Friday, March 11

Creatures from the Theoretical Bubble Lagoon

"Pundita! Where is the Juggernaut 2 essay you promised us? You're not going to go wandering off talking about Russia again, are you?"
[Signed] Not Born Yesterday in New York

Dear NBY:

Yes yes Pundita hasn't forgotten. It's just that we've been plunged into a dark mood, which ruffles the calm mien required to discuss the World Bank. We don't approve of burdening the reader with our personal problems but so far this week a dear colleague attempted suicide, there was a storm in the Atlantic Ocean, and Pundita learned that the Council on Foreign Relations managed to steal the Theoretical Bubble machine from the Pentagon and get the contraption working again.

The colleague was coaxed from a window ledge on his office building, which is not situated in this country. He held out for five hours, all the while screaming at police and bystanders that the Washington Post is in the pay of Russian oligarchs. His wife told me by satphone that with time and beadwork he'll recover but right now he's under heavy sedation.

The Theoretical Bubble Machine has always had a bug. Once it's switched on, it keeps making bubbles. These drift on the air currents to Geneva, where over time the bubbles formed a lagoon. Every once in a while the creatures who live in the lagoon mass for an attack on Washington, which they are doing as I write these very words. An ominous sign is this New York Times headline:
Data is Lacking on Iran's Arms, U.S. Panel Says WASHINGTON, March 8 - A commission due to report to President Bush this month will describe American intelligence on Iran as inadequate to allow firm judgments about Iran's weapons programs, according to people who have been briefed on the panel's work....
Now study this paragraph from an article published in the International Herald Tribune of March 8, 2005. Ray Takeyh, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations recommends that:
The United States should officially participate in the EU-Iran discussions and put on the table its economic sanctions, acknowledgment of Iran's territorial integrity and recognition of its existing regime.
Taken together, what do these March 8 stories mean? They mean that the US contingent in NATO is sucking up to the Euro contingent in a bid to hold the alliance together.

Is it all that wrong to want to make concessions to NATO allies? Up to a point, no. But as Shaheen Fatemi pointed out on John Batchelor's show and in his response to Takeyh's piece, there's plenty wrong with assigning legitimacy to the Tehran regime:
Appeasement of the regime in Tehran will not stop them from pursuing their weapons policy, nor will it diminish their support of terrorism. But it will keep them in power longer and will allow them to prolong their oppression of the Iranian people.
Now what does this have to do with a storm in the Atlantic and Pundita's bad mood? Well, every time the Creatures slosh their way toward Washington, this sets up a disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean. This causes a storm, which drives the seagulls into downtown Washington, DC. The situation is not so bad in the warm months but when the storm rises in the winter, as it did earlier this week, this creates what passes for dangerously cold and windy weather in the Greater Washington, DC region. It wouldn't be dangerous weather in say, Chicago or Albany, but this region is the only place in the galaxy where local meteorologists refer to 3 inches of snow as "The White Death."

When the weather gets dangerously cold in Washington this means the squirrels have trouble scrounging croissant crumbs and French fries. The seagulls have every fast food outlet and Starbucks in Washington mapped out. Then can spot a croissant crumb from two miles up and if a squirrel is there first, well, the squirrel is toast.

All this falls back hard on Pundita. We once made the mistake of explaining to the squirrel member of the team what is meant by the term, "World Bank consultant." Since then, every time there's a winter storm Pundita has to run policy meetings with scores of consultants scampering across the conference table.

Why don't they simply dig up the nuts they spent the Fall burying instead of asking to get beat up by seagulls? Pundita has a theory. The Winter and Spring finds the squirrel accusing Pundita and the other team members of stealing his hoard. One day it hit me: he can't remember where he buried most of the nuts. Perhaps the effect of junk food and pastry on the squirrel brain.


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