March 19, 2007 issue - President Bush has done the right thing in going to Latin America. He's visiting the right countries, and he has sounded the right themes, emphasizing that the United States supports democratic government, open markets and "social justice" (a phrase I have never heard Bush use before, and which must be causing ulcers in some of his right-wing fans). But Bush's new look at the region will not do much good. It's too little, too late.
I hope you take the time to read this entire article or my points won't make much sense.
Bush has made many mistakes. No doubt. A poor plan for Iraq. Under estimating the insurgency. Keeping Rumsfeld a year longer than he should. Allowing the democrats to frame the Katrina response as a failure. Being too nice to the Saudi's and the Pakistanis. But to criticize Bush for neglecting Latin America in the years following 9/11 is a bit silly. Please point me to the post 9/11 articles that called on the US and GW to forget the terrorists and redouble our efforts south? I am sure I don't remember one from Fareed. In fact, I remember he and others concentrating almost exclusively on how the US would return "fire".
It would be nice is we lived in a world with super presidents. Ones that can both coerce and attract. Or maybe it would be nice if we had super neighbors. Ones that could play nice with each other and feed and employ their own citizenry. As it is we have neither. GW and the US almost unanimously selected to take our eye off of latin america and on to terrorism. To arm chair quarter back the game in the fourth quarter is not impressive. You have three quarters to base your judgments on. It is also like the fans that want you to go for it on 4th and long and you don't get it. Then the fans that advocated the risky play get mad at the coach when it doesn't work.This article has a silly premise. That Bush is alone and only now makes good decisions. Bush has been alone since 2003 maybe since the day after the liberals decided that "selected not elected" was their slogan of choice only to be taken over by "bush lied people died."
It is lonely at the top. Especially when you are faced with history making decisions every few years. Katerina, 9/11, and the response to both, a recession in early 2001. Most presidents are remembered for one or two of these. Bush has all five. Bush also has the distinction of being the first president in the global information age. Clinton wasn't even close. Maybe the last year of his presidency counts. But all of Bush's presidency has been under the close scrutiny of the WORLD. No president before has had his actions laid out and scrutinized like Bush. Bad or good. They are all out there for comment. Even the "secret" stuff with a little help from the NYT.
So Fareed, my friend who's opinion I admire so much, you wasted your time on this one. Silly, Silly, Silly.