Thursday, April 15, 2004

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When is it good to be explicit?

David Adesnik writes a lengthy, must-read post about why the George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon's joint press conference became the lead story yesterday:

[W]hat's changed isn't the substance of the American position but the articulation of it. But when it comes to diplomacy, articulation matters. That's why today's announcement really is a big story. By staking out a clear position in advance of final-status talks, Bush is essentially saying that important aspects of Israel's demands are simply non-negotiable. If the Palestinians negotiators accept those demands, they will now come across as giving in to American pressure rather than compromising in the name of peace. Thus, if you think that only a negotiated accord can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then Bush and Sharon really have thrown a wrench in the works. Clearly, that is the premise on which the NYT and WaPo correspondents are operating.

But there is another premise out there which also deserves a fair hearing: that a negotiated settlement is no longer possible and that Israel simply has to find the best way to let go of the occupied territories. That is why Sharon wants to pull out of Gaza. That is why he is building a massive wall to separate Israel from the West Bank. While one can argue that good fences don't make good neighbors, a strong majority of Israeli voters have taken Sharon's side on this one.

See Josh Marshall's post on the matter for an opposing view. The Chicago Tribune's story underscores Adesnik's point:

Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. State Department adviser, said U.S. officials had previously taken similar positions to those stated Wednesday by Bush.

They have acknowledged that a future border would have to be adjusted through land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians, he said, and they have also cautioned that there could be no unlimited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

Bush "made explicit what had been implicit," Miller said, adding that the White House had announced the policy without any negotiations under way.

Normally, "we would provide assurances to both sides," said Miller, who is now head of Seeds of Peace, a non-profit group that brings children from conflicts around the world together as a way of fostering reconciliation. (emphasis added)

Here's the question -- in matters of diplomacy and world politics, is it always the right thing to make explicit what had been implicit?

One can make the case that an end to hypocrisy is an intrinsically good thing in world politics. However, international relations is also an arena where -- in the short term -- perception matters just as much as reality. While consistency and clarity can bolster an actor's reputation in world politics, ambiguity and, dare I say, nuance also have their advantages in bargaining and power projection. There are clear tradeoffs at work here.

I don't have a good answer to this question -- well, I don't have an answer that could be condensed into a blog post. I will therefore leave it to my readers to try to hash out.

posted by Dan on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM


The obvious answer to your question, Dan, is no. Not saying things, or at least not rubbing them in the faces of people with whom one will eventually need to work, is often quite important, even necessary.

But that's an academic answer to an academic question, one that seeks after a rule for diplomacy. The next step is to ask whether explicitness is a good idea in this specific case. If a right of return is impractical and some Israeli West Bank settlements are too big to dismantle, do we err in saying that now, rather than let it be dealt with in negotiations at some future date?

That in turn is a conceptual question. On that level I think the answer may well be yes -- the "future date" may be very far away, and explicitness about what negotiations can realistically lead to may be the only way to stifle false Arab expectations concerning the right of return especially. But (cliche alert) the devil is in the details, and the context of the details is that we have no very good reason either to trust Ariel Sharon personally, to assume that he will be able to deliver right-wing members of the Knesset in support of the dismantlement of key West Bank settlements, or -- and perhaps most importantly -- to assume that the notoriously detail-averse George Bush has closed off Sharon's escape routes.

These are serious problems, and the practical question follows: were they accounted for in the discussions between Sharon and Bush? If they were not the agreement between them portends nothing but trouble. Sharon will either find or be forced by domestic political considerations into a way to back away from what concessions he has made; he will treat the agreement as a floor on settlements rather than a ceiling, and America will get the blame for this -- will even be seen as having allowed American policy to be made in Tel Aviv. I am not sure that this is what will happen, but Sharon's history, and Bush's, is not encouraging.

posted by: Zathras on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

The Israel/Palestine situation requires drastic measures, if only because those negotiating on the Palestinian side simply are unwilling to accept anything Israel has to offer. The only way they might be willing to deal is to remove the hope that violence can secure them a better deal, and, perhaps, end the daily conflicts caused by Palestinians and settlers occupying the same space. The wall is the best way to accomplish this. Think of the wall as a lenghy "time out" for a recalitrant child.

The danger, of course, is that the wall might work so well that Israel has no incentive to deal in the future. A little ambiguity about how we'd react to the route of the wall is definitely in order. If Bush can't manage that, changing governments here or in Israel would eventually sove that problem. There's always somebody who is willing to work for peace. Right now, they are not in the majority.

As for Dan's question -- I think this is a rare time when diplomacy just won't work. The Palestinians need to learn that their actions have consequences and that their leaders have failed them. Bluntly, they need to lose the hope that terror will someday give them what they want.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Remember the definition of insanity.

If nothing else, at least this is something new. Can anyone against this explain how it will make things worse? Will the Palestinians be _really_ mad? Israel has been in an impossible position for many years, they have been told that they must reach an argreement with an opponent that has no interest in reaching an agreement. So in true Bush fashion, whats the answer? Cut the Gordian knot. The only people really opposing this are the Status Quo at any cost crew, the dont rock the boat types. The fear of the unknown is particularly irrational in this context. What worse could possibly happen? Even a regional war against Israel could conceivably improve the situation in the long run once Israel kicked the crap out of all the autocrats in the region once again.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

There are surely times when it makes more sense to be vague and ambiguous in the conduct of international affairs, as in any negotiation. But to apply that rule in the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict simply makes no sense.

The Palestinians are so far from even being a credible negotiating partner that to wring our hands about whether we've lost an edge by being too explicit simply misses the point. It assumes that Palestinian acceptance, and therefore peace, is what hangs in the balance. But Sharon is surely right that there can be no "peace" any time soon and the conflict can only be managed, not solved. The Palestinians, by their behavior over the last 3 1/2 years, have shown themselves unable to bring themselves to any kind of acceptance. That's why Arab protests that this is the final nail in the coffin of the peace process are so disingenuous. The peace process's fate was sealed the moment the Palestinians chose violence over diplomacy in 2000. They made their bed and they can sleep in it.

