S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hats off

To leaders who truly understand the concept of "saving face"- Our current president acts as if the only possible outcome in a stand-off is winning at the expense of one's adversary. He seems to have the old-fashioned western view that it must always come down to winning the draw or you die. That overly simplistic stance has made our current president (OCP) one of the more difficult players in the high stakes game of international and intergovernmental relations. And it makes for great disappointment for all Americans who long for competent bipartisan governance, which involves compromise, not "losing." The story in the Washington Post: "Bush Unwilling to Compromise on Iraq funding," (4/3/07) by Howard Schneider and Bill Brubaker, illustrates the point. To quote,
President Bush today offered no compromise in his standoff with Congress over funding for the Iraq war, saying lawmakers should pass any Iraq legislation they want -- but do it "as quickly as possible" so he can move ahead with a promised veto.
. . . Congressional Democrats quickly accused Bush of refusing to change course in a four-year-old war that has killed more than 3,200 U.S. service members.
. . . A showdown between Bush and Congress over Iraq war policy has been brewing since Democrats won control of the House and Senate in the November elections. The main battle so far has involved a request by Bush for extra money to fund the war. The House and Senate have approved about $120 billion in extra funding, but each attached their own provisions for pulling troops out beginning next year.
Hats off to leaders in the United Kingdom who got their sailors home safely. Yesterday's S/SW post discussed the British-Iran incident. To quote, ". . . get the matter concluded without any more embarrassment to Iran. The key to the good dialogue was that everybody saved face." A related story in the New York Times: "No Diplomatic Change After Britons’ Release," (4/6/07) by David Sanger, is an example of the intransigence of OCP. Mr. Bush has shown singularly unsophisticated, black and white thinking regarding the practice of tough diplomacy with Iran. To quote,
The Bush administration said Thursday that the release of 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran for two weeks created no new openings in dealing with Tehran, and it urged American allies to return their attention to enforcing new sanctions against Iran.
. . . President Bush spoke on Thursday to Prime Minister Tony Blair, though the White House said nothing of substance about their discussion. But both the White House and Mr. Blair immediately resumed their insistence that Iran meet the United Nations Security Council’s demands on the nuclear issue and cease supporting attacks in Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney, the most outspoken critic of Iran in the administration, repeated his description of Iran as a dangerous nation in search of a nuclear weapon.
. . . Washington’s guessing game is an indication, they said, of how little is known about who makes major decisions inside the Iranian government. But taken together, the administration’s public statements indicated a decision not to treat the release of the Britons as a potential diplomatic opening, but rather as evidence of Iran’s unpredictability.
OCP: "I call it pure evil." Hats off to the writer of yesterday's "Bushism of the Day," Jacob Weisberg at Slate Magazine, for his perfect illustration of OCP's black and white thinking about the war in Iraq.
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