The US as Charlie Brown
I have a soft spot for old comic strips/cartoons. One of my favorites is Peanuts and its star Charlie Brown.
Throughout the comic there is a running gag in which Lucy, the bossy, domineering “friend,” tells our hapless hero that she will hold the football so he can kick it. Of course, at the last instant she, as she always does, yanks the football away and Charlie Brown winds up on his back looking foolish.
I was reminded of Lucy and Charlie Brown yesterday, when I read this statement from the State Department, saying it was optimistic that a deal for a political transition in Yemen was just around the corner.
Now, of course, the US has been down this road with Lucy, uhh, President Salih, several times before, including the three times he promised, absolutely promised that he would sign the GCC initiative.
Read this, from Charlie Brown’s Wikipedia page, and see if anything strikes you as familiar in the US-Salih relationship:
“Initially, Charlie Brown claimed that he would not trust her because she has tricked him this way many times, but Lucy then gave some reasons why Charlie Brown should give her credence. For example, to give him a signed document stating that she would not pull the ball away from him (later to reveal that the document had never been notarized). His doubt undermined, Charlie Brown then sprints toward Lucy to execute the place kick. At the last possible second, Lucy snatched the ball out of Charlie Brown’s path, causing him to be flung up into the air and land hard on his back.”
I hope the US is right, and that this time, Salih won’t snatch the football back just as it is running full speed toward a deal. But I worry that, once again, the US is about to go snookered.
When that happens the words the State Department will be looking for are: Aww, shucks.*
*(The last is a paraphrase of an Aaron Sorkin line on the West Wing.)