Friday, June 06, 2008

The Madness of King George w.

The adage about the futility of trying to drive a square peg into a round hole may serve as a handy metaphor to describe Washington's bungling throughout the Middle East.

There's no region on earth where the Bush regime has squandered more American lives, treasure and prestige than the Middle East and no place on earth where it has consistently failed so miserably. But don't take my word for it.

Look at places like Lebanon, Gaza and Syria. There has been progress made lately in all three hotspots and in each there appears to be one common factor - the United States has been dealt out. From The New York Times:

"In the last few weeks, three long-frozen conflicts in the Middle East have displayed early signs of thawing. Israel and Hamas may be inching toward a cease-fire that would end attacks by both sides and, perhaps, loosen the siege imposed on the impoverished Gaza Strip. The factions in Lebanon, after a long period of institutional paralysis and a near civil war, have reached a tentative political agreement. And eight years after their last negotiations, Israel and Syria have announced the resumption of indirect peace talks.

The Gaza deal is being brokered by Egypt. Qatar mediated the Lebanese accord. Turkey is shepherding the Israeli-Syrian contacts. All three countries are close allies of the United States. Under normal circumstances, they would be loath to act on vital regional matters without America’s consent.

Yet in these cases they seem to have ignored Washington’s preferences. The negotiations either involved parties with whom the United States refuses to talk, initiated a process the United States opposes or produced an outcome harmful to its preferred local allies.

The region is in a mess, and Washington’s allies know it. They privately blame the United States and have given up waiting for the Bush administration to offer them a way out.

By acting as they did, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey gave the true measure of America’s dwindling credibility and leverage after American debacles in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. They are willing to take matters into their own hands and overlook American ambivalence about their doing so.

Intent on isolating its foes, the United States has instead ended up marginalizing itself. In one case after another, the Bush administration has wagered on the losing party or on a lost cause.
Israel wants to deal with Hamas because it — not America’s Palestinian partners — possesses what Israel most wants: the ability to end the violence and to release Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas. Israel has come around to dealing with Syria because Damascus — not America’s so-called moderate Arab allies — holds the crucial cards: Syria has a clear strategy of alliance with Iran; it supports the more powerful forces on the ground in Lebanon; and it provides refuge to opposition and Islamist forces in Palestine.

Likewise, America’s Lebanese friends had to give in to Hezbollah’s demands once it became clear that the support of the United States could not undo their country’s balance of power. Meanwhile, the process President Bush seems to care about most — that elusive Israeli-Palestinian track — is also the least likely to go anywhere.

The United States has cut itself off from the region on the dubious assumption that it can somehow maximize pressure on its foes by withholding contact, choosing to flaunt its might in the most primitive and costly of ways. It has pushed its local allies toward civil wars — arming Fatah against Hamas; financing some Lebanese forces against Hezbollah — they could not and did not win. And it has failed to understand that its partners could achieve more in alliance than in conflict with their opposition."

American efforts in all three cases have also fallen flat because Washington keeps trying to add one additional, vexing layer to them - Iran. The U.S. sees Iran's evil hand as the culprit behind each crisis instead of understanding that Iran is mainly supporting Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria just as the U.S. has been supporting the other players in each conflict. Trying to somehow undo Iran on the backs of the crises in Palestine, Lebanon and the Golan Heights is beyond America's or anyone's power.

Once the Egyptians, the Qataris and the Turks engage the principles without the hurdles poised by the Washington-Iran conflict, progress is suddenly possible.


Johnathon said...

Everything is Israel's and America's fault.

No fault can be given to the muslim terrorists who slaughter people (including their own) in those same regions.

You cannot negotiate with terrorists and using a NY Times article is nothing short of using a Toronto Star article.

Your argument is ridiculous.

Israel has every right to destroy Hamas and Hizbolloh.

Just like Canada would do if we were in the same situation.

The Mound of Sound said...

Johnathon - Israel already tried to destroy Hezbollah. Do you need to be reminded how that worked out? You need a clearer view of the Muslim world because yours, which is the same as Dick Cheney's, has led the US to the impasses it confronts today.

It's Israel that wants to negotiate with Hamas so for you find that "ridiculous" is nonsensical.

I'm getting bored of this childishness chum.

Johnathon said...

Israel can destroy Hizbolloh.

All they have to do is bomb the country from top to bottom, and not worrying about civilians in the process.

I would also love to see that in the gaza strip.

Just destroy the fucking terrorists once and for all.

And by the way, Israel killed far more hixbolloh and lebanese than casualties they suffered.

The Mound of Sound said...

My God, Johnathon, you're a genuinely, hate-filled lunatic. Don't leave any more of your comments on this blog for they surely will be deleted. You've crossed the line this time so be on your way.