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US Foreign Policy & Freddie Widgeon
|by Gaurang Bhatt, MD|
The US foreign policy is that of a juvenile hormone driven immature teenager. Its goal like its financial industry is short term gain with focus on the next quarter and share price.
On the one hand it is mortally scared of militant Islamists gaining access to Pakistan’s nuclear assets, which in its characteristic stupidity, it did not nip in the bud and tolerated for its obsession with destroying communist Soviet Union and now fumbles in how to deal with the Frankenstein of its own creation. (See CSIS video on Pakistan dated June 2011 with Anthony Cordesman and Bruce Reidel at cspan.org under video library or at csis.org). The US showed a complete lack of understanding of third world countries yearning to breathe free of colonial imperialism and misjudged the situation in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Congo, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, South Africa, Central & South America, Carribean, Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan and elsewhere and supported dictators and tyrants who enriched themselves while destroying their nation and oppressing their citizens.
The rich and powerful in the US and in much of the world following the Washington neo-liberal consensus (see my article on Madison’s Hoax, Gresham’s Law) have misled their own public (read “What’s The Matter With Kansas”) and continue to do so even today despite the US fiscal and financial crisis. Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman, to name a few, could not get elected even as dog catchers in any country where the population has even a reptilian brain, yet the innumerable pest pundits who infest the American media, convey to the dumb, intellectually challenged, time constrained and financially stressed US public with a limited attention span, abysmal ignorance, high emotionality and obsessive religiosity, who deserves their attention and vote. Even so called more deserving candidates are like the foolish John McCain, who are puppets of lobbyists and pollsters and go out to fight an election with the choice of a dingbat like Palin as their vice-presidential candidate. He deserves to be complimented for his courage in jumping into a battle of wits while being completely unarmed.
One sees the same lack of any substance, analysis, thought or intelligence in the talk show hosts, political mavens, think tank conferences and commentators who constitute the dimmest light bulbs of the republic.
US infatuation with Pakistan reminds me of a classic P.G.Wodehouse story about Freddie Widgeon whose title if I am not mistaken is Trouble At Tudsleigh Towers. Freddie Widgeon like juvenile Uncle Sam regularly and frequently falls in love with any nubile female he sees. This one was reading a book titled the poems of Tennyson. Being a strategist like our Pentagon, Freddie immediately went to a bookshop to buy a copy of the book and subsequently followed his new love to the English countryside. Being somewhat dyslexic and intellectually challenged but also in a great hurry to plead his love suite, all he read was the title and the first few stanzas of “The Lady Of Shalott” including, Elaine, the lovable, Elaine the fair, Elaine the lily maid of Astolat.
He wormed his way into the presence of his lady love enjoying a picnic at the riverside while ignoring a well muscled competitive suitor who as a Colonel in the British Indian army who had successfully battled the Pashtuns at the Durand line and whom Freddie removed from the scene by sending him a false telegram recalling him to fight the Pashtuns. Freddie brought the conversation to his love for Tennyson and managed to garner his inamorata’s instant attention. She waxed eloquent about Tennyson’s works including Mort De Arthur, Ulysses, Lotos-Eaters etc., and Freddie with his limited repertoire kept repeating the only poem of Tennyson, with which he had a barely passing acquaintance -The Lady Of Shalott. The girl remarked on his obsession with this singular piece of work and Freddie expanded on the immense personal virtue of the mother to be of Sir Galahad the founder of the Holy Grail. Freddie like Uncle Sam however, was unaware that Sir Lancelot was tricked into believing that he was sleeping with Guinevere, wife of King Arthur, when he made Elaine pregnant with Galahad. Incidentally Lancelot’s obsession with Arthur’s wife Guinevere led to amongst other things the rebellion of Mordred, death of Arthur and destruction of Camelot.
Anyway Freddie’s lady love had some other important appointment and had to go away for a couple of hours so she requested Freddie to look after her younger teen sister Prudence in the interim. Freddie who hated children and dogs with as much passion as the US hates ragheads and other unmentionables, grudgingly accepted the responsibility in the hope of furthering his suite. Young sister Prudence was to Freddie’s love, what the ISI is to the Pakistani army or government, much smarter, more manipulative and somewhat Bohemian. She discussed the works of Tennyson with Freddie who categorically proclaimed that all of Tennyson’s heroines were ladies worth emulating. Prudence raised some doubts by giving the example of Lady Godiva, who unbeknownst to Freddie, had ridden through town sans clothes with only her long hair covering her modesty. Freddie like the US, being historically and literature challenged knew only the title and few stanzas of only one Tennyson poem. With his attention deficit and scotomas towards females devoid of prominent secondary sexual characteristics as the budding thirteen year old Prudence was, and not having the vision of a prophet to discover latent Ayeshas, told her to get lost and follow the example of any heroine of Tennyson, while he spent his idle time interval imbibing cold beer, while awaiting the return of his lady love.
Pretty soon the sultry afternoon and generous portions of beer led to Freddie’s falling asleep while Prudence divested of all clothing caroused in the river and drifted downwards with the current. Some hours later Freddie woke up after a setback like Iraq, and saw Prudence’s garments on the banks of the river and panicked. He dived in like attacking Libya and Yemen and shouted for Prudence, as he swam. Half an hour or ten years in the now cooling waters in the evening Freddie came out of the water a distance from where he had initially jumped in. Now cold and shivering, he saw a cottage near the bank, knocked at the door and receiving no answer barged in. He undressed, dried himself with a towel and took the liberty of borrowing a shirt and a pair of slacks from the wardrobe. As he started dressing in the borrowed clothes the door opened and in walked his annoyed competing suitor misled by his bogus telegram, who had tamed the Afghans (like Taliban beating the Northern Alliance). The muscular colonel let out his Tarzan yell which had caused pregnant Afghan females to abort and rushed at Freddie whose conceptual abilities were immune from the yell.
Freddie being lighter of weight and handicapped less because he had only worn the shirt and was still without trousers outpaced the colonel, ran to the colonel’s car which still had the keys in the ignition and floored the accelerator. In a few moments he felt cold for lack of trousers, but used a blanket (standard ancillary before car heaters) to cover his legs. A few miles further his car was flagged down by his lady love who angrily asked him whether he had encouraged young prudence to play the role of Lady Godiva. Freddie, a little confused mumbled some non sequiturs. His love asked him to open the car door and give her a blanket to cover Prudence who was hiding naked in the bushes. Freddie realized that he was at an impasse and no explanation of why he was naked below the waist, why he had allowed Prudence to behave as she did while he was in charge, and allowing his lady love to sit in the front seat of the car while he was not wearing trousers could in anyway redeem his odds of attaining her love. He thus released the clutch, pressed the accelerator and drove on leaving his love fuming with an open mouth.
The story then ends with Freddie trying to salvage a few shillings by trying to sell a secondhand book “manual of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism”, er sorry I meant Tennyson’s poems in the suburbs of Langley or is it Kabul or was it the lake district of England.
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