Last week, we wrote an article titled Instinctive Intelligence vs. Analytical Intelligence. This article seems to have created an impression that we are fans and/or supporters of President Bush. Frankly, we are neither. We believe that President Bush made several mistakes during his eight-year tenure. We also believe that the Invasion of Iraq was poorly planned and ill conceived in many ways.
Yet, it is clear to us that, despite our misgivings, President Bush had many major accomplishments, some of which if continued, will provide long term benefits to America and to the World. For details, we refer readers to our September 2008 article titled The Second Term of President George W. Bush – A Foreign Policy Success Story.
We can hear the groans already. That is why the first line of that article was “What a title? Surely we are terrible satirists, rabid fans or utter idiots?” Please read this article before you judge us.
Readers may not choose to believe us, but we are independent of any party or viewpoint. Frankly, we have been slightly left-of-center liberal for most of our life and remain so. The President we admired the most was Mr. Clinton, but our opinion of him has dulled quite a bit, we confess.
Without further ado, we bring you a well-argued response from an astute reader from the great country of Canada.
A Reader’s Response
With all due respect your examples of W’s greatness would appear to indicate that “shooting from the hip” is a policy option, that W’s desire to invade Iraq was driven by something grander than revenge; these wars were an absolute and total miscalculation (the British and the Russians tried in Afghanistan to no avail) and will lead to a generation (or two) of Iraqi/Afghan hating America and all its stands for.
Mrs Thatcher’s greatness required three catalysts to make her look good (a) Arthur Scargill [a leftwing nutter that controlled the mining union], (b) A delusional Argentinean Government/Military, (c) the end of the cold war that had little to do with the efforts of the United Kingdom, (and it turns out little to do with the U.S.) the country simply imploded! Her first term as Prime Minister was a near disaster and her government would have failed should they not have won the Falkland back (not much doubt on that anyway), if it had not been for the success in defeating the Argentines she would not have survived the election of 1983 (her success as a Prime Minister occurred between 1984 and 1990).
Part of the attractiveness of Reagan and Bush was their “simple” vision of the world, and their simple (and I grant you esthetically pleasing) solutions, in fact and aside from W’s effort on education with his “No Child Left Behind” policy and his tax cuts to the rich, his overall agenda was thin. His rapprochement to India is interesting (frankly I was not aware of such a large rapprochement).
President Obama’s problem is that he is facing a Nuclear Iran, problems in Pakistan, the mother of all recessions at home, a desire to fix healthcare and Wall Street. The first three issues are devilishly complex and unsexy, unless “Bomb the Bastards” is the solution of choice; it was W’s choice in Afghanistan and Iraq! What to do with Iran (one would guess that following-up with another invasion is just not on the cards, especially since the last two were such great strategic disasters) is not easy, and is very boring – diplomacy. Dealing with an economy that is deleveraging is complex (and you know that) it will take time, and there are no easy solutions there either. The reform of healthcare is overdue, don’t know if he will be successful the issues are so complex, the vested interest ranging against him are very powerful, moreover many are doubtful that this is the right direction. As for Wall Street, your probably know better than I do that the “Solids have not yet hit the fan” there are still lots of problems that will give the White House scope to implement serious policy changes. But again these are complex issues.
If you blame the current White House occupants for being wonkish fine, but it is unfair the characterize Presidents based on the sexyness and simplicity of their causes.
As we said, this is a well-argued response. We thank this reader for the permission to print it.
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