For how long will the Saudis be able to restrain themselves? And the Egyptians? Saudi Arabia and Egypt have their own homegrown problems with keeping a lid on terrorism and fundamentalist opposition to their tenuous rule. Will Saudi Arabia also devolve into a certainly uncivil civil war? Will Egypt go next as it tries desperately to play traffic cop at the Suez Canal? And what happens to the price of oil?
All this while Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel break bread and eat roast pig. The irony couldn't be more startling. As the two leaders of the West toast each other's health and answer brief softball questions, the Washington Post reports that Bush keeps his focus on the roast. "A few minutes later -- after discussing Iran, the Middle East, the merits of press freedoms in Russia and progress on the Doha round of free trade talks -- Bush returned to the boar." The only sound heard above the clicks of the cameras flashing for photo ops is the hollow bang of silence in the face of impending disaster.
The security in Germany for this Bush visit is tighter than that for the World Cup, and more costly (over 12 million euros, more than 12,000 police). Anti-war, anti-Bush demonstrations are being limited, miles from anywhere that Bush will set foot. In order to provide adequate security for the President, the whole village has been converted to a Green Zone for the day: blockades and security fences surround the town, businesses must close for the day, all windows must remain shut, cars must be removed from the area, and all drains in the town are plugged. A curfew is in effect for the residents from 9:30 a.m. until an hour after Bush has left. This is the kind of security detail that surrounded Hitler in his peak of power. This is what we have become.
©2006, Lynne Glasner