Secretary of State Rice, the forlorn hope


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.)