Michael Wright: I got a message on my voice mail "She's talking about the ancestors again and also about a kind of 12 inch high animal that lives in burrows in the Kalahari. Is she okay?" What's up?
Pundita: Nothing's up. I'm fine, fine.
MW: Not by that tone of voice.
P: What am I supposed to talk about? The Bush Democracy Doctrine dead in the water?
MW: Do you recall Robert Zoellick resigned from the state department in June? I am surprised you're not still walking on air.
P: Who's Rice picking to replace him? Count Dracula? Actually, that would be an improvement over yet another of her Cold War buddies.
MW: I think you're being premature to assume the doctrine is dead.
P: Okay, it's not dead; it's being sold off piecemeal by State.
MW: Who do you like for the next President of the United States?
P: Laura Bush.
MW: I'm asking a serious question.
P: I am writing her in as a proxy candidate for her husband.
MW: You don't want Dubya to leave office during this phase of the war?
P: I live in fear of the next US president.
MW: You think Iran is counting the hours until Bush and Cheney leave office?
P: And every other terror sponsoring state, including China.
MW: You don't like Cheney for president.
P: I respect Cheney but not as much as I fear him. He's part of the Cold War clan. Bush managed to break with the Republican branch of that clan over foreign policy and war doctrine. Yet I think Cheney was among the few in the party who didn't stab Bush in the back because of it.
I am afraid the new era is still very fragile, if it's gotten here yet. It's still more of a point on the horizon. It could vanish with the next White House administration.
MW: I think many see the choice as multilateralism or regionalism. You hear that argument in the talk about the collapse of the Doha round. "Now the world will revert to regionalism and bilateral deals and eventually drift back to the beggar thy neighbor trade environment of the 1930s."
P: They don't see the choice as between sound government and the collapse of civilization, do they?
MW: No, they don't see it that way, Pundita.
P: The ancestors see it that way. The meerkat clans of the Kalahari see it that way.
MW: [laughing] Okay, I'll stop trying to cheer you up.