Middle East Meltdown and US Foreign Policy.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by SouthAmerica, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. Can someone parse this? What did he "inhale or ingest?"
    #41     Jul 17, 2006
  2. Whatever he took, I think he shot it up his veins... :D
    #42     Jul 18, 2006
  3. .

    SteveD: In 50 years Bush will be a hero and Clinton will be a forgotten President who was impeached.



    July 18, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Reply to SteveD

    After reading your posting I wonder if your IQ level is in the “single digits” or if it is as high as 20.


    Descriptive Classifications of Intelligence Quotients

    IQ.......Description.....% of Population

    130+ Very superior 2.2%
    120-129 Superior 6.7%
    110-119 High average 16.1%
    90-109 Average 50.0%
    80-89 Low average 16.1%
    70-79 Borderline 6.7%
    Below 70 Extremely low 2.2%

    IQ stands for intelligence quotient. Supposedly, it is a score that tells one how “bright” a person is compared to other people. The average IQ is by definition 100; scores above 100 indicate a higher than average IQ and scores below 100 indicate a lower that average IQ. Theoretically, scores can range any amount below or above 100, but in practice they do not meaningfully go much below 50 or above 150.

    Half of the population have IQ’s of between 90 and 110, while 25% have higher IQ’s and 25% have lower IQ’s:

    Apparently, the IQ gives a good indication of the occupational group that a person will end up in, though not of course the specific occupation. In their book, Glen Wilson and Diana Grylls outline occupations typical of various IQ levels:

    (I.Q. Level).......good indication of a person’s occupational ability

    (140).......Top Civil Servants; Professors and Research Scientists

    (130).......Physicians and Surgeons; Lawyers; Engineers (Civil and Mechanical)

    (120)........School Teachers; Pharmacists; Accountants; Nurses; Stenographers; Managers

    (110).........Foremen; Clerks; Telephone Operators; Salesmen; Policemen; Electricians.

    (100+)........Machine Operators; Shopkeepers; Butchers; Welders; Sheet Metal Workers

    (100-).........Warehousemen; Carpenters; Cooks and Bakers; Small Farmers; Truck and Van Drivers.

    (90)............Laborers; Gardeners; Upholsterers; Farmhands; Miners; Factory Packers and Sorters.

    (60)............People who voted for Bush/Cheney in 2000.

    (20)............People who voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004.

    #43     Jul 18, 2006
  4. .

    “Bush and Blair caught off-guard”
    Published: July 17 2006
    The Financial Times – UK

    Edited transcript of a conversation picked up between George W. Bush and Tony Blair at the G8 in St Petersburg, according to Sky News and AFX News.

    BUSH (to unidentified other leaders): I’m not going to talk too long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk too long. Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight. How about you? This is your neighbourhood, doesn’t take you long to get home . . . You eight hours – me too. Russia’s a big country . . .

    BUSH: Yeah Blair – what are you doing? You leaving?

    BLAIR: No, not yet. On this trade thing . . . 

    BUSH: I just want some movement. Yesterday I didn’t see much movement.

    BLAIR: It may be that it’s impossible . . . 

    BUSH: Thanks for the sweater, it was awfully thoughtful of you. I know you picked it out yourself.

    BLAIR: Oh absolutely!

    BUSH: What about Kofi Annan? I don’t like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything else happens.

    BLAIR: I think the thing that is really difficult is you can’t stop this unless you get this international presence agreed.

    BUSH: She’s going. I think Condi’s going to go pretty soon.

    BLAIR: Well that’s all that matters. If you see, it will take some time to get out of there. But at least it gives people . . .

    BUSH: It’s a process I agree. I told her your offer too.

    BLAIR: Well it’s only ….. or if she needs the ground prepared as it were. See, if she goes out she’s got to succeed as it were, whereas I can just go out and talk.

    BUSH: See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this “shit” and it’s over.

    BLAIR: Cause I think this is all part of the same thing. What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if he gets a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he’s done it. That’s what this whole thing’s about. It’s the same with Iran.

