Everything’s difficult, isn’t it? In the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, Sen. Barack Obama was asked what he personally was doing to save the environment, and replied that his family was “working on” changing their light bulbs.
Is this the new version of the old joke? How many senators does it take to “work on” changing a light bulb? One to propose a bipartisan commission. One to threaten to de-fund the light bulbs. One to demand the impeachment of Bush and Cheney for keeping us all in the dark. One to vote to pull out the first of the light bulbs by fall of this year with a view to getting them all pulled out by the end of 2008.
This week, both the House and the Senate voted for defeat in Iraq. That’s to say, Congress got tired of waiting for deadbeat insurgents to get their act together and inflict devastating military humiliation on U.S. forces. So America’s legislators have voted to mandate the certainty of defeat. They want the withdrawal of American forces to begin this October, which is a faintly surreal concept: Watching CNN International around the world, many viewers unversed in America’s constitutional arrangements will have been puzzled by the spectacle of a nation giving six months’ notice of surrender. But the cannier types in the presidential palaces will have drawn their own conclusions.
For example, as Congress was voting, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would withdraw from the post-Cold War arrangements of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in protest at American plans to install missile defense systems on the Continent.
What’s the connection? Read on.