June 2, 2004 [LINK]

Transfer in Iraq succeeds

Donald Sensing's blog "One Hand Clapping" contains an even more upbeat assessment of Bush's handling of the transition in Iraq than I have offered recently. He quotes Canadian writer David Warren, who wrote:

No one else will say this, so I will. The Bush administration has handled the transfer of power in Iraq more cleverly than anyone expected, including me. The summoning of the U.N. envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, looked like very bad news (a poisonous old Arab League chauvinist who brokered the sell-out of Lebanon to Syria in 1982). In grim moments, I believed the Bush people were cynically using him to wash their hands of Iraq, and as it were, dump the quagmire back in the swamp of the U.N. Instead, they froze the ground beneath Brahimi's feet, and skated rings around him, haggling behind his back with Iraq's new political heavyweights to leave him endorsing a fait accompli. If it were not vulgar, I would say the Bushies suckered the U.N. into signing on to the New Iraq through Brahimi. A sovereign, free Iraq which will, incidentally, have a few things to say about the U.N.'s $100-billion "oil-for-food" scam, in due course.

It all makes you wonder if the President has been taking deliberate advantage of his modest intellectual reputation to catch his adversaries off balance, lowering expectations so that perceived successes are magnified. Strategy Page has a "report from the front lines" with far more balanced view of the situation in Iraq than you're likely to get from Dan Rather or Peter Jennings.

Has anyone noticed how expensive gasoline is getting? I sure have. It makes me nostalgic for the 70s: inflation, corruption, international crises, and disco. Seriously, the higher the price of gasoline goes, the happier I get. Americans will scream bloody murder, of course, and the tapes of Enron executives chuckling about screwing over California electricity consumers a few summers ago could not have come at a worse time. I detest all that stupid talk about Big Oil artifically jacking up prices, and I cringe at the thought of new laws forcing people to adopt silly "conservation" measures such as 55 mph. In a free market prices are supposed to reflect relative scarcity, and with the booming economies in China and, yes, here in the U.S.A., demand has been rising faster than production can be expanded. This is normal: Get used to it! Al Qaeda and Hugo Chavez are acutely aware of the political leverage they enjoy by virtue of Americans' addiction to cheap energy.

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.