But not all ambiguity has been lost in any case. Sharon has said that the route of the fence might be adjusted in the future.

posted by: BPP on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

You and I can see that it's an ineluctable fact that Israelis occupy considerable portions of territory just beyond the 1949 armistice lines that they're never going to depart from. Any possible agreement would give Israel jurisdiction over this territory.
But the Arabs, and the entire Islamic world, don't see such a settlement as historically inevitable, and, more plausibly, don't accept such a settlement as a just one.
Now the US has, in quite a radical shift of its position, ceased to pretend that it regards the Arab position as having any legitimacy, even as a proper bargaining stance.
I suppose one can argue that the Islamic view of the US bona fides in the Israeli-Palestinan dispute is already so unfavorable it can't be worsened. But certainly if it can be, Bush's shift is well calculated to do so. Everywhere in the Islamic world, including Iraq.

posted by: Discreet on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"Now the US has, in quite a radical shift of its position, ceased to pretend that it regards the Arab position as having any legitimacy, even as a proper bargaining stance. "

That's certainly how the media is spinning it, but its not entirely true. Bush has defined the settlements and the right of return situation as certain 'realities'. They are realities at this moment. But negotiation in good faith is about changing realities in exchange for some other interest. Negotiations in bad faith are by their nature divorced from reality. What Bush has said is that bad faith negotiations are over, and he will instead talk about reality. When the Palistinians are ready to negotiate in good faith, the discussion can revert to how the current reality might be altered. The line of demarcation can be altered. The return issue can perhaps be solved monetarilly, as Israel has offered in the past. This has been basically the worst poker game in history. The dealer has insisted that Israel pretend it doesnt have chips it demonstrably has. That is the reality. Pretending otherwise has clearly had the opposite of the intended purpose. If the Palestinians want the West Bank and some right of return compensation, they had better stop pretending they already are guaranteed it and instead start negotiating for them.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

There has been some speculation in the blogosphere that Bush's announcement is a response to the alleged approval of Arafat for the attacks on a US convoy that killed 4 people, there to offer scholarships to Palestinian students.

Add to that Arafat's explicit embrace of Hamas and the result is that Arafat himself has destroyed the polite fiction of a serious government and negotiating partner.

posted by: rkb on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Anybody else notice that the Palestinian attacks have been curtailed signifigantly since the IDF greased the old man? With the (militant) Palestinians, actions always speak louder than words. Check that - they are the only "words" that they seem to understand.

posted by: Greg Nelson on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]


Your right, it has been relatively quiet in the area since the assassination. Hopefully it messed up their network badly enough that they're having trouble organising attacks. Of course, the paranoid part of me says that they might just be getting ready to do something really horrific. I hope that I am completely wrong about that.

posted by: sam on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

1) Dan's question is hilarious. The reality is that the election is close and Bush knows that billionaire supporters of Israel are the mainstay of the Democratic Party finances. Israeli Haim Saban, for example,
gave $12 MILLION in donations in the 2002 election cycle alone. See

Bush is trying to court those billionaires and to hell with the national interest. Every million that goes to the Republicans not only strengthen the party but also weakens the Democrats. See See ,

2) My fears are not for the Palestinians, it is for the future of America. It concerns me that our leaders
are bought and sold by small, wealthy interest groups. When Howard Dean, for example, told Joe Lieberman that the US should treat the Palestinians more fairly, Dean's campaign was immediately sabotaged. Jewish American S Daniel Abraham, who has long been involved in Middle Eastern policy, gave $100,000 to fund a barrage of TV ads attacking Dean in Iowa. Anyone remember Dean's campaign manager, the guy from AIPAC (the Israeli lobby) , bailing on Dean a few days before the pivotal Wisconsin primary?

Those still puzzled by why Bush invaded Iraq should realize that (a) while Hussein was not a significant threat to the US , he was seen as a threat by Sharon and (b) Haim Saban's Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings' Institute signaled that taking out Hussein was a good idea.
See and and

3) It concerns me that ,during the 911 Commission hearings this week, members of both parties averted their eyes from the question of WHY Sept 11 occurred. It concerns me that the power of our nation can be manipulated by small factions and that those who bring disaster upon our nation avoid accountability by their tight control of the news media. The majority of our citizens are hypnotized every night by the TV networks into a false view of reality -- a depiction as false as a Hollywood movie, one which conceals important facts from our citizens and which diverts their attention with irrelevent garbage.

4) For five days after the Sept 11 attack, the US TV networks broadcast 24 hours a day WITH NO ADVERTISEMENTS. The reports I've seen show that they lost close to $400 million as a result. Yet theyprovided no real information --only endless scenes of death and suffering. Why? For what purpose?
The US TV networks had several interviews with Bin Ladin in 1998 in which he outlined Islamic grievances with the US -- why did that information disappear down the memory hole after Sept 11?
After Sept 11, the New York Times ran an article on Sept 23 2001 (by Serge Schmemann) telling us that the Sept 11 was not motivated by the US government's one-sided support of Israel. See

Bill Kristol, the long time supporter of Israel and neocon editor of the Weekly Standard, went on NBC's This Week in October 2001 and told us much the same.

In my opinion, both Israel's supporters and Bush were desperately lying to the American people -- to prevent them from noticing that Bush's pandering to Sharon had triggered the death of 3000+ citizens, $100 Billion in direct costs, and $1 Trillion in indirect costs.
The most casual Internet search will show that Bin Ladin gave a series of interviews to US TV networks in 1998--several years before Sept 11 -- and that he repeatedly cited US support of Israel's attacks on the Palestinians as one of three main reasons for an Islamic Jihad against the US. See . Why did the New York Times not mention this?

5) Bush still has not given us a satisfactory explanation for why Sept 11. His one answer --"they hate our freedom " -- is obvious bullshit. No one attacks the world's most powerful nuclear armed superpower without a reason. The American people might have learned the answers from Bin Ladin. But Condi Rice went to the CEOs of US TV networks and twisted their arms to halt further Bin Ladin broadcasts. Her excuse --that Bin Ladin might be sending secret signals in his broadcast --was obvious bullshit to anyone slightly acquainted with spy tradecraft.

6) The answer appeared in an English translation of a Pakistani newspaper --DAWN -- in November 2001. See . In an interview ,
Bin Ladin explained:
HM: In your statement of Oct 7, you expressed satisfaction over the Sept 11 attacks, although a large number of innocent people perished in them, hundreds among them were Muslims. Can you justify the killing of innocent men in the light of Islamic teachings ?

OBL: This is a major point in jurisprudence. In my view, if an enemy occupies a Muslim territory and uses common people as human shield, then it is permitted to attack that enemy. For instance, if bandits barge into a home and hold a child hostage, then the child's father can attack the bandits and in that attack even the child may get hurt.

America and its allies are massacring us in Palestine, Chechenya, Kashmir and Iraq. The Muslims have the right to attack America in reprisal. The Islamic Shariat says Muslims should not live in the land of the infidel for long. The Sept 11 attacks were not targeted at women and children. The real targets were America's icons of military and economic power.

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was against killing women and children. When he saw a dead woman during a war, he asked why was she killed ? If a child is above 13 and wields a weapon against Muslims, then it is permitted to kill him.

