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Amidst all the hype and hoopla that surrounds Obama’s first days in Office, it maybe worthwhile to take a step back and evaluate the implications of the Bush Presidency. Seldom has the post-Cold War world seen such tectonic shifts in many matters of global concern. These eight years, starting right from the doorstep of the new millennium, have dictated our thought, outlook and course of action. From January 20, 2000 to 2009, the most powerful political position of responsibility today was held by a mercurial personality, who managed to emerge both as the most and least popular President of the United States of America. Whether you adored him (like the corporate and industrial lobbies of the US) or loathed him (pretty much like the rest of the World), you just could not ignore George Walker Bush Jr. Here’s our take on what the Bush Era has meant for tomorrow.
1. Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the War on Terror.
Within one year of his taking over the US Presidency, George Bush witnessed the first major terrorist attack on an American metropolis in decades. 9/11, hence immortalized through its suffering and consequence, was pivotal in influencing the Bush administration’s foreign policy outlook towards West Asia and the Middle East. Following the launch of a global ‘War on Terror’, a belligerent Bush pursued the Al-Qaeda to the footsteps of the Taleban. Months later, Afghanistan was left in tatters, besieged by the armies of the West in a futile attempt to capture the masterminds behind the WTO strikes.
The President then trained his guns further East, onto Iraq, where the ‘outrageous’ and ‘tyrannical’ regime of Saddam Hussein had allegedly held Weapons of Mass Destruction. Portraying Iraq to be a threat to the precarious stability of the Middle East, the US assumed the patriarchal role of a superpower to chastise the rogue nation. The extant situation in Iraq is left for everyone to see; while the US is fighting a trillion-dollar war, Iraqis are struggling to find a foothold on the world map.
As the Bush Presidency is all set to be a bygone era, the world has been left reeling from an increased spate of terrorist attacks, raising incisive questions of the efficacy of a costly ‘War’.
2. The Environment and Climate Change
As a presidential candidate, Bush began his campaign with a pledge to clean up power plants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During the initial months of his first Presidency, he even sought to commit billions of dollars to fund ‘clean-energy’ technology. The President also assured the Congress, environmental groups and the energy industry of his full co-operation to secure a reduction in emission rates within a reasonable period of time. However, his subsequent volte-face on the matter, terming greenhouse gas reduction to be adversely affecting energy prices, shocked the environment-conscious community.
The Bush Administration also refused to implement the substantive content of the Kyoto Protocol, stating that “ratifying the treaty would create economic setbacks in the U.S. and does not put enough pressure to limit emissions from developing nations”. After years of subservience to the powerful oil and energy lobbies, environmental surveys at the end of Bush’s tenure indicated a marked increase in the US’ contribution to global warming and sustained ecological recklessness.
3. Human Rights and Guantanamo.
Guantanamo merits a separate post. The connecting link will be uploaded in a day’s time.
4. The State of the Economy.
The fag end of George Bush’s stint as the President witnessed the implosion of the mighty US financial sector, triggering a global economic meltdown. A consequence of hasty and often unmonitored actions of the corporate lobby, the financial downturn meant a loss of jobs for millions of people around the world in professional services. The chain-reaction of such a collapse is yet to cease, and major banks and industries continue to be bailed out by the day.
While we may have to dig deep to find positive lessons from the Bush regime, it is suffice to say that the period is dead and gone. May the Bush Presidency rest in peace.
I used to ask myself, what is wrong with capitalism and a consumer driven market?
I got the answer when I saw the news the other day about shoppers trampling a WalMart employee to death while rushing into the store on Black friday. What was worse than the fact that they didnt stop is the disgust that was shown when the store decided to shut down as somebody had died. Surely something must be wrong with a nation so driven by consumers that they forget to value human life!
I was talking to a friend of mine (Caroline Mckenna) about this and we spent about 20 minutes on discussing the non chalance of the american people as regards such issues.. In as much as the American economy is in shambles, surely the people need a lesson in the value of life and society.