Monday, September 17, 2007

Maliki's Gauntlet

"Depending on whether the Blackwater security firm stays in Iraq will inform us whether Prime Minister Maliki has any power or is just a U.S. puppet."

OK, it's a terrible sentence that changes its mind about where it's going before it's got three words out. But what do you expect from the "if you're not angry you're not paying attention" left? If you're thinking while you're writing, you're just not angry enough. Tool.

What I'm interested in is the assertion that's being made, however poorly. It didn't have to be such a test. The incident could have been treated in isolation, justly or not, and handled that way. But the PM has put his credibility on the line and made an absolute assertion that he cannot back out of without admitting to the world he has no real power.

Or can he? Is that interpretation of the situation just an imposition of absolutist Western power politics and electoral machismo onto a non-Western political culture with its own rich and fluent vocabulary of gestures and style of negotiation?