Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Niagara Falls Reporter
By Bill Gallagher
DETROIT -- Bold, creative leadership can save the day, shape events and change the course of history. Recognizing rare opportunities and seizing the moment, choosing the unpredictable, yet reasonable, over the predictable and mundane separates great leaders from pedestrian politicians.
Military might and economic power make George W. Bush, America's pedestrian in chief, an important player on the world stage. But his negative influence on world opinion drives the way billions of people across the globe perceive our nation -- as an arrogant aggressor doing whatever we please and exploiting the Third World for our narrow and greedy purposes. Much of that perception is based in reality.
The president's reaction to the Asian tsunami underscores his insensitivity, isolation and limited understanding of vital demographics in the world that ultimately affect our national interests and security. It also represents a failed opportunity to begin changing how the rest of the world views its richest and most powerful nation.
The administration's reaction to the disaster was befuddled, and its initial offers of aid were embarrassingly inadequate. The episode also points to a rule in the Bush White House. No matter how important an event may be, or how dire the warning is (See: The CIA's Presidential Daily Briefing presented on Aug. 6, 2001, at Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack within the U.S."), Bush's handlers follow this directive: Nothing disturbs the president when he's on vacation. Other than political fund-raisers, he rarely does anything outside his relaxing routine. Even when he takes a work break at the White House, Bush is meticulously programmed and predictable....