Diplomatic Strategy in Middle East?

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The Forward is becoming a daily read for me. It does a superb job of captruing diverse views about issues related to Judaism and Israel — and is one of the few American portals I know of where the debates taking place in Israel are published relatively unfiltered.
This editorial sees some parallels to 1973 when regional insecurity and change in geostrategic allignments produced opportunities for Israeli deals with some of its neighbors, achieving partial peace.
The article starts:

As Israelis began trying this week to make sense of their bruising five-week war in Lebanon, discussion has returned again and again to the traumatic Yom Kippur War of 1973. Then as now, Israel’s vaunted military machine was caught with its pants down, locked into a strategic concept — static defense lines then, air dominance now — that had become obsolete. Then as now, the war ended in a victory that felt more like defeat, leaving Israel’s enemies crowing and Israelis fearing for their very future. This time, with Israel’s military deterrent exposed as lacking and jihadist rage mounting among the world’s billion Muslims, the fears feel very real.
But there is another, more hopeful parallel between 1973 and now, for those willing to see it. Back then, the mixed results of the war reshuffled the strategic balance in the Middle East, opening the way for a diplomatic flurry — tirelessly orchestrated by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger — that ultimately led to a peace treaty with Egypt, Israel’s most powerful Arab foe. This week, growing numbers of Israeli strategists are speaking of a similar opening arising from the latest war. They see an opportunity for Israel to reach out to moderate Arab and Muslim states, a chance to forge a common front against the extremist threat from Iran and Hezbollah. The price of admission: a regional peace accord, including a resolution of the Palestinian issue and genuine Arab recognition of Israel, that enables the moderates to unite and thus isolates the extremists.
“We need a realignment in the region,” says veteran Labor Party lawmaker Ephraim Sneh, a reserve brigadier general and former deputy defense minister. “We need to create a new balance with the all the moderate countries on one side” — and the extremists on the other.
By “moderate countries,” Sneh is thinking first of all the nearby Arab states that have made peace with Israel or hinted at it clearly in recent decades, beginning with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians. Not coincidentally, all of them are Sunni Muslim societies that view the Shi’ite Iran-Hezbollah axis with fear and loathing.
As it happens, every one of the target nations has sent urgent signals to Israel in recent weeks, making it clear that they want to do business. Israelis must now ask themselves what price they would have to pay to join the game, and what role they need their American ally to play to make it work.
The Egyptians, as usual, are leading the way. Their security services have been working frantically in the past month to separate the Hamas-led Palestinian government from its Hezbollah allies, to secure the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and to create a unified Palestinian negotiating partner for peace talks with Israel, under the clear leadership of the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas — at least its local wing in the territories — seems desperate to buy in; it has endorsed the Egyptian initiative and cracked down on rocket fire. This week it approved a unity government with Fatah and announced that it had “no problem negotiating with Israel.”

I agree with much of this article — but the key question is “where is the indefatigable Kissinger today?”
Does anyone see a top tier strategist in the making in the administration now?
No Acheson, Brzezinski, Kissinger, Scowcroft, Kennan, or Nitze in sight.

Stephen Krasner
does impress me. He is now directing Policy Planning at the State Department but thus far lacks the inter-agency muscle to prevail in the battle he’d need to win to pull off a fundamental strategic reallignment.
One note on Ephraim Sneh, mentioned in The Forward piece — General Ephraim Sneh to his friends — he will be speaking at a New America Foundation event on the morning of September 15th in Washington, D.C. Daniel Levy will be chairing the meeting.
Email me if you’d like an invite.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

40 comments on “Diplomatic Strategy in Middle East?

