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BUSH AND PALIN November 28, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.

What persons did the Founding Fathers of the United States have in mind to occupy the position of the President? There imaginations probably did not go to either G W Bush or Sarah Palin.

Since the invasion of Iraq occurred during G W Bush’s presidency, it is not too far-fetched to impute the the consequences of the occupation, which are still unfolding, to his decision and responsibility. As President he seems, much like his successor, to be above the law, which is an interesting concept in a nominally republican democracy. His admission that he authorized torture makes it impudent for him to travel overseas. GW it seems, failed to impress his allies. He had according to the former German Chancellor’s spokesman, “no idea of what was going on in the world”.

It turns out that the results of the invasion of Iraq were entirely predictable, and should have been forsworn by the Americans as they were by the Germans. At Speilgel, Klaus Wiegrefe reports:

SPIEGEL has now obtained a previously secret copy of notes taken from a conversation in February 2003 marked “Classified Information — For Internal Use Only.” At that time, in was just a matter of weeks before US soldiers invaded Iraq. Klaus Scharioth, a Berlin-based state secretary in the German Foreign Ministry, had flown to Washington in the hope of still having a chance of changing the minds of Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security adviser at the time, and other high-ranking members on the National Security Council.

According to the notes — all in German — the meeting amounted to 90 minutes of verbal blows, which primarily stemmed from Rice’s “relatively rigorous and uncompromising” defense of the US position. The same notes indicate that Scharioth didn’t budge an inch toward Washington, either. In retrospect, though, they document a high point in German diplomatic history, because the objections and predictions put forward by Berlin on that Tuesday have turned out to be legitimate and correct.

The crux of the German argument was that the political costs of a war in Iraq would be “higher than (the) political returns.” While Rice predicted that Iraq would take advantage of the “opportunities for reconstruction” like the ones Germany enjoyed after 1945, the delegation from Berlin countered that the rapid establishment of a democracy in Baghdad was “not (to be) expected.”

The Germans also predicted that the real beneficiary of a war in Iraq would actually be Iran, and that a US-led attack would further complicate efforts to reach a solution in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Likewise, they prophesized that going to war would precipitate a “terrorist backlash.” Scharioth stressed that it was important “to win over the hearts and minds of the Muslim elite and youths,” according to the notes, and that this was “not to be achieved” by going to war. He also added that doing so would greatly increase the danger of prompting an “influx to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.”

In this case, it is not the President but the presidential advisor. It seems to me it is not the president as such that matters, although that is important, but the quality and diversity of the team of people around him, since the Cabinet System seems to have been superseded in US Administrations.

Sarah Palin, from reports seems to be similarly affected with cluelessness about the wider world. But does it matter? She has a demonstrated ability, which should not be underestimated, to give a public address from a script. And importantly, as G W Bush did, she has brand recognition. But more than that she seems to connect with some Americans. And it seems that voters have no idea of what they require in a president and leave such decisions to the mass media. Nonetheless, it would be surprise if Palin became the Republican candidate for the presidency, on the simple basis that if you spend all that money you would also want to win.



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