Thursday, January 08, 2009

Things to Come

Democracy by Any Other Name

Hamas was elected in a Democratic election that was held by the Palestinians, an election that was called for by Bush though obviously Bush nor Israel were pleased with the results. Egypt wasn’t pleased with the outcome either. Ever since then the western world has done nothing but undermine Hamas even though they were legitimately elected. Apparently Democracy is only valid when the west approves of the outcome. So much for spreading Democracy. Though if anyone actually believed that interference by the United States government in other nation’s affairs was due to an overwhelming desire to spread Democracy they would be sadly mistaken or misinformed or both.

The Guardian reports that Obama may be willing to open “low level” negotiations with Hamas but at this point that seems to be a bit of a stretch. Reading the article there are a few key points.

The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's ­doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.

The move to open contacts with Hamas, which could be initiated through the US intelligence services, would represent a definitive break with the Bush ­presidency's ostracising of the group. The state department has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, and in 2006 ­Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.

The Guardian has spoken to three ­people with knowledge of the discussions in the Obama camp. There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive. A tested course would be to start ­contacts through Hamas and the US intelligence services, similar to the secret process through which the US engaged with the PLO in the 1970s. Israel did not become aware of the contacts until much later.

The key point here is that “There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations early on…” Also there is no definition of what “low-level” might mean.

One bright spot is that the U.N. was able to pass a ceasefire resolution evidently because Condi Rice abstained from voting. Well, it may not be much but it’s something.

Then there is this revealing statement in the article.

There are a number of options that would avoid a politically toxic scenario for Obama of seeming to give legitimacy to Hamas.

But you see Hamas is legitimate, they were elected by the Palestinians but what this really implies is that the Palestinians themselves are not a legitimate state which is way the Israel would like to keep it. The all-important aspect for Israel is to keep the Palestinians under their thumb with no political power.

Most of the article seems to be conjecture by different sources who are saying what Obama should do. However, Obama still remains silent, an ominous portent of things to come. Consider this Obama quote at the end of the article.

"Until I take office, it would be ­imprudent of me to start sending out ­signals that somehow we are running ­foreign policy when I am not legally authorised to do so."

Since when does an American citizen need authorization to speak their mind? This is not a very reassuring statement by Obama. I believe everyone is aware that Bush is president until his last day in office and how does speaking out on such an important issue imply that someone else is running foreign policy? People are dying in Gaza even as I write this yet Obama would rather be “prudent” then speak out. But that is what you would expect from a spineless lackey. Actually it would be quite nice if Obama actually recognized the Palestinians as being legitimate, it would be a step in the right direction and I would hope that Obama could find the moral courage to do so. However I would be greatly surprised if he did. All too often “diplomacy” as envisioned by our government consists of making impossible demands that no one would accept and has in the past been a prelude to war so even if some brand of diplomacy is applied it is no assurance of anything. In fact just the opposite is more likely true. The idea is that you make impossible demands fully expecting them to be rejected which you then use to legitimize the next step, invasion and murder on a grand scale. This is exactly what Bush did in the case of Iraq so that later he was able to claim he had tried diplomacy and failed.

From Gaza to Iran

Simon Tisdall of the Guardian writes about the consequences of allowing the slaughter in Gaza to continue.

Rocket fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on Thursday was a reminder of how easily the Gaza fighting, if unchecked, could escalate into a wider Middle East confrontation. But conservative analysts and commentators on both sides of the divide believe that broader confrontation is already under way.

The real battle, they argue, is not between Israel and the Palestinians but between Iran, its allies and the western powers. Gaza is merely the latest point of physical contact between the two. The heart of this struggle, they say, is nothing less than control – political, ideological and economic – of the Arab Middle East.

This is nothing new. The same thing was said about the illegitimate invasion of Iraq which was sold to the U.S. citizenry primarily by the New York Times that bastion of liberalness. Though almost everyone knows that Bush is an infernal liar he was quite honest about ripping away the niceties of imperial conquests with his total disregard for international opinion and international law. Obama on the other hand puts a smiley face on imperialism constantly referring to America’s role as the leader of the world. Would all those that wish to be the leader of the world and stick their noses in every other nation’s business to the point where America self destructs please raise their hand? Don’t look now but that is exactly what Obama has been telling us since he began his campaign.

Almost everyone says that Obama is more intelligent and pragmatic than Bush. That is not saying very much. While Obama may well be smarter than Bush the question remains is that really desirable? I say that not to denigrate smartness but when you have a person like Obama who is so completely indoctrinated in American exceptionalism which includes a firm belief in America’s right and duty to lord it over the rest of the globe there is much danger to be had from a person who is cleverer when it comes to hiding the tide of American imperialism than one who is so blatant about as Bush has been. To sum it up what is worse – an idiot who pursues evil or an intelligent person who pursues evil?

The fact is that the most intelligent person can be blinded by their world views and this I fear is the case with Obama. No doubt many Obama supporters will object to my opinions of Obama but as far as I am concerned I am giving Obama the benefit of the doubt when I say be believes what he says because I think he is also one of the most cynical politicians to come down the pike in quite a while and that is saying a lot. Frankly I think that Obama only half believes the warmed over garbage that he spews in his speeches as in the end he is just another politician out for power and prestige using the events of the day to pursue his own ends.


At January 09, 2009 9:15 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

I agree, Rob--Obama is more dangerous than the current presidential sociopath. My liberal friends, of course, become unhinged if I dare express this opinion--and can you blame them? They've thirsted so long and endured so much. Obama MUST be the answer, the hero of choice, the dear leader. We'll see how positive they are in the coming days.

At January 09, 2009 3:05 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Hi Mimi, no you cannot blame them for hoping it's understandable. I would guess it will take a while before some of the Obama-ites will see Obama for what he is.

At January 10, 2009 6:24 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

the notion that the Obama administration might be willing to talk to Hamas through back channels is not completely laughable, because the state department has done that sort of thing surreptitiously before, sometimes even on Israel's behalf. But I suspect it may just be something floated "out there" as a bone for liberals to keep them chewing and distracted.

At January 10, 2009 8:34 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Hi Jonathan,

Yes, absolutely, it has been done before.

But I suspect it may just be something floated "out there" as a bone for liberals to keep them chewing and distracted.

That is how it struck me as well. The article seems to use those fabulous unnamed “sources who said” like…”The Guardian has spoken to three ­people with knowledge of the discussions in the Obama camp.” That or the sources that are named are merely giving their conjecture on what Obama might do or what he ought to do which hardly justifies the title of the article.

And again any usage of “diplomacy” is most likely to be a kind of Trojan Horse allowing Obama and his administration to accuse Hamas once again of refusing to accept a peace agreement thus justifying more violence against the Palestinians. It would be similar to the accusation that Sadam kicked the inspectors out of Iraq when that wasn’t true at all. They were pulled out by the U.S. because of an impending bombing by U.S. forces. But that’s how the game is played and it was another false justification for invading Iraq.


Post a Comment

<< Home