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A More Muscular Bottom

Who will replace Colin Powell and toughen up U.S. foreign policy?

July 29, 2003

Who will replace Colin Powell and toughen up U.S. foreign policy?

There is much discontent in Republican circles that Secretary of State Colin Powell is not hard-line enough in fighting for U.S. interests. Even rumors — promptly denied — that he might not serve if President Bush were re-elected have been spread in Washington, D.C.

His possible replacement, the current U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, is enmeshed in a political crisis of her own. That makes her an unlikely candidate for the post. But who could add muscle to U.S. foreign policy?

You may have guessed it. The person we have in mind enjoys stunning name recognition, as well as popularity around the world. His bio far surpasses that of Mr. Powell — and probably that of President George W. Bush.

He has near-unbelievable credentials for the position — a foreign background, coupled with fluency in at least one foreign language.

His conservative credentials are impeccable. His tremendous experience dealing with bad guys and tender-hearted liberals — both in his day job and in his personal life — is a definite plus, especially in these global times.

The man whose credentials the U.S. Department of State should covet, of course, is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnie has just released his latest masterpiece — “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” — the eagerly awaited sequel to his two previous "rock 'em sock 'em" classics. The movie, to no one's surprise, immediately rocketed to the top of all movie charts.

Now Arnie is on a new mission: To terminate Califonia’s Governor Gray Davis before his term is up — and, hopefully, to revive California’s fiscal fortunes.

However, as great as he would be as California's governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger's adopted country needs him to fill a far more important position.

He is tailor-made for foreign policy and should become the next U.S. Secretary of State. For starters, he has been felling bad guys by the thousands on screen — which is how the U.S. approach to foreign policy is favored by some in the Administration.

And as an Austrian-born American fluent in German, he can tell the ever-nagging German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder what he thinks of him in his own language.

Mr. Schwarzenneger's career in the United States has been astounding — and it is a fabulous preparation for his tough new role on the world stage, especially in regards to public perception.

Three-time Mr. Universe, Arnold came to prominence in the 1970s, when muscle-clad torsos were the exclusive preserve of a small subculture. Transformation-minded as he is, before he was finished with this part of his career, he made bodybuilding respectable in mainstream culture.

The plethora of crisply shaped pectorals one now glimpses at any U.S. beach is a direct reflection of Arnold's influence.

Similarly, when he got into the movie business, violent shoot 'em up flicks seemed to be on their way out.

In the liberal-minded 1970s, people were becoming increasingly disgusted by bloodshed, not only in television shows and news, but also on the American silver screen. The public was concerned about violence's impact on American kids.

No more. Hardly a movie comes out now without graphic gore galore.

Mr. Schwarzenegger's own Terminator trilogy has become a classic of the genre, praised even by serious critics and studied at universities.

In his private life, the Terminator has been having it his way. A life-long Republican, he is married to Maria Shriver, a full-blooded member of the liberal, Democratic Kennedy clan and a niece of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

Although Sen. Edward Kennedy has not supported his gubernatorial bid, Arnold’s unusual marriage from 1986 is still intact. For the volatile Kennedy clan, that is almost an eternity. And it stands in particularly sharp contrast to the political made-in-heaven union of Andrew Cuomo and Kerry Kennedy, which in typical liberal fashion, has publicly wobbled.

Mr. Schwarzenegger would clearly bring some serious muscle to Foggy Bottom in a hurry. If his movies are any indication, he would pursue U.S. foreign policy in the same manner as the Pentagon — and maybe even run it a little tougher.

In fact, Saddam Hussein — still reported to be on the run in Iraq — might feel compelled to give himself up once he learns that Mr. Schwarzenegger has officially joined the ranks of the U.S. government.

No doubt, Iraq's evil dictator — who was reported to have owned a large collection of Hollywood movies — has seen “True Lies,” “Collateral Damage,” “Commando” and other Schwarzenegger flicks. He would then know that resistance is futile.

Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden would still have to be hunted. As a fundamentalist Muslim who abhors American popular culture, he may not quite know what to make of Arnie.

Come to think of it, why stop at Secretary of State? After all, the precedent of a Hollywood actor becoming President of the United States has already been set by Ronald Reagan. There is the small matter of Arnold’s Austrian birth, but given his charmed career, maybe the U.S. Constitution could be amended accordingly.

That career ending, however, would stretch even the limits of Hollywood’s incredulity. But then again, remember the not so memorable 1993 science fiction movie “Demolition Man” starring Sylvester Stallone?

His character, John Spartan, awakens in the future after having been frozen. One of the things he finds out to his utter dismay is that Arnold Schwarzenegger had indeed been elected president — after the Constitution had been amended accordingly.

Who knows, maybe this science fiction scenario will become reality not too far into the future.