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06 April 2011

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Bill H.

"Since it is a violation of federal law for an American private citizen to conduct diplomacy, it seems likely that the encouragement was official."

Come on, Patrick, that is rank speculation.

Matthew

BTW, what was Peres here for yesterday? pl

1. Coordinate political strategy on upcoming "Cast Lead II";
2. Extract promise that US will bomb any nation that recognizes Palestine in the UN General Assembly in September;
3. Reinforce Israel's "strategic value" to the USA by requesting another $20 billion in aid;
4. Talk about much both men believe in peace....

Didn't Obama announce he was running for re-election yesterday? Coincidence?

Patrick Lang

BillH

Speculation? Sure. I am an intelligence officer not a lawyer. pl

Fred

"...the dangers of the military stalemate for the United States increase with each day it lasts."

While it won't hurt the rich backers of either party $100+ a barrel oil will wreck the US economy. The al-Quada bit is beyond a joke. Didn't 8 years of Republican "war on terror: and two more from Obama beat these guys?

As to Peres, surely he's got meetings with people:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52605.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52646.html

Obama and the Democrats appear every ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory....

The beaver

In the meantime, France is reluctant to place its aircrafts under NATO command!!!

Did Sarkozy decide to go to war because the French are growing
increasingly frustrated with the Libyans' failure to deliver
on promises regarding visas, professional exchanges, French
language education, and commercial deals. ""We (and the
Libyans) speak a lot, but we've begun to see that actions do
not follow words in Libya,"" Rogeau lamented. ""The Libyans
talk and talk but don't buy anything (from us). Only the Italians land any contracts."" The French have made many gestures, Rogeau claimed, which they believe have not reciprocated by the Libyans.

http://213.251.145.96/cable/2010/02/10PARIS151.html

Wonder who is the "new Jacques Foccart" working for Sarkozy?

Cloned Poster

Peres, secure Pollard's release and pardon!

The Twisted Genius

Why not set him up in the Mu'ammar House of Haute Couture? He clearly has a bold and imaginative sense of fashion... and he already has a bevy of models in his Revolutionary Nuns.

William R. Cumming

Perhaps the US will get lucky and Curt Weldon will be held for ransom by MQ just like in the days of the Barbary pirates. I believe the frigates Constitution and Constellation in Baltimore and Boston harbors are ready to sail and surely crew will be readily available.

Basilisk

Curt Weldon of "Able Danger" fame, don't forget that little fiasco.

My pencil is ready, I sense an oncoming conspiracy theory. Now Weldon and Defense Associates should be able to really go after a refurbishment contract on Qathafi's T-72's now.

Basilisk

In the interest of accuracy the Pennsylvania company benefitting from former congressman Weldon's expertise is "Defense Solutions."

jr786

As usual, I'm stumped by American policy in Mena, and the Arab Muslim world in general. Stropping Occam's Razor for the umpteenth time I can't help but wonder if this..what? ambivalence? has something to do with the emergence of a positive Arab Muslim force with guns, one that can't easily be categorized as wahabis, Taliban, etc.

Is the American public ready to arm Arab Muslims who stop to pray?

walrus

I think jr786 is on to it, let us go back to Palmerstones dictum; there are no friends, only interests.

Does America really want to see a string of democratic Islamic states in the Middle East, stretching from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to Tunisia? I don't think so. Just as importantly, neither does Israel.

To me, this is not in Americas interests because functioning democracies in these areas open up the possibility of reduced corruption, which immediately increases the probability of meaningful economic development - which after all is what motivated the various protest movements, at least in Africa.

This is seen as a problem by Washington and Tel Aviv because with economic power comes political power. For the Israelis the danger is obvious - Turkey multiplied by Five. For Washington, how does AFRICOM engage with a democratic Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, etc.? What happens when the Chinese are invited to open naval bases on the shores of the Mediterranean?

Then again, all politics are local. How do images of articulate, educated and courageous young Muslims fighting for their freedom square with the traditional stereotype of Muslims that has been rammed down American throats for ten years? They don't.

I think the Obama Administration and Israel have simply calculated that it would be better if democracy did not flourish in the Middle East. Libya will vanish from the TV screens after the next news cycle, just as Wikileaks did. The fictional Sir Humphrey Appleby summed this attitude up very well: "Minister, we must give them all the aid it is in our power to give, except actual help."

Fred

TTG, that's a classic, I thought I was reading another one of Farrell's reviews. Perhaps the big O's Hollywood crowd could take one for the team by making him the costume designer on the next Oscar shoe-in?

As to Weldon, maybe he's just doing what politician's do best, running to the sound of the cash register:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0408/Curt_Weldon_transfers_70K_to_legal_defense_fund.html

dh

jr786 assesses the new situation correctly I think. The stereotypical Arab in funny clothes and the curved knife has been replaced by one in Western clothes carrying an iPhone. The big question is....are they scary? New paradigm needed.

