President George W Bush, like many an ambitious political leader the world has known, has been keen to see his name go down in history as someone who accomplished a great deed for the good of his nation and, as leader of the solitary superpower, for the entire world. But, thanks to his poor grasp of the global political dynamics and reliance on the dyed-in-the-wool neoconservatives in his administration rather than saner elements, he is going to end up as "the worst president" in US history. In less than a year after he assumed the presidentship, the United States became the victim of a brutal suicide attack that targeted the symbols of its commercial as well as military might and killed 3,000-odd people. The Bush team thought it could convert this disaster into an opportunity to assert the American global dominance and militarily subdue countries rich in energy resources at a time when they were fast becoming scarce. Their appropriation carries crucial significance for maintaining global supremacy and would be a masterstroke etching his name in gold in history books. This was a prominent motive in taking military action in order to establish US foothold in Afghanistan with an eye on the huge Central Asian gas and mineral reserves and in Iraq for its possession of the second largest oil reserves among OPEC countries and in launching a hostile campaign against Iran. Extending hegemonic control over sensitive regions that are rich in natural resources has always been the main aim of imperialist powers invading foreign lands. According to some strategic thinkers with a claim to be insiders, an attack on Iraq had been on the cards well before the event of 9/11, which, though, provided the Bush administration an excuse to trump up charges against it of harbouring weapons of mass destruction and keeping contacts with terrorists who are out to harm American interests. It was a nave belief that force would root out the terrorist scourge. To its discomfiture, the Pentagon realised that it led to the resurgence of militant forces beyond its wildest imagination and has cost it thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq alone, over 4,000 US servicemen have been killed and at least five times more wounded. A large number of the critically injured stand crippled for life, a permanent burden on society. There are a host of psychological cases among the soldiers returning from war assignments and an abnormally high rate of suicides. In terms of money, $1.6 trillion have so far gone down the drain. The fall in prestige and power and worsened economy, as a consequence of these unsuccessful aggressive policies, have brought the prospects of other powers rivalling its economic and military might nearer. Apart from having an eye on the Iraqi and Iranian natural resources, the US wanted to check the rising influence of Tehran, which was posing a serious challenge to Tel Aviv's supremacy in the region. The hawks sitting in Washington thought that the US military presence in Iraq would take care of these designs - acquisition of huge oil reserves and containment of the Iranian influence. In addition, it would make it easier for the US to exercise hegemony in the entire Middle East effectively. But they either failed to imagine the cost, financial and human, or were ready to take chances. Besides the sore point of Iran's growing influence, the Bush administration had justified apprehensions that in this age of the quick flow of ideas, with democratic aspirations rising even in the most obscure corners of the world, the people in the Gulf States would, given the choice, overwhelmingly vote for saying goodbye to the US influence. That scenario was hard to accept with equanimity. The Middle East, containing the largest underground stock of crude in the world, was a principal source of supply to the US. Other economies, both emerging and developed, also heavily relied on oil from the region for their energy needs, and among these nations were certain powers, which were likely to challenge its supremacy in course of time. The control of the region was, therefore, vital for preserving its dominant position in the world. Its physical presence would strengthen the hold of local rulers, who are friendly to the US. This was in marked contrast with the slogan of "spreading democracy in the Middle East for the security of the free world," trumpeted by US officials. Nevertheless the hoax has to be kept. That is why one finds sprawling American military bases, including the largest in the world, coming up in the occupied country of Iraq. The withdrawal of its troops from the country would leave these bases intact. It plans to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely and the threat of military action against Iran never disappears from newspaper headlines. The pursuit of these policies hardly presages any chance of even a partial retrieval of Mr Bush's standing. E-mail: