Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is America the new Tibet? What happened in Copenhagen . . .

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/23/09

Those who look for meaning in swirling things in the sky will find them, especially on Winter Solstice. But the older rabbis tell us to look beneath the surface to find essentials, and what happened beneath the surface at Copenhagen is worth reporting. It was a modest nightmare, like one of those unsettling dreams like you are walking on the edge of a cliff, or strolling in public to suddenly realize you are naked, or that you go to your office and someone has taken your chair away. That’s what happened to America in Copenhagen. The new world order came together and they forgot to set a chair for Obama.

I guess they forgot to read Sun Tzu on the ride over as suggested here. The only object of war and politics is to psychologically destabilize your opponent, said Sun Tzu. Like taking his chair away. Everything else will follow from that. But there could be another meaning to that dream; it could mean you are not prepared for the nuance and subtly required for the actions ahead and that could apply as well. Obama arrived late, just at the end, just in time to declare victory, but the Chinese considered it “grandstanding.”

“It was almost unthinkable,” wrote Charles Babington and Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press. “The President of the United States walked into a meeting of fellow world leaders and there wasn’t a chair for him, a sure sign he was not expected, maybe not even wanted.”

It was downhill from the beginning. China would send a second-tier official, Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei instead of Premier Wen Jiabao to meet with Obama, a classic diplomatic snub. At a later meeting they sent an even lower official. “I don’t want to mess around with this anymore, I want to just talk with Premier Wen,” said a rattled Obama.

What is interesting here is that Obama, looking for a friend while cooling his heels in waiting for Wen, headed over to chat with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Then he did some male bonding with his Euro bros, England, France and Germany. Meanwhile, the four-nations known as BASIC – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – gathered together without American representation. Wen agreed to meet with Obama, then changed the time, then after some strategic confusion, didn’t.

Obama expected to meet with Wen alone but after more confusion, aides told him that Wen was in the meeting with the leaders of the three other BASIC countries, apparently talking strategy without him.

The NYTs reported that Obama virtually busted into the room with Hillary in tow, calling out and demanding to know if Wen would see him.

Inside the room he found the started leaders and no chair for him to sit in.

“I’m going to sit by my friend Lula,” he said, moving toward Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. A Brazilian aide then gave his chair to Obama. Babington and Loven based their account on dozens of interviews and statements by key players from numerous countries.

It’s not clear how close a friend Lula actually is to Obama. What seems clear is that India, Brazil and most of the developing countries were taking their cues from China. While France, Germany, England and even Russia were siding up to Obama.

It is very possible to see here the awakening of a new world order and the beginnings of things in an east/west pattern that will work their way through this century and into the next, just as it was possible to see what would rise ahead as the world’s nations postured and posed at Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Could be problems here. I added them up and they have like two billion more people than we have.

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