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

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail