Defining Diplomacy Down
When asked about issues Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might raise with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at this week's security conference on Iraq, which is being hosted by Egypt, President Bush said,
Should the foreign minister of Iran bump into Condi Rice, Condi won't be rude. She's not a rude person. I'm sure she'll be polite.Ignoring for the moment the ridiculous conceit that Rice will merely "bump into" the Foreign Minister of Iran as though such an encounter will only occur on a trip to the bathroom, herein exposed, in three sentences, all that is wrong with George Bush and his administration.
Firstly, he doesn't even understand the question. Secondly, he doesn't understand the question because he is, first and exclusively, a simple and dull-minded bully. Thirdly, all he has surrounded himself with espouses the same Neanderthal mentality.
Or at least Bush thinks he has. So much so, that he is capable of believing that Rice would be rude if given the chance. But he's "sure" she won't be. That Bush believes he is reassuring us all, when in reality he is assuring no one but himself, is more revealing of himself, as the best of his gaffes usually are. Bush is probably the only person in the country capable of believing Condoleezza Rice would, or might be rude at an international conference on Middle East security. If he weren't, such a thought would not have entered his mind. Think of the question yourself; does an image of Condoleezza Rice being rude to the Iranian Foreign Minister in any way pop into your head?
But apparently Bush must reassure us on this, because you just never know what might fly out of Rice's potentially rude mouth. What Bush is showing us here is not what he thinks we think Rice capable of, but of what he thinks Rice -- or indeed any of his underlings -- capable. It is not a statement about Rice at all and in that regard Bush is displaying his usual antipathy for reality and reaffirms for us just how insulated and delusional he really is.
That Bush thinks the question about possible discussions with Iranian officials would amount to Rice being rude or not belays Bush's troubling sense of the world. He knows, of course, that his administration has been bullying the Iranians and they, in response, have bullied back. But that the President of the United States understands a question of diplomacy in the terms he has clearly demonstrated does not bode well for the remaining period of his presidency or prospects for an equitable solution regarding Iran's nuclear program.
So this is how we have been shown the attitude of Bush's White House toward diplomacy. It is nothing new, really. While the word "diplomacy" has come out of a lot of White House mouths, in practice, it has been rarely in evidence. Because what they think of as diplomacy has merely been attempts at not being rude while they march lock-step and unflinching toward the aims of a preset agenda. Anything else has been an unintended consequence.