April 21th. 2006
Sent to but not published in the New York Times

Your picture of China's President Hu Jintao greeting onlookers (New York
Times, April 21, page A1) took me back to the days of the cold war when
analysts carefully examined the photographs of the Russian Politburo during
the annual May Day Parades. By examining changes in the positions of Politburo
members relative to the central figure of the General Secretary, they could
infer changes in the power structure of the Soviet government.

I noticed that Dick Cheney was standing four rows back. He was positioned
behind an unidentified woman, who stood behind Dr Rice, who in turn was placed
behind Secretary Rumsfeld.

Does this mean that there really has been a power shake-up at the White House
with Vice-President Cheney being relegated to the benches. It is a pity that
Donald Rumsfeld isn't back there with him.

Or is this just wishful thinking and his position merely illustrates the fact
that he is still "the power behind the throne."