The Magazine

Bubba Dubya?

A curiously Clintonian turn in U.S. foreign policy.

Jun 19, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 38 • By MICHAEL RUBIN
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Today, the Bush administration is in full retreat from that high ground. The Iranian president can threaten war, but if nuclear reactors are what it takes to get the United Nations to promise to consider whether to discuss talking about the possibility of taking action, then Bush is willing to agree. Meanwhile, authorities in Turkey complain that Central Intelligence Agency officers meet with representatives from Kurdish terrorist groups, former CIA officers meet with Hezbollah, and the State Department plays a shell game with Hamas, withholding money on one hand, but dispensing the same funds through the United Nations Refugee Works Administration with the other. Rice now even hints at scaling back U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court. Like Clinton before him, Bush is being tempted by the siren song of international peer affirmation.

During his September 20, 2001, speech before the joint session of Congress, Bush declared, "We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail." Increasingly, though, the administration seems to be tiring and faltering. And if it retreats to the policies that led to 9/11, it will fail.

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is editor of the Middle East Quarterly.