Monday, July 30, 2007

Does he understand it’s an ideological struggle? And he does. (updated)(the post, not the ideological struggle)

Bush finally met with Gordon Brown, possibly the only person in the world who wants Bush to give him a nickname, because even Gordon Brown finds Gordon Brown incredibly boring. Sadly, in their press conference today, there was no sign of a nickname.

What there was a sign of, is that Bush looked into StinkyBrown’s eyes and saw someone who “understood” everything Bush believes:
[W]e have an obligation, it seems to me, to work for freedom and justice around the world. And I found a person who shares that vision and who understands the call.

He also understands what I know, that if we’re really interested in eradicating poverty, it’s important for us to be successful in the Doha round.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Gordon Brown understands that failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the security of our own countries

And what’s interesting about this struggle -- and this is what I was paying very careful attention to when Gordon was speaking -- is, does he understand it’s an ideological struggle? And he does.

There’s a lot of cynics saying, how dare they; how dare they impose U.S. or Great British values. And what I found was a man who understands that these aren’t Great British and U.S. values, these are universal values.
Indeed, he likes the Great British people precisely because he thinks there’s no such thing as “Great British values”: “But it’s an important relationship primarily because we think the same.”

Of course Brown isn’t just a Great Britisher, he’s a Scotsman, although, according to Bush, “he’s not the dour Scotsman that you described him, or the awkward Scotsman; he’s actually the humorous Scotsman”. Brown recounts that Bush told him of having visited Scotland “at the age of 14, and had to sit through very long Presbyterian Church services in which you didn’t understand a word of what the minister was actually saying. So I think you came to a better understanding of the Scottish contribution to the United Kingdom from that”. Long and incomprehensible. Also: deep-fried Mars bars.

I presume Brown meant Bush couldn’t understand because of the accent, not because he’s stupid. 25 or so years ago, the movie Gregory’s Girl had to be dubbed when it played in America.

IN OTHER WORDS: “I would describe Gordon Brown as a principled man who really wants to get something done. In other words, in my discussions with him last night we spent about two hours over dinner, just alone.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “And so I made the decision to send more troops in, understanding the consequences of failure if we did not do so. In other words, I said I think if we don’t send troops, it’s more likely we’ll fail”.

Brown said, “Terrorism is not a cause, it is a crime, and it is a crime against humanity.” No one ever said terrorism is a cause, it is a method. John Le Carré said, I believe in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, that politicians in the West like to compare our ideals with the Communist Bloc’s methods, although the two side’s professed ideals were both high-minded and utopian while their methods were both ruthless and nasty.

Brown was very careful not to differ from Bush on the tiniest detail. At one point he accidentally said that “Afghanistan is the front line against terrorism,” reflecting a certain belief in the Labour Party that Britain should drop Iraq and concentrate on the one possibly winnable war. When a reporter brought it up, he denied having said that, claiming, “I think I described Afghanistan as the first line in the battle against the Taliban.” As opposed to Belgium?

(Update: just caught excerpts on the BBC of what it called, with a particularly English – pardon me, Great British – horticultural aptness, the Brown-Bush summit. Brown did not look happy to be there, and did not look like he was trying, like Blair always tried, to be friends with the crazy moron. The BBC noted that none of Bush’s lavish praise of Brown – assuming that saying he understands the world the same way Bush does amounts to praise in the eyes of anyone except Bush – was reciprocated.)

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