I’m wondering. Help me wonder. Either Georgie Bush is the minor, depressing, witless ferret I think he is, or I am. It has to be one or the other. If things don’t start looking up pretty soon internationally, I’m going to be pretty sure which.
As best as I can tell, what the Maximum Cipher lacks, among an inexhaustible list of other things, is a hop-toad’s understanding of how people work. Here we have the explanation of just about everything he does. He’s dealing with a world full of people, but has no idea what people are. He probably couldn’t recognize one. So he doesn’t take their predictable behavior into account.
Think about it. When he went braying into Iraq like a learning-disabled jackass, he thought people would roll over, throw flowers, and have a democratic revolution. This would start a domino effect that would make all the other Moslem countries want to be democracies too. They would climb over each other to be democracies. They would love us because democracies love each other. He just knew it.
This makes perfect sense if you have no freaking idea how human beings work.
Of course, if you have read any history, which Bush hasn’t, you will have noticed that people do not like being occupied by force. They don’t like having their cities bombed. It galls them. It can, under certain circumstances (such as any circumstances) make them hostile.
If you think in terms of abstractions too simple for Reader’s Digest, you might reflect as follows: Democracy good. Iraqi people, love’m democracy, so love’m us. Urrrg. Then you might be real surprised when their gratitude was exiguous after you remorselessly wrecked their cities, killed their army (which consisted of other people’s husbands, brothers, and sons: ever think of that?), groped their women when you didn’t have time to rape them, and left them without water and electricity.
I’m not saying the Iraqis ought to dislike these things, only that pretty reliably they will dislike them. The Afghans too, or either. It’s how people are. Ungrateful.
Bush has no idea how people are.
This crackpot Boyscouterine outlook runs through everything the little man does, or more correctly tries to do. He really believes it, I think: The world is just waiting for us to bring it our favorite abstractions. They hate us for our freedoms, and yearn to be bombed into having them.
People don’t work that way. Bush doesn’t know it.
Remember when he had Kind-of-Twofer Rice publicly offer help to the Syrian opposition so they would overthrow their evil dictator and become wildly democratic? Same problem. Nobody told her, the poor bat-brained thing, that people don’t like being messed with by outsiders. Nor, being Secretary of State, did she know how intensely the United States is detested by most of the world. How would she know? It’s a secret known only to eight billion select people.
Bush wouldn’t have a clue if you gave him another one.
Remember when Baffled Boy wanted all the Moslem countries to have elections and be democracies? And was all surprised when it worked, and he got Hamas and all? Let’s ponder this. The analysis will be difficult, but I have faith in my readers.
What happens when you have elections in a country in which most of the people hate you? We’ll do this by multiple choice, to give everyone an even chance. Answer: they elect a government that (a) loves you, loves Israel, and wants desperately to do everything you tell it to, or (b) hates your guts. If you went for (a), you are a Republican and have no idea how people actually work. And you probably listen to ooom-pa music.
Nowadays our Keystone President, ever impervious to reason, experience, or the obvious, leers at Iran like a deviant in a nudie bar. (He probably wears a raincoat when thinking about policy.) He figures that the Iranians too want to be attacked in the name of unasked-for virtue. It didn’t work in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, so it will work in Iran. He wants to encourage Iranian dissidents so that they will overthrow the evil mullahs and set up a yes Democracy, and love us, and be our drinking buddies and sit the dog while we go on vacation.
How is he going to cause them to rise up in love for us? By massively bombing several hundred places in Iran, killing many thousands of its people, and humiliating them in the eyes of the world. Why, what could make more sense? Sense anyway if you don’t know enough about people to grasp that nationalism trumps internal divisions. They will of course rally ’round the flag, because people don’t like being messed with by outsiders.
Bush doesn’t understand this. He doesn’t know about people.
Let us suppose that you don’t like Bush. If the Chinese bombed your home, and killed your sister, would that make you join the Chinese and want a puppet government?
It is not how people work.
As we speak, the Israelis have pretty much destroyed Lebanon. Bush keeps the UN from doing anything to interfere, and sends advanced bombs to the Israelis so they can blow up anything that’s left. He thought — get this — that since Hezbollah is Shiite, the Sunnis would join with (yes! Yes!) Israel to fight them. Was there ever such a fruitcake? (I like to think of a fruitcake in a raincoat.)
He had no idea how people work.
It’s breathtaking. He has occupied and made rubble of two Moslem countries, and heavily supports Israel, hated by all Moslem countries, in turning Lebanon, a third Moslem country into rubble, and is threatening Syria and Iran, two more Moslem countries, with attack, possibly nuclear. By doing this he is going to inspire Moslems with a passion for American democracy, change the Mid-East into Fifth Century Athens, and make them love us.
God Almighty, what a fool. What a bus-station clown. It isn’t how people work.
The same fertile stupidity shows in his relations with Latin America. The first thing to recognize about the world below Laredo is that the countries there deeply, deeply resent American meddling. Whether you think the resentment justified, or the meddling for that matter, is irrelevant. Rule One of diplomacy here is don’t get into Latin faces unless you really need to.
So what does Befuddlement do? Some Cuban officials came to Mexico City and checked into a Sheraton. He had the Sheraton eject them. It was utterly childish, and utterly pointless (you don’t suppose there might be another hotel in Mexico City, do you?) and infuriated Mexico. People are still angry. And sympathetic to Cuba.
But Cuba does not practice democracy, and to Dudley Do-Right, or the Do-Right Dud, the abstraction is what counts. Cuba bad, democracy good, urg. Bow-wow.
An old reporter’s saying holds that a burro is an ass, and a burrow is a hole in the ground. A newsman, it is said, should know the difference. Maybe presidents too.
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and the just-published A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be.