    BUSH: I feel/felt (?) telling Kofi to get on the phone with Assad and make something happen. We’re not blaming Israel and we’re not blaming the Lebanese government.

    #44     Jul 18, 2006
  5. .

    July 18, 2006

    SouthAmerica: The Financial Times article published on July 17, 2006 said: “Air strikes and artillery barrages, carefully taking apart the civilian infrastructure Lebanon....This use of disproportionate force is punishing the population of Lebanon....The US and its Group of Eight colleagues need to damp down this conflict urgently before it spirals out of control.”

    I don’t understand what the other Arab countries are waiting to enter the conflict since Lebanon and the Palestinian authority have been annihilated – What else the Arabs need to realize it is time to fight of shut up?

    Maybe they are afraid to go to war against Israel because Israel might kick their ass in the battlefield.

    Israel has destroyed the entire infrastructure of Lebanon - Population: 3,874,050 (July 2006 est.) – and also of the Palestinian Authority – Population: 3,888,292 (Mid-2006 est.).

    Israel has destroyed the infrastructure of these countries including electric power system, which in turn affects the water system (no water distribution), bridges, roads, ports, communication systems, and so on……Lebanon is in shambles and in chaos.

    The hardship that Israel is creating for about 8 million mostly Arabs in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Authority it is beyond my comprehension.

    The destruction it is total, and it is done - and can’t be reversed at this point.

    The talking heads and politicians on American television discuss this Lebanon problem as if it is just a matter of negotiation and everything goes back to normal. What is happening in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority it is no big deal!!!!!!

    If the Moslem world in the Middle East does not react in kind to this massive aggression against them – the only conclusion that I can come up with is that they are a bunch of cowards and they must be afraid of Israel.

    In my opinion, based on Israel’s reaction to the current events so far – it is time to all sides to settle all the scores that have been ready to erupt in that area of the world for the last 30 years and once for all resolve all the scores on the battlefield.

    At this point the Arabs will be completely demoralized around the world if they don’t take immediate action and try to help Lebanon and the Palestinians regarding this massive aggression against them.

    The kind of damage Israel has inflicted on Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority up to this point has pushed the Middle East crisis to a path of total war against the Arab world – Israel has passed the point of no return.

    It is now or never. I can’t see any other solution to this Middle East ongoing nightmare – other than let the shit hit the fan.


    “Lebanon crisis about to spiral out of control”
    Published: July 17 2006
    The Financial Times – UK

    Israel's massive bombardment of Lebanon by land, sea and air in response to Hizbollah's cross-border raid last week is now about a great deal more than recovering two Israeli soldiers seized by Islamist guerrillas - and it probably always was.

    Urgent and forceful diplomatic action is needed now if this crisis is not to develop into an anarchic, borderless free-for-all that will set new standards of violence even for the Middle East.

    At one level, the conflict is but the latest round in the struggle between Syria and Israel, which occupied swaths of Lebanon for 29 and 22 years respectively and used it liberally as the main arena for proxy war. That may help explain the ease with which Lt Gen Dan Halutz, Israel's chief of staff, made his outrageous threat to "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years".

    Air strikes and artillery barrages, carefully taking apart the civilian infrastructure Lebanon put back after its 1975-90 civil war, are well on their way to achieving the general's aim, as well as killing scores of civilians every day. This use of disproportionate force is punishing the population of Lebanon - an act proscribed by the laws of war - for the criminal adventurism of Hizbollah and its sponsors.

    Both sides, in different ways, appear to have been encouraged by the diplomatic vacuum that has developed in the Middle East. An under-examined reason for this is the debacle in Iraq, which, far from enabling the US to pursue a radical new freedom agenda in the region (tough on terrorism, tough on the causes of terrorism) has paralysed the Bush administration.

    Washington, for example, recoiled from tough action against Syria even though there was an international consensus to pursue the regime of Bashar al-Assad for its role in the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese premier, last year.

