Trade and Politics: Mission Impossible

Bush's goal in Japan was jobs, jobs, jobs via greater U.S. sales. What he got was some promises -- and a bug that gave the world a scare.

It isn't easy to single out the low point of the trade mission to Japan that George Bush completed last week. Was it that his pleas for stepped-up Japanese purchases of American auto parts belittled the presidency and made him seem the tool of overpaid corporate CEOs? Or that the largely unenforceable agreements he reached were soon denounced as inadequate by the U.S. automobile executives who accompanied him on the journey? Or did the nadir come when the President threw up on the trousers of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and then passed out at a state dinner in Tokyo?

The...