It's not fashionable to say it, even amongst the conservatives who voted for him. The truth is inescapable, though. When it comes to foreign policy and bolstering American credibility in the world, President Bush and his administration have performed brilliantly.
After eight years of mollycoddling by Bill Clinton, President Bush's unabashedly aggressive policies worked like a bucket of ice water on a soundly sleeping child. Europe especially had to wake up and recognize the new sheriff in town. President Bush after 9/11 then named the three most wanted malefactors against world peace. His "Axis of Evil" address offended the sensibilities of liberals and professional diplomats in the same manner as President Reagan's "Evil Empire" analogy. In the long run, this kind of labeling when applied to rogue regimes is difficult to shake.
President Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated American resolve. Bill Clinton issued threats just as when the National Weather Service issues a thunderstorm threat. It may or may not come. President Bush along the same line issued warnings; in other words the storm is coming.
The world got used to an America ready to defend the interests of real peace and it responded. Anti-American governments fell in nations such as Germany and France despite the fact that the world press labeled the people as literally hating the United States. Perhaps they understand better than academics and the press who the real threat is. Meanwhile some states such as Libya abandoned their previous policies of seeking WMDs and supporting terror. Palestinian terror has dropped significantly since its major benefactor Saddam Hussein was expelled from power. Vietnam sought a partnership with the US against Islamic terror.
Dominoes continue to fall. Europe backed out of any support of Iran as its frightened president turned up the rhetorical heat. North Korea negotiated its way out of the Axis of Evil by succumbing to regional pressure led by the US. Now Iran stands virtually alone, even Chavez has not been his usual boisterous self lately. All this has happened quietly without a lot of saber rattling by the US. Once we proved that we would act, the rest of the world friend or foe knows they can count on American resolve.
Had Congress listened to the president's wishes domestically, our position would be even stronger. Imagine if we had followed President Bush's wishes from his first months in office when he warned us about upcoming energy shortages. We could be almost self-sufficient if we would only tap our own sources. His only flaw has been his inability to sell his policies in the same manner as Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan. This reflects a businesslike mentality in the White House, but the result has been an electorate easily convinced by emotional appeals from his opponents.
At the end of the day, the Bush foreign policy has worked miraculous change. Europe stands with an aggressive United States. Even moderate anti-war activists have to accept the fact that the United States has almost succeeded in Iraq. Iran stands alone without support from any of its previous benefactors. Japan, Britain, and Australia stand with us as firmly as ever.
Hats off to President George W. Bush, a president who was not afraid to act and who has given the world real solutions rather than band aids.