I think many were delighted to hear how former President George H. W. Bush at 82 took on the crowd at his talk in Abu Dhabi, especially those criticisms, lifted right from an American college campus, such as the war is a way for America to open new markets–this from subjects of the Gulf whose monarchies have their hands in every international company they can find, and seem courageous only in attacking a visiting guest ex-President, but would not use such bravado to say anything about the authoritarians in their own backyard. Without globalization–that finds, develops, and sells its oil–the strange creation ex nihilo of an Abu Dhabi would never have existed, and such an afterthought would wilt tomorrow without the daily life-support of foreign “globalized” expertise.
Bush I’s reductionist ending asking ‘why does everyone then wish to come to the US (including no doubt many in the audience) if it were so bad’ was perfect. Contrast that speaking the truth to a hostile audience with Carter emeritus who seems to praise every autocrat he meets abroad, saving his venom for the only democracy in the Middle East.
I hope Bush the father appreciates that millions out there admire his maverick son far more than they do many of his former advisors, and that if Bush II perseveres, history will be kind to his efforts, often solitary, to promote constitutional government at a time when most self-proclaimed liberals had long ago abandoned that effort.
And there really will come a time, believe it or not, when a future American President baffled and paralyzed by the latest insanity from the Middle East–whether an Iranian nuke or a Syrian invasion of Lebanon or another Middle East war or the usual assassination and killing of Americans–will ask former president George Bush II for advice, as a then fawning media will look back to his past “toughness” and “determination” when under fire. That seems unhinged now, but it too will come to pass, as they say.