The United States has been going through a mercurial period of good and bad foreign relations over the past few decades, and the years since George Bush was elected and terrorists struck us on 9-11 have been especially volatile.
Countries we had considered old allies backed our invasion of Afghanistan but became far less than supportive when we next targeted Iraq. France and Germany were way up on the list of these countries, and gave us little to no support either in the arena of public opinion or in the United Nations Security Council.
It was later determined that Iraq's late leader Saddam Hussein had been greasing the wheels of international good will, and keeping his critics at bay by diverting hundreds of millions of dollars in oil revenues that were supposed to be spent on food and medical care for his countrymen to bribing foreign officials.
When it came time to stand with or against the US, the recipients of Saddam's largesse voted to keep him where he could continue a regime of torture and murder, just so long as he kept these paragons of the international conscience in the chips.
They opposed us in the UN and they continued to make life difficult when we formed a coalition of countries that didn't include them, and overthrew Saddam anyway. Some, like Russia, that had become allies in the early 90s after nearly 50 years on the enemies list, reverted to their old form, especially under Vladimir Ras Putin.
Putin, who once was invited to the Bush family compound in Maine, nonetheless has been helping arm our enemies in the middle east, specifically Iran, a country that is actively involved in killing American troops. Putin is supposed to have a special relationship with President Bush, but you wouldn't know it from the news reports.
The democratic advances that engulfed Russia after the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union collapsed are being rolled back, and Russia is again moving toward totalitarianism, if not an outright return to a typical murderous communist state.
The World Terrorist Media and its local affiliate the American Terrorist Media had a field day with the Bush Administration's difficulties on the foreign scene. Tony Blair stood by us, along with Poland, Australia and a ton of countries in Eastern Europe that previously had been under Soviet domination.
But not France, and not Germany. The media told us the populaces of those countries had turned against us.
Then along came elections in both countries. The populaces elected Angela Merkel as Chancellor of Germany and then Nicolas Sarkozy as President of France. Both of them like the US and immediately set out to improve relations.
HMMMM. What is a left-leaning media outlet to do when the world flies up in its face and says it really does support freedom, democracy and the United States of America?
Voila! TIME Magazine names Putin as its Person of the Year!
Wow! I bet that with a world population of more than 5 billion there were at least a million other people who deserve that distinction more than Putin. TIME's editors say they don't endorse Putin or his policies, they just gave him that distinction because he has done more than anyone else to impact world affairs this year.
BULL. There were plenty of people all over the world who did far more than Putin, either in their home countries or abroad. Putin was not only a bad choice for TIME, he was a lazy choice. TIME's editors simply took the most available and identifiable pro-communist and slapped his photo on the cover.
Also, if you look at TIME's list of Runner Ups, Almost Made Its, and Honorable Mentions you will find a definite trend toward leftists, communists and their supporters. General David Petraeus who has turned the situation in Iraq 100 percent in a favorable direction, is one of the few people on the runner up list who has been actively fighting for freedom and democracy.
TIME has other despots on the list too, and in the American political arena they choose Hillary Clinton and Al Gore from the Democrat side, and Ron Paul as the only Republican contender. Except if you check into Paul's background you'll find he isn't so much a Republican as a Libertarian running on the Republican ticket.
As a side issue in the hubbub of naming a former member of the Soviet KGB as Person of the Year TIME also canned conservative columnists Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer. (The KGB was the Russian Secret Police which put into practice all the things, and far worse, that we have been falsely accused of doing to terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay).
Kristol is one of the few nationally known political commentators who has been seriously discussing the very real possibility that the GOP presidential nominee might come from a part of the United States that isn't in New York. He may have his biases, but he is certainly open to new points of view when given reasonable supporting evidence.
Krauthammer is not only one of the most knowledgeable commentators in America today, he also has a wide range of interests and abilities, delivered with straightforward common sense that takes the mystery out of most political diversions.
Maybe that is why TIME doesn't want them any longer ... between Kristol and Krauthammer the editors decided that things were drifting too close to common sense on the Op-Ed pages.
TIME can go on all it wants about how and why it selects its Person of the Year, but I don't think too many people are listening, care or believe the spin. I'm sure this is unwelcome advice, but if I was still in the newsroom and I saw the company I worked for do what TIME is doing, I'd take a real close look at the New York Times, and its editorial decisions over the past few years.
Continually run this country down, bad-mouth our system, our leaders and our people, print state secrets that jeopardize our troops and our civilians, and what do you think you'll get? Just what the NY Times is getting - shrinking circulation and declining revenues.
Maybe TIME magazine has a ton of money piled away somewhere and doesn't care if people stop reading it in droves. Maybe its advertisers are so entrenched in their markets that if former TIME readers as well as mainstream Americans start boycotting their goods it won't matter.
But in his interview with TIME, Putin told them "If you want aspire to be a leader of your own country you must speak your own language."
Well, last I looked this was still America, but TIME isn't speaking our language. It has been twisting reality to its own warped view of the world, but world citizens, including those in Great Britain, France, Germany, Iraq and dozens of other countries, have shown they don't agree.
Maybe its time that TIME stop trying to fool people and come out with a new mission, say, for instance, the US bureau of a revitalized PRAVDA?
But before that happens it probably wouldn't hurt if the reporters, editors and support staff take a hint from their colleagues at the NY Times and freshen up those resumes.
Friday, December 21, 2007