July 10, 2006

Bye Bye Cowboy

This week's TIME cover story is The End of Cowboy Diplomacy:
[I]n the span of four years, the Administration has been forced to rethink the [Bush] doctrine with which it hoped to remake the world as the strategy's ineffectiveness is exposed by the very policies it prescribed...

To much of the world, that's a relief. But having expended so much energy and so many resources on al-Qaeda and the war in Iraq, the Administration is finding that other global challenges--from the turmoil in the Middle East to the genocide in Sudan to the regional ambitions of China--have grown beyond its ability to do anything about them. "It's difficult to think of many other times and many other presidencies when so many dangerous events were happening at once," says Wendy Sherman, a State Department official under President Clinton. "But there's so much going on in every global hot spot because the Bush Administration really opened up Pandora's box with little-to-no plans to support their actions."

...As it turns out, Iraq may prove to be not only the first but also the last laboratory for preventive war. Instead of deterring the rulers in Tehran and Pyongyang, the travails of the U.S. occupation may have emboldened those regimes in their quest to obtain nuclear weapons while constraining the U.S. military's ability to deter them.

... "If Iraq gets better, everything gets better," a White House official says. "If Iraq doesn't get better, there's no hope."


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