Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Ugly American

aWol charged into the NATO summit like a bull in a china shop and immediately started embarrassing everyone capable of feeling shame.

What a schmuck.

First, he hijacked a press conference, cutting off questions and asking the Romanian President - who was hosting the press event - if he was ready to take a stroll along the waters edge.

"Just a moment," said a flabbergasted President Traian Basescu.

"Oh, you got..." Bush started, obviously astounded that it wasn't all about him.

"Just a moment," Basescu repeated.

"He's not through," Bush said, seemingly bemused.

Basescu, determined, went on "[T]he information I would like to add to refer to two delicate issues, issues that are visible for the Romanian public...

And by this point, I was curled in a fetal ball, feeling shame to the point of nausea.

And the summit wasn't even underway.

I checked the supply of Tums. Good thing I did, too, because I needed them in short order.

The summit was barely convened when he went off script and started whoring for membership for Georgia and Ukraine. "This is my last NATO summit," was his explanation for co-opting the proceedings and making salvaging something he can call a legacy a NATO priority. Even though France and Germany have both announced that they will block the move.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was described by some German officials as upset and even angry Wednesday, especially after she and Bush had had numerous conversations over the last two months about the issue.

Merkel had thought that a compromise solution was in the works, so that Washington would support a warm statement welcoming the interest of Ukraine and Georgia in NATO and encouraging both countries to work toward a membership plan in time for NATO's 60th anniversary summit meeting next year in Berlin.

Germany and France believe that since neither Ukraine nor Georgia are stable enough to enter the program now, a membership plan would be an unnecessary blow at Russia, which firmly opposes the move.

In fact, senior diplomats in Bucharest said, President Vladimir Putin, who is scheduled to come to his first and last NATO summit meeting on Friday, has threatened to cancel the visit if the two former Soviet states enter the membership program.

Merkel visited Moscow on March 8 and met with Putin and his successor, Dmitri Medvedev, who will take over as president in May, and told them that Russia would not be allowed a veto over NATO membership.

Nevertheless, a senior German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, the German ambassador to London, said that a MAP offer to a divided Ukraine could destabilize the new government there, and that not enough diplomacy had taken place beforehand with Russia.

The hubris and arrogance Bush brought to the proceedings and put on prominent display are unprecedented. And an affront to every civilized American with any sense of protocol or diplomacy.

Can it be January now?