Friday, October 15, 2010

Marginalia...

  • When news surfaced a month or so ago that Karzai was negotiating with “good” Taliban, our officials met the news with dark frowns suggesting consternation. The New York Times headlines today that U.S. USES ATTACKS TO NUDGE TALIBAN TOWARD A DEAL. A new “narrative,” so-called, has emerged, it seems to me. The Afghans are on their own in holding talks, but we advise and mildly approve. And we reposition our attacks and bombings—underway for nearly a decade now—as collateral support of diplomacy. If this venture fails, the Afghans failed; if it succeeds, we made it happen. Win, win, you might say.
  • A story labeled as “news analysis,” still in the NYT today, suggests that such events in China as the Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai Expo were public relations exercises presumably to win the approval of the American public. I’ve never yet heard of a nation staging an Olympics or a world trade expo by housing its visitors in tent camps or barracks—and entertaining them with a few Sousa marches played by a hastily commandeered military band. And to imagine that all that vast expenditure was entirely wasted—because Sweden drew attention to Liu Xiaobo’s incarceration as an activist. The Japanese have a role to play here too. Everything is kabuki theater now. All the world’s a stage—and we’re the only audience.
  • U.S. trade deficits surged in August, and China’s deficit with us reached a record $28 billion. Maybe we should hold a word trade expo ourselves, say in Seattle. The Chinese might lend us the money and send some advisors to show us how to do it properly.

1 comment:

  1. It is quite something to watch, how policy morph and explanations are woven to explain why it all makes sense.

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