"Trust Me, I'm the Leader" is Whistling in the Dark
Nuclear Madness [TimesSelect Editorial]*
Mr. Bush's "historic" nuclear deal with India seems to further undermine his admnistration's credentials, but puts him well on his way to repeat history.
"Presidents from both parties - from Richard Nixon through Bill Clinton - had refused to make this deal, which India has wanted for more than three decades.*(Unfortunately, TimesSelect is a membership service, so full articles may not be available to all readers).
'It's a terrible deal, a disaster,' said Joseph Cirincione, the director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment. 'The Indians are free to make as much nuclear material as they want. Meanwhile, we're going to sell them fuel for their civilian reactors. That frees up their resources for the military side, and that stinks.'
With President Bush undermining the nonproliferation treaty, critics are worried that it's only a matter of time before other bilateral deals are made - say, China with Pakistan, which has already asked Mr. Bush for a deal similar to India's and been turned down."
Remember when the simplicity of living was to have a strong moral resolve, to know the difference between good and evil, and to trust and support your leader and the government because ultimately they knew what was best for us? In the current nadir of the Reagan Era reprise of Republican rule of governmental branches, we were brought to this brink under the idea that the Bush Administration made us safer at home by championing (and even defending) our democratic values abroad.
It was a simple concept that was only rankled by "facts on the ground" of a "reality-based" minority, or those spinmeisters and ad-hoc professionals of the "liberal inteligentsia" or "liberal media." Such twisted talking points were revisted by General Peter Pace's interview with Tim Russert this past Sunday on Meet the Press.
While Gen. Pace hedged his optimistic view of Iraq by saying "he wouldn't paint a big smiley face on it" he nevertheless thought that the failure of the media to report on things like peaceful elections and troop training was a partial explanation for the sagging support for the war effort. (aka "It's the media's fault.") Can this truly be believed? Is there anyone here who missed the "purple-finger day" and all the clapping it received at the State of the Union in January? There was no mention of the uproar and violent upheaval around the Danish cartoons by Russert. There was no mention that in terms of Iraqi troop readiness, the number actually fell from one (1) to zero (0). Instead, Russert simply mentioned that in the last few weeks, we saw an esacalation of violence in which Iraqi citizens were killing each other.
What was Gen. Pace's response? Ultimately, the stability of Iraq is up to Iraq. They need to step up and provide their own governmental structure and they need to step up and provide their own security to their own nation.
Agreed. But, perhaps now, the idea that "We'd be greeted as liberators" or that "Freedom is on the march" (never mind "Mission Accomplished") must also be seen as bumper sticker logic. ".22 Caliber thinking in a .357 magnum world."
And even that level of thinking isn't enough.
Paul Krugman writes in Feeling No Pain (another TimesSelect piece) that Mr. Bush's trip to India showed his disconnect between his bullet-point agenda regarding economic trade and globalization and how these things actually are experienced by working people in the U.S.
When asked specifically about job-outsourcing to India, Mr. Bush replied: "Losing jobs is painful, so let's make sure people are educated so they can find — fill the jobs of the 21st century. And let's make sure that there's pro-growth economic policies in place. What does that mean? That means low taxes; it means less regulation; it means fewer lawsuits; it means wise energy policy."
Krugman underscores the disconnect by asking, what does this answer really mean to a 50 year old worker whose job's gone overseas? Bush's reply seems more appropriate to entrepreneurs and corporations, not real working Americans. Additionally, since India's surge has been particularly in the technology industry, workers of any age will find that 21st Century education isn't enough, since India is meeting that cutting edge competion myth head on.
My point at the moment is simply this: Our president lives in a bubble. And like it or not, things are particularly bad enough that each of us is living in our own defensive bubbles too. It's what we have to do to get by. For some, it's sticking to the "Trust the leader" mantra, which is effective, so long as you never admit that things could be better some other way or that you are not the one suffering.
But at some point, you have to face the music. I don't think the body counts in Iraq are liberal spin. I think it's dangerous to make the world less safe for nuclear proliferation by bilateral agreements that weaken past precedence with no upside except, if memory serves me, for Republicans who seem to like to rule under increased nuclear armageddon. But if memory serves me too, I don't think one can ignore the economic trend for that same period of time. "Between 1979 and 2003", writes Krugman, citing a recent IRS report, "the share of overall income received by the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers fell from 50 percent to barely over 40 percent. The main winners from this upward redistribution of income were a tiny, wealthy elite: more than half the income share lost by the bottom 80 percent was gained by just one-fourth of 1 percent of the population, people with incomes of at least $750,000 in 2003."
So if you're with the "haves and have mores" that make up Mr. Bush's base, everything is fine. You've done well by "trusting that leadership." SNAFU might even be the better military phrase. But given enough time, the next hurricane season, the 2006 midterms, 2008, or reaping the horrendous seeds being sown abroad, SNAFU may become another military turn of phrase: "Cluster F**K!"