Thursday, May 11, 2006

a tale of four men...

if uve been following whatever has been happening with Bush, Cheney, Putin and Ahmadinejad in their own little worlds you might be as intrigued as most of the media have been. They all seem to be venting out their own philosophical frustrations and carrying their countries with them. ( If you havent heard anything from Bush, that probably is his philosophy of never giving anyone anything when they actually need it). In fact each of them sound like coaches talking before big games, what according to them sounds so simple as right and wrong without analyzing the thousands of things going wrong in their own backyards.

It all started with Cheney visiting Lithuania and giving a Cold-war-esque speech about how Russia is screwing with the region. But Cheney aint no Kennedy or Reagon, and the world has changed a lot since back then when we knew who we hated and why (if at all we hated someone) "Human rights", he thundered. Sounded more like 'Sandwich' on a Mumbai local train. I sometimes wonder how forgetful can someone get when stuff like this happen. This is the guy who wanted to keep prisoners in Gitmo without any rights and without any plan. But I guess he had to do what he had to do, show of strength as most people would put it. In today's world though, any show of strength would more be apt if it sounded more like a cash register rather than airy idealogy. This because the moral ground on which he stood and screamed had more or less been levelled. ( Not to say that the US has been morally right at any time, but it usually held those cards up its sleeve. They say you should always quit playing when ure winning. The US seems 3 stops ahead of that right now.)

We all expected Putin to give a fitting reply, immediately, but were suddenly distracted by some penpal vibes from Tehran. His name is too long, so Id rather call him Ahmi. This guy rambles on and on and on for 18 pages ( hey wasnt that how long Rachel's letter to Ross was on FRIENDS?, We have to find out whether Bush fell asssleeeepp as Ross puts it, also need to find whether he had any your and you're issues) The content entirely philosophical, almost like someone who wanted his neighbor to clarify why his dog always screws up his lawn. He talks about issues from the past supposedly exposing the US's double standards. I thought we knew all that, and noone ever said the US was morally right, and I have never seen Bush say anything about being good Christians in his foreign policy speeches at least. I think this is where the entire clash of civilizations theory comes to mind. The western world for all its talk about liberty and freedom thinks the east is a mess. The east thinks the west is all talk and no show. Fine, noone said we all had to love each other, but there are ways to deal with things.

There was very fine article on Slate today about why Bush needs to reply to Ahmi. Its part of fine tuning diplomacy between two countries with just a letter, a statement or a hint of offering the olive branch. Happened before between JFK and Khrushchev (watch 13 days, an amazing movie about the Cuban missile crisis and how it was defused), so why not now? Because Bush has problems of his own, he doesnt react that way ( since Rice seems to be making all the noises about the letter rather than him) We all agree that this isnt the place to discuss these issues and most of what Ahmi says in the letter is all about the past. For the ones who feel they need to get a first hand feel of what an Iranian President's letter to Pres Bush looks like, check here for the unofficial translation. It was fun reading it, believe me. I remember these being exactly the same irritants for many people in India or does the eastern world see the US with the same lens.

But what does it have to do with any of the things the US seems to be pissed off at Iran? No replies. So has the world changed a bit since the last time we heard Nukes going iran's way?
Supposedly it has.

Iran seems to have gained some sort of hollow moral victory by asking the questions no other country ever asked and that too with just a letter. The days to come will give us a deeper insight on whats happening and if Bush would even consider the letter worthy of a reply. Interesting times, aren't these?

but wait Putin wasn't done, in fact he wasn't even started yet. In his state of the union address, he didn't completely trash the US or what Cheney had just said a few days ago. This article in the International Herald Tribune gave full points to Putin for shifting the focus off the blame game and looking inwards instead. He basically asked Russians to start having more kids and increase the population. any Hints from India?

I wonder what both Cheney and Bush might be thinking as one waits for a response and one considers responding. What if this was a "what if" moment in history?

Really interesting times.

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