|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
Friday, December 1st, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? email@example.com|
|In Mexico, against a backdrop of rising unemployment and faltering economic growth, President Calderon took his oath of office today. His barely beaten rival has meanwhile declared himself President Obrador and established a shadow government, on the grounds that the election was stolen from him. Our Mexican ally, in trouble already, is headed for more of the same. Our plans to build a seven hundred mile fence along the border don’t help. Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez’s probable re-election in Venezuela means that country joins Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Chile and Brazil in electing governments more or less unfriendly to the U.S. We seem to be losing South America.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah has organized a mass rally in downtown Beirut. According to Haaretz, hundreds of thousands of Hezbollah supporters and their pro-Syria allies plan to remain in the streets until the democratically elected, pro-U.S. government of Fouad Siniora resigns. Hezbollah has a pretty fair idea which fanatical religio-military organization inimical to U.S. interests should take over in his place. Elsewhere, Hamas rockets continue to fall on Israel in the midst of an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire as solid as a wisp of smoke. Iraq’s civil war is steadily worsening. Visiting friendly Jordan this week, where the populace turned out in force to denounce his policies, President Bush’s talks with regional leaders were humiliatingly unproductive. Jordan’s U.S. educated King Abdullah is forecasting chaos throughout the region for the coming year. Summoned for a tongue lashing by the Saudis over the Iraq debacle, the formerly arrogant Dick Cheney slunk back to Washington with his tail between his legs. We’ve lost the Middle-East.
In Asia, China’s economic power is filling the vacuum created by our diplomatic ineptitude, ideological self-righteousness, and distracted indifference. Our relations with ally South Korea have soured over North Korea. Right-wing forces with a dismayingly revisionist view of Japan’s behavior in World War II are on the rise in the land of the rising sun. Their revisionism is necessarily anti-American. Although inclined to be favorably-disposed for trade reasons, the Vietnamese were understandably offended by President Bush’s assessment of the Vietnam war’s lesson for the U.S. in Iraq: "We'll succeed unless we quit." And those words were uttered on Vietnamese soil. We are losing Asia.
In Europe, after systematically alienating western European powers over the past six years, the Bush administration is losing the formerly sympathetic eastern European nations. Poland can’t wait to get its boys out of Iraq. Eastern European members of NATO will send only token forces to Afghanistan, despite U.S. pressure. Senior State Department official Kendall Myers told a British audience this week that U.S. treatment of the U.K. has been shameful, one-sided, and humiliating for P.M. Tony Blair, who is reflexively ignored by Mr. Bush. And the U.K. is our staunchest European friend. We are going to lose Europe.
We spurned Kyoto and refuse to pursue sane environmental policies. What with melting ice and starving penguins and polar bears, we, along with the rest of the world, are losing Antarctica. As for Africa and Australia – does anyone really care about Africa and Australia?
The U.S. has lost its credibility and its moral authority. Thanks to Iraq, if we haven’t dealt a mortal blow to our own military might, we’ve demolished the capacity to do good that our power gave us. Even those who’ve always known Mr. Bush for a lifetime loser can’t get their arms around the true extent of what he has lost us. To contemplate him now is to conjure up Shelley’s toppled colossus, whose shattered ruins lie half buried in a sea of desert sand, and on whose crumbled pedestal is inscribed the boast of an equally delusional imbecile from antiquity:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Mr. Bush practiced gunboat diplomacy, and the gun went off in his face. Exposed as the cringing craven his acolytes have been so desperate to conceal for the past six years, the hubristic honcho turned marshmallow man has switched to cruise-ship diplomacy instead. In his salad days, Mr. Bush would have bombed North Korea for disregarding orders and building a homemade nuke. Instead, the president has directed the Commerce Department to cut off Kim Jong Il’s supply of iPods and jet skis. Speak softly and carry a big stick? This inveterate braggart can’t even manage to be a broken reed .
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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