Notes: I studied American diplomatic history as a student at the University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Devine, the head of the history department, taught my first course on the subject. He began his first lecture by telling us that nations act only out of self-interest -- plain and simple -- and nothing else. He told us that was the key to understanding international diplomacy.

Dr. Devine was right. As Bush presses for allies against Iraq and Saddam Hussein for his "coalition of the willing," we see the usual under-the-table relations of international diplomacy exposed. Potential allies are openly demanding money, weapons or trade commitments in return for their support. The U.S. doesn't disappoint.

As of today, however, Turkey has decided not to let American troops base there. The U.S. has offered $6 billion in exchange. However, the U.S., nervous that Turkey will walk away from the International Monetary Fund with the $6 billion in hand has attached strings to the $6 billion. Moreover, Turkey sought more than the $6 billion.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush speaks of seeing the hearts of foreign leaders and of how this nation or that nation is our friend. I can't figure out if Bush naively thinks we believe this nonsense, or if he naively believes it himself.