09/15/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

As Things Fall Apart

No week has better illustrated the catastrophic failures of the Bush administration's foreign policy then this one.

Just look at the front page of the New York Times today. It has two big stories above the fold. The left column is about Musharraf"s resignation. The right column is about the collapse of the Bush-Putin relationship.

Instead of two articles it should have had one headline: After 8 Years Bush's Pakistan And Russia Policies Shown To Be Complete Failures.


So this week at the same time the president was coming to the realization that his
insights into Putin's soul may have been misguided, his failed
policy toward Pakistan was also coming full circle. The resignation of Musharraf represents the total collapse of eight years of Bush administration policy. Toward both Russia and Pakistan, Bush pursued a personality driven policy -- to Russia we had a Putin Policy, to Pakistan we had a Musharraf Policy. And both leaders have used their personal relationships with the president to insulate themselves from broader criticism. In the end, we never had a real strategy for either country and eight years later we find ourselves increasingly powerless to do anything about it.

Perhaps the biggest foreign policy challenge for the next president is attempting to restore U.S. credibility and prestige around the world. McCain this week has shown exactly the wrong way to go about it. His recent over-the-top rhetoric about Georgia is exactly the wrong approach and reeks of the same neoconservative-inspired thinking that emanated from Bush's first term. Making hollow promises and defiant threats, when the Bush administration just showed that such rhetoric to be completely hollow, only makes the U.S. look less credible (Of course, if McCain were actually serious about following through on his reckless rhetoric and militarily confronting Russia then that would not only be insane but would further imperil our superpower status). McCain's mocking of Obama's trip abroad, only demonstrates how out of touch McCain actually is. The fact is that we need a leader who can convince the world once again to follow the lead of the United States. Obama's trip demonstrated that he has the power to do that. While on the other hand, all McCain has shown is a lot of reckless crazy talk that will only leave us isolated and weaker.