Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bananey Sananey

Back during the heat of the election, when Joe “motor mouth” Biden cautioned that “this president would be tested”, he got a lot of flack. He had a point, however, but one the media skipped over; any new president will appear to be undergoing a test when he resumes office.

However, even this is simplistic; most crises are the result of complex events that pre-date the election. Perceptions can simply exacerbate some of them and their effect, as foreign adversaries miscalculate.

In our case, Dr. Bashar may be making a similar analysis as one of his more illustrious predecessors, confusing the cyclical changing of the guards in the United States with the passing of an era. This perception is leading him to start cranking up the pressure on his opponents in Lebanon. After the comparison with Georgia, soon he’ll be painting Lebanon as another version of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. True, Saad is been laden with money (rires). True, he had not been showing much good judgement so far. However, he has far less links to “Jihadists” that the good Doctor Bashar.

If the Syrians are really serious about coming back to Lebanon, they need to start picking on bigger statures than the puny Lebanese politicos. To do so, they need a little more than infomercials or empty rhetoric.

Yes, the American administration has changed. But what has changed is the style, not the substance, and definitely not the core interests.

Yes, the Americans are not above selling us (again). However, if Lebanon is nowhere near the top of the agenda, neither is Syrian. So Bashar needs to really deliver something to the Americans. But he has to take into account that, this time, as a result of Saudi, Egyptian, and Iranian involvement, Lebanon’s price just went up.

And the Americans will want cash, upfront.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mabrouk

Ben Franklin, a non-president among the dead presidents we so eagerly trade, was once queried, as he left what would become Independence Hall;

“Well, Doctor, what have we got?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Today, for the 56th time, the Americans ran a presidential election. OK, some would say 57th, since John Hancock had the title first… But the fact is, like clockwork, the Americans vote for a president, and a rather smooth transition takes place. Even if some of the workings of this system smell rather too fishy to qualify as a real democracy, as a Republic, it's not so bad. In any case, it's the closest thing to a democracy the world has.

so, for the 57th time, congratulations to you.

In the United States, Provided he applies to the white house the same shrewd determination that he used to rise to the top, the United States will fare rather well. However, will he succumb to hubris and believe his own rhetoric, the outlook will not be so rosy. Messiahs and prophets do not always fare well, and quite a few are already shopping around for a cross and nails.

And, for (n+m)th time, do not sell us out...

In the rest of the world, the outlook depends on their current alliance or opposition to the power of the American Imperium. They all expect either a saviour or a douche, but they will all get a shrewd president, intent on increasing his power and therefore that of his country.

So, as reality sets in, expect most election promises to be broken, and if the style changes, do not expect the actions to be dramatically altered. For too many, it will take time for reality to sink in;

They voted for a messiah, and got a mere 44th president.

The show goes on.