The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government, they elect their president, their government manufactures arms and gives them to Israel and Israel uses them to massacre Palestinians. The American Congress endorses all government measures and this proves that the entire America is responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Muslims. The entire America, because they elect the Congress.

I ask the American people to force their government to give up anti-Muslim policies. The American people had risen against their government's war in Vietnam. They must do the same today. The American people should stop the massacre of Muslims by their government.

HM: Can it be said that you are against the American government, not the American people ?

OSB: Yes! We are carrying on the mission of our Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The mission is to spread the word of God, not to indulge massacring people. We ourselves are the target of killings, destruction and atrocities. We are only defending ourselves. This is defensive Jihad. We want to defend our people and our land. That is why I say that if we don't get security, the Americans, too would not get security.

This is a simple formula that even an American child can understand. This is the formula of live and let live."
7) If you check business journals, you will see the arms sales to Israel to which Bin Ladin was referring. In June 2001, Bush sold Sharon 52 F16s. For the June 20 , 2001 announcement of the F16 sale, go to here : , click on "Archives", select June 2001 from the list, and then search the resulting page for "Israel" or simply page down to the June 20 entries. )

8) The final approval on the sale was announced a few days before the Sept 11 attack. One reason why our intelligence received no warning of the attack was the seething anger in the Arab world over the F16 sale. See and
An excerpt from
dated September 8,2001:
" The timing the US chose to announce its decision to give Israel the dangerous F-16 jets is really strange. It seems as though the US is telling Israel "Go ahead Sharon! Carry on with the assassination of Palestinian children and the destruction of the houses of peaceful civilians! Proceed with the destruction of the Palestinian defenseless people's infrastructure and with desecrating Islamic sanctities in the holy land!"

The fact this information has been hidden from the American people-- that it has never appeared in the US news media -- shows the lengths to which Likud's supporters will go to mislead Americans.

9) Bush's sale of the F16s occurred at a time when Sharon was being criticized around the world for attacking the Palestinians with the F16s. Even the US State Department protested Sharon's actions until the Bush White House ordered it to stop.
See ,,

10) The arms sales was not necessary for Israel's security nor was it in the US national interest. It occurred for two reasons:
(a) Defense Contractor Lockheed Martin received $2.3 billion for the F16s. Lockheed had donated roughly $2 million --most of it to the Republicans. Plus Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney, had been on Lockheed's Board of Directors since 1994 until the Jan 2001 inaugural. b) Of the top five largest campaign donors in the US, two are Israelis.

Personally, I can't understand how Bush can hold Todd Beamer's sobbing widow and then continue with such games --but politics takes a strong stomach.

11) There is a big difference between supporting the safety of Israel and supporting Sharon/Likud's aggression. Many Jews and Israelis are among Sharon's strongest critics. But their votes and money are not significant enough to influence a "Market-driven" Bush. Many wealthy Jewish millionaires make campaign donations on behalf of benign social agendas and do not try to influence Middle East policy.
But some do. Finally, some of the Neocons are not even Jewish. The much vaunted Richard Perle , for example, is little more than a long time pensioner of Conrad Black, the Canadian who has been the world's third largest news magnate.

12) Finally, the Israel lobby is only the third leg of the Triumvirate which is destroying our republic. The second leg --the defense contractors who make massive sales to Israel and to the oil dictators of the Middle East --have already been mentioned. The third leg is Dick Cheney's oil buddies --who stock price is directly tied to the amount of oil leases they have booked.

13) The business news archives from the 1990s show Dick Cheney's heavy involvement is gaining US oil companies access to the huge Caspian Sea oil deposits --so why did that corporate agenda disappear down the memory hole of our news organizations after Sept 11? Why no report on how the "War on Terror" is being manipulated to justify construction of a chain of US military bases in the Caspian Sea area?
Bases located not to hunt Al Qaeda but to safeguard Houston's investments in the Caspian Sea at US taxpayer expense.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

The New York Times article by Serge Schmemann arguing that "IT probably came as something of a surprise to many Americans that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11 were apparently not about Israel and the Palestinians, at least not directly" is at

Or check the New York Times archives for September 23,2001.

As I noted above, I think the Times article was misleading bullshit. Given that past articles on/interviews with Bin Ladin were easily available from news databases, I think the Times was intentionally misleading America.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]


I think that a prime part of this is Bush sending back Arafat a message:

Also Bush issued a veiled message that Arafat's 'government' was doomed to fail

See, when you have a government where the person is bigger than the institutions, that government will inevitably fail.

As to Don's (what a typer!) point about courting the Jewish lobby, well, maybe, but I don't think it is a prime one.

I for one, was heartened by Bush's nearly explicit definition of the enemy in the April 13 conference:

None of these acts is the work of a religion; all are the work of a fanatical, political ideology. The servants of this ideology seek tyranny in the Middle East and beyond. They seek to oppress and persecute women. They seek the death of Jews and Christians, and every Muslim who desires peace over theocratic terror

posted by: jdwill on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Not to change the thread entirely, but I think a better example of the tension between explicit and implicit is in the reasons given by Bush for invading Iraq. Bush was certainly explicit with respect to WMD, but less specific on the democratization project he had decided to undertake. In retrospect, he needed to be more explicit to the American people about the purposes for the invasion. The failure to find WMD has been used to delegitimize the President and fuel conspiracy theories involving either the words "oil" or "jew."

Yet, had he announced that a reformed Iraq would serve as a stepping stone to regime change in the corrupt gulf autocracies, would we have had been able to invade Iraq from bases in the Gulf? Would we even have had a chance of UN support given the relatively undemocratic make-up of the Security Council members? The answer is probably no.

posted by: Patrick Shaw on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Don W:

OK, I understand you to say:

(1) Current Bush policy is an effort to get more contributions from Jewish donors; and

(2) Bin laden, enraged by the policies of our proxy Israel, launched 9/11.

Some questions--

* In this McCain-Feingold age, the most Bush is likely to get out of any donor is $2,000. So, assuming about 100 super-rich Jewish folk decide they like Bush, he's only going to get $200,000 for a dramatic policy change. You need to explain (i) why such a small amount is likely to influence the president or (ii) whether you think the McCain Feingold bans on soft money can be circumvented, even though the Bushies have a lot of reason to want the limits enforced (George Soros and and the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the soft money ban.

* Arafat, after 9/11, made a very emotional statement that Bin Laden had never helped the Palestinian cause,and he has never subsequently retracted those sentiments. If BL is such a supporter of the Palestinian cause, why haven't these allies gotten together?

* 9/11 had been planned for months, maybe years. Why would F-16 sales in June 2001 make any difference to a plot hatched long before?

