Bush Wobbly? Not By A Long Shot

The Washington Post is reporting that President Bush is trying to regain some lost momentum in the war on terror. Domestically, his plan for reorganizing several agencies into a Department of Homeland Security appears to be a good mix of policy and politics. But in terms of foreign policy, the Bush administration seems to be falling flat on their face.

But Patrick Ruffini seems to think that Bush’s "wobbling" is a media myth. As he says:

Their case falls apart, though, when applied to the realities of the present Bush Administration. These neocons have yet to identify a single pro-Saudi or soft-on-Saddam constituency or faction that’s holding sway over the Administration’s decision-making, excluding the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Politically speaking, there is none. The intellectual center of gravity in Washington right now is closer to Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz than it is to Colin Powell and Richard Armitage — and even Foggy Bottom has posed little resistance to the idea of regime change in Iraq. (In fact, I think it was Powell who coined the term.) Attacking Saddam is a foregone conclusion. It’s no longer a question of if, but when. And no amount of impatient "wobbly watches" or inaccurate reporting by the New York Times is going to change that.

I think he’s on to something with that observation. While I still completely disagree with the Bush administration’s coddling of Arafat, I don’t believe that the supporter of Bush being wobbly on foreign policy are seeing quite the whole picture. As Ruffini says, once Saddam is out of the way, the Saudis are likely next. A good general knows not to fight a war on two fronts – and pissing off the Saudis directly or indirectly might reduce our ability to take out the Iraqi dictator.

Given that, the Bush Administration’s policies make more sense. As I’ve surmised before, Bush is a lot smarter than most give him credit for. Again, part of having a sucessful campaign is knowing when to time everything to one’s advantage. As much as we’d all like to see the Saudi’s heads on a pike right next to the bullet-ridden corpse of Yassir Arafat, we have to take our enemies one at a time. President Bush told us at the outset that this war wouldn’t be like any other – much of it would be done in secret and wouldn’t be as flashy or visible as previous conflicts. As Ruffini says, impatience is not a foreign policy, and while we warbloggers have the latitude to say what we feel, politicians don’t. Chances are, the Bush Administration is as hawkish on the Middle East as the blogosphere, even if they can’t allow themselves to show it for now.