  1. Slim Fairview says:

    Surprise! That is what Western leaders are in for.
    In a previous monograph, I discussed the fallacy of US Diplomacy in Libya.
    Now I would like to expand the subject matter to include Western Nations and The Middle East.
    Memo to Western World Leaders
    Re: Middle East Turmoil
    Subject: Don’t get happy.
    The impending failure of Western Diplomacy in the Middle East
    My SlideShare upload: The Impending Failure of Western Diplomacy i… http://slidesha.re/eXm1dI http://fb.me/SztCiQj6
    The blog version
    http://slimviews.blogspot.com/
    The iReport version
    Posted an iReport “The Impending Failure of Western Diplomacy in the Middle East” http://bit.ly/iaiEVo
    Regards,
    Slim

    Reply

  2. Den Valdron says:

    Gee Whiz, Rose. Offended by my descriptions of Kissinger? Think on this: Everything that happened in Cambodia can be attributed directly or indirectly to this man’s incompetent meddling. How many corpses is that?
    As for whether Kissinger is Jewish or not, I would not choose to venture an opinion. He may or may not have been born to one or more Jewish parents. He may or may not have been raised in the Jewish faith. He may or may not have been, or is, a practicing and devout member of some sect of the Jewish faith… or potentially, if he is of the Jewish faith, or some sect, thereto, he may be largely non-practicing and judaism may or may not play any significant role in his life.
    Certainly the complaints against Kissinger have no real relationship to any doctrine of Judaism that I have ever heard of. Indeed, the intellectual and moral monstrosity on display seems quite antithetical to Judaism or any conceivable interpretation.
    On the other hand, if Kissinger does believe in any God, whether this is a Judaic, Christian, Islamic or other sort of deity, then given the sort of life he chose to lead and works he chose to inflict upon the world, I can only assume that his existence is one of crushing blind terror at the very thought of ever meeting such a deity or being compelled to account for his actions.
    So my take on Kissinger is that any allegation of Jewishness is fundamentally misguided. The man is either a sworn atheist or colossally stupid and self absorbed (not that these are incompatible qualities).

    Reply

  3. elementary teacher says:

    UN condemns Israeli strategy as ‘immoral’
    The United Nations on Wednesday described as “shocking and immoral” the fact that Israel dropped well over 90 per cent of its cluster munitions in Lebanon during the last three days of the conflict – when it was already clear there would be a cessation of hostilities. . .
    Israel intensified its military offensive in southern Lebanon in the 72 hours between Security Resolution 1701 being signed in New York and the ceasefire on August 14.
    Cluster weapons contain dozens of small explosives which spread over a wide area and are either air-dropped or ground launched.
    The UN said it had identified 359 cluster bomb-strike locations, and that 102,000 unexploded small bombs continued to maim and kill people every day.
    “Civilians will die disproportionately again, after the war,” he said. “This should not have happened. It’s an outrage.”
    continued at: http://tinyurl.com/zqu6r

    Reply

  4. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, who gives a shit about New Orleans when those butchers in Israel need our money! Anyone else getting tired of these fuckers subsidizing Israel with OUR money?
    http://tinyurl.com/jmdh4
    US would consider Israeli request for military aid US would consider Israeli request for military aid
    If Israel asks, the US would “seriously consider” granting the Defense Ministry additional financial assistance because of the huge expenses incurred during the war in Lebanon, a high-ranking US diplomat revealed Wednesday.

    Reply

  5. Carroll says:

    Ditto pauline!
    And let’s have one on CANF, the Cuban exile lobby also, that Con. Nelson D-Fla. and our Cuban -American congressman and woman want to to set up dissents in Cuba with 90 million to spend to overthrow Cuba..
    Having hyphens, who are here to use the US to invade their former homelands so they can go back home, set american foreign policy has gone on too long.
    And these discussion should not include said hyphens…they should be by people who are interested in this country…

    Reply

  6. pauline says:

