Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Maliki Stands Up Gates

“Defense secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here on Thursday for talks with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, but the prime minister said he was too busy to see Mr. Gates…”

There are two questions. What did Mr. Gates do, and how did he feel? Is it jumping to conclusions to believe that Defense Secretary Gates went back to his hotel after being rebuffed by the Iraqi Prime Minister? Can we assume that he was staying in a nice place in the Green Zone, with a spa, workout facility, and business center? Defense Secretary Gates is a busy man, but Iraq is not a hop, skip, and a jump from Kabul, which was Gates’s previous stop, so we can assume that he and his aides took the attitude popular in the recovery movement—one door closing means another opening (in this case the door to his hotel suite). Can we conclude that most of the five-star hotels in the Green Zone have satellite television? Can we conclude that Defense Secretary Gates would stretch out and watch CNN, Desperate Housewives, and all his favorite reality shows?  Would he be able to grab a bite, so that when Prime Minister Maliki found some time for him, he wouldn’t be eating his own shirt?
Of course, the more important question—and it’s one that would be of interest to psycho-historians—is this: is Defense Secretary Gates defensive? Is he the kind of man who feels slighted by the one person at the party who gives him the cold shoulder, or does he have enough self-confidence to not take apparent slights personally? The paranoid response would be that Maliki has something against him, or doesn’t think he’s important enough. The anxiety model would put Gates in the position of waiting for an apologetic call or e-mail that never comes. Of course, the reality is that the Iraqi Prime Minister was experiencing pressure from his Parliament due to a spate of bombings. But it takes a big man (or woman) to be able to see the forest for the trees. “He certainly doesn’t consider it a snub,” Pentagon Press Secrectary Geoff Morrell was reported as saying in the Times piece. We’ll never know what Secretary Gates was thinking as he lay on his bed staring at the ceiling of his hotel room—will we?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.