Friday, July 14

Time Gets Snowed

We have a Press Secretary Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives who can quote Monty Python. The future of civilization is assured.
PIMF - Tony Snow wasn't the genius responsible for this, it was Peter Wehner. According to the fine print, "Peter Wehner is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives." I will abstain from my thimbleful of cognac in penance.
For Time's thesis to have merit, the magazine would have rewrite most of the history of the past five years. It would have to erase virtually all of the day-to-day activity on the war on terror, which as a practical matter consists of unprecedented levels of cooperation and integrated planning across scores of countries, both long-time allies and new partners. Time would have to ignore virtually all of the day-to-day activity on curbing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, our work with Russia, and so forth). Time would also have to ignore our trade policy, our development policy, and more.

All of this calls to mind the scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian in which the Judean "guerrillas" debate whether the Roman Empire has brought any good to the Holy Land. The John Cleese character asks rhetorically what good the Romans have done. After his men point out one benefit after another, the Cleese character is obliged to say: "All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

Apart from the vast number of multilateral foreign policy initiatives from 2001 to the present, when has the Bush Administration ever worked in partnership with other countries?

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