Monday, May 09, 2005

'The Cold War' For Dummies

A quick op-ed from TIA's recurring guest columnist, and noted relief pitcher, Mssr. Jonnybutter (ed note: this is an updated version of jonny's post, as I mistakenly published the first draft):

A central insight of Harry Frankfurt's essay 'On Bullshit' is that the bullshitter is dangerous in a way different from the liar because the liar, as such, must at least know what the truth is, whereas the bullshitter needn't know or even care. To rephrase Nadezhda , perception may be reality, but facts aren't even facts. Bush the Lesser has bewitched his critics by simply keeping them guessing - is he stupid? ignorant? visionary? It's an innovation Bush will be remembered for: the strategic seasickness of the first thoroughly post modernist presidency. He will literally say anything. (What are 'words' anyway? Just sounds arranged into patterns, really.) However much you credit all the Trotskiana/Straussissimo intellectual pretentions of this gang, Bush himself really is a cipher, and in a more complete way than any other modern, including Saint Ronnie. Welcome to the Peter Principle Stage of empire.

George and the Beanstalk, Chapter Umpteen

What did Bush get for his oblivious, ahistorical, pointless, straight-out-of-1950s-Reader's Digest smear of FDR and Churchill on Saturday?

Bush said the agreement in 1945 at Yalta among President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ''followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact."
What did he get in return for his mock-profound revision? For (yet again) rhetorically cracking America's united face to the world? For attempting to make the world itself 'partisan'? 1.) A little red meat for his freeper/neocon constituency; 2.) A little self-aggrandizing Reagan identification; 3.) The appearance (and it could be more than that) of supporting democracy in Belarus and standing up to Putin (however contingent on what kind of government would eventually be elected there); and 4.) A chance to bolster some of the few remaining members of his 'coalition of the willing' (Belarus, Georgia and Latvia, who've 'collectively' contributed a full 280 soldiers to the fight). Such a deal.

We can never know what young Dubya would've done in FDR's place - with Poland already fully occupied by the Soviets, with a 12 million man Red Army in Europe, and the Russians already in the suburbs of Berlin; not to mention the unfinished war in the Pacific. Perhaps he would've looked into Stalin's eyes, and found a good soul.

It's very sad that, likely, few take what the American president says very seriously anymore. But for all that, one's also thankful for it, at least in the present case.

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