Mugged by reality

North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and those pesky congressional scandals have finally caught up with George W. Bush
By EDITORIAL  |  October 19, 2006

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Lesser mortals are captive to the world, but supermen make their own reality. That, a year or two ago, was the boast of White House über thug Karl Rove. Now, it seems, an oops — or two, or three, or four — is in order. North Korea has an atomic bomb. Iran is on its way to building one. More US soldiers were wounded in Iraq past month (776) than at any time in the last two years. And the combined congressional sex and influence-for-sale scandals threaten — thank heaven — to throw the Republicans out of power in the House and possibly the Senate. Makes one wonder why the mainstream press thought the Bushies were so invincible for so long. Bush bashers’ glee in the face of this turn of events is tempered, of course, by the sobering fact that these developments — with the exception of the domestic scandals in Congress — are bad news for the world, which is more treacherous and unstable today than it was before 9/11.

Terrorist maestro Osama bin Laden, still inconveniently at large, performed a satanic service by awakening the international community to the true scope of the Islamist threat when his minions attacked Washington and New York. But, in the wake of those murderous outrages, it was the serial miscalculations, missteps, and lies of George W. Bush that have delivered us to the brink of crisis in three discrete theaters of confrontation.

North Korea. It is not unreasonable to assume that President Bush provoked tyrant Kim Jong Il into reactivating his nation’s nuclear-weapons program, which — due to the limited but nevertheless successful diplomatic efforts of President Clinton — had been slowed or put on a back burner. When Bush attacked mistaken nuclear renegade Saddam Hussein, he took his eye off Kim, a certifiable menace. Kim calculated — correctly it seems — that he could defy North Korea’s lone international ally, China, and simultaneously thumb his nose at Bush. The punishing international sanctions that have been readied for Pyongyang were not enough to deter Kim, who has already demonstrated that he is willing to starve millions of his subjects to preserve his room for international maneuver. Make no mistake: Kim is the villain, but Bush is his enabler, his provocateur, his unwitting inspiration. By diplomatically isolating the United States from working and effective relationships with other nations as a result of his foolish Iraq war, Bush has emboldened Kim. It was a gross miscalculation, born of the arrogant belief that America alone can police the world.

Iran. The situation here is even more muddled than it is in North Korea. The Iranians secretly and systematically violated their promises not to build nuclear weapons. The radical-Islamist Iranians continue to insist, in the face of international disbelief, that they seek nuclear capacity only for the peaceful purpose of economic development. But so grave are concerns about Iran’s true motives that even France and Germany are willing to take a hard line against it. The problem is that China and Russia, indispensable nations in this case, are not. A nuclear Iran, while not welcome, does not pose the same threats to the Chinese and the Russians as it does to Americans and their European allies.

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