This week in the news: 5 things more incomprehensible than the finale of Lost

Although it’s hard to believe, there have actually been developments this week that were more difficult to understand than the finale of Lost — which is saying something since the show was roughly as incomprehensible as a boozy 3 a.m. chat with Lindsay Lohan. We’ve had: People actually listening to the rantings of James Carville, ...

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Although it's hard to believe, there have actually been developments this week that were more difficult to understand than the finale of Lost -- which is saying something since the show was roughly as incomprehensible as a boozy 3 a.m. chat with Lindsay Lohan.

We've had:

People actually listening to the rantings of James Carville, a man who has turned Tourette's Syndrome into a form of political analysis. This week it was about how the government should take over shutting down the Gulf oil spill despite the fact that literally no one in the government has the expertise to do so. The U.S. still trying to undercut the benighted, ill-conceived and virtually certain not to work Brazilian-Turkish initiative with Iran in order to advance our own benighted, ill-conceived and virtually certain not to work sanctions program there. The release of a national security strategy that could have easily saved much paper by simply using a photo of George W. Bush with a big red circle around it and a line through his face. What made the strategy -- which was an almost perfect snapshot of mainstream foreign policy conventional wisdom -- incomprehensible was not its content so much as it was the clear disconnect between that content and what the administration was actually going to be capable of or inclined to do. The presentation of Exhibit A with respect to the aforementioned disconnect -- which was when Loveable Old Uncle Joe Biden then said we were on schedule to leave Iraq despite the fact that as the Post subhead put it: "U.S. expects to leave despite violence and political disarray." We seemed to have gone from the absurdity of "Mission Accomplished" to the pathos of "Mission Abandoned." Bland Lee Dewyze beating gifted Crystal Bowersox on American Idol. Even more baffling: that the show will still be the most viewed television program in America this week despite the fact that it contains less healthy nutritional content than one of KFC's Double Down sandwiches. (That's the one that uses two pieces of fried chicken instead of bread ... and come to think of it, the fact that America eats crap like that sandwich and watches crap like "American Idol" actually not only makes perfect sense...it explains why we ended up with Bush as president and why, maybe, Obama's national security strategy was even necessary. Not much there but at least it is a kind of policy detox. Better for our blood pressure, fewer toxic additives, and a recognition that for a while we're going to have to be on a fat free diet if we want to regain our strength.)

Although it’s hard to believe, there have actually been developments this week that were more difficult to understand than the finale of Lost — which is saying something since the show was roughly as incomprehensible as a boozy 3 a.m. chat with Lindsay Lohan.

We’ve had:

  • People actually listening to the rantings of James Carville, a man who has turned Tourette’s Syndrome into a form of political analysis. This week it was about how the government should take over shutting down the Gulf oil spill despite the fact that literally no one in the government has the expertise to do so.
  • The U.S. still trying to undercut the benighted, ill-conceived and virtually certain not to work Brazilian-Turkish initiative with Iran in order to advance our own benighted, ill-conceived and virtually certain not to work sanctions program there.
  • The release of a national security strategy that could have easily saved much paper by simply using a photo of George W. Bush with a big red circle around it and a line through his face. What made the strategy — which was an almost perfect snapshot of mainstream foreign policy conventional wisdom — incomprehensible was not its content so much as it was the clear disconnect between that content and what the administration was actually going to be capable of or inclined to do.
  • The presentation of Exhibit A with respect to the aforementioned disconnect — which was when Loveable Old Uncle Joe Biden then said we were on schedule to leave Iraq despite the fact that as the Post subhead put it: "U.S. expects to leave despite violence and political disarray." We seemed to have gone from the absurdity of "Mission Accomplished" to the pathos of "Mission Abandoned."
  • Bland Lee Dewyze beating gifted Crystal Bowersox on American Idol. Even more baffling: that the show will still be the most viewed television program in America this week despite the fact that it contains less healthy nutritional content than one of KFC’s Double Down sandwiches. (That’s the one that uses two pieces of fried chicken instead of bread … and come to think of it, the fact that America eats crap like that sandwich and watches crap like "American Idol" actually not only makes perfect sense…it explains why we ended up with Bush as president and why, maybe, Obama’s national security strategy was even necessary. Not much there but at least it is a kind of policy detox. Better for our blood pressure, fewer toxic additives, and a recognition that for a while we’re going to have to be on a fat free diet if we want to regain our strength.)

If all that’s confusing to you, brace yourself — the summer ahead may prove to be a real head spinner. And more on that note in tomorrow’s offering. Stay tuned… 

David Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017. Twitter: @djrothkopf

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.