Friday, January 04, 2008

Bush's Last Year In The White House Set To Be Grim And Lonely

President Bush's last 370 or so days in the White House are unlikely to provide him with the legacy and positive historical turn of events that he seems so currently obsessed with. Economists shake their heads in disbelief, and shame, when they hear Bush say that the American economy is "solid" and "firm". With Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination and continued widespread attacks and instability in Iraq and Afghanistan,Bush's 'War on Terror' is looking more than ever like a complete bust.

He is about to leave for a trip to the Middle East, where he is expected to face hostility from both Israelis and Palestinians.

Bush, like most Americans, must be counting down the days to when his run in the White House is over.

This story from UPI explains why Bush's final twelve months in power will be both grim, and lonely :
Grim, because Bush’s signature "war on terror" is nowhere near the kind of "victory" on which he had placed so much hope. Hundreds of billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury have been spent, but the democratic transformation of the Middle East and the wider Islamic world has not materialised.

Grim, because the economic news -- which has generally remained upbeat over Bush’s tenure -- has turned decidedly negative in recent months. The chances that his successor may inherit a recession, as well as the many foreign-policy fiascos created by the disastrous combination of the administration’s ideological rigidity and incompetence, are growing steadily.

Lonely, not only because of the departure during the past year of virtually all of his closest and most long-standing loyalists -- Dan Barlett, Karen Hughes, Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzales, and Karl Rove -- but also because he is seen increasingly as both a lame duck and an albatross around the necks of his party’s candidates.

Indeed, the focus of national and international attention -- so far as the U.S. is concerned -- appears to have shifted to the race to succeed him in next November’s elections. Remarkably, the mainstream U.S. media this week devoted as much space to the reactions of the main presidential candidates to Bhutto’s assassination as to the administration’s.

The fact that all of the major Republican candidates not only rarely evoke his name, but often suggest that his performance in office has been less than stellar, serves only to underline his marginalisation.

Bush, of course, is still hoping that 2008 may yet deliver his presidency from the fate of being judged as one of the very worst -- if not the worst -- in history.

A number of eminent historians have in fact already reached that judgement, based, among other things, on the strategic disaster of the Iraq war; the squandering of Washington’s overseas image as a champion of international law and human rights; the defiance of constitutional safeguards at home; the politicisation of the system of justice; and the distortion of scientific research regarding global warming and other critical issues.

His hopes of escaping that assessment rest primarily in the area of foreign policy, on which, as a "war-time president", he has staked his reputation.

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