In the comments to a previous thread, reader "Dan" expressed an opinion that seems to be gaining a lot of momentum - as Dubya socially and culturally isolates the U.S. from the rest of the world, the rest of the world is figuring out that they don't need America's help to better themselves or the lot of their people.
This past weekend, I posted a quick story on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was the object of a BushCo-sponsored coup attempt in 2002. Yesterday, Chavez met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The two countries signed over a dozen cooperation agreements, most notably in the endeavors of oil and gas exploration. And here's what they had to say about 'the north':
Among the documents signed by representatives of the two governments were agreements between the two state-owned petroleum firms, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) and Petrobras, to jointly search for, pump and sell crude oil and natural gas.
Alluding to the United States, the two leftist presidents agreed here that the key to continued growth of their national economies "is not in the north" and urged their business sectors to work more closely together.
"Your individual success will be the success of all of us. You don't have to be afraid to make alliances ... The solution for economic problems is not in the north, it's in our integration, in believing in ourselves," said Lula to businessmen of both nations meeting in Caracas.
This is problematic for the Bush administration. The two largest economies in South America hook up for unprecedented cooperation. The European Union literally thumbs its collective nose at America and BushCo. Recent WTO rulings have not been favorable to the U.S., and China seems hell bent for leather on becoming the economic growth engine of the world in the next 10 or 20 years.
America isn't the 800 pound gorilla anymore. Bush administration policies have caused other countries to look inward (or elsewhere). And other countries appear to be astonished at what they're finding...they have a common former master that unites them in cooperation: America.