Taxonomically-challenged foreign policy

Bush appears dead-serious about keeping one promise he made in his presidential campaign! No ‘read my lips’ with fingers crossed, like his dad. No, simply and clearly put, he would not allow the United States do any nation-building.

Is Bush breaking his campaign promise? If failing at nation-building equates to not doing any nation-building, he could technically be keeping his promise. But truth be said, at this political juncture, does anyone in America really care?

Those who rule these United States today have come up with a simple taxonomic political chart, not only for America but for the entire world. There is America, the Kingdom “by the grace of Bush-Rex,” and below it are just two phyla: those who are like-minded to the King and his court, and those who are not. No other classifications below those two. No classes, orders, families, genera or species: none.

Our country’s foreign policy seems to be premised on nothing but a power trip to remake the world, and little else. In shambles and left to drift in a sea of ignorance, this foreign policy is leaving America with few friends and an ever increasing list of enemies. Not enemies in a rhetorical sense, political groups or rogue nations; but enemies with a face, flesh and blood individuals and, most important, their succeeding generations.

Ignorance, with its truest characteristics of vanity, pride and arrogance, as wisely expressed by Samuel Butler almost four centuries ago, seems to define who and what the United States is becoming to the rest of the world. Not just our government, but most Americans.

Throughout history, America ’s foreign policy has not been absent from criticism. But one comes to accept the idea that power and criticism as to how it’s exercised, go hand in hand. However, what we are starting to see is not indignation or ill-will in response to our actions, but a deep-rooted anger bordering on hate.

Seldom have I seen on the monitor screen the word fascist coming from any of the political chat rooms where I have participated; certainly not in reference to our government or to Americans as individuals. However, during these past few months, it has received much use both as noun and adjective to describe not just the Bush administration, but Americans in general. And, no, it is not “commies” or “lefties” who are calling us that, but educated, rational individuals who have not participated in politics of the extreme, and who for the most part come from socio-economic backgrounds similar to ours.

Maybe it’s time for a little consultation as to the meaning of that pejorative word, one much in disuse for five decades, except in the exhortations given by those in the Soviet camp to depict the United States during the Cold War. Fascism, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is “a philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism.” Much to ponder, extending an invitation to each one of us to judge on this oversensitive issue.

Whether or not we accept the existence of a face of fascism in our government, or in the neo-conservative group that shapes America ’s foreign policy, it is difficult to accept ourselves as being fascists. It is not in our nature, in our upbringing… and yet, one should be aware of how fast and how far we are changing in our political mood, in the way we behave toward other people, other cultures, and other nations.

Two weeks ago, I had a lengthy exchange with a Scandinavian cyber-friend who teaches international law; a person that I believe to be a true friend to Americans, and not a stranger to our way of life, having spent two years doing post-graduate work at Yale, and having married an American.

He has some interesting, if not unique, ideas as to the American body politic. In his opinion, the government of the United States is almost always in perfect cadence with the American public, seldom one step ahead or one step behind it. His theory is that Bush represents Americans, their virtuosity and their malevolence. To him, the worst in Americans has surfaced with Bush, and that at least for now, selfishness and self- indulgence have won the day. An indictment which echoes others I see being made time and again. So perhaps Americans should not place a disclaimer on today’s existing foreign policy, for it may not be just Bush’s alone, but theirs.

One cannot easily accept the idea that America is marching in cadence to any type of goosestep. At least, I hope that we are not the caricature others draw of us. Hopefully, our materialistic outlook and squandering of resources have not dehumanized us, or desensitized us from recognizing the needs that others may have in the world. Needs in their material and spiritual lives, and needs in how they are governed.

As for nation-building, perhaps a little humility will serve Bush quite well. Let the United Nations take over the task of rebuilding both Afghanistan and Iraq , or at least the lion’s share. All in the world will be better off; Bush will have kept his campaign promise; and, most important, the principles of peace and cooperation which have served America so well in the past will make their return as the foundation for a sane foreign policy.