Any questioning of American Exceptionalism is considered to be treasonous by the wing-nuts who control the Republican party. A good discussions of ways we are exceptional can be found in an article by Eduardo Porter in the NY Times yesterday. Not much to boast about there.
A friend pointed me to an article on Newsmax.com. It’s interesting because that’s a conservative oriented web site – the author is it’s editor – and the article is a strong defense of Bill and Hillary’s work with the Clinton Foundation.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of our politics when a conservative leader’s resistance to FOX’s latest propaganda campaign deserve’s special attention.
A good example of how to use money for free speech occurred in Florida recently. A web post notes that:
“The Tea Party of Miami put up a convincing demo last week to oppose a ‘land grab’ that would see 46,000 acres of sugar farm land restored for Everglades conservation. Just one problem – the ‘protestors’ were actors each being paid $75 for the two-hour shift.”
The Koch brothers have interests in Florida land. You want to bet on whose money supplied this bit of democracy in action? The trouble with the Koch brothers is that they are not satisfied just with every economic advantage possible for the rich, but they really believe the other nonsense that characterizes the Tea Party. Of course the Tea Party is their invention, so that’s not surprising.
There’s an interesting article on Yemen by Robert Worth in The New York Review of Books. More background on the Houthis than we usually get in the press.
Now let’s see if I’ve got this straight.
The Houthi sect/movement/army in Yemen (Shia) has conquered most of the country, defeating the US backed President who nominally was fighting al Qaeda (Sunni) for us, but not very well. The Houthis are now under attack by our ally Saudi Arabia as part of their shadow war with Iran (Shia) and we are backing this attack. Both the US and the Saudis are strongly opposed to al Qaeda, which has attacked both directly. The Houthis are enemies of al Qaeda and have been more successful than the previous Yemeni regime in fighting them.
Now, what should be our policy in Yemen? How about leaving them to it?
I suspect that the idiots who want to see an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities by the US (or Israel) are under the “surgical strike” illusion. That is that it could be accomplished with precision bombing and little ancillary damage so that Iran would absorb the attack and not necessarily respond. Almost like no war at all.
One aspect of this delusion is that it ignores US military doctrine. A significant air attack on targets in a country is not conducted until the that nation’s air defenses have been suppressed. This requires widespread attacks on airfields, defensive missile batteries, command and control facilities and communications systems. Recall the shock and awe campaign at the beginning of the first Iraq war.
Moreover, we are talking about attacking facilities containing significant quantities of enriched Uranium and highly radioactive reactor by-products. These will be released into the environment by the attack with unknown impact on the civilian population in the vicinity.
Thus the surgical strike is a major act of war which any government would necessarily have to react to. Anyone who would confidently predict how that war would progress is a fool. Wars never turn out as their planners expect.
I believe that the appeal of such an attack on Iran by such as John Bolton, and I suspect Netanyahu, is that they see this as an opportunity to eliminate Iran as a major power in the Middle East. They are under no illusions about surgical strikes. Moreover they realize that the acquisition.of nuclear weapons by Iran would preclude such a war in the future.
Of course that’s why Iran wants to nuclear weapons. As long as the most powerful military nation in the world believes it has the right to intervene in any other nation at will, non-proliferation is doomed. See how cautious we are with North Korea.
So now Bibi is on the record as willing to work toward a two-state settlement while assuring his followers that it will not happen on his watch. That’s not hard to understand. He doesn’t want a two–state solution until the conditions are right, and he doesn’t think that will happen in the foreseeable future.
Netanyahu believes that an independent Palestinian state would inevitably be dominated by factions opposed to Israel’s existence and be a haven for terrorists. He’s probably right, and the dominance of Hamas in Gaza is an example. Even if the Palestinians that Israel is negotiating with are acting in good faith, the history of animosity between Palestinans and Israelis is too long and deep to have any confidence in a peaceful two-state solution in the near future..
So what is the alternative? We have a one state solution now, but a democratic one-state solution would require that Israel give up being a Jewish state, and so is most unlikely.
It seems to me there is no real solution possible at this time. Clearly the negotiations for a two-state solution are a waste of time and the real Israeli policy is to make that even less possible by extending the settlements, So perhaps we just need to wait while the world changes.
Just waiting till the world changes may not be possible. The settlements problem and the hatreds being nurtured by that may not allow it. Israel gives no hint that it will not continue the program. The Palestinians will continue to test the US in the UN and our current veto policy may bed hard to sustain, especially in support of a government in Israel that clearly hollds us in contempt.
Bibi has now added that his demands for the non-proliferation agreement with Iran include it’s formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist. How hard he will continue to fight the current agreement remains to be seen.
When the Zionist movement began in 19th century Europe many assumed that the arrival of so many modern minded people would make the desert bloom and they would be welcomed by the resident population. Others were more realistic and knew that i t would be a strugge between peoples. The UN thought the problem could be solved by partition but that turned out to be wishful thinking too. So here we are. Is our support for Israel really helping, or is it just enough to allow the Israeli people to avoid any real action to establish a peaceful relationship with their neighbors?