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Bush foreign policy misses targets Right call in Mideast, but choice shows how misguided administration approach is

The apparent decision of Israel and the Bush administration to play hardball with Hamas makes sense. Cut off money and destabilize the government of a terrorist organization until and unless it renounces violence and recognizes Israel.

That said, this is also the latest brushback of the Bush administration's naive and foolish foreign policy. The administration calls for "democracy" across the Mideast without understanding the region, its history, its traditions, its distinct nations or the current role of radical and diverse Islam in reshaping it. Then President Bush makes America look foolish again when he destabilizes the result of an election he sought.

How can Bush call for open elections for the Palestinian government and, surprised and unprepared for the results of a fair vote, turn around and call for dismantling and undermining a legally elected government? This is the same misguided myopia that Bush showed invading Iraq.

This president goes down roads he thinks are straight, but are of course curved and hilly. Catch Osama bin Laden, don't catch him. Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, he doesn't. Go solo, the rest of the world be damned, and alienate allies. Invade Iraq, but don't prepare to secure the peace. Isolate Iran and let Europe deal with its nuclear ambitions, jump back in after that approach wasted two years and didn't work. Demand a road map for peace in the Middle East that includes a Palestinian state, but fail to grasp how corrupt and ineffective the Palestinian Authority is compared to Hamas.

Bush's foreign policy is amateurish, superficial, confused, erratic and generated too much by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Their neo-con hunt to rewrite the '90s' script they didn't like is as filled with misfires as Cheney's weekend Texas trip. Bush would be wiser to ease up on the aggressive democracy pitches. Democracy is such beneficial system that it has a way of reaching air and thriving without heavy-handed boosterism that blows up in one's face.

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