Secretary of State Rice, the forlorn hope

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In a Time blog, anonymous sources say to Mike Allen that the Secretary of State's mission will be a gathering of allies:

These officials said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will leave Sunday night for a week of diplomacy in the region and will go with the modest goal of forming an "umbrella of Arab allies" in opposition to the militant group Hizballah that incited the conflagration by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers.

"She's not going to come home with a ceasefire, but stronger ties to the Arab world," an administration official said. "It's going to allow us to say that America isn't going to put up with this and we have Arab friends that are against you terrorists. What we want is our Arab allies standing against Hizballah and against Iran, since there is no one who doesn't think Iran is behind this. We're going to say to Hizballah and the terrorist groups, 'This will not stand.' That is the way to bring real change to the Middle East. If you just have a ceasefire, then soon or later, they go back to fighting."

Make of that what you will. I appreciate Time's not only continuing to employ Terry Colon but covering my diplomatic skylarking from earlier this week. I also appreciate Time's optimism; to see some benefit coming out of this is truly to believe in Ronald Reagan's pony. Still, I revert to my earlier statement: The only diplomatic play that has any hope is ye olde anti-shiist internationale. And that one's a very small hope. (Beyond which, ye olde anti-shiist internationale may be the same diplomatic play that knocked down the World Trade Center with 3,000 people inside.)

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  1. Meanwhile, Karen Hughes is.. feh, who cares?

  2. So…she’ll pick up Jordan and………..

    yeah, way to go Bush administration for sending condi on a fool’s errand.

  3. “Condoleezza Rice will leave Sunday night for a week of diplomacy in the region and will go with the modest goal of forming an “umbrella of Arab allies” in opposition to the militant group Hizballah…”

    Yeah, she’s going to win over the Arabs like she won over the Russians. Condi may be smart and all that, but IMHO she has absolutly zero gravitas.

  4. The Bush administration deserves no credit with the Arab people. With our tax dollars, it supports the Israeli government’s brutal and thieving (increasingly so with the wall) occupation of Palestine. It also subsidizes the thug regimes of Jordan and Egypt.

    And now as the Israeli government overreacts and uses legitimate self-defense as a pretext to follow a plan that includes the destruction of innocent Lebanese’ lives and property with weaponry that we were forced to pay for, this administration gives sanction and incredibly refuses to call for a cease-fire. This is an indication of just how faithful a servant the Bush administration is to the Israeli government.

    How tragically far we have come from Eisenhower’s sage counsel regarding Israel; that no nation should enjoy a privileged “special relationship” with our government. This advice has as its genesis the wisdom of the founders of our republic who warned against foreign entanglements.

  5. Tim —

    I think Israeli strategy is still in progress; its first reaction was hissy fit, its second was hissier fit combined with Gov. William J. LePetomane’s “gentlemen, we need to protect our phoney-baloney jobs” (Blazing Saddles), and third is now simply an evolving “test the waters” for a serious invasion.

    I think they were genuinely surprised that the raging firepower and swarms of refugees didn’t faze Hizbullah, and suddenly Israel’s first non-military admministration found it had to prove itself to its own population and is still figuring out how to make good on its threats. With the US giving carte blanche for two weeks with no fuss over civilian casualties, the Israelis are trying to look tough and to be able to execute some real force and find a face-saving solution.

    Anti-shiist strategy may be a motive but such a strategy requires a cunning plan, which, as you noted, philosemites and antisemites both wrongly assume to be the case at all times, and may not be so here.

  6. all she has to say is ‘persian bomb’ and it’s on to tehran

    this aggression will not stand, man

  7. “It’s going to allow us to say that America isn’t going to put up with this….”
    “We’re going to say to Hizballah and the terrorist groups, ‘This will not stand.’ That is the way to bring real change to the Middle East. If you just have a ceasefire, then soon or later, they go back to fighting.”

    This is the sort of comment that gives me the very unpleasant suspicion that the Bush administration believes that American power, and America’s ability to shape the world to please itself, are (still) unconstrained.

  8. “It’s going to allow us to say that America isn’t going to put up with this and we have Arab friends that are against you terrorists. What we want is our Arab allies standing against Hizballah and against Iran, since there is no one who doesn’t think Iran is behind this. We’re going to say to Hizballah and the terrorist groups, ‘This will not stand.'”

    Wasn’t Syria an ally in Gulf War I?

    I remember when we didn’t need allies anymore, so I guess this is an improvement. …but it was my understanding that Scowcroft was supposed to have been an evil bastard and that we don’t want allies anymore unless they’re squeaky clean! Who cares how strategic or useful they are?

    I have long complained about the Bush Administration’s incompetence and apparent lack of intelligence, but it seems to me lately that the Bush Administration has learned something from its mistakes.

  9. It also subsidizes the thug regimes of Jordan and Egypt.

    You left out Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

  10. SY,

    Are you sure that our tax money actually goes to SA and Kuwait? Although, the latter I readily imagine.

  11. If Condi were to stay home, it would be a very hopeful sign that Dubya might be getting the message that everything he does turns to shit.
    Governments and “organizations” such as Hizballah are always the problem; never the solution.
    Peaceful anarchist ranting here.

  12. …Make that: “Although, the latter I *can* readily imagine.”

    Damn the Preview button! Full speed ahead!

  13. Governments…are always the problem; never the solution.

    Ruthless for president! Or err umm…for facilitator of the dismantlement of the federal government!

    I?m hep that Ruthless wants to get rid of ALL government. But perhaps he?d like to start with the worst.

  14. “I?m hep that Ruthless wants to get rid of ALL government. But perhaps he?d like to start with the worst. ”

    Reminds me of my stockbrokers’ dilemma (from a previous life): Should I focus on high-commission products or low-commission ones?
    I’ll take selling a ton of low commission products. It’s safer and more lucrative–careerwise.

    So I’m saying I’ll have a greater, and longer-term effect trying to convince folks that government is the cause of conflict, not the solution, rather than by beating hard on the “worst.”

  15. Ruthless:

    You forget that governments are not like stocks which basically stay where they are put, but rather like fish, with a tendency to eat each other.

    Always go for the big sharks first. Makes swimming around a lot safer.

  16. Adriana,
    Our metaphor is about to rip, but I still say it’s better to make everyone a little ashamed of their government. As soon is one government is assumed to be more dispicable, then it relieves the guilt of the majority about their own government.

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