As Bush looks forward and creates new alliances that will carry America through a dangerous century, is he getting any credit for his forsight and diplomacy? Rich Lowry comments:
President Bush has visited South Asia, and one would expect multilateralist hosannas to be showered on his head. In India, he worked to cement a burgeoning relationship with a dynamic country central to a region where — with China on the rise — geopolitics in the 21st century will be very "interesting," in the unsettling sense of the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."
Next on the itinerary was Pakistan, a longtime enemy of India and another newly minted U.S. ally. That the U.S. is friends with both India and Pakistan has a lot to do with circumstances (the end of the Cold War and the advent of the War on Terror), but it also speaks to a certain level of Bush-administration diplomatic finesse. The administration won't get any credit for it since it runs counter to the media's favored "unilateralist behemoth alienates the world" storyline.
India especially falls victim to the new liberal standard in international relations, which is that countries that genuinely like us are discounted as allies. It's the diplomatic corollary of Groucho Marx's refusal to belong to any club that would have him. India falls into the same category as Japan, Britain, Australia, the democratic countries of Eastern Europe and a few Gulf emirates. These nations lack the simmering resentment toward the U.S. of a France, so close and fruitful relationships with them don't earn Bush any multilateralist points.
In fact, Democrats are perfectly content to alienate these natural friends...
Funny how the Democrats have tried so hard to shun the label "liberal" and have instead touted themselves as "progressives". How progressive is it to shun alliances with new and emerging countries that share our values; and instead insist that multilateralism can only come about if we meet the demands of so-called allies such as Germany and France, who have put their interests aheads of all others since the beginning of time?
Maybe it is that natural liberal instinct to surrender; or to debase themselves, and us, by putting America in a subserviant position to others. The left's "Progressive" agenda seems only to "progress" the interests of nations that bear us minimal good will, at best. Note how the media marchs in lockstep with the Democratic party; if Clinton had managed to balance an alliance between two enemies, he would hav ebeen hailed as "the master of triangulation"; or some garbage like that.
In a pinch, give me India over France, Poland over Germany, Japan over Canada, and Australia over almost anybody...
UPDATE: Bush in Pakistan:
The Pakistani government once supported the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan. But after the 2001 terrorists attacks on America, Musharraf aligned himself with Bush and the war on terrorism. Musharraf has been the target of repeated assassination attempts as a result.
Pakistan's law enforcement agencies have arrested more than 700 suspected militants in the past four years.
"The intentions of Pakistan and my intentions are absolutely clear — that we have a strong partnership on the issue of fighting terrorism," Musharraf said.
Where's the praise for Bush for taking an enemy state and turning it into a ally during wartime?
UPDATE II: The Washington Post's David Von Drehle gives us a wonderful example of the media trying to turn Bush's multilateralism (which they have been screaming for since 2001) into something negative. Note the sneering, elite tone used here; it is classic MSM:
In case you missed the memo, the world is multipolar now.
Gone are the days of go-it-alone foreign policy, of unilateral preemption and epoch-making events scheduled solely "at a time and place of our choosing." That's all so 2002...
But can a unipolar president find happiness in a multipolar world?
Like a clumsy groom who has learned precisely one dance for his wedding day, Bush went carefully through the steps of multipolar diplomacy, yet there was no mistaking his natural tendencies. You got the feeling that if George W. Bush is going to embrace "partnership," it's going to be on his terms, pardner.
For in the process of reaching out to India, Bush put a finger in the eye of a number of other countries...
Yuk. Read it all, then take a shower...