The history of diplomacy/international relations is speckled throughout with evocative catch-phrases that neatly encapsulate the “zeitgeist” of the era, and that shape the legacies of the political leaders who were in power then. Think “Cold War”, ‘Iron Curtain”, “Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)”, “Nuclear Deterrence”, “Realpolitik”, “Containment”, etc., and their association with leaders such as Kennedy, Khrushchev, Mao Tse-Tung, Reagan, Thatcher, Ho Chi-Minh et al.
Now consider the state of America in the world following 6 years of failed leadership by George W. Bush. The word that comes to mind is “schadenfreude”, or the pleasure derived by someone from another’s failure. America has fallen catastrophically from its former position of moral and political leadership in the world, and is now ridiculed by friend and foe alike as a bumbling, inept, morally corrupt has-been – exactly reflecting the character of our fearless leader. In public forums and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the likes of China, Russia – and France – can ignore US demands with impunity, safe in the knowledge that America has become a helpless giant thanks to the squandering of our soldiers’s lives and our national treasure on W’s (not-so) Excellent Adventure in Iraq. Thus has George W. Bush sealed his legacy as the catalyst for the astonishing demolition of America’s reputation in the world. It will be a long road to recovery of what this man has lost.