Over at Talking Points Memo Josh Marshall describes Bush’s method of operation:
chest-thumping followed by failure followed by cover-up and denial
Today it’s Korea.
President Bush came to office believing that Clinton’s policy amounted to appeasement. Force and strength were the way to deal with North Korea, not a mix of force, diplomacy and aide. And with that premise, President Bush went about scuttling the 1994 agreement, using evidence that the North Koreans were pursuing uranium enrichment (another path to the bomb) as the final straw.
… All diplomatic niceties aside, President Bush’s idea was that the North Koreans would respond better to threats than Clinton’s mix of carrots and sticks.
Then in the winter of 2002-3, the US prepared the invade Iraq, the North called Bush’s bluff. And the president folded. Abjectly, utterly, even hilariously if the consequences weren’t so grave and vast.
The Republicans are going to try to blame Clinton for this. They have developed a narrative for it – but it is yet another lie to cover up that the conservative approach just does not work. But this is entirely the fault of Bushism.