Bush’s ‘Lucid Dreams’

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Bush’s ‘Lucid Dreams’ Becoming Nightmares

by Leon Hadar by Leon Hadar

Dreams "are chief nourishers in life’s feast," said Shakespeare in Macbeth.

Indeed, while dreams offer a private means to explore inner reality and to gain unique, undeniable, personal experiences, psychologists also recognize that there is overwhelming evidence that dreams can be used to improve waking life, often immeasurably as storehouses of creativity.

Many people often remember no dreams at all, and even when they do, it is almost exclusively upon awakening. But scientists are now exploring now what they term as "lucid dreams."

In that condition, one realizes that he or she is dreaming while the dream is still happening.

The dreamer becomes aware that the world being experienced, although appearing very believable, is actually a dream and that his or her physical body is elsewhere safe asleep in bed.

With this new understanding, the lucid dreamer is free to explore remarkable worlds limited only by imagination. The increased clarity lucid state often enables the dreamer to return awake laden with creative insights.

Examples of dream-inspired works are the Beatles’ well-known hit Yesterday and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll.

Golfer Jack Nicklaus claims to have solved a problem with his golf swing within a dream, which subsequently improved his game by ten strokes.

Formulating policy

And now we can even study the way lucid dreams provide US leaders, officials and lawmakers with rich sources of creativity to help them formulate policy towards China and on Iraq.

Hence two leading US lawmakers, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, have been exploring their lucid dream — the United States threatens to impose tariffs of 27.5 per cent on Chinese imports if Beijing doesn’t allow the yuan to float more freely — as a basis for a bill they cosponsored and which was backed by 67 other senators.

Last week, the Bush administration, resisting pressures from the China Bashers, refused to brand China as a currency manipulator.

Instead, in a report issued by the Treasury Department every six months on the currency policies of the nation’s trading partners, the US only expressed disappointment that trading in the yuan is "highly constricted."

Schumer and Lindsey are angry and are now threatening to demand a vote on their bill — a move that could ignite a major trade war between China and the US.

In their lucid dream, Schumer, Lindsey and other China Bashers on Capitol Hill not only expect Beijing to surrender to American pressure. They also predict that China’s trade surplus with the US — which has continued to balloon in 2005 and is expected to approach a record US$200 billion — would vanish into thin air if and when the Chinese agree to float their currency.

In reality, the Chinese are reluctant to be bullied into a decision they are not yet ready to make. And even if the US would implement 27.5 per cent import duties on Chinese products, such an action would do little — if anything — to change US trade patterns, rising current account deficits and large public sector dissavings. Moreover, if the Chinese would indeed let the yuan float, the consequences for the US and the global economy could be catastrophic.

If Chinese authorities were to float the yuan and the currency indeed appreciates significantly, China’s thirst for US government securities would be quenched almost immediately. Instead of piling up low-yielding US Treasury bonds, the Chinese monetary authorities could allocate their capital more efficiently and might even be tempted to sell some of their existing stocks of dollar-denominated securities.

Such a move would dramatically weaken the value of the US dollar and encourage other central banks in Asia to sell their US Treasury bonds.

Financing the deficit

And without the Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans willing to finance America’s expanding deficit, even the lucid dream of President George W Bush and his neoconservative aides of "democratizing" Iraq, the Middle East and the entire planet (the so-called Democratic Empire) would be shattered — especially since in that dream, no one raises taxes or cuts domestic social programs in order to free money to pay for the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and other nation-building operations in the growing number of US-controlled imperial outposts.

Like golfer Nicklaus resolving the problem with his golf swing, Bush and the neocons have drawn the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" within a dream in which effective Iraqi security and military forces defeat the insurgency, the Iraqi people unite behind their democratically elected government, and Iraq serves as a model of freedom for the entire Middle East.

The main elements in this lucid dream were described by Bush during his Plan-for-Victory address at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis last Wednesday and in a 35-page report on "winning" the war.

Nicklaus may have improved his game by ten strokes by re-creating his lucid dream. Unfortunately, when it comes to US policy in Iraq, and not unlike the China Bashers’ plans to punish China, it’s becoming obvious to those of us who haven’t fallen asleep and are not residing in Dreamland that the dreams concocted in the heads of officials and lawmakers in Washington are looking more and more like real nightmares now.

Leon Hadar [send him mail] is Washington correspondent for the Business Times of Singapore and the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan). Visit his blog.

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