The lunch club was in a bad mood today.
“My attitude needs a lift,” Floyd said.
“There is no hope for this bleeping country,” Wade said with a deep sigh.
“The BRICS are going to destroy the dollar, and with it our entire damned economy,” said Jim. His MBA specialty was international finance.
“What we get for sanctions on Russia,” I said.
Gerald said, “Did any of you see Hillary on TV the other day, when she was asked about the vast wealth she and Bill have accumulated, and whether it blinds her to the economic straits of real Americans? It was a snide question, but even I could think of more than one intelligent answer. I cringed when Hillary said instead that she and Bill are not among the ‘truly well-off.’”
Groans around the table.
“I could not tolerate her as president,” Floyd said. “I wonder how she as president would prevent the economically powerful BRICS coalition from torpedoing the dollar. Surely she would not call off the sanctions and quit demonizing Putin.”
“Maybe,” Wade proposed, “she could start by putting duct tape on Kerry’s mouth. Somebody needs to do it and Obama clearly won’t.”
“It seems to me,” Jim said, “that a wise president would convene a panel consisting of Dean Baker, Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Robert Reich, Simon Johnson and maybe one or two others, lock them in a room in the White House and not let them out until they had come up with a new and viable economic plan for this country,”
“Hell,” said Wade, “Obama doesn’t even know how to pronounce Krugman’s name.”
“Economists can’t resolve out foreign policy mess,” I said. “We flit from one disaster to another, compounding our difficulties with each new blunder. Now he’s sending ‘advisors’ to Iraq. Has he never read the history of the Kennedy presidency? Of the Vietnam war?”
Floyd said: “I read a piece today by William R. Polk, a top foreign policy advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Let me read from it:
A whirlwind, as the Old Testament warns us, is the inevitable reaction to the sowing of the wind of war. That is what we are seeing today in Iraq. Now, it seems, President Obama has decided to try whistling in the wind.
Whistling in the wind is the least dangerous interpretation of Mr. Obama's decision to put 300 "advisors" into Iraq—where have we heard of such a move before! Those of us who are old enough will remember that President Kennedy began in the same way. Arguably he was a bit more realistic, sending initially about six times that many "Special Forces" (then called "Green Berets") initially to Vietnam. Both Kennedy and Obama swore not to send ground troops, but Obama can at least claim credit for being more honest: our "advisors" are to be "combat ready."
“Honesty is not one of Obama’s most prominent characteristics,” Wade said. “He may not be quite as bad as Bush on the truth-falsehood scale, but no matter what he says, it sure looks like we’re headed for Vietnam all over again.”
“Even our allies privately don’t trust us,” Jim said. “The Snowden revelations of spying nailed that coffin shut. If the BRICS assault on the dollar does come about, the Brits might stick with us, but you can bet the European Union will bail on us.They already snicker behind our backs about our hegemonic mania while our problems at home fester and get worse.”
“Amen!” I said.”Millions of jobless, out of work so long and so abandoned by their government that they’ve given up hope. Legions of young people, burdened by trillions in student debt, and unable to find decent paying jobs even with their hard-earned degrees. Desecration of our public lands: our grandchildren may have to go to a zoo just to see a robin.”
“This conversation is not providing the attitude lift I needed,” Floyd said. “Let’s find something pleasant to talk about.”
The ensuing silence was broken only when we all decided to call for our checks.