(NOTE: I realize all this might seem more than a little confusing: first, a blog, then no blog, then an alternative blog, then two blogs and now, finally, back to the one, the only "The Bush Diaries". "The Bush Diaries II", after two days of stalwart service, is now officially closed. Readers can return to doing what they always did, click on The Bush Diaries and receive their pearls of wisdom. Once again, best thanks for your patience with the technological ineptitudes.)
So, Bush, welcome back to your familiar surroundings. You must be as relieved as I am. I imagine you must be in some discomfort, though, about that troublesome "axis of evil." We see now the results of the aggressive international policy promoted early in your White House tenure by your neo-con chums: the saber doesn't rattle with quite the same ferocity these days. Your Rice was out there, telling North Korea that launching its newest long-distance missile ("it could reach Alaska!) would be considered a seriously "provocative act", but I'm honestly not sure why anyone should listen any more. When Kim Jong Il sees Iran's Ahmadinejad thumbing his nose at us over those nuclear weapons, what's he to think?
Here's how I see it: that speech you gave about the axis of evil puts those three nations on notice of your hostility toward them; the invasion of Iraq for trumped-up reasons confirms their understanding that your hostility might easily be followed up with military action; the strategic and tactical fiasco in Iraq and the drain on the American military there emboldens Iran and North Korea to harden their own attitudes and bolster their military reserarch and hardware; Iran ignores international pressure with impunity; and Kim Jong Il fuels his rockets.
Okay, that's a simplistic narrative, but there's a serious point: if you poke the big stick you're carrying into a hornet's nest and stir, you're going to get some nasty creatures buzzing around your head. It's my belief--and one shared by the majority of Americans these days--that the hasty invasion of Iraq without significant international support sent dangerous signals around the world about America and its intentions, and that we're now reaping what you, Bush, sowed on the planet Earth. What reason have we given Kim Jong Il (and believe me, I have no time for this poster child for insane megalomaniac dictators) to believe us, or if believing us, to take our threats seriously? Should he see us as the benevolent peacemaker, intent only on making the world safe from nuclear weapons? Or as the aggressive intruder who rushes into action without provocation? I understand that you would like to be seen as the former, but unhappily your actions might understandably be interpreted to suggest the latter.
Enough for today, Bush. Just getting back into the swing of things, here, after a serious break in the momentum. Next, the big push on the book... Starting today.