Monday, June 16, 2008

Bush in the UK: Waiting for somebody rational to show up

Bush held a press conference with Gordon Brown this morning. And, oh sure, I could illustrate this post with pictures of George Bush and Gordon Brown.

Bush & Brown, 6.16.08

Yeah, cuz that’s so exciting. Or I could use pictures of Bush playing basketball with a bunch of little girls in Belfast. They trounced him soundly; he made zero out of four shots.

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   1

He appalled Europeans with this threat: “By the way, some are speculating this is my last trip. Let them speculate. Who knows?”

WHAT THE FIRST THING ABOUT GORDON BROWN IS: “First thing about Gordon Brown, he’s tough on terror, and I appreciate it”.

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   2

WHAT THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION OF HISTORY IS GOING TO LOOK BACK ON IT IS: “The fundamental question of history is going to look back on it, is did we understand the duty that we’ve been called to do, to protect ourselves and hope others?”

Incidentally, today he’s not saying that history won’t be able to judge him at all for forty years, but that “History will judge the tactics. History will judge whether or not, you know, more troops were needed earlier, troops could have been positioned here better or not. Removing Saddam Hussein was not wrong.” So, a note to historians: confine your analysis to Bush’s tactics. Last night, by the way, Brown invited some real historians to dinner with Bush: Martin Gilbert, Simon Schama and David Cannadine. The mind boggles.

6.16.08   6

TRYING TO DISTANCE THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER: “No, I know there’s a lot of discussion here in the British press about, well, you know, is there going to be enough troops, or not enough troops, and all that business; is he trying to distance this, that and the other -- it’s just typical.” Also typical: naked page three girls.

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   4

THE WHO CARES POSITION: “Hopefully the Iranian leadership will take a different position then the one they’ve taken in the past, which is basically, who cares what the free world says, we’re going to -- we’ll go our own way.” And we know how George hates unilateralism.

GEORGE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THE WORD QUALMS MEANS: “We have no qualms with the Iranian people.” (Update: Simon Hoggart thinks he was actually saying quarrels, which he pronounces “kwarls.”)

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   5

WHAT WE EXPECT: “And so my message at the G8 is: Looking forward to working with you; thanks for coming to the meeting -- just remember, there are people needlessly dying on the continent of Africa today, and we expect you to be more than pledge-makers. We expect you to be check-writers for humanitarian reasons.”

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   6

BE IN MORE CHARGE: “And so, give the Iraqis more responsibility. Let them take more -- be in more charge of their own security and their own government, and that’s what’s happening.”

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   7

WHAT THE KEY THING IS (BLITHERING INCOHERENCE, EVIDENTLY): “And so, you know, I mean -- look, the key thing for me is that I have -- you know, is that Gordon shares with me his plans. He listens to -- he talks to his commanders and he picks up the phone and says, here’s what we’re thinking. So there’s no surprises.”


Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   8

SO IT WAS ALL WORTH IT: “The strategic implications of a free Iraq are significant for our future. For example, a free Iraq will make it easier to deal with the Iranian issue.”

THERE IS SOME: “there is some who say that perhaps freedom is not universal. Maybe it’s only Western people that can self-govern. Maybe it’s only, you know, white-guy Methodists who are capable of self government.” Dude, we’ve seen you play basketball...

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   9

“And it’ll bring peace to the Middle East, unless of course we become isolationist”. Increasingly, he is describing opponents of his failed foreign policy as if they are following this discredited ideology of isolationism, as if they oppose the US exercising any influence at all in the world, as opposed to exercising it in the direction of crapification.

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   10

I MEAN IN OTHER WORDS: “I mean, in other words, they [North Korea] are -- we’ll see what they disclose, but we hopefully are in the process of disabling and dismantling their plutonium manufacturing.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “you know, let’s send a focused message all aiming to create the conditions so that somebody rational shows up. In other words, people hopefully are sick of isolation in their respective countries, and they show up and say, we’re tired of this; there’s a better way forward.”

WHAT HE’D SAY IF HE WERE THE IRANIANS OR THE NORTH KOREANS: “So if I were the North Koreans and I were looking at Iran, or the Iranians looking at North Korea, I’d say, uh-oh, there are coalitions coming together that are bound tightly -- more tightly than ever in order to send us a focused message.”

Bush & the basketball game of doom, 6.16.08   11

A focused message.

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