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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

listening in on Bush & Blair « Previous | |Next »
July 18, 2006

This is the fullest transcript (the BBC's version) of Bush and Blair informally discussing the Middle East at the recent G-8 summit in St Petersburg whilst sharing some food over lunch Their conversation is an eye opener for "incisive" geopolitical analysis.

G8.jpg Bush and Blair assume that Hezbollah and Hamas are the tools of Syria and Iran and that the big blow-up is Syria's fault, for putting Hizbullah up to provoking Israel.

There is nothing in the transcript about Israeli actions in Gaza. There is no reference to the destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure by the Israeli air force. Israel is not a protagonist. It is justing reactiing to provocation. If Hezbollah and Hamas stop provoking Israel then the big blow-up quietens down.

Blair's poodle status is there for all to see---his preparing the ground justification of a trip to the Middle East in advance of Condoleezza Rice is cringe-making.

There was nothing about the possibility of Israel actually engaging in mediation to secure the release of its soldier by offering the release of some Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in exchange. Nope, nothing.

The disportionate Israeli response is accepted as a given. It's just a case of getting 'Syria, to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.' Simple isn't it? Bush is so incisive.

The transcript sure does gives you confidence in these guys. Maybe we should start thinking that they have little idea of what is actually happening? Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbulla , is saying that vowed no military operation will return the two soldiers, and that only another prisoner swap will secure their freedom.

Meanwhile, back on the ground:

Bill Leak

Won't devastating Gaza only increase support for the Palestinian Hamas militants? Won't bombing Lebanon's infrastructure (its main and subsidiary airports, seaports, highways, bridges, communications systems, and water and power plants), completely blockading its ports and entryways and bombing urban areas only increase support for Hizbollah and undermine the already weak Lebanese government?

Oh, by the way, the two leaders reckon, things are going pretty well in the Middle East these days. I reckon the US is providing cover for Israel to fulfill its military objectives. Presumbly that means the US wants to give time to Israel to get rid of Hizbullah: a desire that fits in perfectly with the US's war on terror - (it considers Hizbullah to be a terrorist organization) and its vision of the Middle East. So the situation is not about to end soon. Presumably, we have a deep strategy 'that focuses on Israel's major adversary, Iran, and simultaneously strives to sustain Israeli hegemony over its neighbors.'

The Times says that it will have to be the Lebanese themselves who fix the Lebanon.

But that will depend on them excising Hezbollah from their territory and politics, something that they may not be able to do alone, and may not want to do at all.

In contrast an editorial in the Daily Star in Beruit is more incisive:
What has been missing is a consensus with sufficient strength and appeal to forge a genuinely Lebanese identity.
Hizbullah has always been the missing catalyst in that consensus, and the current crisis provides an opportunity to fulfill the resistance movement's potential as cornerstone of a new stability. This can only happen, though, if Nasrallah is able to keep his party's fate - and therefore his country's - from becoming intertwined with the problems that plague Iran and Syria's relations with the international community. He has the power to do this by empowering Lebanon's government - not Germany's or Egypt's or anyone else's - to negotiate on Hizbullah's behalf. Only thus can he begin to refute, once and for all, the suspicion that his priorities are regional ones, and that local issues and the people they affect are only tools and pawns in a wider game in which most Lebanese have little stake and even less interest.

The Israelis do have a right to "defend themselves," but defense cannot be achieved through indiscriminate warfare. The Israelis are drawing the Gordian knot of violence and retribution even tighter through escalation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:12 PM | | Comments (2)


It also appears they deliberate on these things in the same manner we do. It looks like they have no better or insider information, they surmise from the same patterns we do.

they have plenty of insider information The TV show West Wing shows that. They just frame the information in a certain way.

For Tony Blair, many in Israel and the Bush administration, the escalating wars in Lebanon and Gaza are conjoined in a single war against a unified "axis of terror" linking Hizballah and Hamas to Damascus and distant Tehran. Lumping together the different struggles of Hizballah and Hamas, casts resolvable political crises as unfathomable, irrational hatred. So we have the unified "axis of terror and hate created by Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas.

Ben Caspit, one of Ma‘ariv's leading columnists, put it more colorfully:

"Israel is dealing with radical, messianic Islam, which extends its arms like an octopus, creating an axis from Tehran to Gaza by way of Damascus and Beirut. With people like these there is nothing to talk about. The fire of a war against infidels burns in them."

The US tends to suggest that any face of Muslim terrorism - whether by al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Sunni insurgents, Jamaah Islamiyah, Hamas, Hezbollah, or in Kashmir, the Philippines, Algiers or Morocco - forms part of the same, centrally directed, conspiracy.

Try this from Larry Kudlow at the National Review

All of us in the free world owe Israel an enormous thank-you for defending freedom, democracy, and security against the Iranian cat’s-paw wholly-owned terrorist subsidiaries Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel is doing the Lord’s work. They are defending their own homeland and very existence, but they are also defending America’s homeland as our frontline democratic ally in the Middle East. Commentary’s Norman Podhoretz was exactly right when he coined the term World War IV to describe the global terror conflict. Repeatedly hostile actions by the totalitarians in Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and North Korea are all connected. So are the recently foiled terrorist-cell-block plans in Canada, the U.S., London, and elsewhere around the globe. We are fortunate to have a staunch ally like Israel to assist us in this fight.

What we have is neocon campaign to depict the current conflict as part of global struggle pitting Israel, as the forward base of Western civilization, against Islamist extremism organized and directed by Iran and its junior partner, Syria.

Consequently, the only fitting response in this situation is a military one that creates a new strategic balance between us and radical Islam. The US is allowing this new strategic balance to be created. What does that mean? Forcing the depopulation of the southern part of Lebanon?

Both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have signaled that Israel largely has a free hand in attacking the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. They have declined to set limits on Israeli action, and Rice says she won't engage in personal diplomacy until there is a clear path toward ending the extremist threat.