Friday, January 19, 2007

Killing Us Softly

While the US punditocracy was busy building up the threats posed to our nation by the likes of blustery Iran, anemic Syria, terminal Cuba, starving North Korea and grossly exaggerated Venezuela, China may have tested a sattelite killing missile, and Russia says "nothing to see here, please move along."

Pardon me for a 'student-of-history heart attack' moment, and the apocalyptic mania that comes with it.

Now, I've had plenty to say about foregin policy - especially the current Administration's absolute and utter failures in that department - to the point that it seems like I'm flogging the deceased nag a little much. But apparently, these things bear repeating, again and again and again, because the talking heads can't get enough of the Bearded Leader of Iran and the Plump Little Malcontent of Caracas while a giant Bear and a giant Dragon can be seen in the distance laughing at us.

These days, our rough, "go it alone, Texas cowboy" style of diplomacy has looked and sounded really tough to folks at home. "We don't need no permission to defend ourselves" - and then the Beard in Tehran turns around and says the same thing. We start meddling too much in Russia's sphere of influence (Ukraine, NATO expansion) while thumbing our nose at them, leave China alone to keep sending us trinkets for cash, and absolutely alienate and surround Iran.

So, hmmm, we back Russia into a realpolitik corner, threaten Iran and ignore China to persue their own Machiavellian machinations. This makes a de-facto counterbalancing alliance possible between the worlds 4th largest oil producer, the world's largest armed forces, the world's 2nd and 5th largest nuclear arsenals and the world's 3rd & 4th most successful space programs; they all share borders and they all have one big rival to greatness - US.

And for our troubles, we add to our "Coalition of the Willing"....wait for it....Poland.

And for all y'all out there who think I'm being paranoid, we all know what it means when government agents, like college football coaches, deny that anything is amiss.

"I have not been informed of any test" says the Chinese Undersecretary to the Assistant of Dealing With Stupid Western Media Types, "absolutely not, we, the great and Glorious Chinese Empire/People's Republic want only peaceful uses of space technology. Here, I have some useless but shiny trinkets made from the patriotic toil of young members of our People's Society. You can take them back to your contry and sell them for far more than they are worth."

"A missile that kills sattelites? Please, the Chinese wouldn't do that. They couldn't even do something like that if their best minds got together with our best minds out near the Cosmodome in the puppet state of Kazakhstan, if Kazakhstan weren't the strong and independent nation that it was, and worked on it for years under a veil of secrecy and obfuscation made possible by our client nations of Iran and North Korea constantly distracting your attentions.

"I mean, what good would a missile killing satellite be to our peaceful loving nations anyway? It could only cripple your entire mititary and civilian communication structure leaving you as blind as Lee's Army at Gettysburg, and make any Anti-Ballistic Missile system you could devise - that wouldn't work anyway - absolutely obsolete and useless in any strategic theatre where it was employed against us. Why would our nations seek advantages such as those?

"No, I just tap the heel of my shoe on my desk. It is a nervous tick I have, nothing symbolic. Would you like some Vodka?" - The Russian Spokesman for the Advancement of Peaceful But Expensive Scientific Projects of No Strategic Importance.


patsbrother said...

And now, something snippy:

That's "satellite" and "de facto" (no hyphen).

Hyphenate modifying phrases like "satellite-killing," as in "satellite-killing missile."

Use the parallelism in lists of clauses (e.g., "...while thumbing our nose, leaving China alone, and absolutely alienating and surrounding Iran").

If you still intend on becoming the editor for some politician's speechwriter, please learn these are other helpful rules of grammar and spelling.

Also, "they all share borders," means that each country mentioned is geographically adjacent to all of the other countries mentioned. Iran is geographically adjacent to neither Russia nor China.

And please refrain from using the phrase "realpolitik corner." Corners do not themselves hold international political strategies, and I am under the strong impression the phrase is thus meaningless.

patsbrother said...

And after all that, "THE parallelism" and "these ARE other helpful rules."

Yup. I deserved that.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I guess if you weren't around to keep my syntax in line, I'd just sound like an idiot.

As to the only substance - related point you made, Iran does not, in fact, share a border with Russia. That is something I overlooked, thinking in 'old-Soviet Union' geographical terms.

My apologies.