Strange bedfellows

Last time out it was bin Laden helping Bush at the polls by attacking him. Now it’s Chavez and Ahmadinejad. Why are our enemies so careful to protect his power? Is it possible that his policies are good for them?

When it looked as if George W. Bush might lose the 2004 election to a candidate who, as President, wouldn’t make all the decent people in the world puke, Osama bin Laden released a tape which had the predictable effect of re-electing the Beloved Leader.

Now, when it looks as if the Democrats might be able to regain some sort of check on the Beloved Leader’s ability to wreck this nation’s institutions, reputation, and security, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad make furiously anti-Bush speeches at the U.N., with the predictable effect of strengthening the Republicans this fall.

Why is it that our enemies are so eager to prop Dubya up every time it looks as if he might fall down? Could it be that they’re grateful to him for what he has done to damage the country they hate so much, and to prop them up by giving them a demon-figure to attack?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

10 thoughts on “Strange bedfellows”

  1. "the country they hate so much" is more than hyperbole. It conflates Bush with America – just as Dubya himself does.
    One can hate Bush without hating America. Many people – millions of whom live in the USA – do. I am not aware of anything that Chavez has said that shows he hates "America." Or that he deserves to be compared to Osama bin Laden.
    Chavez is not "our" enemy. Nor is Amedhinejhad.

  2. Did anyone else hear President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil at the UN. Brazil traditionally opens the session. NPR was obviously impatient for W to come on, but they had dead air to fill, so they ran parts of da Silva's speech. Judging from the parts I heard, it was a humane, intelligent, even inspiring speech about what the world might do if powerful nations turned away from war & toward eliminating misery. Quite a contrast to the moral midget who followed him in addressing the UN.

  3. I don't suppose anyone would care to draw attention to the role of the corporate, right-wing media ("corporate right-wing" meaning, effectively almost all media) in dutifully drawing attention to these guys.
    That Hugo Chavez doesn't like Bush is hardly newsworthy. The President of Iran's posturing would not be of much news interest either, if Bush was not threatening to attack Iran.

  4. Chavez probably isn't thinking about the November elections as much as he is recognizing the reality that Bush will be in for the next few years, and what's to be gained by positioning himself firmly against him.

  5. "our enemies are so eager to prop Dubya up"
    Interesting interpretation. Well, at least this way, no matter what anyone says, you can define it as pro-Bush or anti-Bush, depending on your opinion of the speaker.
    On the other hand, a simpleton like me would simply assume that these lunatics actually hate Bush and want him gone.

  6. The idea that foreign leaders might seek to influence our elections carries a certain attraction. The ineptitude of the Bush gang has indeed left most of South America free from what otherwise would have been their inevitable meddling.
    But foreign leaders speak in terms of world strategies or theology, while the coin of the American election is fear, smear, and pandering. To the average American a foreign leader is about as convincing, and about as interesting, as a structural engineer explaining why the bridge you're crossing is perfectly safe.
    Unless, of course, they pound on the table with their shoe.

  7. Chavez benefits from Bu$hco and the as does Ahmadinejad. The Bushies and these supposed enemies, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Putin, Ghaddafi are all makeing a fortune off the oil market that has been driven through the roof by the perceived instability.

  8. Bush is your ideal enemy if you are a populist idealogue.
    He invades foreign countries on thin pretexts. He talks a biblical language of war and destruction. He is culturally utterly insensitive and alienates people who might cause you trouble (eg driving a wedge between Syrian intelligence and the CIA, strengthening the Iranian alliance with the former).
    An America headed by a statesman would be quite dangerous for America's mortal enemies. World opinion would shift towards America.
    No danger of that, I expect.

  9. I'd be interested to know why you think Hugo Chavez is America's enemy. Were the variously corrupt and murderous leaders who preceded him our friends?

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