Working to Maintain the Peace – Or Not

I’m reading an excellently well-written piece by John Balzar in today’s LA Times, “Is Bush a Brawler or a Bluffer?” I came across this paragraph,

I’m no foreign-policy scholar, but I’ve spent enough time overseas in trouble spots to have lost my hope in reason and goodwill. Hoping to sit down and working things out when the other fellow is drunk, whether on whiskey or fanaticism, amounts to wishful thinking. Tensions in much of the world today resemble those in a sweaty, back-alley saloon more than those in an air-conditioned conference room.

Tensions in much of the world today… I’ve been thinking lately about tensions in the world and how they have increased. Do I remember right that at the end of 2000 tensions in the world were MUCH lower? It seems so long ago. To illustrate the difference between then and now, Clinton was even trying for a last-minute completion of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. What a difference between then and now!

Then Bush came in and changed the game. He said that the U.S. would no longer act as a peacekeeper in the world, no more “nation building,” would no longer mediate between Israel and the Palestinians. Then he changed the U.S. position of neutrality and sided entirely with Israel, blaming the Palestinians.

It didn’t take long for the who world to fall apart, did it?

I thought that Israel voted for Sharon knowing full well it meant war, and they got war out of it, and they shouldn’t be so surprised. I often think that maybe they’ll realize that OBVIOUSLY Sharon’s policies have not reduced the dangers that Israel faces. But it seems that there is a strong appeal to “it didn’t work so we should do more of it.” (Look at the Bush tax cuts.) Maybe we should step back and see the difference in the world and think about whether the Bush foreign policy approach is actually working, making us safer, making the world more peaceful. Maybe we should think about looking at what actually HAPPENS in the world instead of how the world would be if only people followed this or that ideology or religion.