George W. Bush is widely considered to be the worst President in American History, with good reason. But what was his biggest failure? Iraq? Katrina? The Stock Market? The answer to this question is none of the above. And to explain why that is, we have to go back to three years before he became President, to 1998.
In 1998 the Afghan city of Mazar-I-Sharif fell to Taliban fighters. The city was home to the main community of Hazara, a community of Afghani Shia Muslims, thus were deemed as infidels by the Taliban, who proceeded to carry out a genocide against them. The country that led the biggest condemnation of this was Iran, which almost went to war with the Taliban in response. However, during the 2001 Invasion of Afghanistan, Iran special commandos (including Qassim Soleimani) assisted the United States in driving the Taliban out of Herat by instigating an anti-Taliban insurrection.
This could have been used to George W. Bush’s advantage. Iran was not yet a regional power. The hardline Ahmadinejad had not yet been elected. The nuclear weapons program was not yet built. There were no Iranian militias operating in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen. Bush could have used this to his advantage and diffused the Iranian threat before it even began. Instead, Bush Jr. declared Iran part of the “Axis of Evil” and emboldened Iran and the hardliners by invading Iraq. As a result, today Iran has a nuclear weapons program and a foothold across the entirety of the Middle East.