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COMMENTARY: The Real Danger for US and the World: Nobody Cares What We Say

Posted by kinchendavid on November 20, 2006

By Joseph J. Honick

Bainbridge Island, WA  — While most of the world quite logically worries and sweats over whether Iran has nuclear bomb capability and how it might use it, few seem to worry about the tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands dying weekly in various sectors of Africa. That is tragic beyond belief.

What is more dangerous, however, without diminishing the African situation, is the stark and scary reality that, for the first time in my personal memory, nobody really gives a damn what our leaders, the President in particular, has to say on virtually any issue of global significance. South Korea , at the APEC meetings in of all places Communist Vietnam, smiles for the cameras and the rejects President George W. Bush’s plea for cooperation in blockading ships going to and coming from North Korea. The Prime Minister of our heavily invested Iraq wants to make it clear he is not America’s man in that country and refuses any discussion with the President of the United States regarding timetables for American withdrawal of forces. Iran and North Korea virtually snub us on debates over nuclear testing.

In short, no one seems to fear or respect the American leadership for the first time in memory.

The implications are immense, far reaching and potentially disastrous for us and our friends. As this situation grows, China is moving swiftly to broaden its influences in key African regions and making alliances elsewhere to enhance its political, trade and military influence. Russia likewise is expanding its impact, using its vast natural gas deposits for bargaining chips. It goes on and on.

Over all the years of the 20th and now the 21st century, friends and foes alike paid close attention to the President of the United States, whether he was a Democrat or Republican…until now. Even the much maligned Presidents Nixon and Clinton, Republican and Democrat respectively, carried great respect on the international stage.

Part of the problem may well be attributed to truculence of the way we handled the Iraq situation. Banners declaring “Mission Accomplished” when the job was not and was later admitted to be far from completed as it continued, requiring administration leaders to allow that our mission there would last for years to come. Daring the opposition to “Bring it on”had the sound of John Wayne in his many war movies though he never served a day in the military.

Add to all of this the clear denunciation of Administration policies in the recent mid-term elections in which the Democrats took control of both Houses of Congress for the first time in years. Both friends and foes are waiting to see how all this will come together in a coherent fashion, even as the conflict in Iraq appears to have no end in sight or no exit strategy. Just as confusing, there appears to be no specific party or government with whom to negotiate surrender, truce or victory.

* * *

Honick is president of GMA International Ltd., the consulting firm he established in 1975. Its principal areas involved working to broaden business opportunities abroad for American companies and assisting them in preparing for such effort. He is also a regular contributor to Huntington News Network.

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