Skip to comments.With Bush still in charge, where do we go from here? (barf: in Malaysia only anti-W tripe allowed)
Posted on 11/06/2004 9:43:58 PM PST by NZerFromHK
Where some countries can be congratulated for a violence-free election, the United States may now be congratulated for a litigation-free one.
George W. Bush has won another presidential term in one of the most closely fought campaigns in US history. The new mandate is clearer but not much stronger than before, because he had received only the electoral vote and not the popular vote the last time.
The question now is where and how the president will take his administration and country over the next four years: still in a cavalier way in yet more unilateral destinations, or in a more conciliatory mode through multilateral channels. A clear mandate can be read in different ways.
As some have pointed out, virtually half the voting population chose John Kerry as president, with many of them registering an anti-Bush vote. A sitting president need not be a democrat, just a realist, to acknowledge that this fact should help shape his policies.
Kerry himself has, in his concession speech, reached out to Bush to help unite the country through common causes. Will Bush now reciprocate?
In his speech, the president promised to serve all Americans, but early speeches and later actions have been at odds before. Four years ago, Bush promised, in another speech, a humble foreign policy but the reality has been quite the opposite.
Domestic issues like taxation, education, healthcare and gay relations are fully the preserve of US nationals as voters, whether acting directly or through their elected representatives and NGOs. But foreign policy is another matter, because it involves and must therefore engage other countries and their interests.
Washington cannot ignore international opinion, if only for its own sustained interests. Most countries have shown that they preferred Kerry as president, but now that Bush is to remain in the White House they would prefer that he change tack.
Foreign relations are either bilateral or multilateral, never a one-way street. How a nation conducts relations with others is no less a measure of its leaders capabilities than the way it conducts domestic policies.
Even a sole superpower cannot ignore global realities and ride roughshod over international norms, conventions and laws. And even if power for its own sake issues from the barrel of a gun, righteous and assured power does not.
Like any other country, the United States may persuade but not force other countries to share its view. As a major power, its resources for persuasion would be larger than those of others, but it still has no licence to transgress the limits observed by others in the interests of all.
Just prior to the election campaign, Washington wanted its diplomats posted abroad to devote a quarter of their time to explain and justify US foreign policy. But this is already a function of all diplomats everywhere, and it would serve everyone better if the United States adopted sound and reasonable policies from the start.
How should Washington work better with friends and allies? A good start would be to explore the possible answers together with existing and potential friends and allies, in a joint endeavour free from ideological presumptions and bigotry.
Another way would be to understand that any identifiable friends and allies are not just there to lend unconditional support, but may also remind the United States that useful co-operation is best based on shared interests. None of this can be unilateral in concept, spirit or effort.
Countries seeking to co-operate with the United States on specific issues, like all friends and allies, must also be pro-active in encouraging US multilateralism. Regardless of the status of any of these countries, it serves nobodys interests to remain passive, reactive or retroactive.
Within the US administration, some individuals whose extreme positions or self-interests have proven wrong and costly to real US interests worldwide may need to be replaced. But that is a presidential prerogative; will Bush now wield his new mandate to effect this, or to inflict more pain and controversy on others at great costs?
Every incoming presidency has an opportunity to produce a great, a fine, or at least a memorably agreeable president. But there is also the temptation to squander that opportunity by catering to the demands of the nearest, loudest or best-oiled lobby group.
Israels hawkish Ariel Sharon has had no qualms in saying that the past four years have seen the Bush administration as the most pro-Israel of all US presidencies. Will Bush now begin to have qualms about continuing to prove Sharon right?
In the great common cause of counter-terrorism, the United States stands to gain much through proper and sensitive actions. But that requires an even hand in, for example, mediating in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, since that geopolitical rupture is literally the mother of many conflicts.
Ultimately, the United States will have to do more to take due cognizance of the rest of the world, or the rest of the world will have to begin to take full cognizance of its rights, interests and entitlements.
Because the MCA is effectively just a crony party to the UMNO and there is a severe degree of press self-censorship, the views published here is the only view publicly tolerated in Malaysia. Any pro-W articles would be severely censured in that country.
Also of note i most ethnic Chinese Malaysians don't like the MCA (who are full of corrupt cronies of the Malaysian government) and shun them.
Here is one you might be interested in.
I need to mention I think it's freepin' hilarious that we post articles bashing our beliefs and candidates and values and discuss them.
How cool are we that we're not afraid to know about and take in this drivel? And this stuff is out there! Those DUpes just discuss their own psychotic accusations of our party and president failing time again to make a reasoned case about anything.
It's good to be us... *smile*smile*smile*
I'm amazed that it took over a dozen paragraphs to get to the usual Islamofascist obsession with "The Jooooooos".
Dear Numbers: Thank you for pointing out the KEY FACT in all this Chinese Maylasian pomposity. Islamo-Facism is alive and well in virtually all places,even remote self-important backwater hell holes like those.
I'm a Singaporean Chinese and I'm one of the minority in Singapore who support Bush because of what he represents. The Malaysian Chinese opposition stems from the days of Mahatir Mohammad, the previous prime minister of Malaysia.
That old man is retired now.
I doubt even a majority of Malaysian Chinese think like this. It is the only official party line of Malaysia tolerated. Dare to write anything supportive of Bush? Internal Security Act is waiting for you.
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