Daily Archives: March 16, 2007

Lost in Space: NeoCondi in the Middle East

Golly, since the Libby trial went to the jury, everybody in the Bush Administration has been out of town: Cheney’s been table-hopping the globe, Bush has been discovering poverty in Latin America, and NeoCondi is in Israel stumbling around trying to sell a quick-dry Palestinian state and getting blind-sided by a move everybody and his Cousin Elmo saw coming a half-mile away.

The United States and Israel have sought to thwart creation of a Palestinian unity government, but U.S. officials are withholding public judgment about the new government until the Palestinian parliament ratifies it tomorrow. But they privately acknowledge that Abbas’s announcement last month that he had struck a deal with Hamas was a blow to U.S. and Israeli efforts to elevate Abbas as an alternative to Hamas.

“Abbas promised us several times he would not agree to a national unity government,” a senior Israeli diplomat said this week. “But then he sold the store to Hamas. He left us flabbergasted and without a strategy.”

Who wants to break it to the fabulous NeoCondi that getting Abbas and Olmert to talk isn’t a strategy so much as a tactic without one? And how come she doesn’t have a back-up when Hamas was voted into the Palestinian govt months ago and the formation of a unity govt has been in the works for weeks? And weeks? And weeks?

U.S. officials say Rice remains determined to try to make headway on the Israeli-Palestinian issue after six years of stagnation.

Hmmm. Six years of stagnation, six years of Bush. Co-incidence?

Is there anybody in this admin who isn’t embarrassing in their ignorance and pathetic in practice?

Bush and Latin America 3: Promises, Promises

Junior’s trip to Latin America has taken a much different path than expected, at least by me. For one thing, the armored bubble in which he usually travels protected from any and all contact with the hoi-polloi has been replaced by personal appearances in “shanty neighborhoods” where he came face-to-face with actual poor people for what appears from his reaction to be the first time in his life.

For President Bush, the six-day voyage through Latin America that ended Wednesday proved to be unlike any of his previous foreign trips. It was one in which he tried ever so haltingly to escape the palaces and diplomatic salons long enough to see how people live and to emphasize that it matters to him.

The inspiration for the unusual itinerary was more about the vagaries of geopolitics than newfound curiosity, but the trip exposed the president to sights and sounds that he rarely encounters overseas. The rhetoric of security and terrorism that usually flavors his visits was replaced with discussion of “the human condition” and how to lift millions of neighbors out of deep, enduring poverty.

“We’re allies in the cause of social justice,” he told the Guatemalans. “The plight of the poor” has drawn U.S. concern, he explained in Uruguay. “We’re all members of God’s family,” he said in Brazil. “And when one of us hurts, we also hurt.”

Uh-huh. Pity he’s never been able to summon up the same empathy for the poor in his own country. But then, we don’t have a massive left-wing movement led by a Hugo Chavez.

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