The Reactionary Utopian
                     October 12, 2006

by Joe Sobran

     When I was a kid learning to play chess, I couldn't 
wait to move my queen. She was the most powerful piece on 
the board, so I wasted no time using her to attack.

     Guess what? On his next turn, my opponent captured 
her. It hurt my little feelings, but those were the 
rules. I soon learned to take into account the danger 
that if I exposed her too soon, I would lose her. When 
you move a piece, you have to think about how your 
opponent may respond to it.

     I guess President Bush never learned that lesson.

     A few years ago, he was using expressions like 
"regime change," "axis of evil," "global democratic 
revolution," and "ridding the earth of tyranny" without 
stopping to think how his opponents might react. He 
apparently thought they would realize he meant business 
and fold.

     Slight miscalculation. As a North Korean general 
told an American reporter, "We see what you're doing to 
Iraq. Well, you're not going to do it to us!"

     It seems that Kim Jong Il, a pretty evil sort of 
guy, wasn't in any mood for regime change, or democratic 
revolution, so he drew his own practical conclusion from 
Bush's words: "I'd better get me some nukes!"

     I'm not saying he was right, but I see his point. 
You shouldn't need a high-tech crystal ball to predict 
that if you threaten to overthrow all the tyrants on 
earth, some of them are going to take countermeasures. 
Bush may not be the brightest bulb on the circuit, but 
why didn't anyone in his circle of geopolitical wizards 
foresee what his tough talk would provoke? Are they 
flabbergasted that North Korea accelerated its weapons 
program and may now have barged uninvited into the 
exclusive "nuclear club"? The regime that was once to the 
international community what Pluto is to the solar system 
may suddenly have acquired new stature.

     Bush has responded with his usual resolve: this is 
"unacceptable." Do tell! Well, we sort of knew that. Even 
the Communist Chinese, also members of the club -- not to 
mention the South Koreans and Japanese -- are alarmed at 
the prospect of having a nuclear-armed crackpot next 
door. Condoleezza Rice is probably taking the news pretty 
hard too.

     If only Kim had known Bush would find his nukes 
"unacceptable," he might have changed his ways and held 
free elections! But it may be too late for that now. Too 
bad. It would have been inspiring to see millions of 
emaciated North Koreans triumphantly holding up purple 
forefingers as they emerged from the voting booths. Alas, 
the prospects for democracy in North Korea remain, for 
the time being, dim.

     This is only the latest achievement for Bush's 
foreign policy, matching his transformation of the "new" 
(and democratic) Middle East. Now that the Iraqi people's 
aspirations to freedom have been realized, it would seem 
that there are no more worlds to conquer. If only the 
liberal media would report the positive developments, 
instead of making it sound as if the streets of liberated 
Baghdad are unsafe!

     William Schwenck Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan, 
once complained to the president of a railway company, 
"Sunday morning, though recurring at frequent and 
well-established intervals, always seems to take this 
railway by surprise." And the most predictable patterns 
of human behavior, in the same way, always seem to take 
the Bush administration by surprise. For it, as for 
Scarlett O'Hara, tomorrow is always another day, and it 
never allows the past to darken its irrepressible 
optimism about the future.

     Finally, the question must be faced: Is this man all 
there? If Kim is crazy, what is Bush? This is not a jeer. 
Experience -- reality -- seems to teach him nothing. It's 
beyond political ideology; maybe it's a religious 
delusion reinforced by an inner circle of sycophants -- 
"the madness of King George," as it were.

     Bush's actions and policies get increasingly hard to 
defend. Old allies edge away from him. People who wish 
him well hardly know what to say. New revelations, as in 
Bob Woodward's STATE OF DENIAL, confirm the disturbing 
impression of inflexible dysfunction and refusal (or 
inability) to contemplate alternatives. It's symptomatic 
that he can't imagine how the world looks to his enemies, 
whom he can describe only in rigidly moralistic terms, as 
if they must know how evil they are.

     Sensible statesmen don't act this way. Neither do 
normal people.


Read this column on-line at 

Copyright (c) 2006 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate, This column may not be published in 
print or Internet publications without express permission 
of Griffin Internet Syndicate. You may forward it to 
interested individuals if you use this entire page, 
including the following disclaimer:

"SOBRAN'S and Joe Sobran's columns are available 
by subscription. For details and samples, see, write, or call 800-513-5053."