November 27, 2007

"It’s time to steel ourselves for the heavily advertised Bush-and-Condi show at Annapolis...."

While you're hoping the Iraq war fails, don't forget to gear up you hopes for a big collapse of the mideast peace talks.

64 comments:

George said...

"....The Bush administration, whose raison d'etre for going into Iraq was to spread democracy in the world..." Stephen King tells Time magazine.

The very idea!

Trying to bring democracy to those little brown people!

rhhardin said...

Don't believe the theater. It's a cover.

He's actually inviting them here to tell them individually that he's frozen their bank accounts.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how the history of the US would be different if the English in 1770something had said You want democracy? Fine, you're free.

As for Annapolis, well call me cynical, but I've been watching this kind of thing for all my life. You know what? There still isn't peace in the Mideast. I give 'em credit for trying, but I don't expect much. I'll be happy if I'm wrong.

Balfegor said...

don't forget to gear up you hopes for a big collapse of the mideast peace talks.

Does anyone expect success? I mean, it's not like the Arab governments are all suddenly going to wake up and abandon their dream of extirpating Israel from the face of the Earth. The disagreement is kind of fundamental.

Sloanasaurus said...

The best time to bet on Bush is when all the pundits are against him. Bush is always under-estimated.

They were all against him on stem cells, but now it turns out Bush was right after all.

Lets wait and see.

ricpic said...

Why the Israelis are sitting down with the Palestinians is beyond me. What have they gotten in the land for peace deals so far? More missiles able to reach deeper into Israeli territory.

reader_iam said...

All this steely gearing up makes me think of oral surgery.

John Burgess said...

While there's a considerable history of failed peace talks, there've also been a few successes, like Camp David in 1977 (perhaps before some of the commenters were born).

What's different this time is that the Arab League is taking part. It accepted the Saudi peace plan (2003) as the way to go. That way includes full recognition of Israel, not its extirpation.

This op-ed I co-wrote with David D. Perlmutter last year for Asharq Alawsat suggests paths that can be taken to achieve peace.

Skepticism is always helpful. Cynicism, not so much....

Synova said...

The chances of Peace in the Middle East is sort of like the chances of Firedoglake succeeding at being funny.

I'm sure they are, once in a while.

It is funny, though, how some people post here (trying) to tear Ann for being frivolous when there are serious issues in the world and here we've got a fabulous example. No conflict that includes dead people is more weighty than it is an opportunity to be outrageously humorous about the vile George Bush.

At least Ann is frivolous by talking about frivolous things.

In this case I think Ann has got it right on, EXACTLY. Hope the war fails but if you don't get your wish, hope for the collapse of the mideast peace talks. Steel yourselves people! We have to watch the unheard of before in the history of Mankind event of politicians putting on a *show*. What *could* be the nefarious purpose?

What *will* these people do in '08 when the reason for their entire existence moves back to Texas?

We OWE it to them, we really do, to put George W. Bush in for a third term.

Everyone needs meaning in their lives. It's in the Constitution. I'm sure of it.

Richard Dolan said...

As usual, the Firedoglake crowd seems to be on autopilot in viewing events in the MidEast merely as a useful foil for pursuing domestic political objectives (Bush is a fascist idiot seems to be all they can come up with on any topic).
MM says he's a cynic about this. I don't see it that way, but his view is understandable.

The Annapolis meeting began, as undoubtedly everyone knew it would, with such issues as whether the various players were even willing to shake hands (the Saudi rep making it known that he would not do so with the Israeli reps).

The point of a one-day confab among folks who see it as a big deal whether they are even willing to shake hands is not to reach a resolution of anything. It's only to get them to the point where it is politically possible for them not to obsess (for their own domestic political reasons) about who is willing to shake hands with whom.

