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Pox Americana

R.P. Ericksen

        They sound the same,
        pax with an a and pox with an o.
        and you, Mr. President,
        with your fabled ear for phrases
        and your mild disconnect on meaning,
        might not immediately notice,
        especially since the phrase
        is rooted more in the library
        than the cinema,

        but there is a difference,
        and when your advisors
        murmur on about Pox Americana,
        please ask them to spell it.

        Then there is the war for peace problem.
        You are a man of peace
        lurching toward your second war,
        and we ask, how many more?
        (How many wars will it take
        'til we know that just enough
        people have died?)

        Afghanistan is now over, in a way,
        you routed the Taliban
        and lost track of Osama,
        a fifty percent score
        which would have earned an F
        in your days at Yale,
        but not with grade inflation,

        and now you will bring peace to Iraq,
        because Saddam has weapons he might use
        if pushed into a corner, as the CIA has noted,
        so you have decided to push,

        and then there is Kim Jong Il,
        who thinks you have pushed him
        to the side of your plate
        as a tasty morsel saved for later,
        and we call him crazy,

        but is he on to something?
        Won't the logic of Iraq
        bring you to Pyongyang
        to preserve the peace,
        even though Seoul might suffer
        a mild bombardment,
        and one of those larger missiles
        might reach Portland,
        or Acapulco, since they're so inaccurate,

        but this would help with your need
        to convince us about anti-missile defense
        and, really, there would then only be
        Pakistan, one coup or one election away
        from a terrorist state with nukes,
        and Indonesia, maybe,
        and, of course, China,

        so that critics might seek out the phrase,
        "reign of terror,"
        but you could call it
        your Pox Americana.

                -- R.P. Ericksen (February 18, 2003)

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Last updated: April 10, 2003