    Is this taboo subject finally getting out there to the general public?
    I saw Walt and Mearsheimer on C-Span (Monday nite?) and then read editor,Justin Raimondo, from Antiwar.com this morning at —
    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9625
    “Why are we kowtowing to Israel and letting them go on a rampage through Lebanon, killing civilians and destroying the infrastructure that U.S. taxpayers will doubtless wind up paying for? Why?
    There’s just one answer: The power of the Lobby. U.S. foreign policy has been hijacked, and there’s no chance it will ever be recovered unless and until the American people wake from their prolonged slumber. If that semi-miraculous event occurs, intellectual historians will no doubt credit Mearsheimer and Walt for breaking the Great Taboo.
    As the War Party ramps up its propaganda campaign in support of an attack on Iran � a conflict that would sink the world economy, as well as our hopes of ever getting out of the Middle East without incurring huge losses, both human and financial � it is clear that the Amen Corner is unabashedly agitating on behalf of Israeli interests. After all, America is not threatened by Iran: even if they get nukes, there is no way they’ll be aiming them at Washington, or even have the capacity to do so. Tel Aviv, as everyone knows, is their real target: but the Israelis assume that if they just act as if they’re the 51st state, that will make it so.
    And they may be right � but then let’s have it all out in the open. Let’s have a rational discussion of just how Israel both helps and hinders our interests in the Middle East, and weigh both factors in the balance: in short, let’s subject the Israelis to the same test as the British, the French, the Italians, and all the rest. Mearsheimer and Walt have done so, and found Israel wanting � and that, in today’s political atmosphere, is a “hate crime,” one that is likely to take one off the Serious Person Roll Call.
    Well, then, so be it. I’m glad to leave that Roll Call to the unbearably pretentious and the Washington cocktail party circuit. As Professor Mearsheimer put it in an interview with Mother Jones magazine:
    “The Israel lobby and its influence has been a taboo subject for too long. It is very important for the national interest that this matter be discussed at length and in a serious way in the media and on Capitol Hill. Too much is at stake to continue treating the lobby and Israel like two elephants in the room.”

    Reply

  7. Reader says:

    The Likud approach to conflict resolution bears fruit:
    BEIRUT, Lebanon – Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said Wednesday that he refused to have any direct contact with Israel and Lebanon would be the last Arab country to ever sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.
    “Let it be clear, we are not seeking any agreement until there is just and comprehensive peace based on the Arab initiative,” he said.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060830/ap_on_re_mi_ea/mideast_lebanon

    Reply

  8. erichwwk says:

    Could we take issues of “political correctness” offline, in personal emails, and focus on issues of substance such as the new “Judy Miller” (Dr. Walter Williams) opeds:
    http://tinyurl.com/e9fx5
    “Does the United States have the power to eliminate terrorists and the states that support them? In terms of capacity, as opposed to will, the answer is a clear yes.
    Think about it. Currently, the U.S.has an arsenal of 18 Ohio class submarines. Just one submarine is loaded with 24 Trident nuclear missles. Each Trident missile has eight nuclear warheads capable of being independently targeted. That means the U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria, or any other state that supports groups or engages in terrorism–without risking the life of a single soldier.”
    Comments?

    Reply

  9. alec says:

    i just decided that carroll probably isn’t capable of grasping the concept of sarcasm. i’m sure it goes way, way, way over her head.
    you do know that “bigotness” isn’t a word, right, carroll?
    just checking.

    Reply

  10. alec says:

    “Now I have seen enough of your Hitler lite Arab birth rate arguements in comparasion to lower Jewish birthrates in defense of Israel killing Palestines to know you are a flaming Jewish or Jewish centric racist constantly ranting about anti-semitism.”
    go cheney yourself, carroll. i love that! 🙂
    my “hitler lite” arguments were not arguments at all, but merely the latest statistics on the population growth rate and the per capita gdp of israel, gaza and the west bank. but, i wouldn’t expect you to comprehend anything so serious. you obviously weren’t one for… school.
    further, i’ve never defended the killing of anyone, even in the case of self defense. hatred breeds hatred, but from reading your post, you clearly know all about hatred.
    i’m a flaming jewish centric racist? and a whiny little one at that? personally, i still prefer your beautiful post on “bigotness” from the other day. it was priceless. you’re clearly WAY smarter than our president, right?
    you might want to think about enrolling in those evening, internet, correspondence courses, carroll. they’ll give you a chance to brush up on your stupidity.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    talk about a disengenuous post from poa. “bullet bob” has other posts in previous theads where he shares the same anmti-semitic crap; levelling criticism against current admin. officials because they are “—ish”
    poa posted before and after those remarks and didn’t offer one word of criticism.
    if you have any doubts, i’d be happy to cut and paste the remarks.
    Posted by alec at August 29, 2006 02:05 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t recall POA ever making an anti-semitic comment. In fact I think I have only seen one on here that veered into true anti-semitism.
    In fact if we want to really get into bigotness we could look at all the comments on Allen and Frist whose attitudes are blamed on their being “Southerners”..there is a lot of that around…even in Steves’s post. Now, do we Southerners fling a flaming fit every time repugnent attitudes are associated with the whole of Southerners?. No we don’t. It’s annoying and unjustified by putting a strictly southern tag on it, but we assume it is aimed at “some” Southerners attitudes, not all.
    Now I have seen enough of your Hitler lite Arab birth rate arguements in comparasion to lower Jewish birthrates in defense of Israel killing Palestines to know you are a flaming Jewish or Jewish centric racist constantly ranting about anti-semitism.
    Go Cheney yourself, you have no credibility on the issue of racism because you are a racist and a whiny little one at that.

