Friday, August 04, 2006

What Makes George Sit?

Dan Froomkin's priceless White House Briefing rounds up the current speculations on why George Bush continues to greenlight Israel’s attacks on Hizbullah and Lebanon. With Israeli leaders needing more time to achieve their unclear objectives, he nixed Condi Rice's belated and brief effort to join European and other leaders in seeking an immediate cease fire. At his bidding, she has also stalled the negotiations over the political and security arrangements that would accompany and follow the cease fire, thus assuring even more delay.

The speculations put the onus variously on Bush's
  • unresolved Oedipal conflicts with his more pro-Arab father Bush 41;
  • a personal Christian devotion to the Holy Land and the Jews living in it;
  • a desire to hasten the Rapture or End of Days by promoting Middle East turmoil;
  • being a puppet of Dick Cheney and the neo-conservatives.
A decade ago the neo-conservatives saw a conflict between Israel and Hizbullah as the start of a war in which Israel, backed by the US, would also attack Syria and Iran. The war would lead to a new Middle East. In the meantime, the vision dimmed, as Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza, and Israelis turned from making war to making money. But given Israel's initial response to Hizbullah's provocation and the failure of their Iraq adventure, the neo-conservatives again saw Israel as a Great White Hope. According to Sidney Blumenthal's intelligence community sources, NSC Middle East Director Eliot Abrams (a neo-con prince), with Bush's approval, directed NSA to share with Israel its monitoring of Syria and Iran. The hope is information on any arms shipments to from these states to Hizbullah will prompt Israel to bomb them, thus opening a four-front war.

However, some neo-cons already sense that Israel will again disappoint them. It has not delivered the quick, utterly smashing defeat of Hizbullah, which they expected. Israel leaders show little inclination to bomb Syria. PM Ehud Olmert even hesitates to expand the buffer zone in Lebanon to the Litani River. So neo-con mouthpiece Charles Krauthammer now sneeringly dismisses Olmert as weak and vacillating. Perhaps, blogger Max Bumenthal suggests, most would prefer the conflict to stop inconclusively and see the Olmert government collapse in consequence of its ill-conceived, poorly executed, costly campaign. That could clear the way for Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud to return to power. After a decent interval and the inevitable Hizbullah provocation, the grand scheme could start anew. So if the neo-cons' really want that and they do control Bush, we could expect him soon to tell Rice to speed up the preparations for a cease-fire. Yes, that's a lot of if's . Foreign policy decision-making in the White House is too damn opaque to do any better guessing.

This account of the influence on Bush is scary, but less so than the speculation that he's thirsting for Rapture or Apocalypse now. He would then be the perfect mastch for Iran's President Ahmadinejad, who is reported to have a similar yearning. Ahmadinejad, though, reverses the casting for the sons of light and the sons of darkness.


Anonymous Montag said...

Bismarck called war, "rolling the iron dice," because once released from your hand you couldn't predict the outcome. Looks like this time it's "snake eyes" for our Fearless Leader and his Grand Plan. But then didn't Machiavelli warn in "The Prince" against depending upon someone else's soldiers?

"Auxiliary forces--the other kind of useless troops--are those supplied by a foreign power which has been called upon for assistance. . . Such forces may be useful and trustworthy in pursuit of their own interests, but they are almost always disastrous to the one who borrows them; for if they are defeated, he is ruined; and if they are victorious, he becomes their prisoner."

Maybe Bush lucked out after all.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Atik Yomin said...

great quote. Machiavelli, as you know, was a Florentine patriot and botheered by his city's practice of hiring mercenaries, rathering than conscripting its gentlemen. mutatis mutanda

1:59 PM  

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