Obvious hypocrisy coupled with military and economic weakness are creating a difficult environment for Bush administration foreign policy. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group, and the implications for the world, at least in the long term, are in my opinion quite positive.
The economic weakness is obvious: we have to borrow money from China to go adventuring in Iraq. The adventure in Iraq has made the military weakness painfully clear: the mighty US is not simply tied down by the insurgency, it is in the process of losing another insurgent war, as US commanders admit, and breaking the military as it does so.
You’re probably aware that US Secretary of State Rice is traveling in the Middle East, trying to persuade Arab countries to withhold funding from the Palestinian Authority because the Palestinians elected the wrong people. So far she’s met with no success:
The lengthy news conference with [Egyptian Foreign Minister] Aboul Gheit, filled with banter and cross talk by the two diplomats, underscored the daunting and at times contradictory challenge Rice faces as she tries to fashion an international response to Hamas’s unexpected victory in Palestinian legislative elections. In effect, she urged pressure on the victor of an election she has hailed as fair and transparent, while seeking the support of an autocratic government that she has demanded must become more free.
As we would expect from the group of reflexive liars currently in the White House, Secretary Rice is apparently able to make her case with a straight face. At least, the Post’s Glenn Kessler, in two successive articles about Rice’s trip, says nothing about eruptions of laughter from the Secretary or her audience.
Her failure in Egypt, reported yesterday, was matched by her failure in Saudi Arabia, reported today:
Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab donor to the Palestinians, said Wednesday it would continue that aid despite the prospect of a Hamas-led cabinet, though it also expressed support for peace initiatives rejected by Hamas that allow for the eventual recognition of Israel.
“We wish not to link the international aid to the Palestinian people to considerations other than their dire humanitarian needs,” said the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met one-on-one for nearly 2 1/2 hours with King Abdullah.
One gets the sense that the Secretary’s hosts were snickering behind her back as
…Rice confronted the contradictions of the administration’s Middle East policy.
On trips to the region in the past year, she repeatedly pushed Arab governments to step up monetary support for the Palestinians while arguing that they must open up their political systems. This week, in her first trip since Hamas’s unexpected victory Jan. 25, she has urged caution in supporting a Palestinian legislature that came to power in a democratic election.
Lies about WMD in Iraq were followed by a rebranding of the war as a push for democracy. Of course, the only people fooled were Americans. In the Middle East, the US is now pushing to “destabilize” the Palestinian Authority because the voters chose Hamas in an election widely regarded as legitimate. We’re all for democracy, as long as you choose our favored candidates. Naturally, our favored candidates were not only corrupt but widely known to be so. Nevertheless, US strategic thinkers claim to have been shocked at the ouster of the Fatah party.
Even more hypocritically, the US now demands that Hamas, whose most powerful weapons are suicide bombers, must renounce violence if it wants US funding; but we make no such demands on Israel, whose most powerful weapons are nuclear bombs, of which the country is said to have between two hundred and four hundred. All US funding of Israel is illegal, according to Chomsky, precisely because of those nuclear weapons, so we never mention them; the US government does not even officially recognize that the weapons exist. But Hamas is considered a terrorist organization, while the government of Israel is called a democracy.
Zionists point out, accurately, that Hamas does not accept the existence of the state of Israel; therefore, they claim, Hamas is not legitimate. But Israel has so far managed to prevent the Palestinians from having any state at all; it continues to take more Palestinian land, and to work to make any future Palestinian state non-viable. Everyone in the world, except for Americans, sees this situation for what it is. This is why so many vote tallies at the UN are on the order of 150–4, with Micronesia and the Marshall Islands joining Israel and the US against the world. And Ariel Sharon, judged by his own government to be responsible for the massacre of civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and for that reason banned from the post of Minister of Defense, is now lionized as a peacemaker.
The hypocrisy hole just gets deeper and deeper.