These were the events that mattered most in Gorilla’s world this week:
Obama in Asia: Nothing new here, we’re waiting for the Chinese currency to appreciate, while secretly delighted that our own is tanking. We’re waiting for the Chinese to do something about climate change, while secretly delighted that like us, they’re doing absolutely nothing. Gorilla believes the bilateral relationship with China will become the most important parley of this century, because it will assist us in managing our own decline as a superpower. The Chinese aren’t ready to lead, which is just fine by us, and won’t be until the Communist Party disappears, aka sometime after 2025.
Health Care: Science again gets in the way of politics. It’s easy to understand why nobody in the medical-industrial complex wants serious effectiveness studies, unless those studies demonstrate the need for more revenue enhancing treatments. Patients, on the other hand, love their doctors’ advice and their pink ribbons, even when these are pointless. Meanwhile, the Senate unveils yet another version of health care reform, leaving 20 million people uninsured, providing opt-outs for the states, keeping the foolish tie to employment, and establishing an independent commission with no actual power to reduce costs. Gorilla thinks we’ll have a bill by Christmas, and we’ll have actual health care reform by Christmas 2020.
Afghanistan: Our guy Karzai is sworn in for another term, promises to do better, and remains a sideshow pinata who periodically snaps our attention to the near total lack of a coherent Afpak policy. Obama continues to decide not to decide, and the Taliban continue to bomb their way to the negotiating table. Gorilla is confident we’ll begin heading out the door by the end of 2010.
EU: Rompy van Pompuy (actually, it’s Herman van Pompuy, but if you can’t joke about Belgians the world indeed would be a much smaller place) is the new EU President. Baroness Ashton is the new EU Foreign Minister. At least the banana war with Latin America looks like concluding. Gorilla suggests it’s even money that these two new high moguls will never be heard from again.
US Economy: Could be headed for an even more painful second recession, because the same sort of idiots who kept the US depressed in 1937 are making the same sort of noises today. Unemployment will continue above 10%, house prices will fall further, and feckless leaders will continue to do nothing except talk about balanced budgets and belt tightening. Gorilla suggests we won’t be any better off by 2012 and that Obama is starting to look and sound very much like Jimmy Carter.
Middle East Peace: Completely dead in the water now that the Israelis are building more settlements. The US is stuck in the middle with no leverage over 2 sides that aren’t serious about anything other than self-preservation. Gorilla does not expect anything more than ring around the rosy for at least another year.
Iran: Back on the radar screen, and doing its very best to avoid cutting a deal. The whole processing abroad thing is a neat idea but essentially a non-starter. The Russians and the Chinese aren’t going to do much, so it will be up to Obama to decide whether he can live with a nuclear Iran that isn’t likely to be more than a fifth-rate threat for another 5 years. Gorilla therefore believes a deal will be cut, and Obama will visit Tehran in 2013; only even money at the moment that he will do so as President.