Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Whatever happened to Pootie-Poot?

It’s easy now to look back and mock the George W. Bush who made this pronouncement about his new friend Vladimir Putin:

“I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Easy to mock, yes, and no, I won’t resist.

Because now, seven years later, Pootie-Poot has announced himself as someone who is somehow resistant to the quote-unquote president’s  powers of telepathy and x-ray vision.  He did this by invading Georgia in a not-very straightforward or trustworthy way, darn it. It’s almost like this Russian guy has been thinking one thing and saying another. It’s too late to educate the quote-unquote in this sort of arcane behavior, which relies upon a skill set somewhat above that of walking while chewing gum, but I have confidence that his successor will be able to handle it.

At this point Bush isn’t the point, barring his late-term ability to further botch an international crisis (a topic which again raises the question of just how much damage he can do in the remaining months; this assumes, of course, that he actually leaves office). But while I’m tempted to leave aside further criticism that merely adds spittle to the hurricane, I just can’t part without enumerating the steps that led to this incursion by Russia into Georgia:

  • The U.S. encouraging Georgia in its efforts to join NATO, and the U.S. angling to place missile-defense systems throughout that region bordering Russia.  It seems to me that when the shoe was on the other foot, in a little situation we now refer to as “The Cuban Missile Crisis,” we were apoplectic at the notion of the Soviets doing something similar to us.
  • Encouraging “emerging democracies” without recognizing that not everyone wants every democracy to emerge — especially when it is next door and when it contains people you consider to be part of your own nation-state. (As the Russians consider Osetia.) As anyone who has played the board game Risk knows, one little foreign-controlled nation in the center of Asia throws the entire Asian continent (and its bonus armies) out of whack. But I take Bush for an Uno player, where you win by losing cards and points.
  • A dangerous misreading of a foreign state and its leader. See “Pootie-Poot,” above.
  • Invading Iraq, a nation that did not attack us, which directly ties to the rhetorical question voiced by a Russian commander the other day:  “If the U.S. can take Baghdad, why can’t we take Tblisi?”

Yes, Georgia is an independent nation — as independent as one can be when bordered by an overwhelming power willing to use overwhelming force, and abetted only by a feckless West that makes bold promises but never delivers. Now it’s time to rattle our swords and seem aghast, while maintaining the tacit admission that if Kansas ever decides to go Communist, it’s unlikely to be allowed to stand.

Leave a Reply