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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024

From friends to enemies: Where did the consensus go?

Shortly after the tragedy of Sept. 11, America obtained its highest level of domestic and international support ever. Patriotism was at an all-time high, and it would take a wrecking ball of ignorance and arrogance to knock down this international network of trust--or President Bush. In fewer than two years since the height of American popularity, he has alienated the majority of both our long-standing and relatively new allies, as well as lost the support of countless Americans. 




In the blink of an eye, our country went from being the bearer of the world-unifying torch to being the biggest threat to international peace and security. While the government could have taken advantage of America's worldwide support by taking productive steps toward securing an almost global alliance, it has instead worked diligently to replace the word \French"" with ""Freedom"" on all their cafeteria menus. Well done. 




The events of Sept. 11 prompted a global initiative to stamp out terrorism, with multiple countries pledging support to America. Not too long ago, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had to proclaim that we were willing and able to ""go it alone."" What happened to the overwhelming support? Our government's ignorance of foreign and domestic attitudes toward American arrogance and domination has scared away even our closest allies and has severed many other foreign relationships.  




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Our leaders have perpetuated an American image that is not healthy for future international stability. With many countries developing weapons of mass destruction, this is not a time to be flexing our military muscle and crushing anyone in our path (including our own people). These deadly weapons are leveling the playing field of warfare and should cause our government to minimize the number of foreign enemies we have. Unfortunately, we are moving in the opposite direction. 




I think it is very safe to say that Bush has done a miserable job trying to gain support for the war. Even though his approval rating was the highest in American history, he couldn't convince the majority of his own citizens that a war in Iraq was necessary before armed conflict began, and he certainly didn't do well in gaining foreign allies.  




It seems Bush was so set on war that he didn't really want to bother with working as hard as possible to prevent it. Furthermore, his administration apparently believes we are invincible, so we have basically decided to start a war without having much support (except where we've paid for it). All of these issues are pertinent to the Iraq situation but are much more important to our future role in global politics. 




The main issue to be concerned with right now is not Iraq. We dismantled its military in the first Gulf War, and our forces have only gotten stronger since then. What worries me now is the isolated island on which our government has placed us. Anti-American sentiment is growing stronger every day because of our international bullying, and it is not likely to improve even if this war goes very well. 




The big picture here extends to include the post-war world, but it seems like that aspect is being overlooked. Although the burden of international political stability is too heavy for one country to carry, it is obvious that a peaceful future revolves centrally around the United States. I can say with relative certainty that as long as Bush is in control (I hope not too much longer), this world will not have peace, and if our foreign policy of taking over countries which we simply dislike continues, then we can also be sure all our allies will eventually leave our side. 




President Bush and his administration had the support of the world not long ago, but since then they have done everything in their power to alienate many allies and lose the support of millions of our own citizens. Eighteen months ago I couldn't have been more proud to be an American. Today, I couldn't be more embarrassed.  




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