Breathtaking Hubris

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set up a hypothetical situation here. Assume a couple of "sovereign"
nations have wound up in a face-off, something like the brouhaha
Britain and Argentina got into a few years ago over the Falkland

Argentinian chief (whose name I forget) hears that Maggy Thatcher
has delivered herself of the following:

cannot have a regime like that in Argentina where a few military
men control the situation in Argentina,” Thatcher said. “The
men and women of Argentina want freedom and change. A regime
like that of Argentina is not compatible with our vision for

would have said, quite apart from the issue of who should end up
in control of the Falklands, that the Hon. Maggie had gone quite
delirious and was now having visions in her head of how other nations
should be ruled. She had gone quite past, they would say, any hitherto
understood limitations on the reach of a British P.M. and was proposing,
not merely to insist on Britain's right to her Falkland colonies,
but to determine how the entire nation of Argentina should be run.
And in the bargain seeming to be rather threatening about it: "
We simply cannot have that sort of thing in Argentina." Sez
who? would be a fairly normal reaction of any fairly normal

hypothetical case is an introduction to an actual quote from an
April 27 Associated Press story on ABC Online News

Secretary Rumsfeld told an Associated Press interviewer last week
that a religious government of Iraq "isn’t going to happen.”

a tour of the Persian Gulf, Rumsfeld, made that point again April
27 in an interview with Abu Dhabi television, broadcast all over
the Arab world.

cannot have a regime like that in Iran where a few religious
men control the situation in Iraq,” Rumsfeld said. “The men
and women of Iran want freedom and change. A regime like that
of Iran is not compatible with our vision for Iraq.”

we've got a "vision for Iraq"? One yearns for the days
of Bush 41 when he made it clear he wasn't into the "vision
thing." Maybe Bush 43 isn't either, but some of his boys sure
are. What emboldens anyone to use language like that? Weaponry,
sheer weaponry.

the weapons are not all missiles and blockbusters, although those
are up front. But right behind them come the threats of: no electricity,
no food, no water, expropriation of oil, theft of treasures, etc.
After a little of that treatment, wouldn't you be apt to "get
with the vision"? Or would you go a little crazy and get a
tad violent?

seems plain that as of Sunday, the U.S. is still on course to be
the most buttinsky, most arrogant, and most aggressive nation in
history. This is not a reputation that causes me to rejoice. But
it fascinates me to watch this scene and wonder what can stop our
present managers from showing muscle all over the place. Something
will stop it, that's for sure; but the interesting thing about history
as it is created is that you never know. It isn't even true
that arrogance always fails. Often it works wonders, just as superior
muscle works wonders in many situations.

as a Nabisco route salesman, a good old Southern boy I once knew,
used to love to say even after he had risen high in the biscuit
hierarchy: "The sun don't shine on the same dog's ass all the

29, 2003

White [send him mail] writes
from Odessa, Texas.

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