Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Secretary of State Rice, a Surgeon in Galoshes

Condi Rice staggered into the operating room where American Israeli-Palestinian credibility lay on the table, fighting for its life. She knocked over an IV stand, bumped surgical instruments onto the floor and made a snap-judgment as to the clinical procedure required. "Hold all liquids." Galosh, galosh.


“Dr. Mubarak will take over,” she blurted, “assisted, if necessary, by that Saudi guy, Prince something-or-another.” Galosh, galosh.


Unsure of precedent, fired off like a rocket by a president who has suddenly remembered Palestine and Israel, insecure in this new job that actually has responsibilities for what one says, Condi is knocking down hornet’s nests again.


Can’t someone put this woman on the no-fly list?


PalpmhaniyehFortunately, calmer heads are prevailing in the steady, unchangeable, dictatorial capitals she visits, hoping to whip up interest in doing the wrong thing. She and the cabal back home that tops up her fuel-tank, hope to cut the legs out from under the newly elected Palestinian Hamas majority before it gets a chance to prove them wrong.


Which it might not. It might, in fact, be terrorist-driven and hell-bent on the destruction of the Jewish homeland.


But funny things happen on the road from disenfranchised despair to governing majorities. Statesmanship occasionally raises its ugly head above the partisan maneuverings of hopelessness, misery and anger. Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader who was named Prime Minister and asked to form a government, was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in 1962. He lives there today, on a street still stinking of open-sewage and poverty, after forty-four years. The dog has finally caught the rabbit.


In the real world, a place different than Disney-World and Bush-World, there is much to celebrate since Yasser Arafat finally cashed in his chips. The first free and unfettered election ever in Palestine has been held and it was hugely attended as well as peaceful. No shock to unprejudiced Palestine-Israel-watchers that Hamas did well. A voter gets tired of open-sewers and poverty.


Condi and George still can’t believe it and are stamping their (collective) little foot. Neither of them has ever seen an open-sewer, much less poverty. They're not sure what the complaint is.


RicegheitInstructing Condi in international affairs, Egypt’s (foreign minister) Aboul Gheit pointed out the differences between a Hamas-led cabinet and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.


MahmoudabbasOne has a beard, Madam Secretary, the other merely a moustache.


Further, Egyptian aid can continue indefinitely because Abbas wants to negotiate peace with Israel. "It is called the authority," he said. "And we support the authority," adding that Abbas "is the head of the authority, and his powers are still there."


Rice’s eyes widened. No one had ever explained it so simply. George would be furious.


But it’s tough to go back where you’ve done-a-dump in the nest and it’s no surprise that Rice appeared with Gheit instead of Hosni Mubarak. The big guy is still smarting from Washington’s (well founded) sniping about Egyptian elections fraudulently held (with an open-fire order here and there), not held at all and/or the jailing of the only other viable candidate.


But 70% of the world’s Arabs are Egyptian, so if Mubarak decides to stiff-arm Condi down to minister-level, so be it.


RicealfaisalNext visit (occurring as I write this) is in Saudi Arabia, another ally Rice has subjected to foot-in-mouth diplomacy. No more Prince Bandar, dropping in to have tea with George and Rummy, maybe do a little quail-shoot with dead-eye Dick. Those chummy days are gone and a chillier ambassador represents the Saudis in Washington. So, look for something equally low-key but negative from Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal in Condi’s stretch-drive to castrate the newly-elected Palestinians.


The last of her stops on this total waste of airliner-fuel is Dubai, a screw-up in process back on the home-front. Seems the Congress has gone nuts over Georgie-boy’s approval of an Arab company running most of the major American ports. It’s a Dubai Arab company and Bush, blustered at reporters the other day that “he’s trying to do some statesmanship here” and the Congress is in his way.


Just like they should have been but weren’t, when the cabal statesmanshipped Saddam Hussein.


It was so much easier at Berkeley.
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More at my personal web site about what interests me in International Affairs.