Bush's arrogant isolationism surfaced again last week when he made a fool of himself prematurely endorsing Kenya's Mwai Kibaki. The European Union had refused to, citing electoral fraud, but Bush blundered ahead on his own, and then had to retract his endorsement a couple of days later.
Biology teaches us that many 'strong' organisms that never learned to cooperate have become extinct, driven out by smaller, weaker organisms that had mastered this trick. The same phenomenon is apparent in the economic world. When Citibank tried to maintain a closed network of ATM machines, several smaller banks banded together to form an open ATM network, which Citibank was ultimately forced to join because it was larger.
This principle works internationally, too. The European Union, through the cooperation of its members, has outstripped the United States in every measure of strength and influence save the military, which is less and less important in a world in which the major threats are from networks of individual terrorists.
While the EU keeps expanding its network to include more and more nations, the Bush administration is contracting its own network. The EU now has 24 nations, within which people can move from one country to another without passports, while the Bush administration wants to force even Canadians to have passports before entering the United States. Europe and Asia are outstripping us economically, technologically, and educationally, while the Republican 'Fortress America' mindset has us cringing behind walls like the peasants in some medieval hilltop town.
Walls are an archaic device in our modern world, where information travels all over the planet with the speed of light; where what any nation in the world does affects every other nation economically, environmentally, and ideologically. United States and Israeli leaders are the only ones dumb enough to think a problem can be solved with a wall. A wall is simply another way of sticking your head in the ground and pretending a problem doesn't exist because you can't see it.
The problems that face the world today can only be solved through international interaction, negotiation, cooperation. To think that we can dictate to the world because we have a lot of nuclear weapons is a bit absurd when our banks and our federal government are increasingly owned by China. Most empires in the past went into decline because they exhausted themselves making war, and we seem to be headed down the same path.
War is like methedrine -- you may feel good while you're doing it, but sooner or later you have to crash and face up to your real problems. Every war ends with a deal. People kill each other for a while and then they get sick of it and negotiate.
It's about time humanity started getting right to the deal and skipped this military foreplay. It's beyond clumsy.