Thank you for being a voice of reason, not that I agree with all of the sentiments of your post. For the record, I am socially progressive. Given the nature of the current Republican party, I am most aligned with the left. Your comment about "just one more clueless lefty" puts an ugly blemish on an otherwise cogent call for a change in behavior ON ALL SIDES. Hateful rhetoric is the domain of juveniles, and there are plenty running around the blogosphere spray-painting obscenities everywhere they go. How 'bout we start being adult Americans who can engage in respectful discourse? Perhaps we can accomplish something positive instead of stomping around demanding "it's my way, or f*ck off."Comment Posted By Colin On 8.02.2007 @ 19:01
enunciateComment Posted By Colin On 29.10.2006 @ 01:02
Or maybe the French just want to look "finessed."
I still think that you had to squint way too hard to see anything plausible in the US-French draft. Even on acceptance it would likely have meant weeks of additional wrangling, and months to full implementation. I suppose if "Lebiranollah" had accepted its terms in full, you could just barely imagine a political-military process eventually achieving the same thing slowly that Israel is attempting to get to fast, but it still looks like smoke (pipe dream or screen) to me.
As for the UN, we can take it down whenever we like, but you can't un-ring that bell, and we may some day find a greater use for it, or anyway wish we had it. Frankly, I think it serves our current purposes well enough as is, though reform and even some sense of shame wouldn't hurt. The main alternatives - of a very strong, functional organization or of no organization at all - would either impinge on US sovereignty and freedom of movement too much, or too clearly imply the unraveling of the entire post WWII security system, something which has served us very well.Comment Posted By Colin On 9.08.2006 @ 14:51
"Note: And yes, believe it or not, the gloves have been on."
Can there be any doubt? Not only have the gloves been on - there've been gloves around the gloves. And even after the promised escalation, there would still be several layers to go.Comment Posted By Colin On 9.08.2006 @ 13:16
Of all the players, Condoleeza Rice is the one who looks the worst - with her ludicrous predictions of near-term resolutions of the situation. She may have been falling on her sword for the Administration, stalling for time, or she may have been hung out to dry by the President or others. Or maybe she's been promised an opportunity to fight for a Nobel Prize sometime down the line when the correlation of forces makes a real resolution of the local conflict both desirable and achievable. Again, it's hard to say. In the short term, however, her credibility certainly appears to have been harmed.
Otherwise, as usually is the case, one can never tell exactly what portion of public discussion is intentional dissembling, what portion is honest, and what portion is the product of miscalculation. Sometimes the participants themselves aren't sure.
The only thing that's been clear all along is that the approach emanating from the UN was unlikely and impractical - presented as offering near-term resolution of the conflict when never actually offering anything remotely like it.
As for now, as previously, everyone gets to posture, using diplomacy and diplomatic breakdowns as a cover, while the war continues. The French get to side with the Arabs in this seemingly incoherent, and typically incoherent, position supposedly in favor of "peace," but under terms that make it impossible. Otherwise, how in real terms does the French position harm US or Israeli interests - except perhaps indirectly by slightly improving the French image while applying a little more charcoal to the already black image of the US and Israel among anti-Israel constituencies? How does the Arab League position hurt, if the real US-Israeli objective is to break Hezbollah and push back on Syria and Iran?
The French get to stand publically with the Arabs, while adopting a position whose practical effect is to hold the door open for the Israeli offensive. The US gets to pose as honest brokers whose efforts to find a fair resolution have been frustrated. The Arab leaders get to pose as defenders of Lebanese interests as currently interpreted by the street, but while effectively supporting a continuation of the war. Israel gets to pose as willing to accept UN diplomacy until frustrated by Arab maximalism. Lebanon gets to continue to play victim, upping the bill a few billion dollars every other day for post-war reconstruction. (Expect prospective donors to agree to some $10s of billions at one or another resort area meeting place - with some small fraction actually forthcoming, mainly from the US and EU.)
If we can take anything we see on our TV screens with more than a grain of salt, then supporters of Israel's objectives in this conflict should rejoice: After what appear to have been several false starts - but which may turn out to be explicable in other terms - the Israelis now have an opportunity to get it right.Comment Posted By Colin On 9.08.2006 @ 12:44
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