* Respectfully, per your cited interview from PBS' Frontline, Osama's prime reason for his Jihad is: "The call to wage war against America was made because America has spear-headed the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques over and above its meddling in its affairs and its politics, and its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control." Osama is not talking about Israel here, he is talking about our support for Saudi Arabia. I think you latched on to this phrase in the interview: "Their presence has no meaning save one and that is to offer support to the Jews in Palestine who are in need of their Christian brothers to achieve full control over the Arab Peninsula which they intend to make an important part of the so called Greater Israel." But he's still talking about US troops in Saudi Arabia.

I suspect you have answers for these points. I look forward to them

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I thought Bush was in bed with the Saudis? I really wish the tin foil hatists would get their delusions straight.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Don William,
OT, I'd suggest you work a bit on condensing the points and adding links instead of posting long run-on comments.
Even if every point to the last was truly original and unlinkable, good commenting still is an artform that demands brevity, unless you prefer to remain unread. If you do not know how to link, I'd be happy to show you.


posted by: ch2 on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

It seems to have gone unnoticed that Bush already made explicit what was implicit by calling for a Palestinian state. It is perfectly logical for him, then, to call also for an end of the idea of the so-called right of return and for a recognition that Israel will not give up all of the West Bank or all of its settlements. It would probably have been better if he had done these things all at the same time; instead, he seems to be just reacting to events. But better late than never.

posted by: steven gerber on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I can't believe anyone is taking the paranoid anti-Semitic rant above by Don William seriously. Any notion that Bush is Sharon's puppet or that American policy is "controlled by the Jews" in intrinsically anti-Semitic and not worthy of a dignified response.

Greg Nelson:

"Anybody else notice that the Palestinian attacks have been curtailed signifigantly since the IDF greased the old man? With the (militant) Palestinians, actions always speak louder than words. Check that - they are the only "words" that they seem to understand."

i'd like to think that the assassination made the difference but the fact is that it probably didn't. Yassin wasn't that involved in actual day to day operations. Perhaps the totality of arrests and targeted killings are having an effect but the biggest reason for the quiet is the generally improved security, starting with the fence being built. Plus there are many bombing attempts that you don't hear about. Even at the height of the violence two years ago, Israel intercepted many more bombers than got through.

posted by: BPP on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I fear Bush put our troops in Iraq in greater jeopardy by explicitely saying this.

Many articles have reported that tensions in Iraq ratcheted up after the hit on Yassin. 1) The Yassin assassination prompted Sadr to say he supported Hamas and was going to form a Hamas chapter in Iraq, prompting Bremer to shut down his newspaper Hawza, prompting demonstrations,... you know the rest. 2) Similarly the people who attacked the contractors in Fallujah claimed it was retribution for the murder of Yassin.

Like pouring gasoline on the fire, unnecessary and unconscionable. Watch what happens.

posted by: ch2 on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I am wondering about the relationship between Don Williams' Triumvirate and the Pentavirate from "So I married an Axe Murderer" To remind you the members of the Pentaverate are: The Pope, The Queen, the Gettys, the Rothchilds, and the Colonel (Sanders that is; with his wee beady eyes...he puts a chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly).

I am sure you have an explanation and I look forward to it.

posted by: Rich on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

It is unwise in a negotiation to make anything explicit that can be left unsaid or implied. Once you make it explicit you take away a bargaining point, even if it is your plan not to give on that particular point. You also run the risk of backing yourself into a corner that is very hard to get out of and you signal to your opponent in such a way that it may change their approach in some unintended, unanticpated, and, ultimately, counter-productive ways.

posted by: stevew on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I doubt this was the thought for George "stay the course" Bush, but making something explicit could be a good move, if you are really ready to give in later. By making more items look non-negotiable, you might be able to get more by making the other person think they are getting more out of you when you negotiate on those points.

It is just raising your initial offer, without actually changing your valuation. The key is that your initial offer seems credible.

posted by: Rich on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I don't think I've ever come across a blogging post more shameless in its naked & venal subervience to political rapacity. In an election year downward spiral, Bush has agreed to appease Sharon's political dispossession of the people whose rights even Bush's father (that well known friend of the Palestinians) had tried to maintain at Madrid.

And this is your response?

posted by: ledley on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I don't think a negotiated settlement is really a possibility anymore, and until there is some radical change in the Palestinian government, there probably won't be. There is going to be a long process of pressuring the Palestinians into giving up the total right of return and make them willing to have peace with the Israelis. Might as well start it now.

posted by: Thomas Harris on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

This is more implicit than it seems.

Bush removed Arafat from consideration as a serious negotiating partner after Araft lied to him after the Karine A affair. (Bush can be very personal and doesn't like being lied to.)

When it came out that the PA had ordered the bombing of our diplomats in Gaza a few months ago, (Arafat was "sending a message.") Bush decided to send a message right back.


posted by: The Commissar on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I think you have to look past the event itself to consider its predictable short term consequences on Israeli politics; then, you can evaluate it. Basically, Bush's buying into Sharon's withdrawal plan gets Sharon safely past hte May 2 vote of the Likud party to approve it or not. When it is approved and adopted by the full Cabinet, the hard line right pqrties, and some Likud members, will resign. Sharon then forms a coalition government with Labor. This will be very popular with the Israeli public, and will probably disuade the Atorney General from indicting Sharon. Remember, after the collapse of the Clinton peace initiative, withdrawal plus a fence was Labor's policy. Sharon will have a united Israel (well, as united as Israel ever gets) behind him; when withdrawals actually start, the predictable resistance from extremists will be on television screens across the world. This will add to Sharon's luster, since he will be given great credit for courage. He will be even more of a force in Israeli politics, and can then-- maybe-- negotiate with the Palestinians and be able to make any concession he wants without having to worry about domestic political resistance. A weak Israeli government can never pull off a peace deal. Forget the question about making the implicit explicit-- the real issue is how you get a possible peaceful solution back in play. This gets things moving. The truest thing Henry Kissinger ever said was that Israeli foreign policy equaled Israeli domestic po;itics-- and vice versa.

posted by: Dan on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Well, I'll be dammed.
1) The Washington Post has an article out exploring the very thing I discussed above -- whether Bush's pandering to Sharon is an attempt to pull big donors away from the Democratic Party. Looks like both parties are in a downward spiral to see who can bury their nose deepest. Pathetic display for the leadership of a nuclear superpower. See

A short excerpt: ""Given that Jews turn out at an 80 percent turnout rate, if you swing the Jewish vote 10 percent in Ohio, that could give you Ohio," said Nathan Diament, a lobbyist for the Orthodox Jewish movement. Though he believes Bush's motive is principle rather than politics, Diament also notes that the courting of Jewish donors -- hugely important to Democrats -- could aid the Republican Party. "

2) Moreover, Business Week came out today with a blistering attack on Bush -- arguing that Bush's invasion of Iraq was driven by pandering to Sharon. See . An excerpt:
" So to boil all this down, we went to war, sacrificed thousands of human lives, racked up billions in bills, and flouted the rules of international law for three basic reasons: Israel, oil, and the vengeance of a son whose father didn't finish off Saddam and then was targeted for assassination by the Iraqi Horror Show in 1993? When you think that Bill Clinton was impeached and almost tossed out of office for fooling around with a willing intern and then lying about it, his sins seem like very small potatoes. Very small potatoes indeed. "

3) Well, damn. I've been saying this for two years --google on my name and "History News Network" if curious. But what's going on at the Washington Post and Business Week?

