Friday, March 25, 2011


There! I’ve done it again!. Invented another word, that is. I have previously offered definitions for “roviate” and “brafia.” Neither of these has as yet entered the Official English Dictionary, nor, as far as I can tell, have they ever been adopted by anyone. That’s the trouble with genius, it is often not appreciated at the time. Oh, well, another day, another word, another disappointment.

Stragedy n.: when strategy goes wrong and ends up as tragedy. This strikes me as a potentially very useful word. Consider, for example, the current Republican strategy to make President Obama a one term President by refusing to cooperate with him and attacking him no matter what he does. Whatever you might think of Obama, I believe this strategy has a very strong possibility of turning into a tragedy for the Republicans (not that I would care in the least, indeed, I sincerely hope it does). I doubt that a purely negative strategy has much chance of success even in the best of circumstances, but with things as bad as they are, and no Republican alternative on the horizon, I can’t see much future for this negative approach. I think this is reflected in the absence of any truly viable Republican candidate for the Presidency. They seem to understand this, perhaps unconsciously I think, because in the absence of any positive platform of their own they are failing to put forward any first-rate candidates, believing they will be unable to defeat Obama in 2012. You will notice, I hope, that all of the candidates so far are second-raters, even third-raters, or even worse. These obviously egomaniacal Republicans I am sure do not consider themselves second and third-raters, but they are. Probably the best of the sorry lot is Mitt Romney, but he is handicapped by being a Mormon (a cult in the eyes of many of the Evangelicals), has been caught lying more than once, and even worse, is guilty of having promoted health care. Huckabee, who seems to have some traction, is another religious nut case who doesn’t believe in evolution, science, and, I assume global warming. This might get him the nomination but will not get him the Presidency. Pawlenty of Minnesota is said to be homophobic, racist, and misogynistic, and hardly anyone has heard of him. Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and others are simply laughable. Of course even they are not as laughable as Donald Trump. I find it hard to believe the Republican Party cannot do better than this, but perhaps they can’t (if that is so, they are even worse off than I imagine).

While the above might be the best example of stragedy it is not the only one. Consider our position in Libya. The strategy, I suppose, was/is to protect innocent lives by preventing Gadaffi’s forces from killing indiscriminately. This was presumably to be accomplished by air and sea power alone, with no ground troops, a rather stupid idea to begin with, as we should already have known that air power alone could not possibly succeed. The strategy, according to Obama, should have focused on getting rid of Gadaffi, but the military strategy does not have that in mind. In short, we don’t know what we are doing, our strategy is doomed to fail if Gadaffi cannot be stopped by air and sea power alone, and thus has every indication of resulting in tragedy.

In Afghanistan our strategy has failed miserably, both or all of them. That is, we began by thinking we could defeat the Taliban militarily but that strategy has not worked, then the strategy became “winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans,” but that has not worked either. The Taliban, who were not our enemies in the first place, but then became our enemies, are just as strong as ever. Our hand-picked leader has not been a resounding success, the opium crop flourishes, and, while no one wants to admit it, the whole enterprise has turned out to be a stragedy.

You might well say that our Middle East strategy that we have pursued for so many years is most probably going to result in tragedy. That is, for years we have supported dictators, no matter how awful, because we insisted on stability above all else, stability in the interest of keeping the oil flowing. Our strategy has also involved supporting Israel, no matter how terrible their war crimes and racism, because they were our best ally in the Middle East. There are good reasons for believing this strategy is also going to result in tragedy. With the recent demands in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and other nations in that area for dramatic changes in government there is no guarantee that what emerges will be particularly friendly to the U.S. (probably for good reason, given our history there). It also does not augur well for Israel, the result being quite possibly another stragedy.

I rather like my new words, roviate, brafia, and stragedy. You, of course, don’t have to like them. I refer you to what Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, “When I use a word it means just what I want it to mean; neither more nor less.”

The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur.
George W. Bush

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