Saturday, May 9, 2009

The strategic vision muddied with spike in disinformation

Conceptually, this is all too narrow.

I would suggest that the "realist" -- best interests -- goals of the US and virtually all of Western Europe, and probably at the root, the Russians and Chinese, is "normalization" of Iran's international position. Normalization does not necessarily mean strengthening Iran, rather it means getting it sufficiently engaged in the international system so its interests are served by standing by agreements, and following the normative rules. It means negotiation toward a workable power balance between Sunni and Shia forces and states -- a rough power balance that sets the ground rules for settlement of Iraqi and Afghanistan issues, places that Iran can and does profoundly influence.

I would suggest that Obama will have extremely limited tolerance for Bibi -- or in fact any other Israeli representative, sitting opposite him in negotiations who proposes to give some sort of "deadline" for the evolution of an Iranian relationship, or indeed making precise demands regarding the outcome. And the Obama team will have even less tolerance for threats and talk about demands that if not met will result in Israel "blowing stuff up" and all.

As I see it, US and indeed Obama's interest involve creation of a workable international framework for the whole region that in the end keeps the US engaged as a principle player in shaping this framework, but the US is only one player -- the EU, Russia and China also have differing interests, and are key players, and the US leadership position in establishing a working framework rests not with Israel at all, but with the other outside players who all, in slightly different ways, share interests in formal normalization. Since Israel has not nurtured and developed strong alliance style relationships with parts of the EU -- with Russia and China, in fact any clear headed look at the situation would comprehend that Israel's interests really rest with the success of Obama and his team moving toward a normalizing framework that ultimately controls and diminishes the conflict points between the Sunni and Shia orientations in the clear language provides for Iran to be one significant power pole in the future Middle East framework.

I suspect the EU, Russia and China will be following Obama's meetings with Netanyahu very closely. If he cannot both lead the various forces in the US Government (including Congress) in negotiations with Bibi, and fairly represent the general interests in a normalized Middle East framework, Obama will have lost his opportunity to reposition the US in a leadership role, and probably have lost any possibility for multinational negotiations with Iran. So huge stakes.

Obama has an interesting strategy -- bringing Egypt, the Palestinians, and the Israeli's to DC at the same time, and combining private meetings at both State and the WH with joint events. His opening to Iran, his earlier meeting with Jordan's Abdullah, and his diplomatic missions to Syria, all background this several days event. It is a most interesting strategic contrast with either shuttle diplomacy or one on one meetings and negotiations -- or for that matter, Camp David's or ill prepared events such as Annapolis style meetings. I think the real question here is not so much "who wins?" but whether one or several of the parties will attempt to sabotage Obama's strategy.....

Hubris will always be Hubris....

American civilian and military leaders can issue pronunciamentos about what other countries must do; publicly demand various actions of ruling groups; opt for specific leaders, and then, when they disappoint, attempt to replace them; and use what was once called “foreign aid,” now taxpayer dollars largely funneled through the Pentagon, to bribe those who are hard to such example...King Hussein of Jordan was on CIA's monthly payroll for years and years.....?

.....the Palestinian State already exists, it is called Jordan. It's population is 70% Palestinian. The most sensible solution is to transfer the million Arabs living in Israel to the adjoining territory and rename it accordingly. Jordan is a superficial country created by Britain as a repayment for Hashemite favors. It has no legal legitimacy. It was created on land sequestrated from the territory designated by the League of Nations in 1929 to be the Jewish Homeland. Indeed it is most astonishing that Israel has not contested this issue at the International Court. Why?

I sincerely doubt there is going to be any "knock-down, drag-out" fight between Netanyahu and no-drama Obama. The Obama administration is completely lacking in the political will and courage, or the strategic vision, that would be needed to insist on the very dramatic steps that would be needed to create a truly viable Palestinian state.

Instead, Obama will insist on a few modest adjustments to the status quo: halting expansion of the colonies, but not reversing the colonization that has already occurred; calling for the dismantling of rogue "outposts" that most Israelis don't care about anyway; promoting economic ties that will cement the existing facts on the ground in place as a fait accompli.

Netanyahu will then engage in some stage-managed dramatics about how onerous it is to accept these hideous demands, which he has planned all along to accept anyway. Obama will take bows for "standing up" to the Israelis, and the press and J-street will acclaim Obama's Mighty Roar.

Maybe the US, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will then somehow prevail upon the hapless and defeated Palestinians to accept the new chopped up, parceled up and stripped down Republic of Bantustania - sovereign in name only - that the powerful have carved out for them, and then just shut up.

Then Rahm Emanuel, Dennis Ross, Bibi Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah can get down to their real business, which is crushing Iran and Hezbollah, and figuring out how to get the US administration to ship more weapons and 19-year old cannon fodder over to their neighborhood to do it. Of course, the US Congress is always a done deal wherever Israeli whims are concerned. But they might have to work on Obama for a few months....

Focus on the brutal reality...
Women and children dead and dying. Blood. Bullets. Bombs. Tanks. Smoke. The ear-shattering noise of explosions as the missile strikes and the house is destroyed and the family killed. The screaming and the terror of burning to death by shards of white phosphorus. The smiles of the tank crew and the missile pilots safe in their steel envelopes. The vomiting and the despair as loved ones are killed without mercy or reason. The pain and the agony of blown-off limbs and the unspeakable terror in the eyes of the innocent victims. The morning after amid the rubble. The lives cut off. The graves. The nothingness but the burning hatred of those who brought death and destruction. The knowing that God whoever he may be has forsaken them. The urge for revenge that rises in the throat. And the utter futility of it. The knowledge that there will of course be a Palestinian state - though maybe Sharon and Olmert and Barak and Netanyahu may have gone by then to join Arafat. In the meantime there are broken bodies to bind up and traumatized minds to heal - if ever. But we don't want to talk of blood and death and terror when we can indulge in the satisfying pastime of gentle discussion ... or what the First Ladies will be wearing or how Netanyahu will come and conquer America..... 308 million Americans being dictated to by a two-bit state of 6 million that thinks it's a world player even though it has no natural resources, it's non-self-supporting and totally dependent on US aid and handouts from the Jewish Diaspora, it boasts the world's most recalcitrant troublemakers, it's arrogant, it has an endemically corrupt political class, it's ethno-centric, it's contemptuous of international institutions including the UN, the EU, the Geneva Conventions and the World Court, it's one of the smallest states in the world being only 20,000 sq. Kms ....and is utterly subservient to the power behind the power in USA, an instrument of the Siamese twins, the nexus of evil, CIA/MOSSAD....and a Banana Republic at best.

Something is totally warped about this OBONGO administration and what is going on.... Karl Marx failed at mobilizing the middle class in the Proletariat but Obama will try to do with his blackberry, twitter, daily telepromptered press conferences, and his rhetorical style of stating declarative truths as if there really are truths. Wake up America. Obama taught constitutional law at U.Chicago so expect him to continue to try to change the fundamental ideals upon which this country was built. It also matters a lot who fills the open supreme court position ... just look at history e.g., liberal Brennan vs. traditional Rehnquist - Brennan believed that the law / constitution is a flexible living organism that can be warped to fit the direction the wind is blowing at the time, exactly as CIA does.... while Rehnquist was a constitutionalist believing that there are fundamental principles this country is built upon. The court is supposed to interpret the law in terms of the basic constitutional principles....