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September 19, 2008


Tiger by the tail


It has been reported frequently that George W. Bush is concerned about his place in history. His worries are over. He’ll have one.

Bush will be remembered as the American president who dragged the rest of the world into an expensive and destabilizing “war against terror.” As the American president who fiddled as the globe heated up. And now, as the American president whose disregard for the sensible monitoring of his country’s financial practices is threatening economies all over the planet.

No, he didn’t do it all by himself. But in the United States, the buck stops on the desk in the Oval Office of the White House. It’s his deal.

Mao Zedong famously called the United States a paper tiger: “Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain.” That was then, this is now.  International leaders today must believe that they hold a real, live tiger by the tail. Turn him loose, and they risk annihilation. All they can do is hold on tight, for dear life, and hope that he tires before he can do any more damage. But even his collapse is to be feared, for if he lands on them, he will destroy them.

End of rant. It needed to be said. But wiser minds than mine are busily trying to unravel the many-stranded economic mess we’ve allowed ourselves to get entangled in. I’ve said enough.

In fact, I’ve said all that I will be saying for the next several weeks. My old disease has come back, not dangerously so, but temporarily requiring huge doses of a medication that turns my brain into cornmeal mush. I feel like an anti-drug ad: “This is your brain. This is your brain on prednisone.”  The I Ching says, “In this case withdrawal is proper; it is the correct way to behave in order not to exhaust one’s forces.” But the I Ching also says, “Perseverance furthers.” I’ll be back.

Thanks for reading.


   —  Copyright Betsey Culp 2008