Sat, 29 Mar 2003

Bush should be wiser

In the face of global resentment, U.S. diplomats around the world have the tough and thankless task of trying to present George W. Bush's unprovoked order to invade Iraq as a justifiable act.

The attack on Iraq launched on March 20 is one step forward for Bush's aim to depose Saddam Hussein but carries America two steps back as a member nation of the world. Those two backward steps amount to a double bashing in how the world looks at America in terms of tolerance and respect.

For instance, America's draconian immigration rules and the arbitrary profiling of resident Muslims, who include bona fide U.S. citizens, are not universal examples of tolerance. On respect, no nation, not even closest ally Britain, has been singing the praises of Washington's unilateral stance on issues that fly against the face of universal will. U.S. rejection of the Kyoto protocol to protect the world from global warming and of the international criminal court to prosecute people accused of crimes against humanity, are but two examples.

The White House order for the invasion of Iraq, something that hundreds of thousands of Americans across America have protested against, only diminishes the esteem the world has for the U.S. As the holder of a Harvard MBA, Bush should have rationally calculated the cost and benefit of each decision he made. If he insistently acts out his intent after knowing the cost can outweigh the benefit, the price America will have to pay may be too great for any American to bear: Worldwide, Americans could be unwelcome and unsafe, even at home.

If he sorely wants international support for his actions, Bush should first switch from a unilateral mind-set to a universal world view. However, if he continues to insist, without reasonable compromise, that America's interest overrides all of what the world community aspires to, Bush will only portray himself as the New Ugly American.

Never has the job of U.S. embassies to explain U.S. actions and enhance the image of their chief executive been as unmercifully daunting as it is today.