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Inventing the End of P-oil-itics

EITHER way, the situation appears to be hopeless with President Bush. He is not an inventor. Read between the lines of his Thanksgiving day speech to United States soldiers in Saudi Arabia, or simply read the lines. You'll hear the convenient duplicity and ultimate limitation of outdated American foreign policy.

Bush says that the US is in Saudi for three reasons: to protect freedom, to protect our future, and to protect innocent life. He says the ``world is a dangerous place,'' and this is a ``real-world situation.''

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This is also stirring, patriotic rhetoric scripted by people who probably saw too many John Wayne movies and still cling to what are now politically immature perspectives. For the sake of the men and women in Saudi and the true needs of the world, the Bush rationale needs to be examined.

What the speechwriters conveniently don't tell us out there in the hot sand is that their definition of freedom includes selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of US-made weapons to Saddam over the years. The US government approved these transactions.

Morality was beside the point then, because US arms merchants liked Saddam's money and oil. Never mind what he did in the ``real world'' because the ``real'' world had been in an immature frenzy of arms sales and oil consumption. To a large degree that's what made the world dangerous. Bush introduces patriotism and morality suddenly, because Saddam is now a ``real'' bully. He invaded friendly, oil-rich little Kuwait.

Call it simple, old-fashioned p-oil-itics; call it deadly too. No doubt Saddam will use US-made weapons to kill American soldiers if shortsightedness triggers war in the Gulf.

And ``innocent life?'' US leaders hardly gave a hoot about innocent life when Iran and Iraq tried to destroy each other for eight years, utilizing plenty of American-made weapons. Thousands of innocent people were killed.

And ``protecting the future?''

To protect our ``real'' future, I suggest that the US needs leaders who think abundantly differently from George Bush and most of Congress. This new breed of leader will in fact have to be even more tough-minded than Bush or our leaders of the last 50 years.

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We need extraordinary inventors of solutions, mature people who understand the habits, customs, and beliefs of other cultures, as well as the nuances of politics. We need people willing to work themselves to death to forge clear, generous solutions among nations.

This new breed of leader will dare to day, ``Why not make breakthroughs in relationships with men like Castro, Saddam, Qaddafi, and Arafat?'' Hasn't mutual hatred poisoned the world enough?

Former President Reagan learned that calling a nation an ``evil empire'' was far less productive than sitting across from Gorbachev and talking.

The difference should be that the new solutions will meet ``real'' human needs, solutions with the potential to be irresistible even to bullies. Helping other nations to have enough food, basic education, housing, ample health care, and to live on a good, green earth is the only way to protect the future of the human race.

War today is infantile. The sheer, raw idea of it is so appallingly wasteful when the human needs of this planet are considered. It is in our mature, patriotic interest NOT to have war, NOT to allow tens of thousands more young men and women to die in the Middle East. A bully is convincing us that there are not other solutions and leading President Bush to assert that we are protecting freedom when, more accurately, he means the freedom for the US to continue consuming most of the world's energy.

Juvenal, the Roman satirist, could have had the US in mind when he wrote about the hazards of luxury: ``Now we are suffering all the evils of a long continued peace. Luxury, more ruthless than war, broods over Rome, and exacts a vengeance for a conquered world.''

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