William  R. Cumming

Agree with Walrus!

bth

Throwing Weldon into the equation adds a double dose of corruption, lunacy and conspiracy to the party.

So now our whack jobs talk to MQ's whack jobs?

Sec. Clinton must be beside herself.

Indy Ike

TTG:

"Revolutionary Nuns":

You mean these ladies?

http://www.vrahokipos.net/old/images/theory/nuns.gif

YT

"In the meantime, France is reluctant to place its aircrafts under NATO command"

"Only the Italians land any contracts"

群龍無首 -- Dragons without a lead.

Interpretation from the I Ching

Acephalous, rudderless. One too many dissentin' views from all individual states hamperin' useful actions. The Achilles' Heel of NATO.

France appears to have the most influence in this "crusade", but I'm left in doubt.

Patrick Lang

YT

No! No! No! the Germans are the achilles heel of NATO because the Israelis control them. Your Fancophobia is showing. pl

William R. Cumming

Perhaps the NATO lead on Libya will allow the Obama Administration to argue NATO lost Libya and therefore US is pulling out to leave NATO to its own future devices.


Perhaps Russian willing to lend a hand to a NATO without the US?

TamBram

Let's not get overoptimistic about prospects for economic development in N. Africa. Half of Egyptians are illiterate, and their "college graduates" aren't qualified to work in call centers, let alone engineering firms. (Tunisia has better literacy, but higher education there is still a joke.)

Michael Brenner

The shambles that is American, and Western, policy on Libya is the most vivid example of wider Middle East policies that lack coherence and credibility. Any conscientious and experienced observer finds himself utterly baffled by what the White House and its European allies are not doing in Libya. I've stretched my imagination to the limits to no avail. I think that I've tried every conceivable logical path, and still none of this makes sense. Having been frustrated in trying to find the logic of recent goings-on, I still believe that there are certain conclusions that can be drawn. Here are mine in brutal frankness.

1. We are witnessing irresponsibility and incompetence on monumental scale. Our rulers clearly lack the wit and the maturity to do their job: caring for the nation’s interests for today, tomorrow and the day after.

2. The tone and the fecklessness emanate from the top in Washington. Mr. Obama is a man who cares about nothing and believes in nothing other than his own personal welfare. I truly think that he has no preference as to outcomes in Libya. On this, as on everything else, he places everything in two categories – that which is spinnable, and that which is not. His conception of the former is very broad, based on his life experience and the derelict state of American public life.

3. Many members of the country’s foreign policy elite retain the conviction that the United States can micro-manage crises and manipulate local parties despite a decade of experience demonstrating just the opposite. The idea that we are in a position to fine tune Libyan politics so as to produce the type of leaders that are pliable and low-risk borders on madness. This from an administration that cannot even macro-manage a budget crisis with the tea tinged Republican in the House of Representatives.

4. We remain enslaved by our twin obsessions with Islamic terrorism and Iran’s supposed ambitions to rule the Middle East. The only Arab leaders who fit our comfort zone, therefore, are the kind of thugs who are everywhere besieged. Most have seen their day past. The rest are fated to live in fear and dread. Due to this obsession, we are prepared to abandon a respected place in a regional future where the dynamic force will be a youthful generation which doesn’t fit our simplistic formulas.

5. We are blind to the derisory image that we are presenting. A Washington that is self-consciously always trying to project strength displays only weakness and ineptitude to friend, foe and bystander alike.

bth

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.
Niccolo Machiavelli

Michael Brenner

TamBram,

Higher education in Tunisia is not a joke. Exhibit no. 1: a graduate of the University of Tunis medical school who has a successful private practice as a cardiologist in Paris - treating a French clientele. Someone I know personally. There are many like him in Europe, America and mostly in Tunisia (and many from modest backgrounds). If all of MENA had Tunisia's brainpower, they'd have strong assets to build with. I know nothing of Egypt, but I infer from comments that we are still hung up on stereotypes of 'backward' peoples. This despite the manifest evidence that their political leaders outsmart the worldbeaters in Washington, citizens show a courage in the streets that we manage only as soldiers in war, and humanistic instincts have survived centuries of suppresion and subservience.

William R. Cumming

Professor Brenner's comment hits the nail on the head. When people ask how the US blew it many will believe it was because of poor choices in domestic policy but I believe the documentation for an incompetent foreign policy establishment is the core reason. We (US) are really really lucky the USSR lost the cold war are we not? Or do any still believe it was skill and US comptence that allowed US to win? Seems to me the world is now in a race for the earth's dwindling resources so that each can extract more of those before they are gone. Then of course we (all) will be gone also. Lemmings? The cliff approaches!

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