The nerve, the gall, the chutzpah of George W. Bush announcing his
plans for a post-Castro Cuba! (When in fact Cuba's difficulties have been
exacerbated by America's 44-year embargo.)
Imagine a similar scenario if, when Franch president Nicolas Sarkozy
addresses Congress this week, he announces his plans for a post-Bush
America. It would be more plausible. It would go something like this:
"Chers amis, for eight long years America will have suffered under
the despotic rule of a Texas cowboy and his Republican cohorts. Their
ignorance, arrogance, corruption and greed have stripped that great nation
of its constitutional rights, its democratic processes, its moral
integrity, its economic strength, and its credibility in the world.
"The will and the needs of the people have been subverted by
unprincipled lobbyists and feckless politicians. Their media, once the
freest press in the world, has become a parroting mouthpiece for the
government. Huge sums of money are squandered on electoral campaigning.
The gap between rich and poor has stretched into a chasm, thanks to tax
reforms that favor the wealthy. Their public education system lags behind
all other Western nations, and their infant mortality rate is higher.
Forty million citizens have no health insurance, and even a proposal for
children's health care has been miserably dismissed. Thanks to myopic
leadership and pigheaded industry, the country has been consuming 20% of
the world's energy resources.
"The administration has been unable or unwilling to rebuild a great
city that was devastated by a hurricane more than two years ago. The
president pulled out of global accords that would help save the
environment, and he refuses membership in the World Court in The Hague.
And while we in
Europe have been living in peace with each other since the end of World
War Two, America has waged four major wars in these last 60 years -- not
to mention a number of mindless skirmishes.
"Here is my plan for America once its current leader leaves the
"France will send advisors to help implement a universal healthcare
program, similar to ours. Also, a handful of our intellectuals will
revise the sluggish educational system, to include foreign language
studies and tuition-free universities. We will advocate the recall of all
SUVs and the distribution of Smart Cars and city bikes. We will build
rail lines using our TGV trains to ensure rapid, affordable transportation
from sea to shining sea. We will install our old-fashioned voting booths
to replace the electronic machines that invite invasive tinkering.
"We will ask other countries in the European Union to join this great
enterprise. Scandinavia, for example, can contribute help with
environmental problems. Holland can offer advice on social/ethical issues
such as legal drugs and euthanasia. Italy, Greece and Spain will fight
American obesity by enforcing a Mediterranean diet. Most urgently, we
will set up a special children's fund to replace iPods and video games
with Legos and books.
"And, if the newly-liberated Americans respond well and cooperate, we
might even teach them how to bake a real loaf of bread and encourage them
to eat unpasteurized cheese. And reward them every year with five weeks
"Vive la nouvelle Amerique!"