It's not long after Mrs Sarkozy's mysterious "sore throat" absence from George Bush's non-lobster summit with her husband in Maine. And it's in the season when there have been recurring questions about whether US foreign policy towards East Asia is being completely neglected in the magnet of Iraq. So what was being billed as George's renewed attention to the region, his visit to the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit in Australia next month has suffered a blow --
Mrs. Laura Bush will not travel with the President, as planned, to Sydney, Australia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Mrs. Bush extended her regrets in a telephone conversation yesterday to Mrs. Janette Howard, wife of Prime Minister John Howard.
Mrs. Bush has been treated with physical therapy for a pinched nerve, which she injured while hiking earlier this year. Her physicians have strongly advised her to not travel overseas in order to avoid potential complication and aggravation by extended long distance travel.
It seems to part of the protocol of these things that the ladies call each other to drop out of planned engagements. Whatever about John Howard, one hopes that the rest of the summiteers don't take it as a further snub.
UPDATE: The new theory is that the "pinched nerve" was a cover story for the initial preparations for Bush's SURPRISE! Iraq visit.