Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Did Mama Bush put Putin in perspective?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting the perspective of his elders was especially important because of this regrettable comment Bush made after his first meeting with Putin on June 16, 2001: "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy."

Neither the president nor Putin announced anything of substance after their private meetings concluded Monday. Bush and his dad took Putin fishing. But the most important socializing might have been Sunday night, when the elder Bush and his wife, Barbara, hosted dinner.

The savvy and outspoken Barbara can spot a phony a mile away. You can be sure she told her son what she saw in Putin's eyes over their Maine lobster.

The elder Bush had one of the best international records as president, thanks partly to then-secretary of State James Baker. The younger Bush has the worst, thanks largely to Vice President Cheney. Highlights:

•Bush I properly put together a true international force to repel Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. But he stopped short of destroying Saddam or Iraq.

•Bush II, for no good reason and with little international support, invaded and destroyed both Saddam and Iraq.

It's too late for W to wipe out his tragic Iraq misadventure. But if he can influence Putin's role in real world problems such as Iran and North Korea, he might improve his international report card.

Any parent would welcome a D from a kid who's been getting straight F's.

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