    Even though Syria was forced to withdraw from Lebanon, Hizbollah, its ally, remains the single most powerful actor there.

    Israel also perceives the US to have lost its nerve about Arab democracy as votes flow to Hamas, Hizbollah and Iraqi Shia Islamists. It notes the discomfiture of Washington's Sunni allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, at Shia advances and Iraq's sectarian war and it is trying to persuade the world that Shia Iran is behind every leaf that stirs in the region.

    Tehran, for its part, will not be unhappy with the perception that its Hizbollah allies can establish a balance of terror over the Lebanon-Israel border if the conflict over Iran's nuclear ambitions eventually turns violent.

    The US and its Group of Eight colleagues need to damp down this conflict urgently before it spirals out of control. The short-term objectives are: a ceasefire; helping Lebanon to rein in Hizbollah and deploy its army on the border; and the international isolation of Syria. Longer term, the imperative is to re-engage in regional peacemaking.

    #45     Jul 18, 2006
  6. Is it World War 3 as Newt says it is or World War 4 as Former CIA man James Woolsey describes things?

    Ever notice the more religiously fundamentalist a state is, the more warlike it behaves.
    #46     Jul 18, 2006
  7. .

    July 19, 2006

    SouthAmerica: The enclosed article is the front page story of the current issue of ‘Foreign Policy” magazine (July/August 2006)

    The article said: “Every year, the United States gives Israel a level of support that far exceeds what it provides to other states. Although Israel is now an industrial power with a per-capita GDP roughly equal to Spain’s or South Korea’s, it still receives about $3 billion in U.S. aid each year—that is, roughly $500 per Israeli citizen.”

    ...The “special relationship” with Israel, we argue, is due largely to the activities of the Israel lobby—a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who openly work to push U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.

    And so on………

    I have wondered for many years why the United States gives so much support to Israel even when this support goes against the interests of the American people?

    Here is a partial answer.


    The War over Israel’s Influence

    Political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt sparked a firestorm when they raised questions about the power the Israel lobby wields over U.S. foreign policy.

    “Unrestricted Access”
    By John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt
    FP – July/August 2006
    What the Israel lobby wants, it too often gets.

    America’s relationship with Israel is difficult to discuss openly in the United States. In March, we published an article in the London Review of Books titled “The Israel Lobby,” based on a working paper which we posted on the faculty Web site at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our goal was to break the taboo and to generate a candid discussion of U.S. support for Israel, because it has far-reaching consequences for Americans and others around the world. What followed was a barrage of responses—some constructive, some not.

    Every year, the United States gives Israel a level of support that far exceeds what it provides to other states. Although Israel is now an industrial power with a per-capita GDP roughly equal to Spain’s or South Korea’s, it still receives about $3 billion in U.S. aid each year—that is, roughly $500 per Israeli citizen. Israel also gets a variety of other special deals and consistent diplomatic support. We believe that this generosity cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. Israel may have been a strategic asset during the Cold War, but it is a strategic burden in the war on terror and the broader U.S. effort to deal with rogue states. The moral rationale for unconditional U.S. support is undermined by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and its unwillingness to offer them a viable state. We believe there is a strong moral case for Israel’s existence, but that existence is not at risk. Palestinian extremists and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may dream of wiping Israel “off the map,” but fortunately neither has the ability to make that dream a reality.

    The “special relationship” with Israel, we argue, is due largely to the activities of the Israel lobby—a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who openly work to push U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. The lobby is not synonymous with Jewish Americans, because many of them do not support its positions, and some groups that work on Israel’s behalf (Christian evangelicals, for example) are not Jewish. The lobby has no central leadership. It is not a cabal or a conspiracy. These organizations are simply engaged in interest-group politics, a legitimate activity in the American political system. These organizations believe their efforts advance both American and Israeli interests. We do not.

    We described how the Israel lobby fosters support within the U.S. Congress and the executive branch, and how it shapes public discourse so that Israel’s actions are perceived sympathetically by the American public.

