The End of Cowboy Diplomacy

Why the Bush Doctrine no longer guides the foreign policy of the Bush Administration

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But global leadership can't be based on optimism alone. And true diplomacy means more than repeating the word itself. Despite the crises facing him, Bush still has options, though they are ones he hasn't yet shown a willingness to use. Until recently, Bush failed to acknowledge how much Iraq has eroded U.S. credibility or show that he takes seriously the criticisms lodged against his policies by the U.S.'s allies. Iraq may turn out to be a peaceful and thriving democracy, but Bush himself concedes he doesn't foresee that happening before he leaves the stage 30 months from now. If Bush hopes to salvage a more popular, less contested legacy, he needs to commit himself to something big and attainable beyond Iraq--a strategic rapprochement with Iran, perhaps, or a Marshall Plan for African development--and bring allies on board for the ride. Of course, the longing for a foreign policy legacy is common to all lame-duck Presidents; more often than not, such quests have ended in disappointment. Bush may still be able to avoid that fate, but he's running out of time.

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