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Bush announces radical shift in foreign policy; No U.S. media report it

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In case you thought the Bush administration's dangerous, and national-security-weakening unilateralism was just a one-time deal in Iraq, think again. Buried in the UK's Financial Times - and as far as I can tell, not reported anywhere else - are the details of a State Department briefing this week in which the Bush administration very publicly said it is essentially scrapping U.S. support for NATO and the United Nations. No joke.

Here's the key excerpt:

"The Bush administration says it wants to be able to form 'coalitions of the willing' more efficiently for dealing with future conflicts rather than turning to existing but unreliable institutional alliances such as Nato. 'We ad hoc our way through coalitions of the willing. That's the future,' a senior State Department official said in a briefing this week."

NATO and the U.N. are by no means perfect, and America should continue to reserve its right to defend itself. Nonetheless, this declaration by the administration represents a radical shift in U.S. policy (at least its publicly-stated policy). And one that begs a very simple question: how could anyone - even the Bush administration - look at the Iraq "coalition of the willing" model as anything but an incredible failure? It has left American troops isolated in Iraq, and American taxpayers largely footing the entire bill for reconstruction.

And let's be clear - the American public does not support abandoning international institutions. A solid majority of the American public views the United Nations favorably. In 2003, the American public was clearly unhappy with the administration's refusal to secure broad international backing for the Iraq war. Even Fox News' skewed polling shows strong support for international institutions being seriously involved in places like Iraq.

I'm not going to go into how pathetic it is that the only paper that reported this story was the Financial Times - a paper not even based in the United States (and by the way, if I am wrong, please send me another media outlet that reported this - but the point still stands, almost no one has reported this).

What's important here is less the media's irresponsible laziness and more how the extremist neoconserative forces in the Bush administration are trying to dangerously alter America's national security policy in a way the public doesn't support and in a way that would severely weaken America's security for the long haul.

Originally published on Sirotablog @
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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)

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