    Groups in the lobby direct campaign contributions to encourage politicians to adopt pro-Israel positions. They write articles, letters, and op-eds defending Israel’s actions, and they go to great lengths to discredit or marginalize anyone who criticizes U.S. support for Israel. The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the lobby’s most powerful organization, and it openly touts its influence over U.S. Middle East policy. Prominent politicians from both parties acknowledge AIPAC’s power and effectiveness. Former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt once observed that if AIPAC were not “fighting on a daily basis to strengthen [the relationship], it would not be.” We also traced the lobby’s impact on recent U.S. policies, including the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Neoconservatives inside and outside the Bush administration, as well as leaders of a number of prominent pro-Israel organizations, played key roles in making the case for war. We believe the United States would not have attacked Iraq without their efforts. That said, these groups and individuals did not operate in a vacuum, and they did not lead the country to war by themselves. For instance, the war would probably not have occurred absent the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which helped convince President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to support it.

    With Saddam Hussein removed from power, the Israel lobby is now focusing on Iran, whose government seems determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Despite its own nuclear arsenal and conventional military might, Israel does not want a nuclear Iran. Yet neither diplomacy nor economic sanctions are likely to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Few world leaders favor using force to deal with the problem, except in Israel and the United States. AIPAC and many of the same neoconservatives who advocated attacking Iraq are now among the chief proponents of using military force against Iran.

    There is nothing improper about pro-Israel advocates trying to influence the Bush administration. But it is equally legitimate for others to point out that groups like AIPAC and many neoconservatives have a commitment to Israel that shapes their thinking about Iran and other Middle East issues. More important, their perspective is not the last word on what is good for Israel or the United States. In fact, their prescriptions might actually be harmful to both countries.


    John J. Mearsheimer is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001).

    Stephen M. Walt is professor of international affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His most recent book is Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005).

    Source: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3506

    #47     Jul 19, 2006
  8. .

    July 20, 2006

    SouthAmerica: The Financial Times published an interesting article by Chris Patten on July 19, 2006.

    Here are two points that called my attention on Chris Patten’s article.

    He wrote: “…as one US senator told me in early 2002: "In Washington we are all members of the Likud party now.

    … So pre-emption, US unilateralism and sound-bite foreign policy have not been a huge success. Now, on top of all that, we see the consequences of America's unquestioning support for every twist and turn in Israeli policies that were virtually scripted to result in the present crisis.”


    “While Bush and Blair fumble and fiddle, Beirut burns”
    By Chris Patten
    Published: July 19 2006
    The Financial Times - UK

    Exactly what mission has been accomplished by George W. Bush, US president, and his super-loyal sidekick, Tony Blair, the British prime minister?

    The world is a more dangerous place than it was in 2000. Terrorism remains a potent and undefeated enemy. American and British policy in west Asia has acted, in the language of the British Foreign Office, as a recruiting sergeant for jihadist terrorists. Kim Jong-il still threatens to begin a nuclear weapons production line in North Korea. The Iranians are some way from a deal with the rest of the world that would convince us that their nuclear ambitions are peaceful. Afghanistan remains unfinished - in some ways unstarted - business as the recent deaths of British servicemen attest.

    Iraq is a violent and bloody mess. Success there is measured by the fact that the country has not yet fallen apart and that Iraqis have twice gone to the polls.

    So pre-emption, US unilateralism and sound-bite foreign policy have not been a huge success. Now, on top of all that, we see the consequences of America's unquestioning support for every twist and turn in Israeli policies that were virtually scripted to result in the present crisis.

    In 2002, the Danish presidency of the European Union led the way in crafting a "road map" for peace in the Middle East. It demanded hands-on engagement in the peace process by the international community led by the so-called Quartet - the United Nations, the US, Russia and the EU.

    We travelled to Washington to sell the idea to the administration there. They were polite but suspicious. Since the failure of the Camp David and Taba talks in the closing months of the Clinton administration they had been reluctant to get too heavily involved in peace-making between Israel and Palestine. Moreover, the dreadful events of September 11 2001 and the skilful identification by the Israeli government of its policies with the "war on terrorism" had meant, as one US senator told me in early 2002: "In Washington we are all members of the Likud party now."

