The recent escalating setbacks for the Bush administration’s foreign policies brought to mind one of those childhood incidents that remains as an object lesson as to how things happen in the world.

In what must have been the fifth or six grade in our small Connecticut town public school when all but one of us boys in the class had not undergone our imminent growth spurt, we had one big guy whose name I have happily forgotten who was the terror of our school yard.  In retrospect I realize that he had probably been held back a year or so and deeply resented us little guys who were the bright ones in a class in which he was the dummy.

His revenge was to terrorize us variously during our recesses and lunch hour on our large school yard.  He would sneak up behind someone when no supervising teacher was watching and either push us to the ground or fire a sharp jab to the kidney region of the back which really hurts.  One day when a group of us were standing together — Pete, Johnny, Bobbie, the twins, Ronald and Russell, Freddie, and others whose names I have forgotten — he pulled his bit with one of us.  Spontaneously without planning or deliberation all of us pulled him to the ground and sat one him.  I remember going for his legs to get him down.  With this response to bullying, we had at last achieved victory. When we finally let him up, he slunk away and never bothered any of us again.

The above is sketched as an emblem of what we seem to see happening to Bush, Condi, and our Secretary of Defense as they try to rally the troops for peace in Iraq and Israel/Palestine.

The latest reports have Brown pulling out his troops from Afghanistan, a German governmental official condemning U.S. bullying actions in the Middle East, Putin visiting with Ahmadinejad in Iran and inviting him to Moscow, Olmert rushing off to Moscow to visit with Putin, Bush’s French ally coming unglued with a national transit strike and a divorce following upon his war talk that parallels Bush’s “third world war” comment, Egypt and Burma receiving verbal threats from Bush. Is Gaddafi still in the bottle?  Pakistan has got its problems with the violence of Bhutto’s return home.  Australia looks like it will be undergoing a regime change not friendly to Bush with its forthcoming election.

The ultimate insult is the Iraqis now contracting with China and Iran to build major power plants (one of our costly efforts never became operative).  There goes the oil and leadership of the Middle East!  Bush has managed to turn us from a world leader to a global bully on the run!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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