Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rubin's Cube

Bush is back on his Iran horse today -- root-toot-tooting about how Iran needs to get its act together and reply to the gracious offer he proffered recently. Let's leave Bush riding on that horse for a moment to point out a fascinating oversight committed by many observers of US politics: that Bush is really no different than predecessors such as, say, Clinton.

The fact is, the US government does not operate on a party line -- a smudged and blurred one at that -- a lot of Republicans worked for Clinton, a lot of Democratics work for Bush. There are certain issues, especially in foreign policy, where this is very clear cut. The Middle East, for example.

This week in London, James Rubin, former spokesperson for Clinton's Secretary of State Albright, and present husband of CNN's Christiane Amanpour, made a public appearance of particular note in the battle to distinguish (or not) between Republicans and Democrats, or to simply settle for mistrusting them both. See, Rubin, former government employee, current host of Sky News's World Tonight, doesn't much disagree with George W. Bush's policies in the Middle East and, during the course of this rather dubious engagement made it very clear that the only thing Bush has done wrong is that he's been a cowboy about his foreign policy instead of maneuvering the assistance of other hegemonic wanna-be states.

Yes, Rubin is worried about "the danger of US isolation" not about whether millions of Middle Eastern lives are sacrificed while the US secures its financial interests which, by the way, Rubin doesn't even believe exist. "The idea that US policy is founded on economics is wrong," he says, citing the war in Kosovo as one example though even he says "our action on behalf of the Muslims of Bosnia was taken too late. I regret that." It was too late for the Muslims, not for US interests which lay mainly with curbing a roaring Serbian nationalism and a disastrous war from spreading futher into Europe.

Inconsistent, as all politicians are, Rubin went on to say that "there's no question the reason the United States and Europe cares about the Middle East is because of oil." Hmm...sounds like an economic interest to me. But anyway. Stretching his diplomatic muscles, Mr Rubin proceeded to make himself a candidate for Secretary of State in the next Democratic government by, at the same time mind you, discrediting the present regime while also praising it: "I'm not a fan of President George W. Bush but I don't believe [economics] was his reason for going to war in Iraq." Fabulous Rubie, please, take a seat. But he's not done.

Closet warmonger that he is (like most US government officials have been since Woodrow Wilson's presidency, at the very least), he gave what in his opinion was a legitimate reason to make Iraq a nation that is "absent of brutality today" and a beacon of democracy and elections, "unique things in the Middle East" (yeah, there's no where else in the Middle East where US-rigged elections are held under US occupation -- that's true indeed): "the US had been too defensive and too passive in the Middle East for too long."

That's it folks, show's over, you've gotten your answer and that is simply that the US needs to put on a cowboy hat every once in awhile and show the Middle East who's really in charge. Under Rubin's protocol this would involve UN-backing and multilateral coalition followed by war, destruction, death and destitution. Under Bush's protocol just subtract that first part about not going it alone. So, perhaps, we should actually praise the Bush Ranger in this column for being honest enough about hurting people that he refuses to play along with a silly game of international diplomacy and public opinion charades to carry out a war his adversaries wouldn't hesitate to carry out themselves.