Dubya is back in the saddle of sanity

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DUBYA is in the frame - again. After a close season of eight months following September 11 the political opponents of George W Bush have decided that it is now safe to attack the commander-in-chief, using the original casus belli as the pretext for doing so.

It turns out it was not Osama bin Laden who killed 3,000 American citizens in New York: it was Dubya, who screwed up the intelligence report warning of the September 11 massacre and threw it to his dog to catch; in fact, Dubya screwed up - full stop.

It is this legend, crafted in the finest traditions of the Protocols of Zion and the Angel of Mons, that has reactivated the DNA of the dinosaurs. Once again the roar of Dimpledchadivarius Rex is heard in the Florida swamps and the committee rooms of Washington. As Dubya himself, in typically understated style, has observed, there is "a sniff of politics in the air".

Dubya will beat this rap - no sweat. "The president of the United States can’t be expected to be an intelligence analyst and a case officer," said Senator Bob Graham, the Democrat from Florida who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. That is code for "Jeez! I saw that report too and nixed it."

The beneficent effect of this anti-Bush slander, for the Democrats, is to allow House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to re-enter politics, however temporarily and squalidly. Meantime, while they are talking the talk, Dubya has been walking the walk.

At the presidential election in 2000 America lost a playboy and gained a foreign policy. Now, 18 months into the new presidency, the mosaic is taking shape. Kyoto protocols? I don’t think so. ABM Treaty? Strictly for recycling in the West Wing comfort room. International Criminal Court? Take a hike. A bilateral agreement on nuclear warhead reductions to help li’l ole Vladimir Putin save his face - and his job? Yeah, okay - can’t do any harm.

The extent to which Dubya has got every tree-hugger, lentil, fiscal redistributionist, nuclear unilateralist and world-government freak writhing in despair is testimony to the soundness of his policy.

The president will not cripple American industry by banning fossil fuel emissions; but he supports reafforestation as a means of absorbing carbon dioxide and ‘emissions trading’ - the free-market road to environmental improvement - much derided by the Left (because it is free-market) but which has already abolished acid rain in the US.

The first country that rushed ostentatiously to sign the Kyoto protocols was Romania, whose volcanic clouds of pollution can still be seen from outer space as clearly as in Ceausescu’s day. Bush has imposed reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and mercury, of which you can inhale a lungful in downtown Bucharest.

Earlier this month, Dubya told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Uncle Sam would not be joining the party. Clinton had signed up to it in the same last-minute flurry of paperwork that gave pardons to Marc Rich et al. The court was established by a treaty among 66 nations negotiated in Rome in 1998 and will commence work at The Hague on July 1.

It is a travesty of justice. An unaccountable prosecutor will be elected for nine years, with absolute discretion to initiate investigations into genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and (wait for it) ‘the crime of aggression’ - ie any action taken by America and its allies. Any remote possibility of US adherence was blown away by the legal writs issued in France and elsewhere against former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

In 1803, the decision in the case of Marbury v Madison established the supremacy of the US Supreme Court - a judicial supremacy that surely cannot be expatriated. The ICC derives from the United Nations, whose Security Council includes Red China, a rgime that has 65 million murders to its credit. Will the ICC prosecute President Jiang Zemin? The clever money thinks not.

Finally came the bilateral arms agreement with Russia. It is a spring cleaning, with both sides scrapping excess nuclear ordnance. It is Putin’s reward for letting the ABM treaty go down the tubes without throwing a temper tantrum and it keeps him in countenance at home. Putin, in response, will not demur at the Baltic States joining Nato in November.

The Bush foreign policy is not isolationism: it is independent global engagement, realpolitik with a human face. That is exactly the posture we should welcome from the world’s last remaining superpower.