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The good, the bad, and the pliable

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday January 7, 2009 05:40 PM

-- Hello, I am Quisling.
-- Of course. And your name?

Thus Glenn Kessler in the Washpost:

Unintended Consequences Pose Risks for Mideast Policy
Obama Breaks His Silence, Vows to Work for Peace Deal

... After days of studied silence on the Gaza conflict, Obama promised yesterday "to hit the ground running" on achieving a broad Middle East peace deal.

"We are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East," he told reporters, adding that "the loss of civilian life in Gaza and Israel is a source of deep concern to me, and after January 20th I am going to have plenty to say about the issue."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to the United Nations yesterday to meet with Arab and European diplomats on possible terms of a truce, pressing the Bush administration's case that a cease-fire must be permanent and not grant Hamas the ability to rebuild its military arsenal. There is little indication that Obama and his team differ significantly from that approach.

Obama's a wonderful man: he can talk and talk without saying anything. This particular breach of silence amounts to a continuation of silence by other means.

The Kessler piece is rather interesting actually. It suggests that Israel's immediate goal in Gaza is to weaken Hamas politically enough for the quislings of Fatah to take control there and run the place for Israel's benefit, as they now do in the West Bank. In other words, this is a war for -- Fatah!

It's not as crazy as it sounds. And Kessler is undoubtedly right, too, that Obie is right on board this Bantustan/Petain strategy and the rivers of gore that will flow to float it.

Comments (4)


Undoubtedly you're right, Michael. Where would Obama have unearthed any other approach than the one that's been US Policy for decades? Peace "process" or "road-map" just mean indefinite postponement. "Resolving the conflict" means finalizing the conditions Israel has already achieved.

The only obstacle for Israel at this point is that they cannot conclude any agreement with Hamas, because that would make Hamas the legitimate government of Gaza. This will require some shucking and jiving, but we can be sure people like Zipi and Hillary will find a way.

Mike Hunt:

Gas and oil were discovered under Gaza. NOTHING is ever done for a single reason by any political entity. The more angles they use the harder it is to understand. One can not follow that many trails. And when ever one does have insurmountable evidence about a single angle the old " but what about" raises it's ugly head.


Mike Hunt makes a good point -- the key concept is "overdetermination". Everything has at least half a dozen causes, each sufficient in itself. I dunno about the gas and oil in Gaza -- first I'm hearing about it -- but undoubtedly the Israelis embarked on this bloodbath for more than one reason.

I wasn't invited to these meetings, so I can't say for sure what weighed most heavily.


Israel's reasons are pretty simple and date from 1948. Expel as many Palestinians from as much land as possible and establish "eretz Israel". Israel is not in fact a state yet, since they do not have established boundaries, the settlements having pushed well beyond the 1967 armistice lines.

America's reasons are complex and have changed over time, and are now a mixture of self-defeating imperial strategy and embarassing boot-licking bribe-taking.

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