As some have noted here, I'm so far right that I'm left. That criticism didn't bother me --but I'm uneasy at the idea that I'm drifting into the mainstream. Or is the mainstream starting to finally wake up?

I'm trying to finish my taxes --procrastination time is running out even if the Post Office does keep the local center open till midnight for people like me. To those who posted questions to me, I get back to you tomorrow.



posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Some interesting sputterings above ..... obviously the Reynolds Wrap factory has been working overtime.

The Palestinians have been treated like children for years - they're never held responsible for what they do, they're never expected to keep their agreements, the "older child" (Israel) is always asked to make allowances and be "tolerant". It's been a delusion from the beginning & it's about time someone said so.

Misbehavior has negative consequences in the adult world - it's time for the Palestinians to learn that.

posted by: BradDad on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Dan presents the optimistic scenario. This may be what Sharon has in mind. If it is, maintaining his course will require him to at many different points to clash with the people whose interests he has sponsored for a good quarter-century. Also he is well past 70, and if the Israeli AG decides he needs to face charges over the corruption scandal involving his son he will whether his poll numbers are up or down. So this train will have lots of opportunties to go off the tracks -- even assuming that it is not true that all Sharon did this week was get a thumbs-up from Bush that he can later use in support of whatever policy direction he decides to pursue.

posted by: Zathras on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

The question shouldn't be whether to negotiate implicitly or explicitly with the Palestinians. We all know that no matter what is hammered out, Allah will come to this guys in a dream and command them to renege like the lying sacks of camel dung they are.
Since there is no realistic expectation that the Palestinians will keep their word, there should be no negotiations, only dictated terms.
The Arabs have lost four wars over this issue. Pardon me if my sympathies and reasoning are not properly "nuanced".
9/11 means never having to say you're sorry.

posted by: Rocketman on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

9/11 means never having to say you're sorry.

Finally, someone explained Bush's answers at the press conference.

posted by: ch2 on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

“The Palestinians have been treated like children for years - they're never held responsible for what they do, they're never expected to keep their agreements, the "older child" (Israel) is always asked to make allowances and be "tolerant". It's been a delusion from the beginning & it's about time someone said so.”

You literally beat me to the punch. I was also going to use the phrase that we have treated the Palestinians “like children for years.” The late Edward Said and others encouraged the Palestinians to perceive themselves as victims of Eurocentric imperialism. The sad results are obvious. Their anger is mostly based on manufactured myths that simply don’t hold water. The Jews have made enormous efforts to turn this area into a land of peace and prosperity for everyone. Regretfully, the Palestinians have instead opted to indulge in self pity and scapegoating. Why are the Palestinians so poor? It is primarily because they are Arab Muslims. The whole culture is mired in racism, misogynism, ludditism, welfare dependency, and a contempt for the modern world. A red neck inhabitant of Louisiana is a progressive liberal in comparison. Arab Muslims must abandon their sick culture if they are to prosper. Our American foreign policy leaders must tell the Palestinians that we will ignore them until they decide to grow up.

posted by: David Thomson on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I must add something to my previous post of a few hours ago. Our academic “elites” cannot think straight about Arab Muslims solely because these people are racial and religious minorities. I want to encourage everyone to imagine the Arabs having blue eyes and blond hair. If you can do this just for 24 hours---I strongly suspect that you will more clearly understand the mess in the Middle East.

posted by: David Thomson on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Jewish Israelis are attempting to maintain a bubble of unreality with the assistance of pro-Israeli Americans. The idea that they must be allowed to keep their illegal settlements in the West Bank is inside the bubble: it bears no relation to political reality.

China or India would be better as neutral arbiters between Israel and Palestine than the US. No country, however, can function as a neutral arbiter between Israel and Palestine if the US is standing on Israel's side defending Israel's bubble. For peace in the Middle East, the US has got to take a step back.

Israel will either have to surrender all the illegal settlements and settler-only roads in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and provide a means for the two areas to physically communicate (acre for acre landswap, perhaps, for the older settlements on the 1967 borders) - or Israel will have to take down the borders and admit the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as Israeli citizens.

The first choice means Israel can continue to maintain its artificial Jewish majority: the second choice means Israel ceases to be a majority Jewish state in a few years.

But either one is a more stable situation than the "solution" Sharon thinks he can broker with the US so firmly on his side, which is effectively simply a continuation of the situation at present - keep several million Palestinians pinned down with force of arms, and trust that this causes not quite enough Israeli casualties per year to burst the Israeli bubble.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Don W:

Glad to see you're not so far right that you refuse to pay your taxes, because the IRS is unconstitutional or something...

As for your two articles --

The Business Week article is light on substance, heavy on the columnist's total buy-in to Clarke's story. Can't say it proves much.

the WaPo Dana Priest analysis is a typical inside the beltway thing about the political effect of Bush's move. (It seems to come to a conclusion of "not that much", by the way.) It does not support your Bush mind-reading. As you know,the effect of what somebody does is usually quite different than the reason someone does it.

By the way, what about that Col Sanders plot?

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"No country, however, can function as a neutral arbiter between Israel and Palestine if the US is standing on Israel's side defending Israel's bubble. For peace in the Middle East, the US has got to take a step back."

And not country can stand as a neutral arbiter so long as the EU and Arab nations are funneling money to Arafat and his terror machine.

