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Friday, September 12, 2008

Andean Mischief

It has been said that the Bolivian government has declared the American ambassador persona non grata. Now, this is a curious affair. What has the American, a certain Philip Goldberg, done to deserve such an indignity? He has evidently been too busy going after drugs and thugs in that  obscure country, offending the locals by his righteousness and, more seriously, conspiring with opponents of the Morales government. This is hardly the first time such a thing has happened, and His Excellency is no doubt a good man. It is always tempting but risky to attack the American ambassador; one should really only do so (viz ‘Braden o Perón!’) from a position of strength. Mr. Morales may be sincere, passionate and, at times, astute. But his days are certainly numbered.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

October Surprise

Talleyrand still finds himself in a predictive mood. He is wondering what will happen between now and the American presidential election in November. Surely something dramatic must happen with this cast of characters.

One likely event, he thinks, is the long-awaited capture of a senior al-Qaeda member somewhere in Pakistan. The recently publicized incursions by US special forces onto Pakistani territory—which we must assume have been happening under the radar screen for some time—may be just the beginning of the end for someone. Talleyrand’s sources tell him that the best candidate is the infamous Ayman-al Zawahiri. But we shall have to wait and see.

The impact on the US presidential election and around the world is unknowable. Something this dramatic need not necessarily energize the Republican party and its candidates, they who continue to urge a heavy focus on Iraq. Talleyrand has his doubts as to whether the executive powers that be really care about the political fallout. Like most lame-duckers, their thinking nowadays must surely be all about ‘legacy’. And we know from their own mouths that the one thing they claim to care about more than anything else is ‘leaving this place in better shape than the way we found it’.

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