Monday, January 15, 2007

crafting bush's legacy

Myth-making about the American president seems to have already begun

Sitting at a CII summit, listening to Brent Snowcroft — a former US national security advisor — give a history lesson to the audience (which included the president of CII, a former air chief, and leading defence experts), I wondered why he was engaging in this futile exercise. After all, if anyone understands that there has been a fundamental adjustment in world politics following the end of the Cold War, it was the people in that room. But then I read between the lines.

General Snowcroft had been NSA during Bush senior’s term. His speech made one point: the US is not used to being a superpower and because the nature of war has changed — it is no longer confined to battles between states — allowances for mistakes need to be made. Disingenuous, I thought, given that Bill Clinton did not end up earning the wrath of the world community for unilateral wars carried out under false pretences. But an alarm bell sounded in my mind. Just as Clinton became obsessed with his legacy at the end of his presidency, it is now time for the current president to make strategic moves so that he does not for ever remain as the man who went into war without an exit strategy and destroyed America’s economic surplus in the bargain.

So, here we are. The stage is being set. Snowcroft seems to be giving us the first rough draft of a George Bush mythology, by painting him a world leader in tumultuous times. It is an apologetic stance; the question put to you is, how can Bush be expected to have measured up to everyone’s expectations as the world undergoes this acute fundamental adjustment and when different regions have their own needs?

Now pay closer attention to this troop surge in Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki, it is reported, does not want it but Bush’s spin doctors claim it is responding to Iraqi demands. If Bush wanted to salvage his legacy, should he not try and end the war in Iraq? Good question. But the answer, unfortunately, is no. Vietnam had a harsh lesson for the US: that withdrawal from a thankless war, which cost the country many young lives, could be political suicide. The failure in Iraq can be passed on to the next president — and if Bush is very lucky, it will be a Democrat president.

So what will his legacy be? It is going to be crafted slowly, carefully, until he leaves office. There is no re-election. So actions taken now have a different purpose. Watch and learn. If anything, Bush has taught us that the media can be controlled.


http://www.indianexpress.com/story/20939.html

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting insight about Bush's concerns over his legacy and it sounds almost like be a proper reading. As he bows out of office, may be he is even going to sign kyoto in an attempt to stamp a green environmental footprint! he recently called for the protection of polar bears. However, on the war-front, it is worth wondering how much of a positive legacy he is going to leave? After all, he has just to pass the buck to his fellow democrats to finish the war he started and why not start a fight with Iran, explode the middle East and then leave the job to democrats!

chitgo said...

yup. I can imagine him sitting on his texas ranch saying "i'll let the twins take care of that one when their turn comes".
(just as daddy dearest handed the mantle to his slightly less astute offspring)

On a different note, found a very interesting statistic recently on american interventions of the last 200 years.

Dubya ofcourse is one of the 'hall of famers' in this list....

mind boggling, now if only I could find the british parallel to this site...

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/usinterventionism.html

Anonymous said...

hey whatsup?

nice post, raises a good point that i guess has been coming for awhile now...

Actually the irony is that Bush's legacy will never be what he wants it to be... since you mentioned 'nam, it makes it easier to explain what i mean: in the states there are those who were involved with it who still sit and say "we didnt lose, it was a draw!" most folks know thats crap, but freedom of speech and all that jazz is there for one and all right?

in much the same way, his supporters will keep justifying his terms and his actions and this spinning of his legacy will carry on for years after he's gone, but the fact is that the brunt of the world has MAJOR dislike for him and his regime (it is in fact a regime and not a government) and as such, he is not gonna be able to change how people think of him...

shit i mean we can forgive and forget a monica lewinsky scandal and all, and clinton was a classy man and a good prez, bush on the other hand is an idiot! can you imagine if the lewinsky scandal happened to dubya?! hahahahaha! I mean clinton was so smooth and classy that he could look you in the eye and say "I am not here. what is here but there without the t?"

alright, im rambling, so im gonna stop now...

enjoyed the post, and a happy new year kid.

cheers...

Anonymous said...

Already military men are saying, "O, now we know why Saddam was so cruel and treacherous." These military guys have been facing the insurgency, which Bush isn't facing. They know the ground reality.

In retrospect, I wonder, if getting Saddam out of the way (just not out of power) was Bush's sole aim, with little regard for what came to the country. Afterall, why should Bush worry about Iraqis' wellbeing, that should Iraqi leaders' concern isn't it!!!???

mahima said...

Well the whole restoring democracy ideal is very far fetched because you can't really super impose a political system people are not ready for .. George Kennan, American diplomat wrote a number of books, and one of the things he said that always stands out for me is that - when your aim is an ideal (changing peoples mindset) instead of realistic (eg, deposing Saddam. stop.) then it becomes tougher. Perhaps he was so convinced of Saddams brutality and with world sympathy on their side after 9/11, being welcomed as liberators was not far fetched. But if you don't do your homework .. well, we all know you won't get the grades

Anonymous said...

i wonder if its jeb's children who will b handed the baton...