Just hours ago George W. Bush put his distinctive brand on the 2008 Olympics in China. You know the brand. It marks all Bush initiatives. The big Double-I.
By choosing to become the only U.S. president ever to attend opening ceremonies of the Olympics in another country you might think Bush was saying, “We're with you China.” And yet, even as he was flying toward his reception, he allowed insults and hypocrisy to cast a pall over an event that should be about light and harmony.
By decrying human rights abuses, censorship, phony elections, unfair trade practices, labor abuses and restrictions on the freedom to peaceably assemble, he put a damper on the show.
Say what you will, taking a stand against China's big PR show by declining to attend would've been consistent and coherent. But complaining all the way to the show, and even at his reception in China on Friday, smacks of incoherency, bad manners and outright hypocrisy.
Bush is no one to point fingers. His administration has been marred from the outset by unfair elections, unfair trade and labor policies, censorship, torture, human rights violations, restrictions on free speech and assembly, perverted justice, coddling polluters and much more. He's made America suspect in each of these areas. His high moral tone rings phony.
Does such Insulting Incoherence surprise you?
Shouldn't. Like his call for Russia and Georgia to peacefully solve their differences, while fighting two wars, Bush's entire tenure has been marked by insulting incoherence—a stance that boils down to MY FINGER IN YOUR EYE-especially when it comes to foreign policy.
He vowed to resist invading Iraq, then drummed up false pretenses to do just that. He decried the Shiite led regime in Iran, while at the same time putting the Shiites in charge of Iraq. He vowed no nation-building, then set about occupying Iraq. He said no negotiating with terrorists, then cut deal after deal with insurgents in Afghanistan and, during the Surge, in Iraq and made nice with their financial backers in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. One could go on and on.
Take his nuclear policy.
In short, it's a train wreck brought about by false starts, illegal initiatives and disastrous impulses. Consider:
* We bombed, invaded and occupied Iraq based on “false intelligence” that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of building nuclear weapons, but when it comes to North Korea and Iran, both of whom actually fired off missiles capable of carrying nukes, we decided multi-lateral negotiations were the way to go.
* In a July 2006 issue of New Yorker magazine, Seymour Hersh documented how our top active generals had to stage an internal “revolt” earlier that year to prevent Bush/Cheney from including the idea of nuking Iran—in violation of international law-as part of our contingency plans for dealing with that country.
* So instead, we opted to encourage negotiations between European nations and Iran. One of the enticements Europe offered Iran was a light-water nuclear reactor, the same sort the Bush administration criticized Bill Clinton for offering North Korea. When that North Korea deal went down, however, none other than Donald Rumsfeld sat on the board of directors of the company that designed the North Korean reactors, according to the May 9, 2003, issue of The Guardian.
* Meanwhile we signed a pledge to provide a continuing stream of nuclear fuel to India—fuel that could be turned into weapons-grade materials-even though India actually did what Iran only threatens. One predictable result might be a nuclear arms race involving India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, China and others.
* Bush and his would-be successor, John McCain, are promoting a massive build-up of nuclear reactors at home and abroad through tax incentives, subsidies and other enticements, while responding like drunken sailors, with threats, bribes, insults, winks and nods to nations who use such technologies—surprise-to build weapons.
* Bush winks at our biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel, which harbors scores of nukes while claiming not to, even as we threaten to bomb Israel's enemies for trying to join the club.
* Meanwhile, silently ticking away are thousands of leftover Soviet nukes waiting to be purchased on the black market. Tantalizing reports in a variety of sources suggest that Valerie Plame, the CIA official outed by Cheney's staff, was trying to prevent such black market deals prior to being exposed.
* By far the most glaring inconsistency in our nuclear policy is the gap between what we tell others to do and what we do. While it's true we're dismantling hundreds of aging nuclear weapons of uncertain reliability in this country, we're recycling much of that material in preparation for building a whole new nuclear arsenal.
If you can find the thread of coherency or consistency in the above list, I'd love to hear about it. To me, it amounts to a formula for making enemies, spreading war, chaos and nuclear technology, with a radioactive world as the inevitable end result.
Seen in this light, Bush's approach to China makes perfect sense. Like Dubya himself, when he tries to articulate, well… damn near anything, it's insulting. It's incoherent.