April 19, 2009

Dictator Watch - April 19, 2009

A quick analysis on the state of world dictatorships: At the Summit of the America's, there was an instructive event that indicates the future state of dictatorships over the next four years. It's good news - if you happen to be a dictator.

Nicaraguan Socialist and Sandinista Daniel Ortega lashed out at the United States of America for over 50 minutes. President Obama - took notes.

As reported by Fox News;

Obama sat mostly unmoved during the speech but at times jotted notes. The speech was part of the opening ceremonies at the fifth Summit of the Americas here.

Later, at a photo opportunity with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Obama held his tongue when asked what he thought about Ortega's speech.

"It was 50 minutes long. That's what I thought." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ignored two questions about Ortega's speech, instead offering lengthy praise of a cultural performance of dance and song opening the summit.

"I thought the cultural performance was fascinating," Clinton said. Asked again about the Ortega speech, Clinton said: "To have those first class Caribbean entertainers on all on one stage and to see how much was done in such a small amount of space, I was overwhelmed."

A senior administration official declined to criticize Ortega, saying the president wanted to focus on the future.

"His expectation is that these debates of the past can remain that, debates of the past and that the leaders can take advantage of this opportunity to focus on what they can do in the future to advance the interests of all the people of the hemisphere."

Ortega, meanwhile, droned on about the offenses of the past, dredging up U.S. support of the Somoza regime and the "illegal" war against the Sandinista regime he once led by U.S.-backed Contra rebels in the 1980s. Ortega was a member of the revolutionary junta that drove Anastasio Somoza from power in 1979 and was elected president in 1985. He was defeated in 1990 by Violeta Chamorro and ran unsuccessfully twice for the presidency before winning in 2006.

Daniel Ortega overthrew a government and then whined when the US helped the Contras try to overthrow him by helping finance the effort. Man up Ortega.

Call it focusing on the future but what it really resembles is avoidance. See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Or sticking your head in the sand until the problem goes away. It looks like that's going to be the best part of American foreign policy during this administration - avoidance. Any problem they avoid is a problem the won't exacerbate. Chavez cheated in his referendum in Venezuela, but at least he gave a present to Obama. Now Obama can say everything has been patched up.

Meanwhile North Korea and Iran are making unfettered progress on their nuclear launch programs and that head in the sand policy seems to be working wonders. The administration is still exploring talks with Iran and managed to get North Korea a parking ticket or something. Wait no, not even that. The UN got a non-binding, hands-on-the-hips and a sour faced look at North Korea. Maybe Obama can send him some stimulus money.

EXIT Question: If Clinton is "overwhelmed" by how so many dancers can fit into one space, do you think it's best to have her at the head of the State Department? Maybe it explains how she thought she was under fire flying into Bosnia.

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