Friday, March 19, 2010

Travels With Hillary
I know you’re worried sick because you haven’t heard from me in ten days. I’m happy to report that my exciting mistress, the curvaceous and undulating city of San Francisco, is as sexy as ever. California may be broke, but at California and Polk the crab Louis and sourdough at the Swan Oyster Depot are still as rich as Rockefeller. And the R & G Lounge, where Chinatown meets the Financial District, remains the Heavenly Gate to my stomach.
Of course, I’m not the only one who’s been traveling. Hillary Clinton has been zipping around as well. Unfortunately for the empire, I’ve been getting more respect than she does. Today’s Times tells me that the Russkies gave her a goose nearly as uncomfortable as the barbed colonoscopy that the Israelis administered to Barack Obama via Joe Biden. Prime Minister Putin took the occasion of her visit to Moscow to announce that Russia was going ahead with construction of a nuclear reactor in Iran. This was yet another signal that Washington’s sisyphean efforts to rid the Persian Gulf of 5000 years of Persian influence was going nowhere at a comfortable pace. Previously, Beijing had made it known that it would not sanction Iran, one of its biggest trading partners, just because a deadbeat borrower was looking for a scrap. (More worrisome still, read James Petras’ vital piece about bigger trouble brewing between China and the U.S.) Here was yet another lesson to unschooled Americans that it’s hard to convince people who actually read history to start a gratuitous war against a country that hasn’t attacked anyone in 250 years, and also supplies them with the oil they need to keep warm and move around.
Also in that part of the world, Hillary and the Obama administration have even more Iraqi chickens returning to roost. The recent elections there strengthened the factions least likely to take meetings with the spooks and schemers toiling away at the billion dollar U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone.
Farther east, the war in Afghanistan looks to be on the same time line as the Mesozoic Era. That’s steady income for the Pentagon’s gun runners, but tiresome for the Europeans who, after centuries of playing the Great Game, have grown weary of commuting through the Khyber Pass. The Dutch government collapsed over its support of our Kabul caper. Soon the rest of NATO will be begging off as well.
Days earlier Hillary had been in Brazil, where disobedience, and even insolence, also reigned. Foreign Minister Celso Amorim patiently explained to her that his country was immense, populous and overflowing with resources. Therefore, it had not the slightest reason to take orders from anyone but its own people. Hillary could not comprehend such impertinence. How dare Brazil maintain friendly and profitable relations with such “rogue” nations as Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina and Iran against American “interests?” Hillary went home scratching her head and no doubt wishing that Brazil was as tiny and defenseless as Honduras, whose new CIA-installed death squad democracy stands as the Obummers' sole foreign policy success.
I don't envy Madame Secretary Clinton. She's becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of diplomacy.