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We Are The World

Lileks reviews Obama's empty speechifying in Berlin. It's not a pretty sight:

He also called for an end to nuclear weapons. (This was also Reagan's dream, but he had a different way of going about it.) Of course, this isn't going to happen, but it sounds nice. Who wouldn't want a world in which everyone decommissions the nukes, and Iran says "wait, what? We thought these were cool. Well, then, we'll give them up. Geez, next thing you'll tell us, Izod shirts with popped collars are out." We will never poke the Genie back in the bottle, and Obama knows this. But the words loft well on the breath of the assembled. The problem, however, is that he didn't just set forth ideas humanity would be wise to make manifest - he made them moral imperatives that must be done now, because the THIS IS THE MOMENT, and NOW IS THE MOMENT THAT THIS IS, and the moment to come in a few moments is also the moment, but it's a few moments past the previous moment, which was also now. THIS IS THE MOMENT to do something about Darfur. Fine. What? THIS IS THE MOMENT to do something about Burmese dissidents. Fine. What?

Nothing will be done about either; they are, unfortunately, matters inconsequential to the general order of things. This is not to say that they are not obscene, or horrific, or more evidence of human perfidy both general and specific, but just as the world summed the strength to turn away from Rwanda and Cambodia, it will manage to struggle with the daunting task of doing nothing about Darfur or Burma. The drone of a jet engine outside your window, bearing you to another international conference, does an admirable job of masking the sound of a machete striking bone down below.

As always, read the whole thing.

[Update a while later]

I have to also say that the unexplained image of the Magritte painting in response to the Obama campaign claim that the campaign speech was not a campaign speech was brilliant. One of the things that's great about Lileks is that he respects his readers' intelligence.


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Carl Pham wrote:

What's wrong with nukes? I like nuclear weapons. They have the same effect on relations between nations that wide possession of concealed handguns has on relations between individuals: everyone becomes much more polite and cautious.

Exempli gratia: before India and Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons (1974 and 1987, respectively) the two countries fought three separate wars (in 1947-48, 1965, and 1971). Afterwards...none at all.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 25, 2008 5:36 AM.

Manning Submarines was the previous entry in this blog.

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