Bear in mind that the general outlines of the only possible "resolution" have been clear for a long time. There are still major issues -- the status of Jerusalem being the big one -- on which the differences are substantial. But the real problem has always been that there is no will to reach a resolution, in large part because there are so many conflicting and contending players and positions particularly on the Arab side. It's not that the Israelis lack for any disagreements among themselves, but rather that it is possible to envisage a resolution on the Isreali side that would hold politically. It's very hard to see how a similar political resolution could be achieved among Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, the Lebanese, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and the Saudis. Everyone who matters in this process knows that, including all those in attendance at Annapolis and those who aren't.

Still, diplomats have to keep trying. Nothing can be achieved until the key players (especially the Iranians, Saudis and Syrians) all decide that resolving the problem is in their own interest. This conference can't achieve that in one day, and it is probably not achievable until there is a change in control in Iran (and thus the Iranian proxies in Gaza/Lebanon). But a conference like this might be able to move it along an inch or two, if only by showing that the Americans are willing to stay engaged for the long haul. (I haven't seen any commentary by Biden or Hillary or Obama, but they would help the process along if they publicly reaffirmed their support for efforts like this as part of the American commitment to "stay engaged" if they end up in Bush's position a year from now.)

There's not much room for talk of "success" in that view, but I think it is enough. It's just shameless to see those who say that Bush has been too unilateral complaining now this conference, where he is trying to move the players past obsessing about shaking hands and in the direction of something more serious.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
paul a'barge said...

Mary said: Until America is willing to lean on Israel to stop trying to pre-emptively define the borders by continuing to built settlements for their extremists in contested land...

Right, Mary.

Like Gaza, huh? That really worked out well for your silly little theory, didn't it?

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: You are a banned commenter. I forbid you ever to post anything on my blog. If you post again, you are conceding that you intend to harass me. You must stop. I will not say this again.

Ann Althouse said...

No one should interact with Mary. Ignore her comments. I am deleting them.

jeff said...

Like Mary says. Although she left out the most important part. Until America leans on Israel to give up some ground on the Jew-extermination policy, we will never have peace.

jeff said...

missed that last comment.

Beth said...

He's actually inviting them here to tell them individually that he's frozen their bank accounts.

Citigroup just sold a big chunk to an Arab emirate to keep itself afloat. I don't think we have a big banking gun to fire here.

Beth said...

Having a jaded view of Middle East peace deals isn't some sort of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Ann, nor a wish for it to fail. It's just realistic, based on years and years of history.

Ann Althouse said...

Beth, yeah, but I'm writing about a particular post that I linked to. Did you look at it?

B said...

Firedoglake - Does anyone need more proof that Bush Derangement Syndrome is alive and well?

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face - the BDSer's would rather have defeat - and people actually killed - than hope that a Bush led initiative will succeed.

It's a true form of psychosis and paranoia. These people are seriously mentally ill. Which is okay, I guess, except that so many of them are functioning paranoids in roles of responsiblity - which possibly explains the Department of Motor Vehicles, HMO's, domestic airlines, and the current TV season.

Original Mike said...

I think Benard Lewis' piece in yesterday's WSJ pretty much says it all. As long as the Arabs reject the right of Israel to exist, this conflict can not be resolved by negogiation.

B said...

Beth,

I also hold to the view that Middle East peace is barely possible, because of the refusal of all Arab states except Jordan and Egypt to recognize the right of Israel to exist. That is the price of admission for peace, and we can hope, but I am not optimistic.

However, that is not the tac that FiredogLake is taking. He is definitely mocking Bush for even trying, and wants Bush to fail because he hates the President so much. He is truly a mentally unbalanced individual.

That is what BDS is: a mental health problem.

Fen said...

I think Benard Lewis' piece in yesterday's WSJ pretty much says it all

Yah I was just about to mention that:

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB119604260214503526-lMyQjAxMDE3OTI2NjAyNDYyWj.html


"If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist."

and further down:

"...The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the "return" of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government."

Pastafarian said...

Is there some kind of problem in the Middle East? I guess I haven't been paying close enough attention these last 35 years or so.

Freder Frederson said...

