Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rice Offers Russia Her Best Bitch Slap

Sarah Palin's "perhaps" on war with Russia got a wee bit closer, given Secretary Condoleeza Rice's scathing criticism of the Asian power. From reading her comments, the Bush administration continues to berate others for things it routinely does. She had the temerity to say:

The picture emerging from this pattern of behavior is that of a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad.

Jaw dropper, isn't it? But there's more. Take the Russian bombers landing in Venezuela and conducting joint training. The U.S. just drilled on Operation Brimstone in conjunction with European and South American militaries. Condi had this to say:

We are confident that our ties with our neighbors, who long for better education, better health care, better jobs, and better housing, will in no way be diminished by a few, aging Blackjack bombers, visiting one of Latin America's few autocracies.

Uh, Condi, some of us Americans want those very things. While trillions in assets are wiped out almost daily, more citizens are unemployed, losing their homes, and struggling without health insurance coverage. Also, last I knew, Venezuela was still a democracy. Sure, the people are losing key rights, but so are Americans. Even under the unitary Presidency with all its secrecy and signing statements, we don't call our government an autocracy. Although some of us call him, King George.

But that could change now that the U.S. has its own sovereign wealth fund, like the Middle Eastern monarchies. The taxpayer bailed out four financial firms, none of them traditional banks. The distressed company fund got capitalized with over $310 billion in taxpayer I.O.U.'s. Hank Paulson did it virtually overnight.

But Russia is not without financial challenges. State Department William Burns said their stock market lost 1/3 of its value and the ruble fell in value But what I really want to know, with our relationship with Russia deteriorating rapidly, is this:

Will The Carlyle Group's $3.53 billion sale of John Maneely to a Russian steel firm go through?