    Reply

  12. erichwwk says:

    I share many of the concerns expressed here regarding Kissinger’s past behavior. That having been said, I also feel Kissinger’s proposal as to how to negotiate with Iran (on a recent Charlie Rose show) to be the best I personally have heard, by a wide margin.

    Reply

  13. Rose says:

    I think it’s hysterical that you deleted this anti-semitic comment about Kissenger, but you kept the post about him shoving naplam enemas up the asses of Cambodian children and roasting them alive! Well, at least it wasn’t anti-semitic!

    Reply

  14. Bullet Bob says:

    I apologize to Steve and other posters here, as my ill-thought-out comments were way wrong.
    At the time, I did not consider the consequences, as I mistakenly thought I was merely “stating a fact” and not realizing I was making a religious slur. I understand that one’s religion often aligns with one’s political views and actions. Perhaps a separate discussion just on that topic would be worthy.
    I would hope that Steve can also monitor the abundance of another poster’s comments who as Pissed echoed my own thoughts when he offered, “Personally, I am tired of being called “anti-semitic”, or “pro-terrorist” everytime I criticise Israeli policies or actions.” imo, nothing of value is offered there.
    I will self-monitor my own comments (and not just here on this board) so as to distinguish the difference between honest debate and insulting or disparaging remarks or innuendos.
    Bob

    Reply

  15. alec says:

    talk about a disengenuous post from poa. “bullet bob” has other posts in previous theads where he shares the same anmti-semitic crap; levelling criticism against current admin. officials because they are “—ish”
    poa posted before and after those remarks and didn’t offer one word of criticism.
    if you have any doubts, i’d be happy to cut and paste the remarks.

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    I just removed an unacceptable comment about Henry Kissinger. I will not tolerate anti-semitism.
    Steve Clemons
    Steve, thanks, I saw it too, and thought that it was beyond the pale. There was simply no reason to mention Kissinger’s religion in the context it was offered, and as such was one of the rare examples of anti-semitism I have seen here.
    And I must thank you for underscoring that you too recognize the difference between criticizing Israeli policies versus anti-semitism. It seems one or two of your posters have a bit of a problem with the concept. Personally, I am tired of being called “anti-semitic”, or “pro-terrorist” everytime I criticise Israeli policies or actions. I watched a senator the other day on C-Span, I can’t recall his name, who was queried by a caller about the legality of the wall. In answer he replied, “Well, it troubles me to see such anti-semitism…..blahblahblah….”. The caller had never mentioned Judaism. The caller had never taken a stance pro or con about Judaism. The caller had simply questioned the legality and wisdom of the wall, and was in turn insulted with the label of “anti-semite”.
    Personally, I find the strategy of labeling people “anti-semite” to counter their criticisms of Israeli policy damned near as despicable as actual anti-semitism is. And it is far more deceptive. At least with an openly anti-semitic bigot you can tell what you are dealing with, and respond accordingly. But when a poster resorts to back door insult and labeling, to conceal an inability to debate honestly, or address issues head on, one finds themelves having to offer a defense on a personal level instead of merely buttressing an opinion or stance using logic or statistics.