Mary: You are a banned commenter. I forbid you ever to post anything on my blog. If you post again, you are conceding that you intend to harass me. You must stop. I will not say this again.

This is a novel concept. You are a brilliant legal scholar, Ms. Althouse. Can we have our para-lawyer Simon weigh in on this point?

The best time to bet on Bush is when all the pundits are against him. Bush is always under-estimated.

Name your odds and stakes Sloan. I will take that bet.

And what the hell are you talking about on the stem cells. I missed the part where Bush went into the lab and learned how to make embryonic stem cells out of skin cells. In fact if you had bothered to read the news, you will find that there is universal agreement (except of course in the "this would have never happened if Bush wasn't such a dick crowd") that Bush's policies hindered this research

Revenant said...

That's not the most idiotic comment King makes in there either, George. That award goes to this:

And meanwhile, you've got Pakistan in the midst of a real crisis, where these people have nuclear weapons that we helped them develop.

"That we helped the develop"? We had abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING to do with Pakistan's nuke program. They relied on Chinese and North Korean assistance, plus probably some stuff that Khan stole from the Dutch.

Freder Frederson said...

He is definitely mocking Bush for even trying, and wants Bush to fail because he hates the President so much.

Oh Lord, you just don't get it. We are mocking the president because his effort is so pathetic and half-hearted. He is not trying at all. He (not even him, Condi in her usual half-assed way of doing things is the one who has put this debacle together) has just slapped together this conference, will not be directly involved in the talks (that way if they fail, Condi can take the blame). He is just too lazy and inept to do the real hard work and take the risks that are necessary to actually achieve something.

And that, kind sirs, is why we hate him so much. Because he is an incompetent, bumbling fool.

Fen said...

Freder: Oh Lord, you just don't get it. We are mocking the president because his effort is so pathetic and half-hearted. He is not trying at all.

And yet you don't even know what goals Bush/Rice intend for this conference. I think its a waste of time but:

what would you do different other than harp moan whine complain?

Fen said...

And when you say "we", do you mean to imply you are a regular on FDL, or are you speaking of Moonbats in general?

Freder Frederson said...

what would you do different other than harp moan whine complain?

Well gee, I would actually become personally involved and committed in the diplomacy, show some interest in the subtleties of the region, not base impressions of leaders of looking deep into their eyes, and actually try and learn from my mistakes. Maybe try and be half the personally involved and engaged president Clinton was instead of spending way too much of my time clearing brush in Crawford.

Freder Frederson said...

what would you do different other than harp moan whine complain?

Oh, and I also wouldn't say patently stupid things like "I'm the decider" or "the commander guy", or "nobody anticipated the breach of the levees" or give speeches on aircraft carriers in front of huge "Mission Accomplished" banners (and then later claim I never put it up when I did) when it was most certainly not. Those kind of things undermine your reputation as a person of intelligence who has a clue about what is going on around him.

Revenant said...

Well gee, I would actually become personally involved and committed in the diplomacy, show some interest in the subtleties of the region, not base impressions of leaders of looking deep into their eyes, and actually try and learn from my mistakes

You try to learn from your mistakes? Jinkies, does this mean we can look forward to an admission that all your bashing of the surge strategy was childish and misguided? :)

Seriously, though, Bush is personally familiar -- as the left is fond of complaining about -- with the Saudi leadership. The Bush administration works closely with the leadership of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and has achieved more diplomatic success with Libya than Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton put together.

Maybe try and be half the personally involved and engaged president Clinton was

This would be the same "Clinton" who fucked up every attempt at Middle Eastern diplomacy he ever made, right?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Remember the great Wye summit under Clinton? Where the Palestinians got the best deal they ever could hope for, and decided that they liked killing Jews too much to take it?

PatCA said...

Expectations all around are so low for this "peace" conference that if they just refrain from fisticuffs it will be seen as an accomplishment.

Fen said...

