(image via epochtimes)
In: Condoleeza Rice, Iron Lady. Niccolo Machiavelli, the expert and oft-maligned 16th Century Florentine statesman, believed that luck -- or, as he referred to it using the Graeco-Roman Goddess "Fortuna" -- is an actual observable force at work in the theater of international politics. Although our skeptical post-Enlightenment age has all but dismissed the reliance on such unquantifiable forces, it is almost uncanny how much luck -- Fortuna? -- Condoleeza Rice had this week. Madame Secretary's deft reaction to the said luck, however, is, as even us skeptics can begrudgingly allow, a clear tribute to her skills at the Art of diplomacy.
State Department diplomacy earlier this week averted a confrontation with Iran, outsourcing the job to Russia, the formerly disrespected superpower. Exquisite. With a renewed sense of purpose, Russia has taken to the job with great gusto. Curiously, this risorgimento of Russo-American bonhommie comes at a moment -- Fortuna? -- when Chinese secrecy may result in an environmental catastrophe of Brobdingnagian proportions. This environmental tragedy presents a shrewd opportunity for the United States to obfuscate the Sino-Russian alliance which is clearly against our interests. Condoleeza Rice would be wise to bring Russia back into the Western antechamber by adopting a strategy of neo-Nixonian Triangulation.
This week also: Condoleeza Rice inserted American influence into the stalled Middle East Peace Process, gaining, after heavy negotiations, access for Palestinians to cross into Rafah (And, for the first time, Israel cedes the crossing to the Palestinian authority). The European Union, that most nebulous of international entities, which will help monitor the crossing point, was duly involved in the negotiations. After a disastrous first term diplomatically, the Bush Administration appears to now understand the concept of diplomacy (It's that "nuance" thing). In the process, Mahmoud Abbas, a man we can deal with, gains in stature (against -- always -- the spectre of Hamas), thus gaining legitimacy in negotiations with Israel, who had all but wrote him off as sufficiently irrelevant.
The peace process got another shot of adrenaline -- Fortuna again? -- with Ariel Sharon's seamless transition from the party he founded to the new "Forward," which, astonishingly, is effortlessly leading in the polls.
The stars are once again aligned favorably and Middle East Peace seems, however remote, a distinct possibility.
Take a bow, Madame Secretary. (The Corsair pours himself a glass of the black wine of Cahors, elixir of Popes) It is well deserved.
Why is this man smiling? (image via majoritywhip.gov)
Out: Majority Leader Blunt. Congressmen, like sharks, can smell blood in the water. Majority Leader and Majority Whip Blount of Missouri, who lacks the effectiveness -- and, in his defense, the stink of scandal -- of Tom Delay, is in way over his well-coiffed, Congressional head. And everyone in the United States House of Representatives knows it.
It should be noted in passing that Blunt, an amiable and essentially harmless dunce to be sure, was a last minute second choice for the extremely efficient Congressman Dreier, whose, ahem, "lifestyle" was a tad too, ehr, "sophisticated" for the rock-ribbed Republican Right. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
Half a dozen Republicans are quietly scheming with Iagoesque intricacy behind the scenes to part Blunt from his House Leadership position. Most prominent among the names mentioned are Congressman Pence of Indiana, beloved of House conservatives. And, according to our favorite Dickensian villain, the punchy Robert Novak, Ohio Congressman John Boehner wants the Republican party to "break him off a piece," to wit:
"There is no doubt Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is quietly enlisting support from fellow House Republicans to elect him as majority leader in January. The question is whether Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York also is campaigning to be majority whip. Reports of a Boehner-Reynolds ticket have circulated in Washington, but Reynolds vigorously denies it. If he does run for whip, Reynolds would be accused of cutting and running from his duties as House Republican campaign chairman because of the difficult 2006 midterm election ahead.
"A special election in January would mean House Republicans have given up on Tom DeLay getting rid of his criminal indictment in Texas in time to resume the majority leader's chair in this session of Congress. Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri has been acting leader. "
Congressman Blunt (Averted Gaze), we cannot fail to note, is most well known in his own home state for the fastidious attention he devotes upon the matter of manure. (A considerable pause; Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
A rock hard sweet ass calculated to rasp. (image via smh.com.au)
In: Madonna's Ass. Okay, The Corsair apologizes in advance if we are crude in expressing what ought to be said in-the-locker-room out loud, but honesty -- and our congenital Gemenianess asks, nay: demands -- an candid reckoning with regards to the subject of "sweet ass." A toned, "Arroz-con-pollo" ass like Madonna's, as displayed so charmingly in the "Hung Up" video, must be lauded for the craft and nurturing required for its prodigious upkeep.
Madonna's ass is a triumph of the will; Madonna's ass defies gravity as well as the ravages of Time.
For a fortysomething or however old she is, Madonna's has a fantastic poundcake. Respect.
President Ilham Aliyev: A low grade piece of Ass, to be sure. (image via unocqota)
Out: Ilham Aliyev. Wouldn't you love to know what former Governor and White House Chief of Staff -- to Bush 41 -- John Sununu had to say to PseudoPresdient Aliyev? And, while we are on the subject of the impossibly arrogant Sunnunu-- isn't it curious that Presidents tend to use the most infamously arrogant, nakedly ambitious of public officials as envoys on sensitive issues when dealing with dictators (Why is that? Expectations of Professional courtesy?). According to Swissinfo (link via JoseMarquez):
"Police in Azerbaijan's capital used truncheons and water cannon on Saturday to break up a protest by opposition supporters complaining of fraud in an election earlier this month.
"A Reuters reporter at the scene said he saw dozens of protesters with blood coming from head wounds after riot police moved in to disperse a crowd of about 10,000 people in a square on the outskirts of Baku.Police said the protesters were breaking the law. But the violent scenes may create added discomfort for Ilham Aliyev, the president of the oil-producing state who is already facing Western criticism over the November 6 parliamentary vote.
"'A lot of our people have been hurt,' Ali Kerimli, one of the leaders of the main Azadlyq opposition bloc, who was at the protest, told Reuters by telephone."
Branglina chat with Musharaaf, not pictured. (image via nationalledger)
In: Brangelina. Diplomacy had a tremendous week. Brangelina travelled to Pakistan to meet with "General" Musharaaf -- speaking of dictators with bad hair -- and did some celebrity diplomacy of their own, cashing-in on their Hollywood cred to bring attention to a calamity that has all but fallen off the radar of the global media. What's that sound? Oh, it's Jennifer Anniston oscillating wildly and throwing a high-pitched conniption fit. Never mind. Carry on. According to ITN:
"The Hollywood stars met the President during a crusade to help victims of Pakistan's earthquake disaster.
"Jolie described the 'hope and despair' she witnessed as she toured the Pakistani region of Rawalpindi and visited towns hit by the quake on October 8.
"Accompanied by Pitt, she said: 'You fly in a helicopter and you see ... one house after another just rubble, nothing standing.'
"Jolie appealed for a speedy delivery of promised aid to the country.
"Around 86,000 people were killed in the disaster, and more than 3 million homes were destroyed."
Of course, little or none of this content will actually be reported on tonight or tomorrow. It lacks "Zap!" All that will matter bittersweetly in the end is that in that same press conference Brangelina sidestepped questions as to whether or not they will marry. See if The Corsair is incorrect.