Billmon again uses his considerable ability to offer an interpretation of Bush that's nail-on-the-head accurate:
In the past, I've called [the Iraq war] the worst strategic blunder since the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. But at this point I'd go further. It may have been the worse strategic blunder since Wilhelm II dragged Germany into a two-front war in 1914. And while the outcome ultimately may not be as catastrophic (we can only hope), the causes of the fiasco are quite similar. Like Kaiser Willy's Germany, Bush's America has gone out of its way to turn friends into enemies. And in this, at least, it has succeeded...
What's missing [in the wingnut whining about the Spanish election] -- intentionally, I think -- is any acknowledgement of how we got from a place where Le Monde could declare Nous sommes tous Américains, to a place where being seen as a U.S. ally has become a serious political health risk across most of Europe.
From day one of the war against Al Qaeda, the Bush administration has treated "old" Europe with a barely (if that) disguised contempt. It refused to give NATO a meaningful role in the war in Afghanistan -- even though such support was offered immediately, and unconditionally, in the aftermath of 9/11. Following the the fall of Kabul, it resisted efforts to expand and internationalize the peacekeeping force, and gave only tepid support to European efforts to strengthen the Karzai government, at the expense of the regional warlords with whom the Pentagon prefers to do business.
Then came the administration's decision to invade Iraq, taken with out any consultation with the Europeans whatsoever -- even though they had significant economic and strategic interests in Iraq (just as America does in the Saudi theocratic police state) and were far more exposed to the potential fallout (oil shocks, refugees, etc.) than the United States.
Billmon continues by pointing out that virtually every sentient carbon-based life form, minus the idiot neocons and their supporters, now recognize Iraq as the quagmire it is. As if anyone needs additional proof, I think today's bombing in Baghdad makes it pretty clear that chaos is the only authority in the region. Nice work, neocons.
By all means check the article out. It's a little long, but captures nicely the conundrum in which the Bush administration finds itself. They CAN'T afford to go-it-alone, even as they've spent the two and a half years following 9/11 by spitting on virtually all of our erstwhile allies.
I'll conclude this post by noting Billmon's excellent description of James Baker III--"asshole king of the universe"--and his apt metaphor regarding Bush tilting at "Middle Eastern windmills (or oil wells, as the case may be)." Yes, (also in his words) Spain no longer wanted to be "part of the clown posse" in Iraq, and neither do they want to be subjects of Kaiser Dubya. For that matter, a majority of Europe is fed up with the fantasy cowboy act--it has made them decidedly LESS safer.
Sure, the true isolationists can dismiss the opinion of the rest of the world. But they'll soon find out that business sucks when no one wants anything to do with you.