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Tap Dancing Through the Minefield

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Daveparts Donating Member (854 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 07:05 AM
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Tap Dancing Through the Minefield

Histories corridors are littered with reminders of failed policies, misconceptions or misjudgments that have lead to catastrophes. During the Cuban missile crisiss politicians on both sides agonized over every word in every communication striving to assure that no mistakes were made. In international politics there are no do overs, a card laid is a card played, clarity honesty and integrity are the hallmarks of a good foreign policy.

With those three words we can describe all that is lacking in the current administrations foreign policy. To do nothing even benign neglect could be considered a mistake but to actively pursue what can only be called radical policies in the most volatile region of the world is nothing short of madness.

This week marks the anniversary of Israels war on a political party in Lebanon and a good place for us to start. The roots of the struggle center around the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005, Hariri the Prime Minister of Lebanon had done a tremendous job in rebuilding Lebanon both politically and physically. Lebanon is Israels weakest neighbor and trapped on Israels northern border between Syria. Lebanon is torn apart in a perpetual tug of war between the two powers.

The most religiously diverse and tolerant state in the region Lebanon is manipulated by its own toleration. During the Lebanese civil war Israel actively supported Druse Christian factions while Syria supported Moslem factions. In 2005 Hariri was murdered in a bomb attack, Four Lebanese generals, senior pro-Syrian security chiefs, have been under arrest for 20 months, accused of involvement in al-Hariri's murder.

Obviously it would be in Syrias interest to keep Lebanon factionalized but its also just as much in Israels interest. The administration immediately chastised Syria while giving a quiet nod of accent to Israel labeling Syria responsible before the smoke had cleared. And Syria might well have been responsible but until you can prove that publicly you must remain quiet. The administrations policies have weakened the moderates and energized the extremists.

The Israelis blame Hamas for starting the war by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers Hamas claims the soldiers were arrested in Lebanese territory and offered a prisoner exchange. Who is right? That will never be settled but the administrations partisan policy in Lebanon is the root cause of the conflict. Condi Rice might as well have launched the first Katusha rocket herself. But I shouldnt blame Condi she didnt do anything, she just like the oil tanker that Chevron named after her shes just a vessel to carry the administrations crude message.

When the shooting war began in earnest and innocent Lebanese civilians began dying in droves the UN and world opinion pressed the US to pressure Israel for a cease-fire. The President by declining to do so was publicly supporting the aggression against the Lebanese people. Once again weakening the moderates and emboldening extremists, energizing Hamas in the occupied territories and weakening Fatah for it wasnt Israel that Hamas defeated in Lebanon but the allies of America.

Now Fatah is being given life support trying to rescue the moderates that Israel and the US helped to destroy. But by their sudden care and concern for Fatah instead of aiding Fatah they make the point for Hamass that Fatah is nothing more than Israels lackeys in the first place.

The administration condemnations of Syria have cooled relations with a nation that once supplied us valuable intelligence after 9-11 and once willingly tortured suspects for us when requested. Now when the administration asks the Syrians to do more to control their border with Iraq they are met with a cold shoulder. The administration in an attempt to mend the bridges has shifted their attacks exclusively to Iran. According to the administration Iran is responsible for all of the troubles in Iraq, last year they claimed Syria was involved but not any more now its just Iran.

After almost six years of a foreign policy made up of nothing more than name calling, bulling and groundless accusation thats yet to produce one positive development. The administration is still unable to understand that it is all interconnected that when they push on one side it squeezes out the other side. For several years the US has hounded and badgered Iran in an orchestrated campaign over nuclear policies while supplying nuclear fuel and technical assistance to her neighbors.

Iran then suddenly decides to deport the 800,000 Afghan refugees living in Iran gratis. While a panicked President Karzide in Afghanistan screams, No! We cant possibly handle them. The message to Karzide is crystal clear, call DC and tell them to call their dogs off. Mother always told me, you draw more flys with honey than you do with vinegar Im surprised that Strauss and the Neo cons had never heard that one.

Our best friend in the region by the Presidents own admission is President Musharaf of Pakistan a president elected by a vote of generals. Musharaf has fired the Supreme Court justice and wont announce when elections might be held. But this is the Bush administration idea of exporting of democracy. Propped up with a billion dollars a month in US aide Musharaf has been unable to do anything to control extremists in his out lying territories.

But he crushes religious dissent at gunpoint while the administration applauds the bloodshed. The dissenters were calling for a return to shira in the market place or the Muslim equivalent of no shirt no shoes no service. Hardly worth a blood bath and once again the moderates are weakened the extremists strengthened. What was once just a local crisis in Islamabad will now fan out and spread on the blood of the martyrs.

Inside Iraq the one quiet area in the country is the future Kurdistan as the US plays a double game promising the Kurds autonomy and oil wealth in exchange for turning a blind eye to the rape of the other regions of the country. Turkey is bought off with military aide but steadfastly maintains it wont tolerate an independent Kurdistan. A conundrum and the administration plays Scarlet OHara Ill think about that tomorrow meanwhile the Turks position thousands of troops on the border and were the US to withdraw from Iraq guess whose hash would get settled?

Fair enough, the US does have their hands full and no one to blame but themselves. They have taken the worlds most troubled region and made it ripe for combustion. They have stoked the furnaces of war into a region wide conflagration. They have made themselves an international pariah to the point where any politician who has favorable contact with the US is to undermine their own support at home from London to Damascus from Ankara to Teheran.

The media and Congress concentrate on the failings in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. But the failings extend much further than that, not just creating doilies of disaster the have sown cataclysm in whole cloth. From the Mediterranean to the Baltic from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea from the straights of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean. This administration has alienated every moderate government and antagonized every hostile government. The administration reports Al Queada is back up to pre 9-11 strength and Chertoff tells us his gut is warning him, well Duh!
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