November 19, 2007

Bush and Mush

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This photo of Bush and his “special friend” — taken during “Mush’s” visit to the U.S. in September a year ago — seems to give entry to a number of points.  (The image dominated the NYT front page only yesterday.)

First and foremost, looking into the Oval Office, the shot has the feel of a box (some might even say: cell).  The visual narrative suggests that Bush and his pal, Musharraf, are caught in a box with George looking for an out, but unable to “find the handle.”

Another point is how, taken today, the color lends a whole new spin — and timeliness — to the image.  Specifically, I’m considering how the red and green foliage in the foreground seems to ring with the season.  (The flowers, given color and height, seem to even conjure poinsettias.)

Although most of us only attend to the news with “one eye” during Thanksgiving or Christmas proper, the story that dominates that down time earns a notorious distinction.  Like the errant child standing dumbfounded after the music has stopped following a round of musical chairs, it seems Bush’s Pakistan meltdown is a likely candidate for prime attention this week between the football and the turkey.

Finally, with Mush at Bush’s back, smiling no less while sporting his very own nationalistic lapel flag, one can’t help look at Musharraf as a dictatorial chip off the old block.  But then, what else would one expect from an imperial clone — having learnt from the master — than the art of form over substance; the substitution of policy with catchy slogans; and the execution of diplomacy by photo op.

(image: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.  White House. September 27, 2006.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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