Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What If They Gave A Conference And Nobody Came?

Full disclosure: We're not foreign policy experts. In fact we had to look up foreign in the dictionary to make sure we spelled it right. We went to Mexico once, but we don't remember much except waking up in an alley behind the Cantina without any pants on. Story for another time.

Anyway, even we have noticed that the Middle East is what you might call troubled, if by troubled you mean some off the charts bonkazoids are running around jihading everything that moves and fatwahing it if it doesn't. Don't you just know Pat Robertson wishes he could lay a fatwah the size of a Lincoln Navigator on all those Hollywood Jews (see page six) and James Dobson wishes he could turn all those crazy catholic jihadis loose on the nearest gay bar, or Synagogue. Whatever.

But back to the Middle East. Having noticed that the birthplace of the several major world religions is one of the most violent, hate filled, self destructive places on the planet (perhaps one could say a place where the ironicus is at its maximus) we noted with interest and a small degree of hope that not only was Secretary Rice taking time off from her hunt for that perfect pair of braided thong low heeled mules to head out for some big D diplomacy, she took the Secretary of Defense (which means he's in charge of all of America's wars) with her.

Ah, Americans. We're the eternal optimists, aren't we? Hand in hand our two intrepid sojourners head off to face that thorny, some would say intractable challenge that is peace in the Middle East. The top Bush administration officials, on a rare joint visit, arrived in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with promises of tens of billions of dollars of military aid.

Yay! Peace through war. See, this is why we aren't diplomats. Who would have thought that the answer to generations of mutual killing and hatred in the region...was more efficient means of carrying out the killing that comes from mutual hatred. See, that way we maintain our position of neutrality. Very important for that negotiating stuff. If there's anyone left to negotiate with.

Iran has criticized the promised arms sales, accusing the United States of trying to destabilize the region."If there is a destabilization of the region it can be laid at the feet of an Iranian regime," said Rice.

Well, except for that whole Iraq invasion thing. It was in all the papers, Dr. Rice, we're surprised you missed it.

"There is, I think, a growing body of opinion in Washington -- wherever you are on the issue of withdrawal -- that whatever we do next in Iraq needs to be done very carefully and with a view to the long-term stability of the region," Secretary Gates said. And by "long term" he means November 2008.

OK, budding diplomats, let's see what you've learned. What's wrong with this statement: In another move that could please Arab friends, the United States signed a statement endorsing an Arab initiative for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

If you correctly noted that the United States doesn't have any Arab friends, you may be State Department material. Umm...after the current administration leaves office, that is.

Rice and Gates appealed to Arab countries to do more to encourage reconciliation among the warring factions in Iraq. The United States has repeatedly sought Arab help with Iraq although its Arab allies have little or no say there.

Lesson two: always ask for the most help from those least able to give it. They usually say yes, which looks good on your resume, but since they're pretty useless to begin with, nothing really happens, you don't have to deal with the real problem but can still claim to have been successful.

The initiative offers Israel normal relations with all Arab countries in return for full withdrawal from the land which Israel captured in 1967.

These would be some of the same Arab countries that...um...well, that don't admit Israel even exists. That going to be a problem, Dr. Rice?

In her meetings, Rice discussed U.S. plans for a conference this year to revive Arab-Israeli peace hopes. The joint statement said the ministers "welcomed the commitment expressed by U.S. President George W. Bush" in his July 16 speech proposing the conference, but shed no further light on arrangements or who would attend.

Hmm...a conference that no one will come to, to talk about peace with a country most don't believe exists. In diplomatic circles this is known as the wind wind.

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