Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Little of the Old In And Out

In: Senator Jim Webb. Diplomacy is on the rise. For much of the past decade the United States has relied on military hard power -- arguably, though, Bush's 2nd term veered in the direction of diplomacy. And the Obama administration has moved things along. First, with ex-President Clinton's success with Pyongyang. Now, with Senator Webb in Myanmar. From CNN:

"U.S. Sen. Jim Webb obtained the release Saturday of American John Yettaw, who had been sentenced to seven years of hard labor in Myanmar for visiting detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, his office said.

"Webb, who chairs the East Asia and Pacific Affairs subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will accompany Yettaw to Bangkok, Thailand, on Sunday aboard a military aircraft, his office said.

"... It is the second success in a day for Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, who earlier held separate meetings with Suu Kyi and Myanmar's top official, junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe."

As this blog has said before, Webb is a rising star. While a fucking charicature like John Bolton aped the performance of Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the UN, Webb has a real claim to being -- possibly -- the intellectual heir to the famed US Senator of New York, in the United States Senate. Last year, we cannot fail to note, Webb defeated veteran Senator McCain -- the GOP Presidential nominee -- on the G.I. Bill. And he's only in his first term. Jim Webb is seriously looking to be of Presidential calibre in 2016.

Out: Mayor Chernovetsky. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Contrast Jim Webb's heroic dipolomacy on behalf of a clearly damaged Missourian to the alpha-chimp chest baring of Kiev Mayor Lenoid Chernovetsky. From the NYTimes:

"LEONID M. CHERNOVETSKY, this city’s unpredictable mayor, likes to answer his critics in his own special way.

When Parliament members said he was acting bizarrely and needed a psychiatric exam, he went to a stadium where he jogged for the cameras before yanking off his shirt and doing pull-ups. He swam laps and flexed his muscles like Charles Atlas. Then he held a news conference — in his tiny bathing suit.

"'They are judging me today and want me to spend the rest of my life behind the bars of a psychiatric hospital,' Mr. Chernovetsky said. 'Look at my body, at how I express my thoughts. I am absolutely healthy. I think logically and philosophically.'"

Alas, this seems -- oddly -- to be Eastern European politics as usual. Remember Vladimir Putin's topless "KG-Becake" shots.

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