In the buildup to the first Gulf War, President Bush’s father put a lot of pressure on Japan to get involved — preferably with cash to support the U.S. operation. Many perceived Japan to dither but it was the only country in the world to formally tax its population to support the Gulf War, eventually contributing more than $13 billiion.
But at that time, then Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu said Americans play tennis and Japanese play golf — to explain the difference in response times.
At this week’s “Arab Strategy Forum” in Dubai, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Ali Larijiani said:
Americans play baseball. We play chess.
Let them come.”
After a few days in the UAE, it’s clear that everyone here is considering the motives, aspirations, failures, and feints of a wide field of players all playing chess. In fact, if George W. Bush showed — even mockingly — that he could play chess, respect for him would tick up a bit.
I have more to say on this region, the Iraq Study Group Report, and the reactions of many here to it later — but have been in back to back meetings with business people, government officials, and aspiring politicians running in the upcoming National Council elections and haven’t had the time I need to post something that would add value to the debate about the ISG. But I will shortly.
— Steve Clemons