Bush arrived yesterday in Japan to attend his final G-8 summit. Looking from this side of the ocean, we see a weak host in Mr. Fukuda who’s public support mirrors that of Bush’s. Almost immediately upon landing, Mr. Bush defended his decision to attend the Beijing Olympics (CNN). He did not want to “insult” the people of China, he said. In addition, he said that it would be good for them “to see their President waving the flag.” Certainly, a few world records may shatter as American athletes run over each other to see who can be the farthest away from W.
I am sure that the world was shocked at the level of heart-felt consideration expressed by the American President, many unaware of this softer side of Bush. Fukuda showed his unwavering support by telling the world that, he, too, was going to attend the opening ceremony. After all, the Prime Minister is keenly aware that as few friends as Mr. Bush has in the world, perhaps Mr. Fukuda has even fewer (excluding the people of Mongolia who love Japan because the Mongolians are taking over the Sumo world).
After eight years of hardship in the White House, maybe it is time Mr. Bush deserved to get a break in his farewell tour. Never has a lame duck president been as lame and as hard to duck issues as this one. His list of accomplishments include two unfinished wars, one hurricane disaster, one monster deficit, a bona-fide recession, a mortgage melt-down, loss of Constitutional freedoms, three ultra-right-wing Supreme Court Justices, torture, spying on his own people, hiring only Republicans into the Justice Department, Karl Rove, long lines at the airport, soon-to-be $5.00 gasoline, rising food prices, gutting the EPA, and tanking US dollar.
At the Toyako summit, he has worked hard to lower expectations (CNN), which is not hard to do everywhere he goes. With his phenomenal track record, he has single-handedly changed the perception of the role of the Presidency—many people in the past thought that there wasn’t much the President could do, either positive or negative. Well, there goes at least one side of the argument.
Given this historic level of achievement, I wonder why the folks in Beijing would want this American President to be at hand for their Olympics, when we all know that he will make another major speech on how the Chinese should act like adults in treating the people of Tibet, just like he did for the folks in Guantanamo. It now turns out that the Americans actually learned something from the Chinese about interrogation techniques (NY Times). Mr. Bush would probably want to give President Hu Jintao a personal thanks. Not since the gunpowder has Americans been so grateful to a Chinese Invention (some would say Take-Out Chinese food was another major gift, but obesity experts may disagree).
All of this points to the correctness of Mr. Bush’s decision to attend the Beijing Olympics. If anything, we will know that during those few days in August, he won’t be in American to add more accomplishments to his already stellar record.