by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
June 9-10, 2001
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- We are the last remaining superpower. We dominate the=
world militarily, economically and culturally. We are a paragon of democra= tic virtue blessed by God. We don't need the help of any other nation, exce= pt when it suits us. And if any country disagrees with the above, we can tu= rn said nation into a smoking crater in 30 minutes orless. That, in a nutsh= ell, is President Bush's foreign policy.
Under Bush, the U.S. will go it alone and do what is in its perceived be= st interests. Any country that doesn't agree can take a hike.
We have four percent of the world's population, but use 25 percent ofthe= world's energy. Parking our SUVs is out of the question, so the Bushiessay= that we don't need no stinking Kyoto Protocol and don't need any energycon= servation program. The American Way of Life -- hogging as much of theworld'= s resources as possible -- must be maintained.
The U.S. spends nearly $300 billion each year on defense, almosttriple t= he combined annual defense spending of Russia, China, Iran, Iraq,North Kore= a, Cuba and Libya. Military spending makes up about 50 percent ofthe discre= tionary spending in the federal budget.
Yet the Bushies see a need to sp= end more money on defense, including an estimated $250 billion over the nex= t decade to an anti-missile shield to protect the U.S. from "rogue states" with nuclear weapons.
But the Bushies says the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty the U.S. and U.S= .S.R. signed in 1972 stands in the way of our grand vision of an impervio= us anti-missile shield protecting America and its allies, so it should be s= crapped. It doesn't matter that tearing up the ABM treaty may reignite a gl= obal arms race. This is what we want, and this is what we will get, say the= Bushies.
Then there are the other little outrages left over from previousadminis= trations. The U.S. still maintains a boycott of Cuba, even thoughthere is n= o rational or politically defensible reason for doing so. The U.S. has been bombing Iraq on a regular basis for the past 10 years andmaintains a boycot= t that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Thelittle bit of hope= that North and South Korea would achieve peace has beencrushed by the Bush= ies, because a peaceful North Korea doesn't fit intotheir strategic plans.
Besides not paying up its dues to the United Nations, the U.S.refuses to= back international initiatives to give poor nations access tocheap anti-AI= DS drugs, support any organization that provides familyplanning services or= support moratoriums on capital punishment or the useof landmines. When it= comes to international law, the U.S. is above it,which is why this nation consistently ignores the World Court or otherinternational tribunals unless= it suits us.
The Nation got it right in a recent editorial when it labeled the U.S. a "rogue nation" with "the ingrained assumption that we arelegislator, judge= , jury and executioner;" a land that "mocks any notionof global order."
I= s it any wonder that with behavior like this, we areincreasingly hated by t= he rest of the world? Unfortunately, none ofAmerica's allies are brave eno= ugh to stand up to this vision of AmericanExceptionalism. They've had to s= ettle for backroom humiliations, such asvoting the U.S. off the U.N. Human Rights and Drug Control commissions,rather than forcibly denouncing Bush's vision of a world ruled economicallyand militarily by the U.S. alone.
As with many of Bush's big ideas, the public doesn't back his foreign po= licy. Check the polls, and you'll see more people favor active engagement w= ith the world rather than a unilateral foreign policy. But the Bush team do= esn'twant to hear about that, not when there is money to be made selling ar= ms toour allies and exploiting the earth for fun and profit.
Somehow, we managed to survive a similarly wrong-headed view of theworld= when President Reagan was in office (although if you are from CentralAmeri= ca, you might beg to differ with that assessment). I hope we can saylikewis= e four years from now about George W. Bush.
Randolph T. Holhut has bee= n a journalist in New England for morethan 20 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books).