First, this week's award for the most amusing interpretation of international news as an expression of American pop-culture goes to Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Commenting on America's rapidly deteriorating standing in the world in the wake of the latest developments in Iraq, Friedman wrote , "I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today... It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom "Friends" right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving."
It's not unusual to see Friedman writing critically of the Bush administration, though Friedman goes out of his way to provide a fresh and global perspective on the issues facing us. He has recently spent time in India exploring the controversies around the issues of outsourcing American tech-support jobs to call centers in Bangalore, and came away with the realization that "people who work for you are much less inclined to want to blow you up," or something to that effect. At least he managed to convey that there is more than one side to that particular issue.
But I am beginning to see cracks in the usual foundations of support for Bush and his attempts to "change the world" by making it safe for Democracy, Barbie Dolls, Big Macs and Halliburton. Even stalwart, right-leaning outlets like the Wall Street Journal, while still supporting the basic thrust of the administration's policies are beginning to take exception to the way those policies are being implemented.
Last week, the Journal ran an op-ed story under the headline, A Politically Weak President that said, among other things, "a clear plurality of Americans believe America is headed in the wrong direction, lack confidence on the economy and Iraq and believe the country can do better than George W. Bush in the White House."
I think that's the first time that the Journal has even hinted that Bush may be in the final months of his presidency, and while the journal has yet to actually come out and endorse "regime change" in Washington, the article does suggest some ways that John Kerry can assure that outcome, which we'll get to shortly.
If it should come to pass that Bush is "redefeated", then we may have a hapless soldier, Private First Class Linndie England to thank for that outcome. Private England, is the charming young woman we have all seen by now pictured at the business end of a leash, at the other end of which is one of the poor Iraqi citizens we are supposedly trying to "liberate" by incarcerating them in Saddam Hussein's most notorious prison and torture house. Boy, there's a woman who's got some problems with men -- a perfect example of American ideals to send abroad. Nice work, Linndie. And if Bush goes down.... thank you.