Monday, April 30, 2007

Condi won’t be rude. She’s not a rude person.


Friday Kurt Vonnegut’s son delivered a commencement speech his father had written and was going to deliver at Butler University. Has anyone seen the full text online?

Today George Bush met with German Chancellor Merkel, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and MOEzilla, a robot “designed to quickly hang tubes in autonomous and human control periods on all three spider leg levels.” It’s less clear what Barroso does all day. Bush did not try to give MOEzilla a back-rub. MOEzilla gave George an inflatable ring. If I call a competition to decide what Bush should do with the inflatable ring, will I regret it?



Bush told reporters that in passing the Iraq spending bill, Congress “chose to ignore” his position. He seems to think that’s rude in a way that his constant veto threats and dismissals of Congress’s position are not.

Indeed, it was all about good manners today. He says that Russia simply misunderstood our intentions to base missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, and he wants it not to “see us as an antagonistic force, but see us as a friendly force.”


And indeed, we will display our very best manners even towards the Iranians. For example, at the Iraq conference, “Should the foreign minister of Iran bump into Condi Rice, Condi won’t be rude. She’s not a rude person. I’m sure she’ll be polite.” There may even be a non-serious conversation about a serious conversation: “And so I -- if, in fact, there is a conversation, it will be one that says if the Iranian government wants to have a serious conversation with the United States and others, they ought to give up their enrichment program in a verifiable fashion.”

He said the Iranian nuclear program is “unacceptable to peace.” “I happen to believe a significant threat to world peace, today and in the future, is the Iranian threat if they were to end up with a nuclear weapon -- ‘today’ is the wrong word -- ‘in the future,’ they don’t have a weapon today.” Phew.


He said that Wolfowitz should keep his job. “And I appreciate the fact that he has advanced -- he’s helped the World Bank recognize that eradication of world poverty is an important priority for the bank.” That has kinda supposed to have been one of its priorities since 1945, George. It’s in the charter and everything.

He explained carefully why global warming (which he says “got global consequences”) can’t be solved by the US alone: “As I reminded the people around the conference table today, the United States could shut down our economy and emit no greenhouse gases, and all it would take is for China in about 18 months to produce as much as we had been producing to make up the difference about what we reduced our greenhouse gases to.” Pity the poor translators. But, he said, “The good news is, is that we recognize there’s a problem.” And he had even more good news: “The good news is recognize technology is going to lead to solutions, and that we’re willing to share those technologies.” For example, technologies like robots which can trap all the greenhouse gases in inflatable rings. That’s so crazy it might just work.



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