    Reply

  17. Bullet Bob says:

    One review of Christopher Hitchen’s “The Trial of Henry Kissenger” in Novemeber, 2002 —
    “In this breezy but extremely well researched little book, Christopher Hitchens convincingly argues that Henry Kissinger is a war criminal according to published American and International legal standards. Hitchens builds his case not from a moral or political point of view but from a purely legal one based on evidence that Kissinger was responsible for acts of genocide, assassination, and unlawfully interfering with government operations both in the United States and in foreign countries. Hitchens documents how Kissinger’s ignominious resume spans the globe and includes the mass murder of civilians in East Timor, Pakistan, Greece, Cyprus, Chile, Argentina, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
    In places such as Chile and Argentina, according to Hitchens, Kissinger merely supervised the assassination of democratically elected heads of state and the establishment of brutally repressive and murderous military dictatorships. His accomplishments were more significant in East Timor where, with his help, one third of the population was murdered, and in Indochina where he not only colluded in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese but also in Cambodia and Laos where under his guidance, Nixon illegally extended the war and waged it almost purely against the civilian population.
    Conservatives or self-styled realists might refute Hitchens by arguing that Kissinger’s genocidal resume is merely the result of his practicing a brutal but necessary variant of realpolitik. But as Hitchens’ gleefully points out, few Kissinger lovers including Kissinger himself are unwilling to do this for two reasons: first because they are unwilling to face the legal consequences of linking the man to his murders and second because in many cases, while Kissinger’s actions personally benefited him and his patrons, they in no way helped the United States.
    For example, in 1968 Kissinger helped to sabotage the Johnson administration’s peace plan in order ensure a Nixon presidential victory and his own appointment as Secretary of State. Four years later he successfully brokered THE SAME PLAN only by this time, twenty thousand more American troops had been killed along with hundreds of thousands of civilians in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The only people who benefited from this were Nixon and his top officials including Kissinger.
    It is for these reasons and others, according to Hitchens, that Kissinger has gone to great lengths to cover his tracks, by censoring documents or bequeathing them to the Library of Congress under the condition that they remain sealed until his death. While Kissinger enjoys a sort of morbid celebrity status at home, he is less at ease abroad where at least once he has been legally detained to answer questions about his responsibility for the “disappearance” of foreign nationals.
    The importance of this book lies not so much in its condemnation of Henry Kissinger, but in the lessons it holds for Americans in these troubled times. As of this writing, many Americans are asking themselves why their nation is so hated around the world, and whether its forthcoming invasion of Iraq is based on genuine national security concerns or the self interest of the ruling elite. Sometimes the answers to such questions are found not so much in the present but in the past. Henry Kissinger’s career, as chronicled in this book, provides us with many hints and direct answers to some of our most troubling questions today.”

    Reply

  18. Jon Stopa says:

    I guess this sounds like a side issue after all the stuff above, but I would like Israel to be forced to clean up that horrible oil spill it created. Now.

    Reply

  19. Steve Clemons says:

    I just removed an unacceptable comment about Henry Kissinger. I will not tolerate anti-semitism.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  20. Den Valdron says:

    The Sabotage of the Paris Peace talks was put forward a few years ago by a historian. I’d have to track it down, and as it is, I won’t be able to for at least a week or two, sorry.

    Reply

  21. Aunt Deb says:

    But but but…Lebanon WAS a moderate Arab state. Must be a missing modifier there somewhere.

    Reply

  22. yathrib says:

    Wait, what was the lesson from 1973 again? Didn’t Israel make peace with the countries that *attacked* it?
    Perhaps we should be talking about forging a lasting peace with Lebanon (and Hezbollah) and Syria, as they did with Egypt. Shebaa Farms == Gaza, first one to the table gets it.

    Reply

  23. Marky says:

    Den,
    Do you have a good reference for the charge that Kissinger sabotaged the 1968 peace talks?
    I have seen it taken as a given by many writers, but a charge of this magnitude needs strong proof. As far as I’m concerned, what he did borders on treason. Of course, what Poppy Bush did in 1980 went well over the border of treason.

    Reply

  24. Pissed Off American says:

    “He was and is a disgusting, filthy, unpleasant, rancid, degenerate, self absorbed, evil human being whose time on the world stage inflicted untold misery and death.”
    Yep, he’s Bush’s kinda guy!

    Reply

  25. Den Valdron says:

    Zoloff, I hear.

