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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For diplomacy, maybe you need a diplomat

And whatever Condiliar is, she ain't no diplomat. Tony Karon in Time gives Condi and the neonuts some advice. Excerpt:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced a thankless, all but impossible task in trying to sell the Arab world on the U.S. policy of delaying a cease-fire so that the Israeli military can continue its anti-Hizballah campaign. But her case was hardly helped when she explained that the violence that has already killed more than 400 Lebanese and turned more than a half million into refugees represents the "birth pangs of a new Middle East." Phrases like that--and her rejection of the call for an immediate cease-fire on the grounds that "whatever we do, we have to be certain that we're pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East"--carry a revolutionary ring that scares the hell out of America's allies in the region. It was revolutionaries like Lenin and Mao, after all, who rationalized violence and suffering as the wages of progress, in the way a doctor might rationalize surgery--painful, bloody, even risking the life of the patient, but ultimately necessary. Social engineering is not surgery, however, and its victims find little comfort in the homilies of its authors.

Arab leaders, moreover, have learned to be suspicious of Rice's revolutionary ambitions--just a year ago, she spoke of spreading "creative chaos" in the region. Iraq, after all, is Exhibit A of the Bush Administration's "New Middle East," and it's a bloody mess that is growing worse by the day. Now, for Act 2, the Arabs are being told to sit quietly while Israel tears Lebanon apart, after months of watching it slowly throttle Gaza through a U.S.-backed economic blockade, and then bomb it for weeks on end. Hardly surprising that the Arabs--from the U.S.-backed autocrats to the beleaguered liberal democrats and the rising Islamists--see little to cheer in the Bush Administration's "new Middle East."
The whole article is good.