Rubin Disses Bush

Do neo-conservatives believe that Bush can be as easily intimidated by their rhetorical rage as he is seduced by their lavish praise?

It would seem so, at least at 1150 17th St., N.W., where both the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard are based. After all, Kristol excoriated Bush, even questioning his manliness (See Kristol’s teacher on the subject, Harvey Mansfield), for not pardoning Scooter Libby “So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage,” Kristol charged. “For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he’s for as long as he doesn’t have to take any risks in its behalf; and courage – well, that’s nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?” Less than a month later, the president commuted Libby’s sentence so he didn’t have to spend even a single day in prison.

More…Now comes AEI’s Michael Rubin who, in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, accuses the president of “diplomatic double-talk” and “broken promises” on a host of foreign-policy issues – from failing to act on behalf of Turkey against the PKK in Kurdistan, to supporting an unreformed Fatah in the Palestinian Territories, to not speaking out for Arab liberals and dissidents, to not sending a “single cabinet-level official” to Taiwan, to acquiescing in North Korea’s “continued custody of its reactor and nuclear weapons.”

“Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy. Addressing crises with insincere promises is as counterproductive as treating a hemorrhagic fever with a band-aid. Empty promises exacerbate crises. They do not solve them. While farsighted in his vision, it is the president’s failure to abide by his word that will most shape his foreign policy legacy. It would be ironic if he justifies the ‘Bush lied, people died’ rhetoric of protestors across the White House lawn in Lafayette Park, though not for the reasons they believe.” You can’t call that sycophancy.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.