Here is President Bush’s speech to the UN. Kofi Anan’s speech. A deeper analysis must be left for later, but for now a few notes: Bush’s speech worked. He reminded the UN what it’s supposed to be doing and thinking, and what that has to do with the war on terror. He stayed, I thought, reasonably firm on all the important issues, yet left openings for reluctant countries to come aboard in one capacity or another. My sense is that it is less important what amount they can help with or what form of assistance (train twenty Iraqi cops or two thousand) they can supply, than that they give or supply something. That this now has more domestic political ramifications than it did four months ago is true, and not inappropriate. I continue to maintain that the French are playing serious geopolitics and are mischevious and, yet, they are no yet into the deep end. They can be pulled back. And I think our diplomats (and Bush) are pulling.
All of this is affected by the perception that Iraq is in chaos (viz., CNN, NBC, et al). But it is not in chaos. That things have proven more difficult than most in the administration assumed is true, yet, things are better than they were six weeks ago. There is the frantic quality of the establishment media (now relying solely on the daily body count) added to by the equally frantic quality of the Demos who want to be president (and Senator Kennedy, who can never be). They are too screechy and too hopeful of bad news. This is now combined with the taste of blood from the most recent Gallup Poll showing both Kerry and Clark beating Bush. The next two weeks should reveal whether or not their frenzied rhetoric will continue to be able to play in Peoria. I don’t think so for two reasons: First, the facts on the ground will have to become more clear, to Bush’s advantage; second, Bush and his people are not yet fighting back, rhetorically, but they will; but probably not for many weeks, by the way. This will be (by the standards of the last few months) a much more drawn-out political battle in that will take about six months, and then it will take yet another form, for the actual campaign season. Here is Dick Morris’ short take on Clark’s rise and Bush’s "crash," even though I disagree with him when he says that Clark will be unable to win the primary. The fact that Clark went to the top of the Demo pack just days after he announced is the clearest indication that the Demo pack (pre-Clark) hasn’t been able to get off the starting block. Hence anything new is better, even an unknown like Clark. Clark’s rise says more about the intellectual deficit of the Demos, than it does about Bush’s vulnerability.