Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bush's "Charm Offensive" Certainly Does Offend

Well, at least he has it half right. The Bush administration's so-called charm offensive in Europe certainly is offensive. Offensive to Europeans to whom Bush has thumbed his nose since the day he took office and, in a big way, offensive to the half of the country that wanted Senator John Kerry to be president and remember how Bush and his crew chided and ridiculed Kerry for his notions of teamwork and true partnership with the European Community.

"NATO is a vital relationship for the United States and for Europe. A strong Europe is very important to the United States, and I really mean that," Bush said yesterday, in preparation for his carefully-orchestrated NATO meetings.

European leaders are smart enough to see the inconsistency in those words -- now that Bush has succeeded in making the U.S. a pariah throughout the world -- and the actions of his administration leading up to the war in Iraq. Bush cared nothing about that relationship then and the European public's ear will pick up the hollowness of words now prompted by his desire to cement a more savory presidential legacy. It will be hard for Bush to get Europeans past his extending a middle finger to them for years when the simple words "I'm sorry" elude him so.

While I'm sure it must be gratifying to John Kerry to be proven so right in the approach he advocated for our conduct on the world stage, he must do a slow burn, as many of us do, at this transparent and hypocritical display. I'm also sure that the families of 1,500 dead American soldiers must be wishing that Bush's "charm" had surfaced closer to two years ago.