    The Americans were eventually won round, albeit only after a meeting with Mr Bush at which he signed up to "a" rather than "the" road map and after a number of changes in the text of the document. Its essential and novel feature, however, remained. It called for "parallelism" rather than "sequentialism". Instead of waiting for one side - invariably the Palestinians - to act before anything could be expected of the other, both sides should move down the road at the same time.

    Of course, nothing much happened. The White House knew why. "Arafat is the problem," Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, told us. Israel had no partner for peace. Yassir Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, was certainly part of the problem. He was a bad and untrustworthy man. But there were other aspects of the problem such as Ariel Sharon, former Israeli prime minister, and his commitment not to the international community's road map but to his own.

    So the proponents of the road map offered only drift and communiqués, not day-by-day involvement and diplomacy.

    The EU went along with America's uncritical support for Mr Sharon, grumbling under its breath. The Quartet became known in the Arab world as "the Quartet sans Trois". The security fence was built and an Israeli plan to impose a new border based on holding on to most of the West Bank settlements was given a wink and a nudge of support in Washington.

    Arafat was now dead. But nothing much changed to offer the Palestinians the political perspective that might have given their leaders a better chance of facing down the men of violence. Elections in Palestine produced a Hamas government and the world was shocked. What did we expect? Remove the prospect of change through politics and people reach out for other options.

    Having helped elect a Hamas government, we cut off funds to the Palestinian authorities unless the Hamas leaders signed up to undertakings that went well beyond what we expect of loyal western allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

    So it is back to war. Lebanon is bombed. Israel is rocketed. Gaza is shelled. The innocent are killed.

    Hizbollah and Palestinian militants are strengthened, even legitimised, in the eyes of their people, by Israel's refusal to respond proportionately. Do these policies offer Israel the peace and security it craves and deserves? Do they offer hope to Palestinians? Do they check the slide in America's - and Britain's - reputations in the region?

    It is not as though we are ignorant of what is required to bring peace. The ingredients of a peace deal were set out once again in the Geneva accords.

    Israel must accept a viable Palestinian state formed on the basis of the 1967 borders adjusted through negotiation and agreement. Palestinians and other Arabs must accept Israel's right to exist as a peaceful neighbour. Palestinians will have to give up the right of return.

    Both states will need to share Jerusalem as their capital. The interÂÂnational community will have to take responsibility for the holy places.

    That will be the peace deal one day.

    When will that day come? Not, presumably, while Mr Bush is in office.

    Nor do his likely Democratic successors sound much better. In Brussels, the British and German governments stop European ministers going beyond aimless hand-wringing. So Europe fiddles while Beirut burns.

    Lord Patten is chancellor of Oxford University and former European Union commissioner for external affairs


    Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes (born 12 May 1944) is a prominent British Conservative politician. Originally a Member of Parliament, he lost his seat at a critical juncture in 1992 (when a Cabinet Minister and close to the Prime Minister of the day). After he left Parliament, he accepted the post of last Commander in Chief and British Governor of Hong Kong. After Hong Kong's handover to the People's Republic of China, Patten became the European Commissioner for foreign relations. He is also the Chancellor of Newcastle University.

    #48     Jul 20, 2006
  9. SA, may I ask a question that is moderately personal?

    How old are you? It has been been my experience that kids recently out of university believe whatever is in print, even though it is just one man's (or woman's) opinion. You always start your arguments with a long article (often from Brazil), and accept it as fact. The World is not happy now, and articles will not even get published unless they bitch. Try using hard facts, and people here won't diss you so much.

    I actually give you credit for presenting a credible argument, but it dies when you use articles to back it up. That's one person's opinion.

    #49     Jul 21, 2006
  10. You can either ignore him, or present counter arguments and quote as many articles as you like. Drown him in quoted long articles! No need to be so rude.
    #50     Jul 21, 2006