ForeignPolicy

For 8 Years, George Bush Turned America Into an Episode of Beverly Hills, 90210

In George W. Bush's America High, it was decided that the best way to deal with countries they decided were NOT cool, was to not talk to them.

Remember high school? I sure do. For most, well-adjusted, average teens, high school was an emotional Gitmo. Four years of waterboarding, without the board, or the water. Instead we were doused with peer pressure and slammed against the false walls of equally false "popularity."

Of course there were those handful who loved high school. For them high school represented a high-water market in their lives. And for a handful of them it represented  THE high water mark of their lives. Never again would they be as popular, successful or powerful than they were as members of a high school "in-crowd."

For most of the rest of us it would take some 20 or 25 years, and a high school reunion, to discover how few of these former in-crowders had gone on to accomplish dittally-sh*t as adults. High school really was their high water mark. Sad. (Okay, not so sad.)

But, from time to time some of these high school hot shots rattles his or her way into positions of power and authority. Just how this happens remains one of life's enduring mysteries. But it happens, and that's exactly what happened with George W. Bush and his fellow in-crowders.

They ran America like it was America High for 8 years. And if you remember, Rule 1 of all high school in-crowds was to refuse to acknowledge the existence of those not "in," and that meant not talking to them.

And so it came to pass that in George W. Bush's America High it was decided that the best way to deal with countries around the world they decided were decidedly NOT cool, was to not talk to them. After all, it worked  for them in high school.

So it was decided that America High would be the head in-crowd nation and would talk only to nations the GWBers decided were cool. Likewise, as the head in-crowder, America High would be the one to decide who in the world was "in" and who in the world was "out." The slogan on America High's letterhead was changed to read, "You're either with us, or you're against us."

Among those the GWB crowd would not talk to were  Cuba and Venezuela. As for the rest of Latin America, the word went out, "hang around with those two lefty-loser countries and we won't talk to you either."

After all, we didn't want all of Latin America to become losers, geeks, nerds (aka, "socialists.") Toe the simplistic in-crowd line  –  "capitalism good... socialism bad" – or the phone line goes dead. ("No habla, no mas.")

Well, how did that work?

By 2006 the numbers of Latin American countries that had joined Cuba and Venezuela had mushroomed:

Latin America's Leftist Shift
"Within the last six years in Latin America numerous social movements have gained momentum in the fight for human rights, better living and working conditions and an end to corporate exploitation and military violence. Recently, left of center leaders have been elected in Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela. (Full)

Nice going, Bushie in-crowders. You hauty, holier than thou non-talkers managed to turn half of Latin America into Cuba.

"We had this debate throughout the campaign, and the whole notion was that somehow if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness — and the American people didn’t buy it," Obama said at a news conference following a weekend gathering of leaders from the Organization of American States here. "And there’s good reason they didn’t buy it, because it doesn’t make sense."(Full)

The GWB crowd's silent treatment wasn't restricted to Latin American. Nor was the damage.  They also decided that Iran, Syria and Hezbolla were also not speak-worthy nations.

So, how'd that go?

Well Iran, now freed from the threat of a hostile Iraq, a favor from the GWB in-crowd, decided this would be the ideal time to get to work on their own nuclear arsenal. The GWBers refused to talk, but Iran had noticed that they were regular Chatty Kathys when it came to fellow nuclear-in-crowders.  So, Iran figured a few nukes would be the perfect  conversation starter.

Syria, which had noticed that the Bushies only invaded neighboring Iraq once they were sure Saddam did not have nukes, decided it better bulk up too. So they teamed up with  nuclear-in-crowder, North Korea, and started building their own reactor.  Of course another nuclear-in-crowder, Israeli, quickly put a sock in that conversation. Because. we learn, when the talking stops, the bombing and shooting is usually not far behind.

Hezbollah gained control of Gaza after elections (that were demanded by GWB in-crowders.) So the Bushies added them to the no-talk list. From that point on Hezbolla got busy trying to get noticed by lobbing rockets into Israel. The Bush in-crowders refused to engage, fingers in ears and shouting over the blasts;

"We can't hear you.....la la la la la LA LA LA....”

So, once again the bombs and shooting filled the lull in conversation.

Finally, the Bush in-crowders figured, what's the use of being BMOC's on the world stage, if you can't throw your weight around and torment those you don't like? So the GWB in-crowd called in the jocks, who spent six of the next years beating the living crap out  those they were told "had it coming.”

( "When conservatives have the club in their hands, no one is more sadistic. When the club is removed, no one is more whiney." Glenn Greenwald )

I only mention all this high schooll la-de-da because these  former conservative in-crowders and their toadies at FOX went berserk (berserker than usual) last week because Obama had the audacity to smile and shake hands with (gasp) Venezuela's loudmouth president, Hugo Chavez.  Obama's crime? He broke in-crowder rule numero uno by talking to an out-crowder.

Look, these guys, the GWB in-crowders, turned American foreign and domestic policies into 8-year episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Mean Girls. During their terms they didn't earn a single dime, but lived high off Daddy's credit cards, (that would be the taxpayer's credit card.)

Like pissy high school girls, they refused to talk to anyone who didn't first agree to agree with them.

Like high school dimwit high school bullies, they formed their own fight club, daring anyone who thought they could take them to, "bring it on.”  There were takers, though of course they didn't fight those fights themselves, but called on others to do their dirty work for them, about 5000 of whom are now quite dead.(They will, of course, be remembered fondly at future reunions. Oh, and we'll be needing plenty of handicapped access for thousands of others.)

By the time graduation finally rolled around last November, the GWB crowd had managed to bankrupt America High and manage to convice a startlingly large hunk of the world they no longer wanted to talk to us either.

So, when you hear one of these down and out conservative dead-enders howling that "Obama is weakening  America,” because he is willing to smile and talk to anyone willing to do the same, consider the source.

Because, last November we were freed from them. We graduated. They haven't. They likely never will.  Because, after all, who's going to want to talk or listen to any of them again any time soon. Or ever?

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, which was nominated for a Pulitzer.
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