Look, this is a Gordian Knot. Bush has simply stopped screwing around and cut the sucker. He gave the Palestinians a chance, the last of about a thousand chances theyve been given. Their response was to assassinate our people. Think about the 'logic' that has sunk into the conventional wisdom over the years. Arafat tearing up an equitable peace plan is less a factor in the violence than an old Israeli general walking up a hill. Its a lie and its an illusion. The first critical aspect is to stop pretending, it gets us nowhere. Arafat is a terrorist. Period. End of discussion. He has no interest in an equitable peace. Bush doesnt deal with terrorists, therefor since the Palestinians have embraced Arafat they will have to take the settlement emposed on them. That is what happens to losing sides in war, particularly when they refuse to negotiate, and _particularly_ when they continue hostilities when the are already beaten. Drop the illusion.
Israel doesnt need the Palestinians to cut a deal, they never have. They are a moral nation therefore they tried for over 50 years to make accomidations. Enough is quite enough. Fighting over the tiny patch of land in the wide middle east is insane. Let the Palestinians migrate to all the Arab nations that threw out their Jews in 1945, there should be plenty of room. Particularly if the billions those nations send to Hamas and Hezbollah is spent on them (fat chance).

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Jews arent going to suddenly vote republican just because GW Bush is tight with Sharon. That implies that Sharon is well regarded by typically liberal American jews, which is untrue.
I suspect Bush will lose as many votes of anti-semites as he is liable to pick up. And sadly its pretty clear that the Elders of Zion is sitting on more than one bookshelf in America.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"5. Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe. As it distinguishes between truth and opinion, so it distinguishes between truth and idolatry. All nations are tempted-and few have been able to resist the temptation for long-to clothe their own particular aspirations and actions in the moral purposes of the universe. To know that nations are subject to the moral law is one thing, while to pretend to know with certainty what is good and evil in the relations among nations is quite another. There is a world of difference between the belief that all nations stand under the judgment of God, inscrutable to the human mind, and the blasphemous conviction that God is always on one's side and that what one wills oneself cannot fail to be willed by God also.

The lighthearted equation between a particular nationalism and the counsels of Providence is morally indefensible, for it is that very sin of pride against which the Greek tragedians and the Biblical prophets have warned rulers and ruled. That equation is also politically pernicious, for it is liable to engender the distortion in judgment which, in the blindness of crusading frenzy, destroys nations and civilizations-in the name of moral principle, ideal, or God himself."
Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, pp. 4-15

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

The irrational rants against the Palestinians here saddens me -- they reflect neither the moral values of American nor the values of Judaism. A nice Jewist boy said it better than myself.
"Deviations from rationality which are not the result of the personal whim or the personal psychopathology of the policy maker may appear contingent only from the vantage point of rationality, but may themselves be elements in a coherent system of irrationality. The conduct of the Indochina War by the United States suggests that possibility. It is a question worth looking into whether modern psychology and psychiatry have provided us with the conceptual tools which would enable us to construct, as it were, a counter-theory of irrational politics, a kind of pathology of international politics.

The experience of the Indochina War suggests five factors such a theory might encompass: the imposition upon the empirical world of a simplistic and a priori picture of the world derived from folklore and ideological assumption, that is, the replacement of experience with superstition; the refusal to correct this picture of the world in the light of experience; the persistence in a foreign policy derived from the misperception of reality and the use of intelligence for the purpose not of adapting policy to reality but of reinterpreting reality to fit policy; the egotism of the policy makers widening the gap between perception and policy, on the one hand, and reality, on the other; finally, the urge to close the gap at least subjectively by action, any kind of action, that creates the illusion of mastery over a recalcitrant reality. According to the Wall Street Journal of April 3, 1970, "the desire to 'do something' pervades top levels of Government and may overpower other 'common sense' advice that insists the U.S. ability to shape events is negligible. The yen for action could lead to bold policy as therapy."..."
Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, pp. 4-15

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Thankyou Mark Buehner at April 16, 2004 09:27 AM for writing the grown-up version of my posting.

posted by: Rocketman on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

I ,by the way, think Hans was wrong. The appearance of apparent psychopathic behavior in a nation's actions is usually the sign that a small power group is pursuing its own agenda --at the expense of the national interest -- and is lying about it.

Attacking Hussein with little to no evidence of him being a threat was an irrational act for a US pursuing a war on Al Qaeda and needing the good will/cooperation of foreign nations in order to get intelligence/information.

But the Iraq war makes every sense if you are Bush and Cheney. It lets them court billionaire supporters of Israel who see Hussein as a threat to Israel. It lets Bush and Cheney court their buddies in Houston who are drooling at the profits to be made by an Iraqi puppet government which will giveaway Iraq's oil reservoirs in exchange for small kickbacks. Finally, it justifies Bush throwing open the doors to the US Treasury for defense contractors who donate millions to the Republican Party.

Plus I'm sure Cheney has pointed out to Bush that the really Big Money comes after you leave office.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Bush and Sharon did not make everything explicit. Left implicit was that some land in Israel proper that is now occupied primarily by Arabs might be ceded to a Palestinian state in compensation for the land that Israel is keeping. That is the unstated point of Bush's remarks about facts on the ground.

There are, however, two significant problems with this: (1) there is no Palestinian state with which Israel can negotiate such an exchange, and (2) the Israeli Arabs have no desire to be handed over to a Palestinian state. I read an interview recently with one of them who expressed amazement that anyone could think that the Israeli Arabs would wish to go from a modern, democractic, industrialized First World nation to a Third World cesspool.

posted by: DBL on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Don Williams is an anti-semitic pig, but just for the record, please note that Israel has for a long time regarded Iran as a far more pressing danger to its national security than Hussein's Iraq; if Israel were calling the tune, the US would have gone after Iran. The US attacked Iraq for US national security purposes, not Israel's or any other country's.

posted by: DBL on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

DBL forgot to mention one little item: How desirable that Euphrates River looks to an Israel growing increasingly thirsty. Heh heh

Something else that the US propaganda organ --sorry, I mean "the mainstream news services" somehow never get around to mentioning to US voters. Don't want them getting any ideas -- er, "conspiracy theories".

See, e.g,

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

So Don -- all those quotes, all those cites, and it all boils down to "It's all a Zionist plot?" Hokay...

Water pipeline to Israel from Iraq...Hmm. Think the Syrians and Jordanians might mind? Or are the troops heded there too?

And you never have answered that Col. Sanders question (or any other question, for that matter.)

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

No blood for water! How do people like Don look in the mirror everyday without laughing hysterically. 'Wonder what them jeeeeeews are aplottin today? Probly gonna steal all the dern water from that there Ufrates Crick.'

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

The appalling ignorance of rank and file neocons is always hilarious. But,as George Bush once commented re Lincoln's adage, you can fool some of the people all of the time --and those are the ones you focus on.

Re Syria and Jordan, how many divisions do they have?

Consider, for instance, Israel's reaction recently when someone in Lebanon ran a 4 inch pipeline to a river to supply a village. An excerpt from
Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror expressed concern that Lebanon would build a dam to divert the entire river, a charge that Lebanese officials deny. Dror told reporters that after a year of low rainfall, Israel could not sit back and allow Lebanon to divert the Hatzbani, which is a major source of water for the Kinneret. "We really expect the Lebanese to understand that this is very important to us and that we won't be quiet over it," he said.

Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a much harsher warning, saying that for Israel, water is a matter of "to be or not to be, to live or to die." Lieberman added that Israel "cannot let this pass without a reaction."

Uri Saguy, chairman of the Mekorot Water Company, cautioned Lebanon from disrupting the status quo regarding the region's water sources. "There is not enough water in the Middle East. If there are no understandings on the subject, the situation could lead to war," he said.

Knesset member Michael Kleiner (Herut) called for immediate Israeli actions. "A change in the water distribution is a provocation, and Israel must respond," he told Israel Radio.

"How much water are you going to take from a four-inch pipe?"
- Timur Goksel, UNIFIL spokesman

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Or consider this news item from

"ISRAEL MAY TAKE MILITARY ACTION IF LEBANON DOES NOT CEASE ITS PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION TO DIVERT WATER - Israel has again warned Lebanon not to divert precious water from flowing into the Jewish state. Lebanon`s unilateral move to build a pipeline on the Hasbani River has raised tensions on the northern border, with Israel hinting that the pipeline might be bombed..."

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Wow, you did it man. You just conclusively proved that Israel is going to run a pipeline 600 miles to draw water from the horribly polluted Euphrates river. And if Jordan or Syria tries to stop the thousands of workers it would take to lay the pipeline, Israel is going to war with them. And Id imagine they will bury the pipeline a hundred feet below the earth so it isnt blown up the first night its layed. Or are hundreds of thousands of Israeli soldiers going to guard it? I mean, water is valuable after all. Do you any idea how insane you sound? Just wondering.
On the upside this makes the Afghanistan invisible oil pipeline look plausible.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"Jews arent going to suddenly vote republican just because GW Bush is tight with Sharon. That implies that Sharon is well regarded by typically liberal American jews, which is untrue." -- Mark Buehner

Maybe not, but here's one of Bush's advisers, Ralph Reed, talking about how excited he is about this.

"Reed, the Georgia Republican chairman, said he saw a chance that Jewish voters, particularly younger ones, could begin moving to the Republican column in 2004 in part because of Bush's support for Israel. "There's clearly something going on -- it's tangible, it's palpable, and it could have a real impact," Reed said. Bush captured 19 percent of the Jewish vote in 2000; Reed said he could
get 30 percent in 2004.

Now, I think Bush is doing this mainly because of the Christian Coalition, which Reed used to run. But you can bet that both Dems and Repubs are pro-Israel because it will get them money and votes, not because it's the right thing to do.

posted by: Carl on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

“But you can bet that both Dems and Repubs are pro-Israel because it will get them money and votes, not because it's the right thing to do.”

No, it’s the right thing to do. Your premise is probably some ten to twenty years out of date. I think there are as many Arab votes as Jewish currently in the United States. As for the money---the Saudis alone have probably spent far more money to influence American public opinion.

American Jews correctly became cynical over the Republican “gentleman’s agreement” nonsense (the Gregory Peck movie about the discrimination in Connecticut some fifty years ago accurately depicted how bad things were). The Democrat Party probably did offer the better deal. Practical politics, however, is always premised upon “What have you done for me recently?” In this regard, the Democrat Party is failing miserably. How miserably? A subtle anti-Semitism pervades the left wing of this party? American Jews desiring to remain within the Democrat Party are often subtly encouraged to be self hating. Am I exaggerating? I don’t think so.

posted by: David Thomson on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

To respond to some of Appalled Moderate's questions posted above:

1) Re whether McGain-Feingold Act will restrain wealthy supporters of Israel, I would say No.
Nor will it constrain any other US plutocrats, for that matter. If it would, it would not have been

At last count , George Bush had raised almost $180 Million. I don't think there are many $25 checks in that pile.

The reason is simple: logrolling and patron-client politics have been around since the
Roman Republic. The US has become a South American style oligarchy in that regard. If I own a corporation , for example, I can easily hold an after hours social function, announce that I'm raising money
for Mr Bush, and sweetly invite my executives to a little fundraiser I'm holding. They'll get the message --and if they don't then they will at their next performance appraisal. The FEC law on recording donations actually helps -- it lets me check and verify that the sneaky little fuckers aren't also giving to the Democrats.

The same goes for suppliers --of various kinds. Why do you think so much campaign money is donated by
real estate firms and law firms?
Do those donations reflect the desires of the donors --or do they provide cover for
the desires/agendas of the corporations to whom they sell they sell office buildings and legal services ?
In many communities, the local defense contractor is the one bringing in the money from outside on which the local establishment depends -- every dollar gets passed around several times by the bottom feeders.

2) Plus giving to independent organizations -- or even dumping a few thousand into Glenn Reynold's
Paypay Tipjar over at every month --is still allowed. (Do you think a lowly college professor can pay for all that bandwidth? )

3) Consider, for example, Howard Dean's naive foray into
populism. In September 2003, Dean had Joe Lieberman chewing the carpet by remarking that
''it is not our place to take sides'' in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and that ''enormous numbers'' of West Bank settlements will ``have to come out.''
See .

4) However, Dean's campaign then crashed and burned in Iowa. Why? Well, in part, because Dean was
hit with a relentless barrage of TV ads from something called "Americans for Jobs"--formed in November 2002. The hilarious thing was that
Dean could not even find out who was bitchslapping him with $1million in ads because the IRS reports
on this ad hoc startup
did not have to be filed until the IOWA primary was over.

5) When they were filed, it was revealed that Americans for Jobs was funded in part by the usual suspects-- some unions supporting Gephardt. But $200,000 came from Jewish American S Daniel Abraham, who has long been one of the larger donors in US elections. See
the article "Political Mugging in America" here:

6) Some of Mr Abraham's donations --but not all -- are listed here:

The "Americans for Jobs "
donation, for example, does not appear there. For that, you have to look here:

7) The article explains how unlimited soft money is still being raised under both 527 and 501(c) guises:

8) A number of Jewish billionaires donate money but for benign causes. Steven Kirsch, for example.
See .

S Daniel Abraham, on the other hand, has long been involved in influencing US Middle Eastern policy and supporting Israel. See, for example, .

9) Plus let's not forget the $15,000 Bernie Schwartz's Loral Space also chipped in. Bernie's probably embarrassed at his small donation but he's fallen on hard times. I don't know how he will explain it to his mother.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Message to Mark Buehner Re Water pipelines to Israel. You might want to look at this article before revealing your ignorance: . A short excerpt:
NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The nation of Israel -- which is running out of fresh water and, some estimates say, will run completely dry within 10 to 15 years -- has struck an agreement with Islamic Turkey to provide water via a pipeline through the Mediterranean Sea.

