My new year would be somewhat happier if President Bush became a magnanimous leader who committed himself to doing whatever it took to build national and global trust and to decrease fear in the world. Probably won’t happen. We have seen the world slip into a high fear/low trust dynamic that is very hard to turn around. . .and too many of George Bush’s friends and fellow travelers benefit from a high fear/low trust world.
I’d also manage to be happier if Tom DeLay was indicted and removed from his leadership position in the Republican Party and House of Representatives. Nearly every policy area I care about would improve with his departure. Congress might begin behaving again as the founding fathers envisioned — as a check on the naturally expansive powers of the Chief Executive.
2005 would be better if we withdrew from Iraq and replaced our unfortunate engagement there with a more enlightened foreign policy that brought allies to our side in fighting those who are real enemies — and at the same time finally became a credible and concerned partner with citizens in developing nations who actually do aspire to the benefits of modernity. We are doing very little to demonstrate to the rest of the world that those beyond our borders matter to us; this is one of Bush’s largest mistakes.
There is a lot I could add — but I am going to go spend the evening with at least one influential Member of Congress and other friends talking about what we should do in 2005 to bring down the neoconservative-driven foreign policy of this country and replace it with an international agenda more englightened and more befitting the 21st century than the 12th.
My entire 2005 will be dedicated to finding others who want to take the foreign policy helm back from those now in control. We will be high-minded and offer alternatives to what the administration has delivered to this nation and world.
But we will also embarrass them every chance we get. To win this battle of ideas, some of the fights will be in the op-ed pages and via conferences — and other fights will be in the courts, in the scandal pages, and in the gutter.
I have to run now, but I’ll be writing more about a road map I and others have conceived to get American foreign policy back on a healthy track.
As best you can, given all of the trauma in the world right now, have a good new year — and think of those who just can’t and never will again.
— Steve Clemons