Freder: become personally involved... committed.. show some interest... not base impressions of leaders... learn from my mistakes... personally involved and engaged

So its your opinion of his behavior [subjective] that bothers you... Its really nice that you would be all touchy-feely about it, but what I'm asking about is Policy. What would you do different diplomatically? Uninvite the Saudi's? Lean on Israel? What?

Doyle said...

Wouldn't it be nice if wingnuts would/could actually argue that Bush's foreign policy has been a success, instead of just accusing liberals of "rooting for" his obvious failure?

There's a difference between recognizing something and rooting for it that seems to escape them, but I guess it makes dishonest hacks like Glenn Reynolds and Ann feel a little extra patriotic to make baseless accusations of bad faith.

Fen said...

Wouldn't it be nice if wingnuts would/could actually argue that Bush's foreign policy has been a success, instead of just accusing liberals of "rooting for" his obvious failure?

We've been doing both. On these very pages. Don't know why you missed it.

Doyle said...

Firedoglake - Does anyone need more proof that Bush Derangement Syndrome is alive and well?

Well if you want some here it is.

Fen said...

Well, Pali's in West Bank are protesting the Annapolis conference, calling Abbas a traitor.

Meanwhile, Hamas in Gaza says Abbas has no authority to negoitate on their behalf and so they won't abide by any agreements made.

If only Israel would compromise...

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

and actually try and learn from my mistakes.

How many websites are you banned from now, Freder? Have you learned anything?

TMink said...

I am not sure why Israel even shows up for these things. I mean, the Israelis promise land for peace, the Arab's promise peace for land, then they say that they cannot control their own people when the rockets and mortars and suicide bombers start up again.

There is considerable money to be made in blowing up Israel. Lots of dollars, and it beats teaching school for a living I guess.

It will not change.

Trey

Original Mike said...

I am not sure why Israel even shows up for these things.

I suspect for one reason, and one reason only. To placate the U.S. administration.

{snark}You know, the US administration who, if they would only lean on the Israelis, could wrap this mess up over the weekend.{/snark}

Chip Ahoy said...

Mindlessly hawking his patented gun barrel democracy as the curative for all of the world’s woes, Bush will, no doubt, swagger around the conference, spritzing everything and everyone in the room with White Phosphorus-Glo™ and OxiBomb™, insisting that just a dab of his miracle product is what’s needed to clean up all that spilled blood in the Middle East.

Apologies for not being able to make that tiny. It's as far as I got before turning away, there's only so much auto-fellation a guy can be expected to witness. Had to leave before any got on me.

Revenant said...

Wouldn't it be nice if wingnuts would/could actually argue that Bush's foreign policy has been a success, instead of just accusing liberals of "rooting for" his obvious failure?

America faces fewer foreign threats today than it did when Bush took office. By the only standard that matters, his foreign policy has been a success.

Freder Frederson said...

America faces fewer foreign threats today than it did when Bush took office. By the only standard that matters, his foreign policy has been a success.

What really scares me, is that there are people, people who own a computer and apparently at least have the cognitive ability to log onto the internet (and read and write no less), who actually believe this.

Revenant said...

What really scares me, is that there are people, people who own a computer and apparently at least have the cognitive ability to log onto the internet (and read and write no less), who actually believe this.

Smart people can be scary to the less intelligent. That's why nerds get beaten up in junior high. :)

Fen said...

Hey Freder, rather than waste your time and energy on another good ad hom attack, why not show us how Rev is wrong?

You have the cognitive ability to log onto the internet (and read and write no less), yes? Shouldn't be hard for you to refute:

"America faces fewer foreign threats today than it did when Bush took office."

Or is Math a problem for you instead?

Beth said...

Ann, yes, I read it. I don't get from it that anyone wants the peace process to fail. Did you read the text quoted in the selection, where Bush is quoted opining that if the Palestinians just get some democracy, those border issues won't mean so much to them? Jesus, if that's true, he really is foolish.

