Upon his return from Zurich where he had attended a symposium which, among other matters, discussed the meaning and impact of Iran President's recent invitation to the heads of the Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian governments to discuss the situation in Iraq, the Professor called me to return my hand held GPS (Ground Positioning System) and to share breakfast with him the next morning . During his trip, he had planned to spend a few days in Saas Fe and he thought it would be interesting to play with the GPS in such attractive setting.
After the usual exchanges, he reported:
A good part of the meeting was devoted to the eagerly expected Baker report on the strategy to follow in Iraq and, curiously enough in the alarming appearance of more and more problems caused by the countries in the so called Axis of Evil, first enunciated by President Bush in a State of the Union Speech.. Given the lackluster oral performance of the President, most people thought that his crude forewarning about those three countries, might hurt a lot less than a regrettable I told you so!
"Well, President Bush was criticized for the now famous phrase. Some felt that it implied a sentence to be applied eventually to the three countries named. Most agreed that the phrase reflected serious intentions on the part of the Bush Administration, which from day one had indicated a peculiar animosity toward Iraq.
The Professor nodded and added:
"The labeling of those countries implied a prediction of mischief on an international scale, meaning nuclear weapons. That mischief is now in the hands of Iran and South Korea. The Iraq invasion eliminated Iraq as a bona fide member of the Axis since the only weapons of mass destruction discovered were a half dozen rusty pick up trucks and a few drums of rubbing alcohol. The invasion however unleashed a world-wide terrorist reaction, with particular emphasis in the Middle East where age old rivalries are easy to exploit under false Islamic goals"
I can understand that, Professor. But I still think that trying to blend lofty ideals like the installation of freedom and democracy and half assed invasions do not work. Bush had a personal animosity toward Saddam Hussein arising from the fact that Saddam tried to have Bush Sr. assassinated after the Gulf War. Saddam's regime also disregarded a number of United Nations resolutions and laughed at some of the provisions of the oil embargo. Incidentally, those provisions caused fits of laughter that were shared by most of the nations that had formed the coalition to invade Iraq, which proves that in love and war, oil is stronger than the two.
The Professor laughed and helped himself to another warm croissant and some of that delightful Marmalade form bitter Seville oranges. I had no recourse than to do likewise. Then he said:
I go away for a couple of weeks and when I return you begin to sound poetic. Please check your diet! But, my friend we now have to contend with a clever change of tactics by Ahmadinejad, Iran's president. While cloaked in good intentions and expensive rhetoric about bringing peace to Iraq and stability to the Middle East, the real objective is to speed up the departure of US troops and presence in the area. In a way he is doing what we should have done years ago!"
After lighting the Cohiba, he looked at me and added:
Listen, on another subject, let me report that there is as much concern abroad about US corporate terrorism as there is about the Osamas, Saddams and Kim Jong Ils of this world. The disclosure about special benefits to some corporations close to the Administration is worrisome, if not obscene. Some did not miss the opportunity to lament that such crimes are not pursued with the same aggressiveness by the US authorities. They feel that under the veil, or is it a cloak? of globalization and lack of wise and honest regulations, US corporate giants, and in particular some of the stock, bond and fund rustlers, will continue to keep their fingers in the cookie jar. In this respect the European Union will issue new directives aimed at controlling the free exchange of company shares between European countries and Wall Street.
Did anyone make any suggestions?
Not really. At that point they were all in a hurry to telephone their brokers to sell their shares!
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