Act III. The curtain rises on Lima Peru.
“President Bush wrapped up his final meeting with leaders of Asia-Pacific nations here on Sunday, walking away with a collection of modest achievements: an endorsement of his plans for international financial regulatory reform, a renewed call for free trade and a promise from China to host another round of the so-called six-party talks, aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.”
“The global financial crisis, free trade and North Korea were high on Mr. Bush’s agenda for the meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, his last summit gathering as president. But with fewer than 60 days left in office, advisers to Mr. Bush were realistic about what they could accomplish.”
IOW, He’s just “going through the motions.”
““I think the very understandable concern of these foreign governments is, will the new administration do some sort of policy review,” said Dennis Wilder, Mr. Bush’s chief foreign policy adviser for East Asia. “Will it try to work with some new ideas?”
So Mr. Bush has spent his time here trying to gain international support for his principles and policies before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. “
“The two-day session in Lima came just one week after Mr. Bush convened leaders of 20 nations in Washington to address the international financial crisis. A dozen of the Asian and Pacific leaders did not attend the Washington conference, but they issued a communiqué late on Saturday saying they “strongly support the broad policy response” adopted in Washington.”
IOW, The Old Soft Shoe.
Mr. Bush came to Lima determined to press his free trade agenda, and furious at the Democratic Congress — including the now-resigned Mr. Obama — for failing to pass free trade pacts with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.
In a strongly worded speech on Saturday, he lashed out at lawmakers, calling their refusal to adopt the agreements “extremely disappointing.” But he found backers among the leaders here, who vowed in their communiqué to “refrain within the next 12 months from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services.”
We good all do with a few “goods and services” these days.
On North Korea, Mr. Bush is looking to lock Mr. Obama into the six-party process, in which the United States, Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and North Korea have been meeting since 2003 to bring about a peaceful end to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Mr. Wilder told reporters on the way here that “our primary goal is to get back to the negotiating table in Beijing,” so that the six nations could adopt “verification principles” by which North Korea could prove it was living up to its promises to dismantle its weapons program.
The talks will take place on Dec. 8, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters on Sunday, on the way back from Lima.
“I think they’re very conscious of the fact that it’s important to do this,” Mr. Wilder said, “in part because there’s an American transition going on.”
But something a lot more interesting is going on — as the above photo of President Low Normal shows.
He’s drinking — and the press isn’t covering for him anymore.
On January 14, 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush emerged in front of a press conference with a very prominent broken blood vessel welt on his cheek, and said that he had choked on a pretzel while watching television the day before. Bush had reportedly been sitting on his couch, 90 minutes into watching an NFL football Miami vs. Baltimore play-off game on television, when he choked on the pretzel, falling to the ground, injuring himself, and briefly losing consciousness before awakening to see his dogs Barney and Spot showing alarm at his state. Laura Bush was reportedly in the adjoining room at the time, and Bush was alone watching the football game.
His physical injuries consisted of a scrape and bruise across his cheek and lower lip, injured by his glasses when he fell from the couch. He was attended by a physician following the incident. United States Air Force physician Dr. Richard Tubb, who performed the follow-up examination, theorized that the food morsel may have stimulated a nerve, upon becoming lodged in the President’s throat. The incident did not affect the President’s scheduled flight the following day, and as a joke he had a bag of pretzels sent back to the media pool aboard Air Force One with a note scrawled on the bag, “Chew slowly”, once the plane was en route.
The following day, Bush twice addressed press reporters joking that he should have listened to his mother and “chewed before he swallowed.”
IOW Bush, roaring drunk as usual, passed out and hit his on the furniture. And the press, kissing Beltway ass as usual, covered for him.
But those days are apparently — mercifully — over.