This Washington Post editorial is

This Washington Post editorial is a classic of its genre. It begins by stating a thesis — that Presdent Bush has squandered a golden opportunity to capitalize on the sympathy we received after September 11 by stengthening U.S. relations with much of the world. It then demonstrates its sophistication and fair-mindedness by acknowledging the objections to its thesis. Here, these objections include (1) the fact that we have strengthened our relations with the countries that we most needed support from in order to wage the war against terrorism and (2) the fact that the countries that we haven’t strenghtened our relations with are ones like Germany that “have failed to fully face the threats to Western security revealed by 9/11 and instead cynically have lapsed into exploiting the anti-American resentment always latent in their countries.” But despite the force of these objections — which one might have expected to end the discussion — the Post concludes by unabashedly reasserting its thesis: “It is hard not to conclude that the administration has failed to take full advantage of a rare international opportunity.”
The Post fails to explain how President Bush could have pursued the war on terrorism to the full extent necessary while at the same time improving relations with nations that can’t or won’t “fully face the threats to Western security revealed by 9/11.” Can it be that for all of its sophistication, the Post is unable to grasp the notion that there might be a trade-off between protecting our security interests and improving relations with those who don’t care very much about those interests? Not likely. In Washington Post-speak, it is hard not to conclude that the Post is unable to resist the opportunity to assert its stock criticism of President Bush even when it knows better.


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