Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Texas Traveler GW Bush

When GW Bush journeys outside the US borders, he usually provides an unintended spectacle that either makes you cringe, cry or laugh--like some wines, the man does not travel well.

It may be that his affected, hick, Texas style, which projects him so well in the red states, has the opposite effect when he is in rich cultural European or exotic Asian settings. Remember, one time at a press conference with the Frenchman Chirac, after bungling a question badly, GWB explained, apropos of nothing, that he was from Texas-- as if anyone cared--

For the record, there are masses of sophisticated, erudite Texans who can hold their own anywhere in the world with panache. GW Bush is not one of them.. It is, however, a sad fact that the Texans who end up in the White House are not in this aggregate--recall LBJ and his gall bladder scar, who dangled his pet beagle by the ears? Outside the US, GW Bush always appears uncomfortable--like a cow with a saddle.

As with Texan LBJ, who was suffocated by the Vietnam War, GW Bush is dying politically, strangled by his Iraq War.

For a US president to visit Afghanistan, Pakistan and India at this moment in history was like riding a rocket into Hell. His presence in Pakistan triggered the death of one US diplomat and over 140 killed on the Pakistan- Afghan border. In India there were riots, but less than a dozen were killed. You have to ask yourself if this trip was really necessary. GW Bush got a momentary respite from his Dubai port scandal; the Indians got some vague nuclear power technology transfers; and the Pakistanis were told to be more democratic----hopefully Bush promised Musharraf a "get out jail free pass'' (a la Otto Skorzeny rescue) and a secluded place on the Maryland shore for retirement. As for our Poppy King Karzai in Afghanistan, uncertain what was accomplished-some hand holding. One thing for certain, Karzai blamed Musharraf for his troubles, and that certainly upset the Pakistani hetman who afterwards went on CNN to complain about the Afghan leader--a diplomatic net minus for the US during the trip. Condoleezza seems always looking for love in all the wrong places.

It is inconceivable that Bush publicly harangued the Pakistani chieftain on democracy... Even the dumbest White House staffer knows that the Pakistanis would elect Bin Laden president, if they were democratically allowed-it was as if the Administration was blind to the disastrous, democratic results of elections in the Palestine Authority and Iraq.

I have not been able to reconcile GW Bush's willingness to transfer nuclear technology and materials to India, a country that has not signed the nuclear proliferation treaty, but resists the transfers to Iran, a country that signed the treaty. If this is an example of realpolitik, let's start using it across the board. India has never been a friend of the US--at best it has been Third World --neutral . During the Cold War, India was a KGB darling and bent to the Soviet Union. You can bet some of those connections still exist . As far as providing technology to India, it may provide short term advantages to US business, but it is long term economic suicide, as this technology will be reproduced, using cheap labor and marketed worldwide.

President Bush, please stay home. And by the way, Mr. Bush, Karzai does not raise poppies for poppy seeds to make cakes. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

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