Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Bush in Europe

458 words

It seems like in the whole transatlantic business, people are trying to talk to each other again – whatever that means. At least the U.S.’ president is coming over next week and exchanging pleasantries with his colleagues here. The purpose of this is quite hard for me to understand. Not only that I’d rather see that guy stay where he belongs, but I also fail to see what good such talks do. Surely nothing of importance will be discussed as that can be done equally well on a phone and even better by well-informed and educated experts on the topics who know the relevant details inside-out rather than the various chancellors, prime ministers or presidents.

So it seems all like a series of big photo opportunities where the people in power get to shake hands in front of cameras. Whether, in between those shootings, they talk or sleep shouldn’t matter too much. So far so good. Just a waste of taxpayers’ money in a way. But probably not worse than other things that happen.

What I find really upsetting, though, is that, apparently, the ‘security’ requirements for the president of the U.S. are so absurd that peoples’ life will be disrupted. Apparently, in some of the places that their cars will pass, rain water gullies in the street have been welded shut and people are asked to stay in their homes on the day. Traffic disruptions are planned to be great enough that some schools will stay closed for that day and so on.

This is absurd. A bit of security won’t hurt. But this seriously burdens all the people who just happen to live where that state visitor is passing. Why inconvenience them? Why not simply have a nice banquet and talks in an airport hangar or some other reasonably distant and easily securable area? If a visitor doesn’t feel comfortable among the people, he simply doesn’t need go where they are, rather than inconveniencing them. That’d be all of convenient, efficient and cheap.

Finally let’s assume that there’s indeed a successful attack on the U.S. president and our chancellor. Well, then they’d be dead and there’d be a lot of hysterical press going on. But it seems rather irrelevant for their respective countries. Both would easily (and, I assume, keenly) be replaced by someone who could do their job as well as they do. Just as driving formula-1 cars or working in some kind of industry, running a government has the slight occupational hazard of being killed in the process. And unlike industry workers, people who run governments actively choose to do that job although they don’t need to do it. In fact, they seem to be rather keen to take the risk of being shot.

February 19, 2005, 17:01

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