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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Friday, January 09, 2009

Gaza

Unbelievably, a Gaza ceasefire measure passed the UN Security Council, "The vote was 14-0, with the United States abstaining."
The United States abstained from the Security Council vote even though it helped hammer out the resolution's text along with Arab nations that have ties to Hamas and the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. "fully supports" the resolution but abstained "to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation" with Israel and Hamas, also aimed at achieving a cease-fire.

(AP) "Israel's government says it will press ahead with its offensive in the Gaza Strip despite a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire."

(If you read into this article, the Hamas leadership rejected the UN ceasefire, too.)

3 Comments:

  • European countries have Muslim populations that are much more marginalized than here in the US. One might say even slightly radicalized, if we look to England, The Netherlands and France.

    How long can the gross disproportionality continue -- complete with dead babies, etc -- before these European Muslim communities begin protesting? At what point does this changing European demographic make it untenable for these countries to just sit on the sidelines and let the US take the flack?

    European countries, by virtue of demography and geography, have a very different political calculus than the US.

    It's not that I have any love for Hamas, it's merely the disproportionality of the Israeli response that has me so torqued. There will come a time when Israeli "self defense" will cross a line of intolerability -- either in intensity or frequency -- and things will not go well for Israel.

    We have made the Middle East and Muslim nations the hub of nearly all international affairs. It seems to me that in the coming generation, these nations will grow in political importance. Pissing them off will have greater domestic consequences. And so, blind support for an unfettered Israeli hammer may no longer be the status quo. At some point, does Israel find itself standing alone?

    I have no idea what I'm talking about... but that doesn't stop me from postulating theories. It's the American way.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:39 AM  

  • Well, they've already had terror attacks and busted plots in those countries. And France had that amazing month of rioting.

    And, Disproportionality is the key word.

    As for the future, I think it's pretty cloudy. The Bush administration was trying to create a Saudi/Egypt/Jordan power center that would be willing to at least talk to Israel. It's really not a bad idea, but some of the execution was impossibly poor, and their version rests on marginalizing/toppling Iran which is pretty crazy policy. (and incentivizes Iran to amp up tensions in the region.)

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 11:03 AM  

  • That "power centre" will crumble the moment a better offer appears. While the Arab states really are concerned about the Persian Shia in Iran and their growing influence, they see that the influence has grown due to Bush's policies and that they are merely trading Israel for Iran as the dominant power if they tread down that path further.

    In my opinion, the die is already cast. There is no great benefit any longer in siding with the U.S. when they are embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan and the old alliances have faded away. There is, however, a great cost now to associating with the U.S, which was not the case when the "power centre" was formed.

    Virtually all of our foreign aid goes to three countries: Israel, Egypt, and Colombia. Of those three, Israel receives more than the other two combined, and as budgets tighten the other two will likely receive even less. Bush had a "stick" years ago before the Iraq occupation became a quagmire: do as we say or become the next Saddam. Now that is gone, and the "carrot" is appearing mouldy and stale. The moral centre is shifting away from us, and the hope of "liberation" has been crushed by the reality in Iraq. Nobody wants a piece of that "success" to be brought to their country - certainly not the average Iranian, Moroccan, Saudi, etc.

    I have little faith that Obama will stand up to Israel, so we will see an increasing vacuum of power in the region that will only embolden the worst aspects of all the parties involved.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 12:25 PM  

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