Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A right-wing friend emailed to ask if I had any thoughts regarding the Israel/Lebanon situation (and requested that I simply not go against whatever Bush's policy happens to be). My response:
Actually, from what I've read Bush does have a policy: he doesn't have one (surprise!). In fact, once again the conservatives are attacking him for his lack of stated policy and/or planned resolution on the matter (see below). You see, the only foreign policy they've ever had was to invade Iraq (see confessions from ex-government officials Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neal, that Bush/Cheney had been planning that attack pre-9/11). BTW, notice the North Korean non-foreign policy (threaten the hell out of them, but when they fire seven missiles, do nothing).

As for me re Israel/Lebanon, the fact is it's a very tough situation BUT as many have written, WE ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. We don't necessarily have to have a "policy" on the matter, but GW does (part of his job!).

These two sides have been at war for decades, and yet whereas Hezbollah provoked this latest fighting, Israel's military strikes -- while justified -- are not the long-term solution and will only incite further hatred in the long-run. Diplomacy and attempts at brokered deals are needed, and typically the U.S. has served a central role in this regard, but this administration is not equipped to perform these duties, nor will any nations respect their efforts (if forthcoming) based on their track record over the last six years. GW in no way is a Carter!!

Whether it be Iran, North Korea, or this Israel/Lebanon situation, the nations involved are simply not going to respect or act on anything the U.S. may attempt to offer. Bush/Cheney have been about "Cowboy Diplomacy" and everyone now realizes that's dead and useless -- so what are Bush/Cheney/Rice left with? Zilch. GW's political capital has run dry, but even more so his diplomacy capital has long been bone dry.

This lesser-realized fact has always been a greater danger for the U.S. and the world given we are a superpower that while possessing tons of bombs and WMD has very little teeth regarding non-violent means of persuasion. That's a big reason why other countries realize they NEED to acquire nuclear bombs: the U.S. under Bush/Cheney only operate via brute force, not reason, policy, treaties, or agreements. It's why they've made the world a much more dangerous place since 2000. We're no longer a stabilizing force (such as during the Cold War) but rather a destabilizing, disruptive, hypocritical & schizophrenic bully.

WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush's conservative coalition, already irked over domestic policies, seems now to be targeting his foreign policy.

The Washington Post says the backlash from some conservatives against the president's foreign policy derives from what they see as administration timidity and confusion over long-standing problems such as Iran and North Korea. These conservatives also are concerned over the latest crisis between Israel and Hezbollah.

"I don't have a friend in the administration, on Capitol Hill or any part of the conservative foreign policy establishment who is not beside themselves with fury at the administration," Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Post.

The Post report said the conservatives' complaints include lack of a U.S. strategy to crush the insurgency in Iraq, no U.S. comment on the crackdown on dissenters in Egypt and Russia, North Korea's missile firing with consequence, and Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The conservatives also feel the United States being perceived as weak is emboldening Syria, Iran and their Hezbollah radicals.

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