Posted from the U.S.
In an earlier posting on the World Economic Forum's (WEF) site, "Absence of the U.S." I was pretty critical of the lack of top U.S. leadership attendance at this year's WEF meeting. Given Bush's recent whirlwind trip to Europe and Russia, I now understand why. Bush wanted to come to Europe on his own terms, as the top dog in the world.
Bush is not a Davos Man, but he is not stupid. Bush is John Wayne, the rugged American cowboy, riding into town on his trusty horse, six shooter at the ready. Bush is also Dirty Harry - shoot first, ask questions later. If we know who the bad guys are, just blast away.
Now we are seeing Bush The Diplomat. Now that I've reset the world order, come and join my party. The water is warm, the beer is cool, and the music is good. Hey Russia - behave yourself or I'll slap you around a bit. North Korea and Iran - chill out or you're next.
Guns and democracy have been intertwined since the U.S. first freed itself from the Brits in 1776. Happiness is a warm gun, at least in America.
If democracy in Iraq succeeds what will everyone say?
In a world of complexity, Bush's genius is a binary step function. Simple, clear, direct. I have a big gun. Bad guys beware. In the lawless expanse of the world, we have a sheriff willing to keep the peace, by any means necessary.
By any means neccessary.
The America that is is at tension with the American that was, and the America of ideals that many in the world viewed as the New Jerusalem. Bush views himself as the America of old, a heroic place of freedom and democracy. Many others view Bush as the symbol of everything wrong with America, a loose cannon with no sense of the real world, powered by right wing religious fervor.
The reality is that this is Bush's time, for good or for bad. The American presence is felt all over, and it permeates the global discussion. Bush did come to Europe, and it seems that in his own way, on his own terms, that he is extending an open hand. Perhaps this is a sign that even though he can be the lone wolf, the alpha male of the pack, that sometimes visiting with old friends can be a good thing.
Perhaps in this case, in this time, by any means necessary could mean the warrior's sword will become a statesman's pen. Perhaps Iran will open and North Korea will succumb to different pressures - the pressures of old friends working together anew.