Feel our president's pain. He's in Europe on a diplomatic mission and he's squirming, mechanically going through his duties, checking his watch and dreaming of the flight back home and a return to his Texas dacha. For George W. Bush, this is an ordeal he'd love to avoid, but he must, at least, show the world he's trying, however disingenuously, to improve U.S. relations with Europe.
Bush loves any visit to a military base or aircraft carrier, where he can address the folks in uniform. The cheers and adoration are guaranteed. He craves those opportunities. His eyes light up and he struts around like a bantam rooster.
For Bush, a visit to Europe rates below even news conferences or an actual conversation with a real, unscreened American not used for political prop purposes.
Also discussed is how difficult it is for Bush to let go of his rigid routine.
Perhaps most disturbing for Bush is that foreign trips throw him off his routine and unmask his thinly veiled impatience and irritability.
Americans need reminding that our leader is a classic "dry drunk," whose untreated addiction leaves him seriously flawed, even dangerous.
He shows growing signs of megalomania. His pomposity is apparent. He is consumed with single-minded obsessions, and his rigidity and aversion to introspection are legendary.
Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington, D.C.-based psychiatrist, understands the president's disability and describes it in detail in his book, "Bush on the Couch." Bouncing from Belgium to Germany will upset George W.'s emotional equilibrium. As Dr. Frank observed, "The rigidity of Bush's behavior is perhaps most readily apparent in his well-documented reliance on his daily routine -- the famously short meetings, sacrosanct exercise schedule, daily Bible readings and limited office hours. A healthy person's able to alter his routine; a rigid one cannot."
Our rigid ruler will painfully endure his week in Europe.
None of this is new. But having our president in Europe is a disturbing reminder of some of his characteristics.