Canceling diplomatic visits is the new black

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP George W. Bush is canceling a scheduled trip to Tokyo, where he was supposed to meet with floundering Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. The reason? In a word, Iraq. And this isn’t the first time a top U.S. official has canceled an overseas visit in recent months. In fact, it’s becoming the norm. In ...

599981_070814_jintao_05.jpg
599981_070814_jintao_05.jpg

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP

George W. Bush is canceling a scheduled trip to Tokyo, where he was supposed to meet with floundering Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. The reason? In a word, Iraq. And this isn't the first time a top U.S. official has canceled an overseas visit in recent months. In fact, it's becoming the norm.

In July alone, Condi Rice canceled a trip to Africa and the Middle East; both Bush and Rice snubbed most of southeast Asia; and Bob Gates canceled a tour of several Latin American countries.

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP

George W. Bush is canceling a scheduled trip to Tokyo, where he was supposed to meet with floundering Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. The reason? In a word, Iraq. And this isn’t the first time a top U.S. official has canceled an overseas visit in recent months. In fact, it’s becoming the norm.

In July alone, Condi Rice canceled a trip to Africa and the Middle East; both Bush and Rice snubbed most of southeast Asia; and Bob Gates canceled a tour of several Latin American countries.

These cancellations are happening because the Bush administration is finally beginning to grasp just how serious the crisis in Iraq—and the crisis of confidence in the U.S. Congress—has become. The White House is desperate to put more time on what Gen. Petraeus calls the “Washington clock.” But somewhere, I’m sure, Hu Jintao is smiling. He’s not canceling his trips.

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