Bush, Blair top list of world’s worst leaders

rin Roof

Someone smart once said, “It’s lonely at the top.” As the elite Group of Eight nations met last week, six heads of state left their homes clinging to their leadership positions. All the power and riches in the industrial world couldn’t heal their gaping political wounds.

Major tragedies like the terrorist bombings in London and President Bush’s horrific pre-summit bicycle crash threatened to overshadow the issues presented during the meeting. But behind the photogenic white teeth and expensive suits, it was clear the most important notion represented was the crumbling infrastructure of world political power.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, French President Jacques Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George Bush all suffered their respective political blows since the group last met.

Berlusconi already resigned once this year. Before the blood dried from his battered public image after the end of his five-year corruption trial in December, his coalition collapsed in April. This left Italy’s richest man scurrying to rebuild his government and respect.

Likewise, Schroder lost a vote of confidence in the German Parliament a week before the summit. Support for his Social Democratic party is getting carved up by new leftist alliances.

Chirac was already deflated from the French public’s vote against the European Union’s constitution. Then, his last hope to kiss and make up in the polls was crushed as the Olympic Committee announced Paris would not host the 2012 games.

Putin has taken a beating in the international press for recoiling away from democracy. (Ironically, the Kremlin-controlled media reports Putin is doing an A-OK job.) The former KGB operative is quickly losing face among allies.

His involvement in the war in Iraq caused enough problems for Blair before the summit. As shockwaves spread across the United Kingdom from Thursday’s terrorist bombing, the public can’t help but blame the attack on Blair’s support of Bush.

And Bushy…

International frustration grew from his continual mocking of the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations. Since the G8 last convened, insurgent attacks in Iraq have skyrocketed, while Bush’s polls plummeted. Throw in Amnesty International’s finger-pointing at Guantanamo Bay and the President’s future looks as bloody as his legacy.

I imagine Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin are ashamed to be seen in public with these goons.

Progressive Canadians should be especially proud of their man. Last month our neighbors were the first country to approve a cannabis-based painkiller called Sativex for use with multiple sclerosis patients. (This comes only weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it can block doctors from prescribing medical marijuana in states it applies.) Canada also became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage.

With the undeniable strength of people, power and revolution spreading throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, it is only a matter of time before the trend grows westward. It is evident the majority of the G8 leaders will not be able to take cover behind excuses, lies and shrinking “political capital” for much longer.

It may be lonely at the top, slinking around in luxury hotels and blindly grinning in front of the masses. Meanwhile, the rest of us at the bottom are ready to pull them down to join us.

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].