Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bush v. America on North Korea Policy

I'm one of the first to argue that policy should not follow popularity (There was a fantastic radio humor short I heard a few years back about an election which was won by the candidate who literally promised every voter a pony, but I haven't been able to locate it since) but when a politician claims a "mandate" as our president has generally that means that their policies are broadly endorsed. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.

I'm particularly struck by this:
Still, 42 percent now say that Mr. Bush would have been better off trying to counter the threat of North Korea before invading Iraq, compared with 45 percent who think Mr. Bush was correct to focus first on Iraq.
58 percent of respondents said the White House did not share the foreign affairs priorities of most Americans.
On North Korea, 81 percent said that that nation does indeed now have nuclear weapons, and 7 in 10 said it poses a serious threat to the United States. Still, a majority of Americans said they opposed taking pre-emptive action against North Korea if diplomatic efforts failed - a shift from before the war in Iraq, when a majority said they would support military action if diplomatic efforts failed.
It always struck me as odd that the Iraq campaign came first, and that the administration held back on making North Korea a priority when it had a must stronger claim to WMD from the very beginning of the first term. Oil? We'll never get a straight answer out of this administration (or access to their documentation, either).

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