    Reply

  26. Den Valdron says:

    Hmmm… was that a little over the top?
    But wait! This was Kissinger. It wasn’t extreme enough.
    For the record, here is a guy that sabotaged the Paris Peace accords of Lyndon Johnson, on behalf of Richard Nixon. Afterwards, he floundered in circles with his own Vietnamese peace talks, clearly outclassed by his Vietnamese adversaries. Failing at the diplomatic table, he encouraged Nixon to expand the American campaign to Cambodia and Laos in defiance of international law. He was responsible for the secret bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia. He masterminded the overthrow of the Cambodian monarchy which eventually lead to the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Finally, having run out of ideas, he essentially told the NVA that they could have South Vietnam, if they’d just lie low long enough for the US to leave.
    Meanwhile, a few hundred miles away, he was up to his elbows in Suharto’s overthrow of Sukarno and subsequent violent purge of over a million Indonesians. He also greenlighted the subsequent Indonesian occupation East Timor and the resulting genocide.
    Over in central America, his antics included the overthrow of Salvador Allende and the installation of Augusto Pinochet, a charming fellow who instituted torture as a way of life, killed several thousand of his own countrymen, lined his pockets generously and enjoyed having women raped by dogs.
    Kissinger’s tenure also included the Yom Kippur War, and the last major Pakistan/India War.
    The bottom line is, that whereever Kissinger went and whatever he did, the rivers would run with blood. He is arguably guilty of war crimes, and ever since Pinochet’s arrest in England, his travel is constricted by an ever increasing number of countries where his colourful life might get him arrested for crimes against humanity.
    Philosophically, Kissinger expounded himself as a ‘realist’ and pioneered what came to be called ‘shuttle diplomacy.’ Sadly, it is not at all clear that Kissinger’s flashy antics ever actually improved situation or that he had any particular luck or skill as a peacemaker.
    Kissinger’s great skill, however, was in self promotion, and in particular, promoting the myth and legend of Kissinger.
    That and the thing with the kittens.
    He was and is a disgusting, filthy, unpleasant, rancid, degenerate, self absorbed, evil human being whose time on the world stage inflicted untold misery and death.
    And folks, ain’t nothing funny about any of that.

    Reply

  27. Pissed Off American says:

    In the end, however, it was Kissinger himself who declined the posting. It seems he had found a delirious new hobby, which consisted of biting the heads off of kittens and then crazy gluing the tiny mutilated carcasses to his body, while dancing naked and singing Karaoke to Britney Spears songs.
    Posted by Den Valdron
    Thank God. Its about time one of these guys exhibited some sane behaviour. How’d they bring him around, Prozac?

    Reply

  28. Den Valdron says:

    No, actually what happened was that all over New England in Catholic Churches, statues of the Virgin Mary began vomiting. The bile invariably would take the form of Kissinger’s image.
    And then there was Vietnam’s embarrassing query as to the mysterious disappearance of 2 million Vietnamese between 1968 and 72, and whether they might be among the unidentified corpses at ground zero in 9/11.
    Finally, there was the awkward discovery that Kissinger was using Salvador Allende’s stuffed and mounted body as a coffee table. Not only that, the artifact was in poor condition, covered with graffiti and urine stains, as well as sporting bite marks which matched the dental records of Idi Amin, with whom Kissinger is reported to have had a long time homosexula liaison.
    Ironically, all of these incidents only increased the fervour of the Bush administration to hire him. Bush himself was so enthused, he would often break out into spontaneous hyper-masturbation, his right arm moving so rapidly it seemed to blur. White House staff came to dread the strange droning hum that would begin whenever Kissinger’s name was mentioned. Indeed, Bush almost tempted Kissinger into taking the job by promising him free impaling rights to New Yorkers and the nuclear incineration of any three cities (but only one of which could be American) of his choice.
    In the end, however, it was Kissinger himself who declined the posting. It seems he had found a delirious new hobby, which consisted of biting the heads off of kittens and then crazy gluing the tiny mutilated carcasses to his body, while dancing naked and singing Karaoke to Britney Spears songs.

    Reply

  29. Pissed Off American says:

    “Kissinger, last time I looked he was sodomizing pre-teen Cambodian children with napalm enemas before preparing to eat their still roasting flesh while they screamed.”
    Oh, he was offered a short cameo appearance to head the cover-up of the true circumstances surrounding 9/11, but Warner and Chertoff’s auditions landed them the parts instead.