I took the firedoglake blog entry to be a jaded, but probably accurate perspective that there's just not a lot to look forward to here. If they enjoy a few pokes at Bush along the way, so what? That's not the same as wishing for failure.

B said...

Beth,
You are one of my favorite commenters here.

That said, you said:

That's not the same as wishing for failure.

Yes, it is.

If Iraq suddenly became a flamingly successful Democracy overnight, there wouldn't be enough space to print all of the hatred that would STILL descend on Bush from haters on the left.

You can disagree, yes. But c,mon, Beth. Read the last 7 posts on Firedoglake and then please explain to me how all of the commenters there - and especially the BDS mentally challenged Jane Hamsher - are not so full of hate that they can no longer see straight.

Which, kinda makes their whole "world view" invalid, doncha think?

Revenant said...

Did you read the text quoted in the selection, where Bush is quoted opining that if the Palestinians just get some democracy, those border issues won't mean so much to them? Jesus, if that's true, he really is foolish.

What do you expect him to do -- tell the truth? Because I don't think starting off the peace talks by saying "Peace will not be achieved until the Palestinians realize they will never be allowed back into Israel, so they might as well stop trying to kill the Israelis and figure out to do with the land they've got" would be terribly productive.

Besides, it is amazing how often the supposedly vital issues -- like "reclaiming" a land that you've never actually lived in -- fades into non-importance once you actually have some political control over the land you ARE living in. One of the reasons the Palestinians are obsessed with reclaiming the land of Israel is that they're powerless in the countries they're stuck in now. They imagine it'll be different if only they can get rid of the Jews.

Synova said...

I wonder how many people actually realize that the Palestinians are not allowed to become citizens of other Arab states.

I think that most of us automatically figure that *of course* they'd get to be citizens if they wanted to because *of course* the other Arab states would take them in.

Because that's what we would do.

Beth said...

Because that's what we would do.

Exactly! Like we allow substantial numbers of Iraqi refugees to immigrate to the U.S.

No, I'm wrong. That's what we don't do.

Freder Frederson said...

Or is Math a problem for you instead?

Well for me it isn't, apparently it is for you and Fen.

Let's add it up. Troops in combat zones in 2001: 0

Troops in combat zones in 2007: 250,000

Extra U.S. troops in danger: 250,000.

How do you and Fen measure these kinds of things? In my book the mission actually has to be accomplished (strutting around on the deck of an aircraft and having a banner that says it just doesn't cut it), before it counts.

Beth said...

Thanks, b, for the kind words.

If Iraq suddenly became a flamingly successful Democracy overnight, there wouldn't be enough space to print all of the hatred that would STILL descend on Bush from haters on the left.

So far, it isn't a flamingly successful democracy. So I'll hold off judgment on how the left will react until that happens. Democracy isn't by itself the best outcome. We should all be hoping fervently right now that the democracy of Venezuala doesn't democratically vote itself into tyranny by affirming Hugo Chavez as president for life. Democracy in Algeria resulted in an Islamic theocracy. Democracy isn't going to fix the problem of Israel and Palestine.

As inane as some of the fdl commenters can be, an uncritical worship of all things Bush isn't any better.

Synova said...

Oh for...

But we *do* let Mexicans come across our border and we *do* let those from the middle east, like Palestinians, who come here become *citizens*. And yes, Iraqis too. I wasn't aware of a huge population of Iraqis living in our country while denied citizenship.

Or do you really *really* not see the difference between Arab states holding Palestinians in deliberate limbo and the way our sensibilities treat refugees?

Because lord knows we *do* assimilate refugees. The little mid-west town my parents live in is now predominantly Swedish and Sudanese. They even have a halal meat market.

Not even the nasty mean conservatives who think that illegal immigrants ought to go through legal processes oppose legal immigration and naturalizing just about anyone who wants to be a citizen.

Did you not *realize* that Palestinians living in Arab states were not given that option? On purpose?

