, 2007
| Over 2 Million Served |




Home | Notes
Archives | Search
Links | About

Julia Gorin
The America Show
Episode 4
Jesus and Mordy
Watch Video Now


Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

America Alone
by Mark Steyn


The CRO Store




ARONOFF Media Blame Bush for Clinton Legacy
by Roger Aronoff
[filmmaker, writer] 8/22/06


Time magazine's much-publicized July 17th cover story, "The End of Cowboy Diplomacy," has been viewed as a seminal media effort to capture the transformation of the Bush Administration from a trigger-happy approach in foreign policy to reliance on other nations and the U.N. But a careful analysis shows that Time exaggerated and distorted the facts in order to produce a story that would entice and mislead its readers.

It would be foolish to insist that changes in the Bush foreign policy have not been made. Since Condoleezza Rice became Secretary of State, she has clearly been relying more on the bureaucracy, including such figures as Clinton holdover Nicholas Burns, the Undersecretary of State, to make policy.

Roger Aronoff

Roger Aronoff directed and co-wrote the documentary, “Confronting Iraq: Conflict and Hope.” He is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media. [go to Arnoff index]

But it has never been the case that the Bush Administration has been a tough-talking, unilaterally-acting power, short on diplomacy and long on bullying. The cowboy metaphor is designed to create the impression that the Bush Administration has been acting alone, pursuing preemptive wars and presenting non-negotiable demands. Such a charge is designed to hurt the President's party at the polls this November.

A valid criticism, not made by Time, is that the Bush Administration has promoted democracy for a region of the world that has become so radicalized by propaganda from Arab TV channels such as Al-Jazeera that it doesn't yet seem quite capable of accepting it. The effort, however, still has to be considered a noble cause that was a far better option than maintaining a status quo that produced al Qaeda and 9/11. This struggle will continue for years, if not decades, and holds the promise of making the region?and America?safer in the long run. Our media have no patience for such an approach.  

The other critical factor that has to be considered in evaluating the approach to Iran and North Korea is that failures or misguided policies by the Clinton Administration have constrained the Bush Administration's ability to resolve these serious problems. 

The premise of the story was that Bush has used up his and the nation's credibility because of a misbegotten war in Iraq, and that it has been forced by circumstances to pursue an alternative course. Mike Allen and Romesh Ratnesar of Time wrote that  "...the very fact that parts of Iraq remain on the edge of chaos after three years of fighting and the deaths of more than 2,500 Americans are incontrovertible evidence of how the Administration's miscalculations have come back to haunt it."

Media Onslaught

Miscalculations have been made, but these have included a failure to understand how anti-war propaganda?by the U.S. and European media and outlets like Al-Jazeera?would encourage the enemy and make victory more difficult.  

The Time reporters wrote that Bush came to office with goals to "pursue a 'humble' foreign policy that would avoid the entanglements of the Bill Clinton years."

But then everything changed. "After Sept. 11, however, the Bush team embarked on a different path, outlining a muscular, idealistic and unilateralist vision of American power and how to use it. He aimed to lay the foundation for a grand strategy to fight Islamic terrorists and rogue states by spreading democracy around the world and pre-empting gathering threats before they materialize..."

What was left unsaid, of course, was that 9/11 could have possibly been avoided if the Clinton Administration had been able to accomplish something more in the war on terrorism than merely indicting Osama bin Laden and bombing one of his empty training camps in Afghanistan. 

However, the event that seemed to trigger Time's conclusion that a major change had taken place in the Bush foreign policy was the reaction to the July 4th incident in which the Communist North Korean regime test-fired several missiles. President Bush had warned the week before that such action was "unacceptable." Time said, "Under the old Bush Doctrine, defiance by a dictator like Kim Jong Il would have merited threats of punitive U.S. action?or at least a tongue lashing. Instead, the Administration has mainly been talking up multilateralism and downplaying Pyongyang's provocation." They added, "cowboy diplomacy, RIP."

Others picked up on the Time theme. New York Newsday wrote that "The arrogant prerogative of go-it-alone preventive war to crush rogue nations was replaced by cautionary words urging patience with the slow and often frustrating work of diplomacy."

It added, "This is not the same Bush who ignored all of his allies' objections to invade Iraq."


We have said this many times before, but it bears repeating. Bush went into Iraq after getting an authorization from Congress and a unanimous Security Council resolution, 1441. Though unable to pass a second Security Council resolution after Hans Blix had returned from Iraq to say that Saddam Hussein was still refusing to cooperate, Bush gained the support of 50 nations, more than 30 of which sent troops to Iraq. Some of the major nations which didn't support the effort, such as France and Russia, had billions of dollars of contracts with Iraq and were implicated in the U.N.'s oil-for-food scandal.

Time referred to the "entanglements" of the Clinton years without explaining how the Clinton Administration itself engaged in "cowboy" diplomacy. First, Clinton bombed Iraq for several days in December of 1998 with no Congressional or United Nations approval. In the end, however, Clinton left the festering problem for Bush to deal with.

Clinton's War On Serbia

Second, Clinton waged war against Serbia in violation of the War Powers Act, without the approval of Congress or the U.N., using NATO as an offensive rather than defensive force. That violated the NATO treaty. Today, because of the Clinton policy, a Muslim state is being constructed in the Serbian province of Kosovo, creating another foreign policy crisis for the Bush Administration that it must address immediately. 

Regarding Iran, which was taken over by fanatical Muslims when then-President Jimmy Carter made human rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, Bush has faced another difficult problem that Clinton contributed to. Bush has pursued diplomatic options along with the European Union while insisting that the Iranians stop enriching uranium and give up their nuclear-weapons ambitions.

Clinton, by contrast, actually enlisted Iranian help in arming the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs and helped establish a militant Islamic base in Bosnia. In a scandal that the major media conveniently ignored, a Senate Republican report said that the Clinton Administration was unwilling "to come clean with the Congress and with the American people about its complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo."

Iran also expanded into other areas, such as southern Lebanon, leading to the current war between Hezbollah and Israel.

In regard to North Korea, Clinton was snookered by the North Korean communists, after providing them with massive amounts of aid, while they cheated on their promise to abandon their nuclear weapons program. With North Korea, Bush has insisted on working in the context of the six-party talks, and recently helped secure a Security Council resolution condemning the regime's missile tests. At the same time, he has pursued a national missile defense for the U.S., designed to protect America against missile threats from North Korea and other enemies.  

In the Middle East, Clinton wasted eight years with the so-called Oslo process, during which Israel and the Palestinians were supposed to make peace, and he entertained Yasser Arafat repeatedly at the White House. In the end, Israel was under attack again and the region was ablaze in a second intifada. That is the situation that the Bush Administration inherited.

If Bush is indeed a cowboy, and there is a showdown with North Korea or Iran, the U.S. will probably have Britain, Australia, Japan, Israel and a few dozen more allies lined up with us. This "cowboy" has a posse. CRO

copyright 2006 Accuracy in Media www.aim.org




Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2002-2007 CaliforniaRepublic.org