Mark Steyn's Happy Warrior column on National Review is available two weeks after publication in NR. In this column, Steyn argues persuasively that Bush's problems stem from his attempts to act multilaterally through the UN instead of his instinctual response of "I'll lead, who's with me?"
Here's your excerpt:
In fact, most of Bush’s present difficulties come not from swaggering cowboy unilateralism but because of excessive deference to multilateralism in the run up to the Iraq war. Instead of deposing Saddam before the first anniversary of 9/11 (as yours truly urged), Bush was prevailed upon to “go the UN route”, mainly to provide his most important ally, Tony Blair, with some multilateral cover. As I wrote in March 2003, “The end result is that we’ll be going to war with exactly the same participants as we would have done last August, and the one person weakened by going the UN route is the very one it was designed to protect: Mr Blair. The best way to help Blair would have been to get the war over six months ago.”
That would also have been best for Bush . . . Had Iraq followed hard on Afghanistan, it would have been trickier for the Dems to present it as a separate adventure disconnected from the war on terror. In the 17-month hiatus between the falls of Kabul and Baghdad, the anti-war movement ballooned, and the “what war?” movement – those devoted followers of Michael Moore who believe the whole thing’s just some scam got up by Bush’s Halliburton puppeteers - ballooned even more.
Or, to put it another way, in adopting Mr Blair’s priorities, the President wound up with Mr Blair’s problems. Once Mr Bush decided to “go the UN route”, he was playing not to his ally’s strengths but to his ally’s weaknesses, and those weaknesses became his, too.