another?

And a number of Blighters who play tourist not only in this area seem to often think they're the say-all authority amongst a bunch of "lesser cultures."

Many (or most) of Bush's supporters - and perhaps Bush himself - were never able to understand that there is no such thing as a nation with a divine mission, or a role of being "good guys" whilst the world is somehow divided into "good nations" and "bad nations." It all goes down to the person as a person, not to the person as a "part" of a particular nation.

And as the actions of even a number of Western governments reveal, nations infected with Nationalism often turn against their own, as well.

Anonymous said...

i often get to think this is just exactly the way round - Israel is not the US satelite the US is the Israel satelite. When you have somebody on your mercy you could be able to withdraw it - it just doesn't happen. Why there arose so much hate for the US in the islamic world - wasn't it because the US kept on providing for Isreale - at some point in the 90's don't know what the prestent state looks like - the US was paying ca. 10 bilion dollars to support Israel. I don't know the exact history of this support - when it started especially and its development - anyway it is seen by the muslims (ordinary folk) as offensive against muslim world
Yes at some point Israel has been an ally to the US - e.g the cold war - when the Soviets tried to get rid of the Western influence in the Middle East - supplanting it with their own. However at the moment this is long gone - and now supporting Israel is more like a thing that binds US foreing policies. The whole war on terror was a terrible mistake in general Still by unconditionally supporting Israel the US are bound to at least antagonize the islamic world further and further or to make more gruesome mistakes in worse case. I think the expectation around the world was that Obama would be a reasonable guy in foreing affairs not only soft spoken by also devoted to seek peaceful solutions everywhere - I wonder how long is he to keep this better name and image in face of letting the Israelis do as they please in Gaza. Israel has the right to defend itself - but invading your neighbors just falls beyond the definition of necessary defence. Yes - what I wrote is actually a bunch of loose thoughts/remarks but some point can be seen - I mean where I am aiming at. ;)
To underline it again by binding itself to the Israel - the US is just gonna get more trouble not less trouble. Let them reap what they saw themselves. America has already reapt what it saw in the Middle East - isn't that enough????