Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bush Diplomacy

I hear that your Rice takes off tomorrow for a round of diplomacy on the Middle East crisis, Bush. She bristled at suggestions that this US effort was too little, too late: “We do seek an end to the current violence," she said. "We seek it urgently. We also seek to address the root causes of that violence. “A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo.”

The big meeting, I hear, is set for Rome. Not sure what to make of this, Bush. Does it mean that your Rice prefers not to travel to the critical region? Or does it mean that she may not be welcome there--that the leaders of other Arab countries do not wish to appear to be overtly hospitable to the United States? Their initial irritation at Hezbollah has turned to anger at the Israelis for their "overreaction", and at the US, obviously, for supporting Israel so stoutly.

For me, the "too little, too late" accusation has a much broader significance. The whole hands-off policy toward the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians is now bearing very ugly fruit. Your benign neglect has bred a much worse situation than the one you inherited from Bill Clinton. I also wonder what the current plan for talks with neighboring Arab leaders might achieve. I understand the reluctance to talk to "terrorist organizations" like Hamas and Hezbollah--dismissed out of hand by your administration--but my own experience with conflict persuades me that we sometimes need to talk even to those we dislike and mistrust the most. It seems short-sighted policy to me, Bush, to cut off communications with countries like Syria and Iran, which are obviously players on this field, and to talk instead to Saudis and Egyptians, whose influence is far more tangential.

Your Rice does sound a bit haughty, I have to say. I suspect Bill Clinton would have mucked right in with the antagonists in this situation, and engaged in a bit of shuttle diplomacy. But this, it seems, is not to your Rice's taste. “I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante,” she says. “I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do.”

Meantime, it's reported in today's New York Times that you're rush-ordering a new shipment of precision-guided bombs to Israel. A ittle like pouring oil on the fire, I'd say.

I thought Paul Krugman's historical analysis of your administration's foreign policy and the influence of the neocons was quite brilliant, Bush. I doubt, though, that you read it. The idea that you have made the world "a safer place" is laughable, but I expect your people will continue in their efforts to promote it. I just hope they won't be able to sell this patent absurdity to the American electorate this time.


PK said...

This is probably the same thing you read this morning, but it was in my box this morning. What a thing to wake up to with my morning tea!!! I was shocked, guess I shouldn't be at anything this administration does. I'll leave this for any of you that don't get TruthOut. Time to clear my mind, meditate...

merlallen said...

I don't know who is more worthless, bush or rice.

dusty said...

O yes..talking about peace whilst sending the newest bombs over to Israel..what a crock of crap.