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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Schizo foreign policy

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells USA Today (h/t to War Room):
QUESTION: But if — say Hezbollah decides it does not choose to live up to this agreement and does not choose to disarm. What happens then?

SECRETARY RICE: ...And then I think there will be a lot of pressure on Hezbollah to make a choice and if, in fact, they make the wrong choice, one would have to assume that there will be others who are willing to call Hezbollah what we are willing to call it, which is a terrorist organization. Europe does not, for instance, currently list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. I would think that a refusal to live up to obligations that were undertaken by the Lebanese Government, clearly putting Hezbollah outside of the Lebanese Government consensus might trigger, for instance, something like that.

QUESTION: So it would isolate Hezbollah in the world?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, in ways that — we consider them a terrorist organization now, but Hezbollah is a little different than Hamas. Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the Europeans; Hezbollah is not. I would think that this would be another further isolation for Hezbollah.
Huh? What the hell is she talking about? Wasn't Hezbollah pretty isolated from the rest of the world before the war, with the notable exceptions of Syria and Iran? Didn't this conflict actually make them less isolated, by increasing their popularity on the Arab street?

That's the crazy thing about the Bush administration. They're not just aggressive, warmongering assholes — they're schizo aggressive, warmongering assholes. One second they're all full-throated war cries: Grr, argh, let's kill all the Hezbos! With us or against us! Blargh.

Then, all of a sudden, it's back to replying on diplomatic pressure and world opinion. How can the same people who constantly belittle Europe (especially our newfound diplomatic buddy France), the United Nations and the value of international consensus (and actually invaded a country against that consensus) talk about relying on isolation to beat the terrorists? Do we have to kill them all or not?

Oy vey, I've got a headache. Mero, where are you? Please, help us figure out if these people are stupid, or just full of shit. Or both.


Blogger J.B. West said...

I'm so glad, too, that if Hezbollah, a terrorist organization on the U.S.'s shit list, doesn't disarm and live up to its agreements it is going to be put on somebody else's shit list. Sounds harsh, man.

Blogger Buck B. said...

And as Julie added to me later:

"Because you know, if being on the U.S.'s shit list isn't doing it, being on Europe's shit list is definitely going to shake the very foundation of Hezbollah."

Blogger J-Flash said...

Er....bad HTML in my previous two posts. Let's try this again, without any coding.

Not to sound too simplistic, but the historical position of the U.S. is that diplomacy is useful to all only when it's useful us.

The current Near East conflict is my case in point. We let the conflict drag on as we felt it needed to, allowing Israel to show some strength but not racking up too many casualities. Well, at least according to some State Department analyst.

But all this sounds strangely like the October War in 1973. Israel then had two different fronts (Syria and Egypt). Now it's Hamas and Hezbollah.

Then we intervened with diplomacy, too, after we supplied Israel with supplies to make sure it didn't get the crap kicked out of it. Of course, much more goes on behind the scenes than any pundit or journalist knows or would like to admit. But still, we used diplomatic means only once they were convenient for us.

Here's the catch. The 1973 conflict was seen in history's lens as a microcosm of the Cold War, with the U.S. and Soviets each trying to exert their influence.

What is it this time? Many argue that it's part of the larger U.S.-Iran conflict.

Which is somewhat true. But there are many key differences that will prevent us from resolving this one the way we resolved the 1973 crisis.

In no particular order:

∞ Three decades ago we had better relations with Moscow than we do today with Tehran.

∞ We also had relations with one of the offending parties (Egypt), even as they were invading. When's the last time we had any serious communication with Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah or Mahmoud al-Zahar. Other than to say they are evil.

∞ While we negotiating with the Soviets about pulling Egypt out of the Sinai and getting Israel not to blaze a trail from Tel Aviv to Damascus, we weren't also invading other bloc countries. Today, we're occupying Iraq. And telling Pakistan to behave and pick cotton at the same time.

∞ Then we had Kissinger. Today we have a toolbox.

∞ Then Europe stood behind us, and Britain wasn't castrated.

∞ It was conventional war then.

∞ We also can't pronounce (or understand) Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya. Or most other Islamic movements.

∞ Pat Robertson is still alive. And Ann Coulter is a New York Times Bestseller.

I await Mero's response. Until then, I guess the Swedes will have to step up. Or something.

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