Friday, July 21, 2006

Diplomatic Effort?

This morning's discussion of Secretary of State Rice's likely trip to the Middle East next week was interesting for its language. John Ydstie states that "US officials continue to say that Israel has the right to defend itself; Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice plans to take that message to the Middle East, possibly as early as next week. For a look at how this diplomatic effort could be received in the region we turn to Judith Palmer Harik." What is not stated is that by "self-defense" the US government means an all out assault on Lebanon's civilian population and infrastructure. It is also interesting to see how this inflexible position can be called a "diplomatic effort." Later Ydstie states, "...if the actors are stuck in their positions and there doesn'’t seem to be anyone with any leverage, what kind of diplomacy is possible here?" No one with any leverage? Excuse me, but I think there is one nation that completely funds, arms, and assists one of the belligerents in this tragedy--and it's not Syria or Iran. This statement continues to misinform the public about how much leverage the US could exert on Israel: were the US to cut military and economic assistance (more than $3 billion a year) to Israel barring an immediate cease-fire, then the assault would stop, and real diplomacy could begin.

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