Conflict About Conflict

I cannot remember a time in my life when I have been so conflicted about the world situation.

On the one hand, you have a dictator who, by all accounts, is as despotic as they come. (I won’t reiterate the ‘used-weapons-of-mass-destruction-on-his-own-people’ rhetoric, lest I sound like the George W. tape loop.) Clearly, Saddam Hussein is not a nice guy and, clearly, everyone seems to agree that he should no longer be in power. But he’s surely not leaving power of his own free will anytime soon.

On the other hand, we have a President whose singleness of vision rivals my dog’s. (She is simply incapable of keeping more than one thought in her head at one time, so if you offer her a toy while she’s eating a treat, she gets way too confused. This trait is endearing in an Australian cattle dog, but not so desirable in a world leader.)

George’s narrow focus has been such that he has managed to alienate our long-standing allies in ways that no one could have imagined. By announcing right out of the starting gate his intentions to unseat Saddam, he set up international opposition to his plan from the outset. This is a man for whom the word ‘schmooze’ is too Jewish to have entered his consciousness.

No matter what one feels about the impending war, the argument could easily be made that George could have gotten everything he wanted, if he had only had a little finesse in the beginning of his process. If he had worked behind the scenes with foreign leaders to build consensus prior to announcing what his intentions were, he probably could have even gotten the stinky old French on board. But, instead, he treated the world like it was just one big extension of Texas, and he galloped onto the international scene with six-guns a-blazin’ and with diplomatic skills in short supply.

Consequently, we now go blithely marching into Iraq with the world polarized, leaving a trail of jilted international friends in the dust behind us.

Oh. I forgot. Maybe I’m overreacting. I mean, after all, we’ve got Bulgaria on our side. Whew. Thank God for that. Now we can sleep at night, knowing our soldiers will be safe. If we’re lucky, maybe we can also have the formidable armed forces of Monaco and Luxembourg on our side, too.