An Undiplomatic President

The NATO Summit in Bucharest

US President Bush’s demand for a rapid assimilation of Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO has failed. He was prepared to deceive important allies, but now must feel beaten. Not even that means anything to him.

Angela Merkel suddenly finds herself in intense disagreement with the US president, albeit a more symbolic disagreement than one of meaningful content.

While the chancellor tried to clarify her position against accession of Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO to George W. Bush for months, he made the disagreement public 24 hours before the opening of the conference, doubtless in the hope that everyone would let him have his way.

It didn’t get that far. Bush was frustrated by a strong group within the NATO alliance. He was prepared to deceive important alliance partners but now must feel defeated. But even that means little to him, since the focal point of his mission was not really to bring Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO

Bush was driven by the simple, egotistical desire to make one last attempt to deliver his message of democracy and freedom to the world. Bush did this in a confrontational and undiplomatic manner; he ignored the fact that the last round of NATO expansion worked only because Russia was involved.

Bush involved no one. That took its toll. And once again, Germany stands in the middle of a disagreement that divides NATO. To be sure, the argument over the Ukraine and Georgia is of much less importance than the decision to wage war on Iraq, but the pattern is being repeated.

Up to now, Germany has failed to sell its arguments well enough and, in regards to Russia’s role in the coalition, speaks with a forked tongue. But there is still time to overcome these shortcomings without being forced into the corner of obstructionism.

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