It's no secret that Bush is driven by an obsession to be the anti-Clinton. Talking Points Memo recommends this Slate article illustrating yet another facet of their differences: Each President was confronted with a war that was a tough sell to the international community. One nevertheless managed to get the international community more or less on board. One has failed spectacularly at a task that should have been a slam-dunk.
Unlike Clinton, who acted through an existing alliance, NATO, Bush from the beginning has rejected relying on existing international bodies in favor of waging war through a "coalition of the willing." That approach, however, makes it harder to win over reluctant partners because it puts their elected officials in a less tenable position. Turkish politicians are essentially being asked to defy popular will in order to support the dictates of a more powerful country, the United States. Greek politicians were asked to defy their voters not for the sake of relations with the United States—if that were the case, they'd never have done it—but in support of NATO, an alliance in which Greece has a vote, and therefore power.
...[F]rom Day 1, Bush has said he's going act as he sees fit regardless of how the United Nations votes. By so doing, he not only put Chirac in the same political position as he did the Turkish MPs; worse, he created a constituency for France's view of the world, that American hegemony is the real problem.
History doesn't do controlled experiments. But we do know that George H.W. Bush worked sincerely and energetically to put together an international war coalition and succeeded; Bill Clinton worked sincerely and energetically to put together an international war coalition and succeeded; and George W. Bush worked grudgingly and sporadically to do the same and failed.
In a similar vein, To The Barricades! reminds us of the last time a war was planned by gung-ho civilian advisors with contempt for the opinions of the military.