After commemorating the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history, the President spoke to the United Nations on Sept. 12 to reflect on what has been a difficult and unique challenge faced by the United States in the past year. Bush also laid the groundwork for coalition building in the case of war with Iraq.
The President has been heavily criticized for his inability to gather international support for the invasion of the country. Leaders from almost every allied country in Europe have warned the President that unilateralism on the part of the United States would not be in our best strategic interest.
In his speech, the President reiterated to the world that the United States has the economic and military resources to attack Iraq without the support of an international coalition. He also remarked that the United States has helped many of our allies fight terrorism throughout the years, referencing the obliteration of the Nazis and the defeat of communism.
The ‘ultimatum-esque’ speech delivered to the delegation of world leaders received praise from international diplomats, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Touting the President’s leadership in the war on terror, the Prime Minister said that the U.S. and England share the same commitment to a world “free of terror . . . free of oppression.”
The President will certainly continue to work on assembling a delicate coalition of supporters, but the attempt to appease any of these “allies” will do more harm than good in the long run. If the United States is put in the position of choosing between acting alone or not acting, the President has said repeatedly that we will fight independently.
It seems logical to assume, however, that the rest of the international community will be forced to support us if we launch a unilateral attack on Sadam, provided that we have pinpointed exact reasons for the invasion. Tactically, the administration must work on steadily building the propaganda machine that once nearly derailed the dictator in the first Bush presidency.
With the prominence of the United States internationally, specifically in the context of foreign relations that deal with terrorism and the threat of worldwide terror, the President has been placed in a unique and challenging role. Bush has unwittingly become the unofficial ‘President of the World,’ and must act decisively against Iraq to retain this moral authority.
More than any President in the past 50 years, Bush needs to demonstrate the will of the United States to lead the world on every potential front, especially foreign relations. When it seems that he has lost the political flare that once brought 80 percent approval ratings at home and unquestioned leadership abroad, the President must cloak himself with the American flag and unsheath the proverbial sword of justice we as a country inherited last Sept. 11.
After all, we suffered through the anguish that followed the attacks – not Germany or France, Norway, Denmark, or Australia. Bush seems to have forgotten that the power that became his way after Sept. 11 is still a resource that can and must be utilized. In the President’s words, “We will finish what they began.”