COLUMN EIGHTY-SEVEN, MARCH 15, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
THE DUMMY'S NOSE KEEPS GROWING LONGER AND
LONGER AND LONGER........
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
THREATS PROMISES AND LIES
Article: Threats, Promises and Lies
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 17:46:49 -0500
From: Brett Aronowitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Al Aronowitz" email@example.com
February 25, 2003
Threats, Promises and Lies
By PAUL KRUGMAN
So it seems that Turkey
wasn't really haggling about the price, it just wouldn't accept payment by check
or credit card. In return for support of an Iraq invasion, Turkey wanted "and
got?immediate aid, cash on the barrelhead, rather than mere assurances about
future help. You'd almost think President Bush had a credibility problem.
And he does.
The funny thing is that
this administration sets great store by credibility. As the justifications for
invading Iraq come and go'saddam is developing nuclear weapons; no, but he's
in league with Osama; no, but he's really evil'the case for war has come
increasingly to rest on credibility. You see, say the hawks, we've already put
our soldiers in position, so we must attack or the world won't take us
But credibility isn't just
about punishing people who cross you. It's also about honoring promises, and
telling the truth. And those are areas where the Bush administration has
Consider the astonishing
fact that Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, appears unwilling to cast his U.N.
Security Council vote in America's favor. Given Mexico's close economic ties to
the United States, and Mr. Fox's onetime personal relationship with Mr. Bush,
Mexico should have been more or less automatically in America's column. But the
Mexican president feels betrayed. He took the politically risky step of aligning
himself closely with Mr. Bush?a boost to Republican efforts to woo Hispanic
voters?in return for promised reforms that would legalize the status of
undocumented immigrants. The administration never acted on those reforms, and
Mr. Fox is in no mood to do Mr. Bush any more favors.
Mr. Fox is not alone. In fact, I can't think of anyone other than the hard right and corporate lobbyists who has done a deal with Mr. Bush and not come away feeling betrayed. New York's
'bait and switch'
elected representatives stood side by side with him a few days after Sept. 11 in
return for a promise of generous aid. A few months later, as they started to
question the administration's commitment, the budget director, Mitch Daniels,
accused them of "money-grubbing games." Firefighters and policemen
applauded Mr. Bush's promise, more than a year ago, of $3.5 billion for
"first responders"; so far, not a penny has been delivered.
These days, whenever Mr.
Bush makes a promise?like his new program to fight AIDS in Africa
"experienced Bushologists ask, "O.K., that's the bait, where's the
switch?" (Answer: Much of the money will be diverted from other aid
programs, such as
Then there's the honesty
Mr. Bush's mendacity on
economic matters was obvious even during the 2000 election. But lately it has
reached almost pathological levels. Last week Mr. Bush?who has been having a
hard time getting reputable economists to endorse his economic plan?claimed an
endorsement from the latest Blue Chip survey of business economists. "I
don't know what he was citing," declared the puzzled author of that report,
which said no such thing.
What Americans may not
fully appreciate is the extent to which similarly unfounded claims have, in the
eyes of much of the world, discredited the administration's foreign policy.
Whatever the real merits of the case against Iraq, again and again the
administration has cited evidence that turns out to be misleading or
worthless?"garbage after garbage after garbage," according to one
Despite his decline in the
polls, Mr. Bush hasn't fully exhausted his reservoir of trust in this country.
People still remember the stirring image of the president standing amid the
rubble of the World Trade Center, his arm around a fireman's shoulders?and our
Can we run a foreign policy
in the absence of trust? The administration apparently thinks it can use threats
as a substitute. Officials have said that they expect undecided Security Council
members to come around out of fear of being on the "wrong" side. And
Mr. Bush may yet get the U.N. to acquiesce, grudgingly, in his war.
But even if he does, we
shouldn't delude ourselves: whatever credibility we may gain by invading Iraq is
small recompense for the trust we have lost around the world.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company ##
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