Monday, December 29, 2008

Building a Bush memory

Yet another example of the administration making a concerted effort to get out the right message about the Bush legacy. This time from Condoleezza Rice:

And I am quite certain that when the final chapters are written and it's clear that Saddam Hussein's Iraq is gone in favor of an Iraq that is favorable to the future of the Middle East; when the history is written of a U.S.-China relationship that is better than it's ever been; an India relationship that is deeper and better than it's ever been; a relationship with Brazil and other countries of the left of Latin America, better than it's ever been ...

I won't get into the Iraq debate, but the idea that our relationship with the Latin American left is "better than ever" cannot stand up to any scrutiny, even with regard to Brazil. A better assessment is "things are better once Thomas Shannon helped clean up the horrible mess left by his predecessors."

7 comments:

GS,  11:51 AM  

Granting her privilege of hyperbole and poetic license (“…better than it’s ever been.”) I tend to agree with Rice’s assessment. If the mark is improved relations with leftist governments in the region, then it’s hard to argue failure. Of course, this is much more due to the election of left-leaning governments throughout the region than to policy coming out of the White House, but I guess you take it where you can get it.

Randinho 10:24 PM  

Hard to argue failure? Are you serious?

Bolivia has booted our ambassador. Hugo Chavez (enough said). Daniel Ortega (enough said). Correa has closed the US base in Manta, Ecuador. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is pissed about the Maletagate scandal. Lula has good relations, but Brazil is about to levy trade sanctions against the US because of the decision on cotton subsidies that on which the WTO has ruled against the US.

Hyperbole and poetic license? Try fiction.

Paul 10:30 AM  

"Hard to argue failure? Are you serious?"

I'm not sure what you think could have been accomplished with all of your examples except for Brazil. It's not Bush's fault a bunch of Latin American countries elected chuckleheads like Chavez, Ortega, etc. Those countries will suffer more from their self-inflicted problems than the United States will.

Will be interesting to see if you hold Obama accountable for the future elections of foreign tyrants.

GS,  11:56 AM  

Those are good points, Randinho. My focus was on Rice’s statement “a relationship with Brazil and other countries of the left of Latin America, better than it's ever been ....” I think that’s a generally true statement but a misleading one. The way she frames success, as I understand her statement, is comparing US relations to leftist governments in Latin America now versus relations with similar governments in the past. In my mind, relations in the past consisted of coup mongering, overthrows, and armed resistance and counterinsurgency. When I think about US relations now, I don’t see any of that, even considering Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia. So, given the un-nuanced way of how she frames success, that is why I said it’s hard to argue failure. I’m not praising her policies, just taking a jab at her meaningless statement.

mike a,  2:18 PM  

Bush was an easy target for the radical left in Latin America. Just having him in the White House boosted the fortunes of the leftists. But, now that he's gone, Chavez, Correa, Ortega, Morales, and Kirchner will have to look to other avenues to excite their base. So, Bush's greatest legacy might be that by exiting the stage, he also helps the radical left to fall on their own sword and usher in a new wave of US-friendly, pro-business center right governments.

Greg Weeks 2:51 PM  

Perhaps, but remember there was a "a new wave of US-friendly, pro-business center right governments," whose policies ushered in the leftist governments. Ask Goni about it.

Randinho 3:00 PM  

My focus was on Rice’s statement “a relationship with Brazil and other countries of the left of Latin America, better than it's ever been ....” I think that’s a generally true statement but a misleading one.

Agreed. It's much like an advertisement taking a critic's review quotes out of context.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP