AP photo of former President Jimmy Carter by Charles Dharapak
Former President Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that President Bush’s administration has been “the worst in history” with regard to international relations, in particular criticizing its policy of pre-emptive war and the poor results achieved in Middle East diplomacy.
Carter also excoriated outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for Bush's policies, which he described as "Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient."
Strong words from the former President, whose public stature as a statesman has risen since his own term in office as the 39th American chief executive. I have to admit, though, that I find it hard to disagree with Carter's assessment of the damage that the Bush administration has wreaked on the international reputation of the United States.
With the continued phasing out of British troops this year, the U.S. will soon be standing almost alone in what remains of the Coalition of the Willing, unless you count such military powerhouses as Albania (120 troops) and Mongolia (100 troops) to be making a significant contribution to the pacification efforts.
And, for those who thump their chests and argue that international opinion of the United States is unnecessary, remember that U.S. citizens make up about 4.5 percent of the world's population. That's a whole lot of "dem" and not so many "us," dudes.
The ill-planned and poorly-reasoned invasion of Iraq in 2003 has been an abject failure, and has brought only death to innocent Iraqis and Coalition troops. Yet Bush stubbornly continues to push his "New Way Forward" (read: troop surge) as the only option for an American nation - his last pocket of international support - that is increasingly unwilling to foot the bill for what is widely viewed as one of the biggest debacles in modern history.