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Nation-building, 2007

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Some international relations analysts worry that the Bush regime has destroyed the prospects for nation-building. It’s a variant of the “Iraq syndrome.

Never fear, however, Bush allies have solved the problem: PR is the new nation-building.

It’s cheaper and yields better results.

For me to prove my point, you’ve got to see the photo of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice smiling broadly and shaking hands with notorious dictator Teodoro Obiang, president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. I’d simply post the picture, but Rob didn’t say anything about stealing photo credits when he handed over the keys.

According to Mother Jones, Rice said this when shaking Obiang’s hand: “Thank you very much for your presence here,” she cooed. “You are a good friend, and we welcome you.”

The article describes how Cassidy and Associates, a D.C. lobbying and communications firm, helped “re-image” Equatorial Guinea. Apparently, the firm is worth the $120K it gets per month:

Obiang rules the country with an iron fist: According to State Department reports, suspects have been tortured to death and prisoners raped by police. Still, Cassidy has delivered results for Obiang in D.C. “A few years ago, at least U.S. officials wouldn’t talk about the relationship with Equatorial Guinea, or they would admit all the problems and horrible human rights abuses,” says Frank Ruddy, the former U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. Now, he adds, “you would have thought this is Mother Teresa’s brother running Equatorial Guinea.”

I wonder how much Musharraf’s people had to pay to get the President of the United States to declare this in 2004? “You’ve got a democracy in Pakistan.

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