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    The Forward article strikes me as written by someone struggling with deep denial.
    First:
    **Then as now, the war ended in a victory that felt more like defeat, leaving Israel’s enemies crowing and Israelis fearing for their very future.**
    Sure, OK. Keep telling yourselves that. But your enemies are stronger after the war than they were before the war. Usually that’s called “losing”. But perhaps one can indefinitely deflect this realization from consciousness by mechanically adding up craters and body counts, backward and forward, in autistic fashion, on little scraps of paper.
    **This time, with Israel’s military deterrent exposed as lacking and jihadist rage mounting among the world’s billion Muslims, the fears feel very real.**
    Look again. Those aren’t jihadists. They are just a whole bunch of ordinary Arabs and Muslims who have this strange fanatical objection to the mass blowing up of other Arabs and Muslims by Israeli warplanes. I know … I know … who can account for such mad, extremist obsession with the condemnation of murder among the superstitious hottentots. The savages!
    **This week, growing numbers of Israeli strategists are speaking of a similar opening arising from the latest war. They see an opportunity for Israel to reach out to moderate Arab and Muslim states, a chance to forge a common front against the extremist threat from Iran and Hezbollah.**
    Forgive my impertinent outburst of short-term memory, but wasn’t the clever plan to divide the opposition, and to win friends and influence Sunni Arab people by taking out after those evil extremist Shiite upstarts, the very scheme that instigated this misbegotten war to begin with?
    I hesitate to bring these late tidings of woe to the writers at *Forward* … but it didn’t work. It turns out that most Arabs don’t dislike Shiite Arabs as much dislike Israelis blowing up Shiite Arabs.
    **”We need a realignment in the region,” says veteran Labor Party lawmaker Ephraim Sneh, a reserve brigadier general and former deputy defense minister. “We need to create a new balance with the all the moderate countries on one side” — and the extremists on the other.**
    All right, good idea. All the Israeli butchers of Beirut, move to the right side. Now who gets to stand on the moderate side?
    Of course, in the end, I hope Israel makes a deal with the Palestinians – the same deal it could have had 8 or 10 years ago. If to get this deal done, and overcome the mental barriers erected by their arrogance and pride, the Israelis need to convince themselves that they are responding to a regional realignment brought about by their brilliant victory-in-defeat or defeat-in-victory or defeato-victory, then I guess we can all play along for a while.

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  31. CathiefromCanada says:

    In any normal time, the opportunity for fruitful negotiations in the Middle East would be good news. However, in these times you can count on Bolton and the neocons to screw this up.

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  32. susan says:

    as long as Israel considers itself to be exempt from the norms govern relations with its neighbors, nothing will ever change. it can’t expect “peace” whilst keeping millions of Arabs under occupation, aggressive expansionism, and bombing the shit out of other countries, all the while claiming to have a higher standard of conduct and morality than anyone else.

    Reply

  33. Den Valdron says:

    Always a pleasure, elementary teacher.
    As for Cheney? My opinion of him is very simple. He is the sort of man that can walk into a room containing, and by his simple presence, cause the creature to burst into flame.

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  34. Carroll says:

    You are totally right Marky.. on this
    http://www.needlenose.com/node/view/3311#comment
    No excuse, none,…the command that ordered the bombings needs to be sent to hell right now, not later.

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  35. elementary teacher says:

    Mr. Valdron, So good to see you. I also enjoyed your analysis. Whatever the diagnosis, I think a key point, from the perspective of learning theory, is that Cowboybaby does not appear to submit to a scintilla of feedback — the sine qua non of learning and self-correction. You know what I mean? BTW, I can only imagine what you have to say about Cheney (not Lon). As a kid, I stood on my bed (according to my family) and pointed to that face on the tv –during Gulf War I — and jumped up and down screaming, No, Mommy, do not trust him. No, he is a killer. Don’t let him in here! Stop that man! Stop that bowling ball head!

