The US dollar is decreasing in value, in direct proportion to the value the US has to the rest of the world. Halliburton is now overcharging the Pentagon in euros. And in light of our reckless and dangerous foreign policy, it seems appropriate that foreigners only think of the US as a great place to get Timberland boots at bargain prices. We've gone from being a beacon of hope and opportunity to the world, to just being a huge clearance sale.
But if you watched the Republican debate, you would think the US is still THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! And if you judge a country's greatness by the number of detainees held indefinitely at Guantanemo, by our support for torture at the highest levels of government, and our bullying approach to international affairs, then yes, WE ARE NUMBER ONE!
In the last Democratic debate, virtually all the Democratic and Republican candidates(except Dodd, Kucinich and maybe Richardson) favored continuing the inane policy of not having relations with Cuba. The Bush Administration says they won't deal with Cuba until Cuba becomes like the US. To accomplish that, Cuba would have to make its health care and education system worse.
The government of Sudan is guilty of crimes against humanity, but they do have a sick sense of humor. How else could you explain their conviction of a British teacher who committed the heinous sin of asking her students to name a teddy bear?Since many of the kids in the class(as well as tens of millions of boys around the world) are named Muhammad, they went with that name for the stuffed animal. Just as a class in the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn would probably name their teddy bear Moshe. And a class in Greenwich, Connecticut would name its teddy bear Biff. Maybe Sudan should focus a little less on teddy bears, and a little more on the hundreds of thousands of real people, who have been killed on their watch in Darfur.
Last Tuesday, the Middle East Summit was held at the ideal place for peace talks, the US Naval Academy. Men and women walking around in military uniforms provide just the right ambiance for negotiating an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After doing absolutely nothing for seven years, Condi Rice is desperate to have something that looks good on her resume when she interviews for a job a year from now. Bush told Abbas and Olmert, "Call me whenever you like", with the sincerity of an ex-girlfriend saying she still wanted to stay in touch. In this era of lowered expectations, the Summit was considered by some to be a success, because the two sides agreed to, TALK! But not too much talk, and don't rush into talking about anything substantive. They pledged to come up with an agreement a year from now. I thought I was a procrastinator. At least when I put off doing things that can further my career, no lives are lost as a result.
But then I saw in Haaretz today, that Olmert thinks an agreement by the end of 2008 is unlikely. So essentially, the summit brought the two sides together not to talk about ending the conflict, but to keep talking until the end of next year, when it would be nice if they negotiated a peace deal, but if they don't, there's no harm done. And they should call Bush whenever they like. Because when it comes to not finding peace, Bush is just the right guy to call.