Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Democracies don’t work when everybody says it’s the other person’s fault and I want 100 percent of what I want

Obama held a press conference with President Jakaya Kikwete in Tanzania.

OUR COMMITMENT HAS BEEN TO A PROCESS: “Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party, our commitment has been to a process.” The signature Obama move: making hedging his bets sound like a principled position. “And when I took a position that it was time for Egypt to transition, it was based on the fact that Egypt had not had a democratic government for decades, if ever.”

VOICES YELLING IN PROTEST AND THEN IN PAIN AS THE POLICE BEAT THEM, THAT’S WHAT YOU MEANT, RIGHT? “And what is clear right now is that although Mr. Morsi was elected democratically, there’s more work to be done to create the conditions in which everybody feels that their voices are heard”.

BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ABOUT AMERICANS: “we’ve been watching these big protests. Our number-one priority has been making sure that our embassies and consulates are protected.”

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: “assaulting women does not qualify as peaceful protests.”

WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT EGYPT, RIGHT? “Democracies don’t work when everybody says it’s the other person’s fault and I want 100 percent of what I want.”

COMPOUNDED: Asked about the Congo (the bad Congo, not the good Congo, and we can please go back to calling the bad Congo Zaire?): “Well, the people of Congo need a chance. They need a fair chance to live their lives, raise their families. And they haven’t had that opportunity because of constant conflict and war for way too many years. And of course, the tragedy is compounded by the fact that Congo is so rich in natural resources and potential, but because of this constant conflict and instability, the people of Congo haven’t benefitted from that.” Oh, and the genocidal killings. The genocidal killings, AND their not being able to sell us minerals. Both pretty darned tragic.

Evidently the Congo conflict (Congflict?) isn’t anything the US can (or will) do much about: “We can’t force a solution onto the region. ... If you have one of the biggest countries in terms of geography in all of Africa with all these natural resources...” Funny how those natural resources keep coming up. “...but it’s constantly a problem as opposed to being part of the solution, everybody suffers.” So it’s up to the arbitrarily delineated “region” around Congo, itself composed of nations whose artificial borders were drawn up by European colonialists, to... well, to do what? Evidently to increase inter-African trade, because commerce solves everything. “[I]t’s easier to send flowers or coffee to Europe than it is to send it across the way.” Why does he think that is?

On Snowden’s leaks about US spying on NATO allies: “the problem is that these things come out in dribs and drabs. We don’t know necessarily what programs they’re referring to, we don’t know how they’re sourced. And so, what I’ve said is, to my team, take a look at this article, figure out what they may or may not be talking about, and then what we’ll do is we’ll communicate to our allies appropriately.” In other words, he needs to calibrate his cover-up based on whether Snowden knows about that thing they did, or about those other things they did. If you just, you know, told the truth, you wouldn’t need your “team” to do all that heavy analysis of the Snowden leaks.

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD BETTER: He goes on to say that all intelligence agencies are just “trying to understand the world better and what’s going on in world capitals around the world from sources that aren’t available through the New York Times or NBC News”

WHY, WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? (THE FOURTH AMENDMENT AND TOAST?) “And I guarantee you that in European capitals, there are people who are interested in, if not what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be should I end up meeting with their leaders.” So what’s the point of all the travel, then? The respective spies could just meet on a park bench; a Tanzanian spy could hand a plain envelope with Obama’s talking points hidden in a newspaper to a CIA spy in exchange for a box of donuts with a microdot of Kikwete’s talking points (do they still do microdots? I suppose not) on a sprinkle.

Since one of the issues under discussion during this trip was human trafficking, Pres. Kikwete is asked about his adviser, a diplomat (I can’t find a more specific job title) who was sued by a woman he kept as a domestic slave in Washington for 4 years and fled the US when a court ruled against him for $1m. A fraction of that was paid last week after 5 years of stalling in advance of this trip. Kikwete says it was just a family dispute and has been put to rest, doesn’t answer whether the guy still works for him.

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