I figured that most people didn't. It makes a difference in understanding the conflict, trying to figure out why refugee communities still exist after all these years and just why Palestinians still have it as bad as they do.

Synova said...

Watching Venezuela is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

I can't think of anything that would help. Maybe if *everyone* in the world started to publicly oppose Chavez he'd get a clue, but he might just cash in on being persecuted and strengthen his position.

Isolation, economically and politically, hasn't seemed to work *at all* with Cuba so I can't see it working with Chavez.

We could boycott all oil from Venezuela.

Or we could encourage American tourism there and offer lots of spots in our college economic departments.

Beth said...

Synova, I'm well aware of the Arab hypocrisy in their treatment of the Palestinians. I took issue with your comment "because that's what we would do" because it makes no sense. Yes, we allow immigration. But we also let politics drive our policies, and we don't always do the right thing.

Since we invaded Iraq, Arab nations have been taking in hordes of Iraqi refugees who've fled the violence. We, on the other hand, have let in only a few thousand. Why? It would look really, really bad if the people we're congratulating ourselves for liberating were pouring into our immigration system. So what we do is sometimes laudable, and sometimes not.

Revenant said...

Exactly! Like we allow substantial numbers of Iraqi refugees to immigrate to the U.S.

Say what? Iraqis HAVE their own country. Maybe you've heard of it. It is called "Iraq".

Revenant said...

That was a little too snippy. Let me spell it out a little more:

There are very few Palestinian refugees anymore. The very youngest -- the ones who were infants when Israel was established -- are sixty years old now. The overwhelming majority of them were *born* in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Syria, in Jordan, in what is now called "Palestine" -- you name it. The camps they live in are called "refugee camps" for reasons of pure propaganda.

We're not asking the Syrians (to pick one example) to take in countless refugees. We're asking them to let countless people born in Syria -- many of whose parents and grandparents were ALSO born in Syria -- to become Syrians. America does that to everybody. If you're born here, presto, you're an American. The Palestinian "refugees" living here are almost all full American citizens now; the only exceptions are the ones who fled here in the 1940s and never bothered getting citizenship.

You're conflating the issue of letting long-term residents of a nation become citizens with the issue of taking in refugees. The two things aren't analogous. What obligation we have to the Iraqi people we are more than fulfilling by building a better country than they have ever had before. We have NO obligation to the people who opt to cut and run instead of staying and helping. I'm sorry they feel they can't live in Iraq, but that doesn't mean they get to live in America. Not our problem, really.

Synova said...

Beth, I was talking about our sensibilities. It's human nature to expect other people to have the same sensibilities as we have.

Do you think that the average person who sympathizes with Palestinians and their plight is aware that they are denied citizenship and have not been offered to be taken in by other Arab nations?

Imagine the United States refusing to take in Christian Europeans. That would actually be analogous.

B said...

As inane as some of the fdl commenters can be, an uncritical worship of all things Bush isn't any better.

And I agree with that as well.

Revenant said...

As inane as some of the fdl commenters can be, an uncritical worship of all things Bush isn't any better.

Can you actually name someone who expresses "uncritical worship of all things Bush"? Besides Bush himself and his immediate confidants?

Nobody in this comment section falls into that category. Nobody at the major conservative magazines or newspapers. None of the leading bloggers. Not even Rush Limbaugh, for crying out loud.

Who are these straw men who uncritically support Bush? I can think of a lot of people who always support him over the Democrats, but that says more about the Democrats than it does about Bush!

Fen said...

Freder:
Let's add it up. Troops in combat zones in 2001: 0
Troops in combat zones in 2007: 250,000
Extra U.S. troops in danger: 250,000.


So its not math, b ut reading comprehension thats an issue for you. Remember, the claim you are trying to counter is:

"America faces fewer foreign threats today than it did when Bush took office."

# of troops deployed is an orange to that apple.

You're welcome to try again....

Fen said...

And besides, I thought you claimed Iraq is not a threat to us?

Can't have it both ways Freder.