Cowboy Diplomacy….Has It Worked?

One of the things that Hillary Clinton is promising to do as soon as she is elected (God forbid!) is to send out envoys to various nations in the world with the message that the “era of cowboy diplomacy is over”. I have heard her say thing many times. She is referring to how George Bush has chosen to conduct his duties – especially in relation to the war on terror. To be honest, I have been very disappointed with Bush during his second term on most issues but the one glaring area that he has done well is his adherence to his plan and convictions in regards to how he is conducting the war on terror. Bush has a reputation as being a cowboy because he has been unwilling to compromise in the defense of our country and in the goal of taking the fight to the enemies of this country before we have to fight them here.

Hillary’s plan has got me to thinking. Has the “cowboy diplomacy” used by George Bush worked or not? If it has not worked then we will need to make the necessary changes (whatever they may be) in order to effectively defend our country. If it has worked, then the next president should be willing and able to continue it. In order to answer the question we must examine what things were like before “cowboy diplomacy” was instituted and what things are like after it has been instituted.

Before Bush, Bill Clinton was president for 8 years – from 1992 to 2000. During that time our people were attacked all over the world.  A very quick internet search turned up these instances of successful attacks on the US.  They were

* February 26, 1993, attack on the World Trade Center: 6 deaths and 1,042 injured
* April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing: 168 deaths and over 800 injured
* June 25, 1996, Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia: 20 deaths and 372 injured
* August 7, 1998, attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania: 12 U.S. deaths out         of a total of 223 deaths; 12 U.S. injured out of a total of over 4,000 injured
* October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole in Yemen: 17 deaths; 39 injured
* September 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington (occurred during Bush                         presidency but planned during Clinton administration): 2,975 deaths and 24 missing.

As you can see, it seems that it was open season in America and Americans during the Clinton years.  Clinton said the right things after these attacks but his actions were severely lacking so there was no real deterrent to those who wanted to kill us.  Our military was made weaker and our intelligence gathering ability was destroyed.

The September 11, 2001 attack did occur while Bush was in office and after that the war on terror became a primary focus for the Bush Administration.  He has stated that we will hunt down and punish those who attack us and those who give them aid.  What has been the result?  We are currently fighting the war on terror on two fronts – Afghanistan and Iraq, we are fighting the terrorist on their soil, not ours.  There have been some attempted terrorists attacks on US citizens but none (outside of the war zones) have been successful, while terrorist attacks on other nations have increased (see, Spain and England).  Can you say “easier targets“?  Other nations have stepped forward to help fight the terrorists…albeit in a much lessor role.  The terrorists have been forced to change tactics..relying much more on propaganda (which much of our media is very willing to help them distribute).  And much more….

Now, do we really want “cowboy diplomacy” to end?  Can we afford for it to end?  If we elect Hillary it will end.  We need to elect someone with the guts and desire to protect our country from those who want to do us harm, not try to appease them.


2 Responses to Cowboy Diplomacy….Has It Worked?

  1. There’s an expression that I’ve found useful of late: “It can be both.” In this case, I think Bush is doing fine fighting terrorism and his diplomacy stinks, hurting us long-term.

    A common refrain I hear from Rush and the like is “Who cares if other countries like us? We’re fighting terrorism!” The thing is that it’s easier for the US to get help from countries who actually like and trust us. Statements like “You’re with us or you’re against us” only serves to tell other countries that the US doesn’t care what they think. And other countries don’t like that.

    Do you remember the Spanish Prime Minister Anzar? He was one of the biggest supporters of the Iraq War. However, in a pre-war meeting with Bush, he wanted Bush not to start the war right away, being of the opinion that it was important to get more countries into the coalition. (As you may recall, the coalition that went into this war was a shadow of the one in 1991 which had much broader support.) Bush’s insisted that the war start in March, even with a small and less certain coalition. Now, even the Brits are drawing down, and there is not a whole lot of optimism for the country of Iraq besides maybe “It has to get better with time.”

    I hope that was coherent. It’s past midnight here…


  2. Tom says:


    I understand what you are saying….having support of more countries would be better. But, the truth is that Bush waited 15 months (I think that is correct) before going into Afghanistan and then Iraq was sometime after that. There was ample time to build the coalition. Countries that wanted to participate had more than enough time to do join the coalition. At some point he had to just say, okay, we are going with or without you. And that is what he did.


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