The Rodney Dangerfield of Nations

George has enough accumulated sick days to go on vacation, call the home office from the ranch and say he is not coming back. But no.
Now he has a big conflict with his old “I looked him in the eye” friend, Russia’s self-appointed premier, Vlad Putin. In my house, we had been expecting the traditional August surprise, but had been looking Iran-ward. George might just do like Putin, who looked him in the eye and saw right to the back of his head, and declare himself the U.S. Premier. I would not put it past him. That Constitution has been nothing but an inconvenience.
George is fresh from the Chinese Olympics, brought to us by our own credit card debt. With not one little toenail left on his moral footprint, still president-erect from cruising the Olympic beach volleyball babes, and hectoring China on their human rights abuses, there was our Spectator-in-Chief excoriating Russia for its preemptive strike into Georgia. You could practically hear the world snorting, or maybe it was me. One Russian general awaiting his marching orders announced, “If the US can take Baghdad, we can take Tbilisi.”
Putin’s punishing Georgian incursion and Ossetian obsession gave broadcasters a chance to brush off their use of “hegemonics” again, but it is much easier to say “oil”. This is Putin’s version of George’s off-shore drilling. Our nation’s pusher in our addiction to oil never mentions compassionate conservation. And I do not mean bailing out arrogant, short-sighted auto industry executives whose S.U.V.s are now S.V.U.s and are somehow to be congratulated for finally making fuel-semi-efficient cars. McCain, Bush’s Second Life avatar, scornfully reduced Obama’s wide-ranging list of conservation options to tire pressure. Think Carter’s cardigan.
When your situation room is the resort town of Provincetown in August, it is difficult to try to convey the seriousness of these developments to vacationers. It is also perhaps cruel. One sunbathing woman overhearing my shrill news on the beach, thought Russia had invaded the state of Georgia and said, “If they can fix the Atlanta airport, I’m all for it. Give them Florida.”
While it is Bear Week in Russia, here in Provincetown we are approaching our last big theme weekend of the summer, Carnival. This year’s carnival theme is “Wild, Wild West”. It is a great party, but I am dreading the Chaps R Us, Brokeback Mountain variations, and the inevitable, impolitic cowboy and Indian gaffes. Or maybe I am just projecting to the upcoming wilding at Denver’s Democratic convention. Meantime I am off to get together my Annie Oakley outfit.