Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Bush not giving up 'til the cows come home

Challenging times for the Unite States

ND Batra

The cowboy president is seldom caught in a reflective mood in the public, but when Kelly O’Donnell of NBC asked him in a recent meeting with reporters whether he felt frustrated, President George Bush replied with his usual equipoise that sometimes he did feel frustrated though “rarely surprised.” Rarely has an American president carried such a crushing burden on his shoulders as this man. And he is not going to give up ‘til the cows come home.
Not only has the war in Iraq mutated from the supposedly glorious war of liberation of the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein to an unending Shia-Sunni sectarian violence bordering on civil war, the rise of Iran-Hezballa-Syria crescent has been a no less shocking development. Add to it the defiance of Iran on the nuclear issue and you get a glimpse of a new Middle East rising, a region that instead of fueling global economy with its vast oil reserves might instead fuel further non-state and state-sponsored global terrorism.
Iran might have been overjoyed to see how thousands of its rockets that it clandestinely supplied to Hezballa were hitting Israel, but it could not have imagined nor did it seem to care the death and destruction the proxy war had brought to the innocent people of Lebanon. Nor did Israel and its supporter the United States. Lebanon has become a bloody chessboard of power play.
“But war is not a time of joy,” said Bush. True, though I believe that war does create hope and excitement in the theater of imagination of strategists who sit around the table and calculate advances and retreats and collateral damages and international repercussions. Unfortunately, modern wars are not winnable. The victors, if any, cannot walk away from the destruction of war as you can see in Lebanon. Iran, Hezbollah, the United States are now funneling resources to rebuild the devastated Lebanon in order to win over the minds and hearts that they destroyed to achieve their strategic goals in the region— a perverted example of creative destruction. The dead would be buried and eventually forgotten but the maimed and mangled and the living dead would be always there, in our living rooms, recycled in the global 24/7 of Al Jazeera and the CNN.
Bush nonetheless did not issue a call for giving up the struggle against terrorism, which would outlast the remainder of his days in the White House, but he acknowledged the obvious that these “are challenging times, and they’re difficult times, and they’re straining the psyche of our country.”
Next week the United States would be observing the fifth anniversary of the horrific attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon. Although the war in Afghanistan and Iraq might have to some extent drained the psychic energy of the American people, and most of them now believe that the war in Iraq was a mistake, it is rather surprising that the wars have not slowed the US economic growth. In fact the US American economy since 9/11 terrorist attacks has been steadily growing. Jack Welch, the ex-chairman of GE, who along with his wife Susie Welch writes a weekly column for BusinessWeek, stated a month ago, “Since mid-2003 the American economy has grown about 20 %. That’s more than $2.2 trillion—equal to the size of the total economy of China. Seven million jobs have been added.” The Welches were trying to ward off criticism against outsourcing; but that is equally true in the case of jihadi terrorism. New York is once again a shining city on a hill. The towers would rise again. The trains (in Mumbai) are running again, aren’t they?
Nonetheless, there is increasing pessimism in the United States whether Iraq would ever settle down as a peaceful nation. The United States cannot cut loose and run and let the devil take the hindmost. That would turn Middle East into a Shia-Sunni bloodbath, which some see as already in the making especially with the reckless ascendancy of an almost-nuclear Iran as an aggressive Middle East power. Not only has Israel reason to fear Iran whose president, Mahmoud Ahamedinejad, has publicly declared that the Jewish state should be wiped out; but Arab countries also have absolutely no reason to be celebrating the rise of a nuclear Iran establishing its hegemony in the Middle East. Nor would it be in the interest of the Indian subcontinent to see any nation controlling the energy resources of the region.
But giving up is not the character of the Bush presidency. Bush sees the war against terrorism as struggle against the ultimate evil, which must be defeated, because otherwise, as he told the American Legion convention last week, terrorists would be free “to turn back the advance of freedom, and impose a dark vision of tyranny and terror across the world.” If the United States does not fight terrorists in the streets of Baghdad, Bush said at the convention, “we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities.” In order to win “the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century,” the United States must utilize “every element of national power.”
While Bush vows to keep fighting global jihadist terrorism, he is also fighting at home to keep Congress under the Republican control as the American people go to polls in November. Democrats are in disarray. They don’t know what to do about Iraq. Nor does anyone else.

No comments:

Post a Comment