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Full Cooperation

Yeah, Sure.

by Barnabas
November 27, 2002

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“Senior Democratic and Republican senators assailed the government of Saudi Arabia today for refusing to strike out against extremism within the kingdom and for failing to cooperate fully with American efforts against Al Qaeda and other Islamic terror networks.”
— David Johnston and Philip Shenon, New York Times, November 24.

“They talk as if I’m a god. They say I’ve kept us out of war, but any German lieutenant could put us in the war with a calculated outrage.” –Woodrow Wilson, 1916.
As long as they are more or less believed, politicians do not care how absurd they are when speaking to the press. For the same reason, they do not care much about truth or accuracy either. Elected ones succeed in being believed more than they are not. If their success rate continues long enough, they are rewarded with seniority in the United States Senate and guest spots on the Sunday interview shows. The New York Times story was reporting on the interviews last Sunday.

"Fully cooperate," indeed. In Congress they hardly know how to cooperate at all among themselves; or, if they know how, they don’t want to. Full cooperation is never on the table, so it is sheer bluster to demand it of another sovereign nation.
The government of the United States, under either party, expects other nations to cooperate with us, not us with them. “We are the United States,” said the Secretary of State in the previous administration, and most of the spokesmen of the current one appear to agree with her. The attitude would be laughable if it weren’t so scary and the stakes weren’t so high.

We must recognize we can no longer afford bluster from leaders who don’t listen to themselves. This is not Franklin Roosevelt’s world of 1939, but Woodrow Wilson’s of 1916. Our equivalent of Wilson’s “German lieutenant” could easily be a columnist relating Mohammed to beautiful women: 252 dead and nobody knows yet the full consequences.

We must also recognize that politicians of other nations are as absurd as our own. The Royal Family of Saudi Arabia, the religious oligarchy of Iran, the dictators of Iraq, China, and North Korea are all politicians, saying whatever they think will be believed by the people who keep them in power. When they lose credibility with those people (not with us) their days are numbered. The big difference between the politicians of such nations and our own is that we sacrifice ours in a voting booth, not by slaughter in the streets.

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