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  36. Carroll says:

    Heheheh…this whole editorial is hysterically funny to me. Really, Steve you need some cynic pills in your coffee….you are too trusting. And Kissinger?…gawd!
    I have read the Forward for the past 6 years and while mostly straightforward they do engage in some propaganda with a cherry on top like this bit of crap….
    “Then as now, the war ended in a victory that felt more like defeat, leaving Israel’s enemies crowing and Israelis fearing for their very future….
    Er …where exactly was a Israeli victory against Hezbollah unless they count bombing the crapola out of civilians and getting an international force in there which is just as likey to monitor them as well as Hezbollah?
    But “Changing tunes” is apt title…new tune ..unfortunately same old song. For Isr to become the dominant ME economic force they still have to have that pesky “realignment” don’t they?
    “We need a realignment in the region,” says veteran Labor Party lawmaker Ephraim Sneh.
    “With the all the moderate countries on one side — and the extremists on the other.”
    Ah yes…Plan Two…
    Isreal can’t defeat the ME groups…the US public is totally against US involvement and getting fed up with Israel. So now the Israelis go to Plan two..which of course still involves guess what…Warfare! “Realignment”!…..but between whatever Arabs they can set against each other since they can’t beat them themselves.
    # Bribe some countries,with US taxpayer money of course, like we did Egypt to make peace with Israel…
    # Set the rest,the Sunnis and Shiites against each other.
    # “Install” Isr/US friendly rulers or goverments.
    # Stir constantly the ensuing chaos and this will by remote control “realign” the ME where Is/merica will still accomplish it’s dominance.
    Assuming the Israeli plan to pit the moderate countries against the extreme countries and their groups works…how they gonna keep the extremes down forever?..by bombing the shit out of every extreme country with extreme groups like they did Lebanon or having the Sunni countries invade the Shiite countries or Egypt bomb Iran or Kuwait bomb Iraq…oh yes so mnay endless possibilities…and that really works well ….don’t see a single extremist left in Lebanon or Iraq.
    Israel has set it’s own ass on fire and is grasping at straws, looking for the US to pull some bribes out of it’s hat to save their original grand plan before the Europeans come in and actually slice the baby in half and declare the whole thing over.
    When do we get to the plan where Israel gets out of Palestine, settles for what they got from the UN, learns to modify their behavior and cooperate with, not “realign “the region thru their or someone else’s warfare, if they want relations with the Arabs before they lose it all?
    These people get stupider and stupider.

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  37. paul says:

    The vaunted Kissinger tirelessness was abetted by the will of Richard Nixon. Was it Kissinger who convinced Nixon or was Nixon astute enough to see what had to happen (wait a sec.. I gotta take a deep breath afer that acknowledgement).
    My point: No matter who may have the ability in this administration, how can he/she get out from under the rubble that Bush has made of US foreign policy. Do you really think that all those gatekeepers before Bush would allow such an opening? And even if that were to happen, would Bush allow it?
    Color me dubious
    I fear you are asking too much of a mortal.

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  38. tom says:

    “As it happens, every one of the target nations has sent urgent signals to Israel in recent weeks, making it clear that they want to do business.”
    Who is “they”? The U.S. backed dictatorships in these countries. What do the majority of the oppressed people in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia think about collaborating with Israel or the U.S.? Definitely not what’s implied here.

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  39. marky says:

    I can’t add to this:
    http://www.needlenose.com/node/view/3311#comment
    It is past time that justice be included in the realist mindset. As long as past war crimes fester, the future holds no prospect of peace.
    Needless to say, this goes for ALL parties, but from a US perspective, the crimes of Israel stain our country as well, since our government funds the Israeli war machine.
    Den, I liked your analysis of Bush as not being a sociopath the other day. That really hits the nail on the head. A sociopath is a rational actor, thus he can be dealt with. Bush is not a rational actor; therefore he is much scarier than a Saddam or Ahmenijad, though possibly not as evil.

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  40. Den Valdron says:

    Kissinger, last time I looked he was sodomizing pre-teen Cambodian children with napalm enemas before preparing to eat their still roasting flesh while they screamed.
    I mean, we all realize that the guy is an incompetent diplomat, a soulless mass murderer and handmaiden to atrocity, and that his only real gift was endless, relentless self promotion.

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