The Bush administration, and Republicans in general, are very savvy about manipulating the American public. They know what facts to release, when, and where. Indeed, Rove made his name by compiling a vast database of registered voters, and by fine tuning his political machine so that it could press exactly the right buttons by using exactly the right scare tactics at the right time. It doesn’t matter how many campaign vows you break, as long as you get the voters to vote for you when it counts.

They’re really good at this. Yet when it comes to international politics, suddenly they revert to puerile cowboy mode; it doesn’t matter what the world thinks, what our allies or enemies want or believe – their opinions be damned. To cater to international pressure, to seek to engage, work with, mold or manipulate in any way whatsoever is to be weak, to be without backbone, to be soft on American defense. It’s all Shock and Awe out there, and very little to no Hearts and Minds.

Take a look at this video courtesy of TPM Media.

Why are the Republicans, who spend more money and time and effort on manipulating the American public and have turned spin into an art form unable to do more than just bluster and shoot people abroad? It’s as if some degenerate image of John Wayne has been hardwired into their minds, and when it comes to foreigners they deserve either contempt or bluster, or to be ignored altogether. A strange obtuseness, a bizarre inability to extend their one true strength to the world beyond the US’s borders where it might actually help the American cause.