FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush Bounces Back…in Europe

by HARRY BROWNE

COUNTY CLARE, IRELAND.

While US opinion polls show George W Bush and his Iraq policy slowly re-gaining public approval, something even more miraculous is happening in Europe: Bush’s reputation has crept slightly off rock-bottom and the anti-war movement is a shadow of its former self.

This depressing state of affairs comes at the end of a month in which the US president has deliberately, in the words of his Dublin ambassador, “focussed on Europe”. From the commemorative trips to Rome and Normandy in early June through the Georgia G8 laugh-in to this weekend’s affairs with the EU and NATO in Ireland and Istanbul, Dubya has been happy to hobnob with Europeans, Old and New.

They, in turn, have been helping to dot i’s and cross t’s on Iraq’s sham sovereignty package, a welcome distraction from the reality of slaughter, of torture, and of the internal divisions that were slicing up his administration a few short weeks ago.

Counterpunch readers know different about what Bush, Bremer and Negroponte really have in mind for Iraq, but even sceptical, liberal Europeans can be heard voicing satisfaction that Bush has had to “come crawling back to the UN” and has ceded “real power” to an Iraqi government.

The sorry spectacle of deception, capitulation, rationalisation and realpolitik should at least momentarily silence those who suggest the EU is ready to act as a substantial counterweight to US power. But its more immediately pertinent effect just now is on middle-ground Americans, swing voters: That dangerous unilateralist Bush? Must have been another guy. There he is chatting to Paris-Match and getting a clap on the back from Chirac. He’s a regular John Kerry. (Kerry’s own mealy-mouthed foreign-policy prescriptions are effectively nullified by Bush’s latest Atlanticist posturing.)

It’s had its effect in Ireland too. A couple of months ago it might have been expected that the Bush visit would bring out protesters in their tens of thousands, at least. The numbers on Friday evening and Saturday morning will be nothing close to that, with some protesters trying to get near Shannon Airport (where 10,000 US troops go through every month and Dubya is due to land) and others hoping to hold the largest possible demonstration more than 100 miles away in Dublin. The criminalisation of protest, the banning of posters, the shutting down of a Brooklyn-sized chunk of the Clare countryside around the airport and the luxury castle where Bush and EU leaders will meet ­ all these things also have an impact on the likelihood of massive protest. (What’s here will of course be passionate and creative and a little nervous about the police and US-security response.)

But frankly, it’s getting harder to persuade people that Bush is still worth shouting about, that the EU and UN are not reining him in but providing cover for him in an election year. I hope I’m wrong about the prospects for protest, but it’s more likely to be the Turks rather than the Irish who give Dubya the reception he deserves.

HARRY BROWNE is a journalist and lecturer in the school of media at Dublin Institute of Technology: harrybrowne@eircom.net

 

Harry Browne lectures in Dublin Institute of Technology and is the author of The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). Email:harry.browne@gmail.com, Twitter @harrybrowne

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail