Friday, 15 August 2008

Georgia Brown-out

‘Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century’.—George W. Bush, 15 August 2008

It would take the pen of Izzy Stone, Mark Twain or perhaps Swift himself to do satirical justice to the grotesque spectacle of hypocrisy and fecklessness led by the U.S. foreign policy team as they sweep up the broken shards of their geopolitical Fantasyland.

Condi Rice is perfect as the harried schoolmarm standing helplessly by and murmuring annoyingly useless phrases about returning to ‘peace’ and ‘a normal life’. Now was this before or after the Russians had divided the country in two?

President Saakashvilli, meanwhile, gets the prize for Best Actor in a Tragicomedy for his pointlessly racist comment at the signing of his surrender—er, the cease-fire agreement. ‘You are dealing with a people who despise anything human’, he snapped, showing that you don’t want this guy in the car when the highway patrol pulls you over.

The Russians are the Goliaths, for sure, but the tone of this conflict as well as the disturbing reports from the battlefield suggest that all sides involved are in the grips of primitive, clannish hatred of anyone unlike themselves. I’ve yet to hear anyone raise the banner of multiethnic coexistence or, heaven forbid, a pluralistic society in which people manage their cultural, religious and linguistic differences without gouging each other’s eyes out.

Here in New York we had the Georgians parading with their red and white flags on the streets of the East Side yesterday, and if enough South Ossetians lived in the five boroughs, we’d have a group of them too, indignantly shouldering their atrocity photographs and denouncing the other guys. And no doubt they’d all be describing parts of an unsavory reality. But with all due respect, why should we care who wins under those conditions?

Meanwhile, the incomparable Bushites continue to live in their autistic bubble-world in which all the toys are ours, and when this infantile self-absorption leads to disaster, it’s someone else’s fault. They sound like they’re expecting Mommy to show up at any moment to bail them out and meanwhile flail their little arms helplessly.

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