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Back PockeT Diplomacy

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Three things happened recently that should give the vigilant cause for pause. The New Hampshire Republican and Democratic Party primaries took center stage as the mainstream media beat the story to death and winning candidates all staking ownership to the “change” mandate first started by Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Now everybody is a “change” candidate in a milieu that is all too confusing for my liking.

But even as Americans and the international community were bolted to their seats in front of the boob-tube following with great interest the rise of Barack Obama in particular, and the rest of the presidential wannabes in general, a few serious developments took place under the radar screen that deserve to be examined because all three are intertwined and interrelated since they will have a direct bearing and impact on who becomes the next president of the United States.

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The day before the New Hampshire primary a select group of Democrats and Republicans came together at the University of Oklahoma in a forum convened to demand and end to partisan bickering and calling for greater unity and bipartisanship between the GOP and the Democratic Party.

Then the hobbled water fowl that is the United States president made a journey to the volatile Middle East to bring Israelis and Palestinians together; to revise and re-energize again - for the umpteenth time - the so-called “Peace Initiative Road Map” after he spent the bulk of his Administration watching Israelis and Palestinians from afar killing each other. Now this lamest of lame duck presidents wants a treated by the end of his presidency that would no doubt help erase the relevancy of his legacy as an inept, war-mongering president whose incompetence and arrogance secures his place in history as perhaps America’s worst president.

The media hype over Hillary Clinton’s win after the pollsters called it wrong was a never-ending whining and griping tirade about “what happened in New Hampshire.” The talking heads on television attributed Senator Clinton’s win to her “showing emotion” and “connecting with female voters.” In the aftermath of New Hampshire the name calling, acrimony and posturing reached near frenzied heights with the mainstream media giving every political crackpot airtime to make all kinds of silly and shallow statements.

Little emphasis was placed on the University of Oklahoma forum that was organized by former US Senator David Boren that included New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Republicans like Bill Brock and Chuck Hagel. Indeed, the composition of the gathering told a story of collaboration between the Democratic and Republican right wing elites whose ideology and interests converged despite belonging to different political parties.

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So that while President Bush was reading the riot act to the Israelis and Palestinians and threatening Iran at the same time, his party’s presidential hopefuls were squawking between themselves about who best represents the conservative base of the party and others still were yakking it up in Oklahoma burying their differences and proclaiming that there is more that unites them than divides them at this time. Mr. Bush’s sense of urgency on Middle East affairs was matched by those attending the Oklahoma forum calling for unity and bipartisanship.

Most of the Republicans at the meeting the public already know but it is the Democrats representing the most right-wing sections of the party explained by their membership in the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) - the rabid counterpart to the GOP’s RNC - that suggested a commonality of purpose. The forum called for a “government of national unity” that will include members of both parties - effectively becoming in the process a one party state. This is a sinister development that threatens the very foundation of what little is left of American democracy under President Bush.

It is the elite’s concern for the present plight of the republic and the devastation that Hurricane Bush hath wrought that drove them into each other’s arms. While the forum, like Mr. Bush’s traipsing all over the Middle East, seemingly sought a progressive agenda and approach this obfuscates the irreconcilable socio-economic contradictions that allowed an extremely limited man to lead American down a path of reckless military misadventure and encouraged the spending behavior of a 10-year old who just broke the piggy bank. In Mr. Bush’s topsy-turvy world of wrong is right and right is wrong his photo opportunity in Israel and his foolish gaffes in the West Bank are enough to set his legacy right.

And were things not so bleak then his antics could be dismissed as the adolescent behavior of a pubescent teenager pumped up with some Colt 45 malt beer. Indeed, to understand Mr. Bush is to embrace the illogical for it is only he in the face of overwhelming public criticism about his daddy-revenge war in Iraq and the loud and angry calls to bring the troops home would be contemplating a repeat of the same reckless actions this time in Iran.

With a certitude born of his religious, born-again conviction that he is called to wage war against “evil doers” Mr. Bush cares not for the grim statistics of nearly 4,000 US servicemen and women killed and more than 22,834 wounded in Iraq angling to give America the same by his belligerent stance against Iran in the face of his own intelligence services pointing out that he is totally wrong about that country’s nuclear program.

And in true quixotic fashion only this president could from one side of his mouth extol the “thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group,” while simultaneously out of the other side take its most far-sighted recommendation — “engage Syria and Iran” — and transform it into “threaten Syria and Iran.” Against this backdrop Mr. Bush’s posturing as a man of peace in Israel while more than 150,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the start of the war he sponsored by American bombs and guns, mercenaries running amok, Iraqi thugs, and murderous clan warfare was the epitome of hypocrisy.

This hypocrisy also reverberated in the Oklahoma forum where a privileged set of wealthy white men all members of the Old Guard called for bipartisanship at a time when America is at its most polarized and divided by the policies that these same set of people implemented and continue to implement. This group of politicians and former politicians are all tied to the ruling elite and financial oligarchy whose principal modus operandi is to divide and rule. That is why calls for bipartisanship and national unity ring hollow.

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A version of the bipartisanship ideal is the presidential campaign rhetoric of change first embraced and pushed by Barack Obama and now adopted by everyone else. So look out for more calls for bipartisanship on the campaign trail from both Democrats and Republicans wanting to cash in on something that is skillfully spun to a gullible populace and packaged in a way that transforms a sinister hidden agenda into progressive politics.

All of the presidential campaigns are dependent on the big money of the wealthy. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain et al are in the pockets of rich corporations and their super-rich patrons. None of them have raised a dime from the at-risk communities of Los Angeles, New York or Miami. None of them came to prominence by distinguishing themselves by working through the ranks of ordinary American society since the poor, immigrants, the working poor and the Middle class who make up the vast majority of the American population cannot afford the $100 million entry fee to purchase the American presidency.

So in a blunt conclusion campaign charisma, great speechifying, partisan sniping, kissing a few babies, and crying on national television have all to do with political showmanship that translates into little by way of substance. But this political legerdemain appears to be working as evidenced by the frenzied elation of the masses for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and to a lesser extent John Edwards and Mitt Romney.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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