In a maverick deal with Turkey, a nation with whom Israel has established close military ties, Israel would receive fresh water from its cross-sea neighbor. Turkey is rich in water resources and is currently building a series of dams that will give it control over the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers -- the cradle of civilization.

The water would be transported through a pipeline laid under the Mediterranean Sea, pass through Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus and then on to Israel.
The problem with the above was that Hussein was not happy with Turkey's dams.

Anyone recall White House spokesman Scott McClellan saying in February last year that it was France and Germany's obligation to help defend NATO ally Turkey from the "Imminent Threat" of a missile attack by Hussein? Surely you don't think the White House would lie about something like that, would you? See

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

More education for Mark Buehner: See this year 2000 article
A short excerpt:
Some groups are insisting that Turkey consult with Syria and Iraq - both of which have had hostile relations with Turkey - about the use of the waters. ....

Turkey's government is giving every indication that it intends to proceed despite these setbacks. The project is expected to give the pro-western country an enormous strategic advantage in a chronically thirsty part of the world. Many experts predict that during the 21st century, whoever controls the water supply in the Near East will dominate to a great extent economic and political events, possibly even the production of oil by water-reliant members of OPEC.

"The next war in the Near East will not be about politics, but over water," former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali once warned an American think tank. "Washington does not take this threat seriously because everything in the U.S. relates to oil."


The concerns of Syria and Iraq focus primarily on their reliance on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers for water. The rivers, which flow through Turkey, are being systematically dammed up by GAP activities. Turkish officials have said repeatedly that they will not restrict flows once their reservoirs are filled; but the two downstream countries fear they will be subject to blackmail by Turkey whenever their national policies conflict.

Citing international law requiring agreement of downstream countries to dam projects, Iraq has threatened to bring Turkey - which does not recognize this law - before an international tribunal.
PS Tuition checks for remedial education should be made out to "Don Williams". For more money, I've even help you prepare to take the GED test

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Hokay, Don Williams ---

to summarize...

McCain Feingold is leakier than a government agency, and rich Jewish folks will take advantage of that. Maybe some lucky bloggers will take advantage as well...(Better watch those libel laws, Don.)

See what rich Jews did to Dean: Spencer Abraham gave his opponents $200,000, and Bernie Schwartz, (not the movie actor known as Tony Curtis) gave him 15 K. I think it would be more germane to your argument if you could show Spencer beginning to throw his cash to the GOP, or links between him and Bush Sr.

So, what we're left with, at the end of day, is that rich folk are giving money (but not all that much money) in the hopes of influencing policy. Not exactly unexpected behavior. And not confined to the Jewish community. And not proof that Bush changed policy to gain those contributions.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Then there's George Soros, one of the richest men in the world, and Jew to boot,and he's backing .... drumroll, please .... wait, he said he would devote his entire $7 Billion fortune to defeating President Bush! I guess he didn't get the secret message from the NeoCon Cabal.

Now I read in the paper today that Kerry raised several million dollars at a $25,000/plate dinner in NY last night. Technically, the money was raised by the Democratic Party, I suppose, and not by Kerry. I wonder how many Jeeeeeeews were in that crowd? Given that it's New York, which is filled with rich Jewish liberals who wouldn't vote for a Republican if you put a gun to their mothers' heads, probably a bunch.

This is all off topic anyway. Drezner raised some interesting questions; any of you have any thoughts? I pointed out above my thoughts about what Bush left implicit - anybody agree/disagree?

posted by: DBL on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"You might want to look at this article before revealing your ignorance: "

Um, none of that had the least to do with stealing water from Iraq. Yeh there is a water issue in Israel. Theres a water issue in Mexico and the American SW too. I dont see anyone speculating that a pipeline is going to be run into downtown Toronto to steal Canadian H20(yet anyway). Your launching silly speculative ad hominem attacks. Israel has a little problem with suicide bombers too, does it therfore logically follow that they must have a plan to pile Iraqi corpses as a wall around Israel? Yeh but they have a problem with suicide bombers so that theory makes sense right? Come on.

And I still dont get how Bush is trying to get cozy with Sharon when he supposedly is bought and payed for by the Saudis. But I spose you got a great theory on that one too. Hit me with it! Im sure Tom Clancy is listening.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

“And I still dont get how Bush is trying to get cozy with Sharon when he supposedly is bought and payed for by the Saudis. But I spose you got a great theory on that one too. Hit me with it! Im sure Tom Clancy is listening.”

You obviously haven’t finished reading your copy of “The Protocols of Zion.” Crown Prince Abdullah has been replaced by a Jewish impostor. The Mosad did this about ten years ago. How can you be so ignorant? Didn’t you receive the e-mail message from Richard Perle? I thought that you were a member of our secret organization. At the next meeting, we will be drinking the blood of a few ultraconservative red necks. You have seen them in the movie, “Deliverance.” We serve only the best.

posted by: David Thomson on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"Crown Prince Abdullah has been replaced by a Jewish impostor. The Mosad did this about ten years ago. "

See what happens when you miss one meeting of the secret neocon cabal? Looks like im gonna be washin Bill Kristol's car again for a while.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Hmm, I think this thread has lost any pretentions of high seriousness. Unfortunate, because our host asked serious questions.

But it was probably good to be explicit in our disdain for Don W's Zionphobia.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

1) To answer a few of the questions above:
a) John Kerry continues to get donations because he was careful to not let a sliver of daylight show between him and Bush's concessions to Sharon--as was described in the story I posted above. Meanwhile, Dean is history.

2) If you tire of my "Conspiracy theory" you might look at Fortune Magazine --which consistently ranks the American Israel Political Action --er, excuse me "Public Affairs" Committee (AIPAC) as the second to fourth most powerful lobby in Washington --based on interviews with insiders (Congressmen, Staff etc.). See,e.g., .

3) Meanwhile, in this past quarter of campaign finance reform and virtue, the "Joint Victory Campaign" raised and spent roughly $15 million.
S Daniel Abraham's measly $500,000 donation was overshadowed by Steve Bing's $4,966,449 donation. See .

4) Of course, I may be wrong. My understanding is that Israel is the most powerful military power in the Middle East and that her citizen's per capita income is about $17,000/year. In part, that's because She has received $91 billion+ in past US aid, receives $3 billion/year in US aid, and has received massive US arms sales,
including the largest collection of advanced F16 fighters outside the US Air Force. You will note that noone in the US Government ever talks about "stopping WMD proliferation" when Israel's 80+ nuclear bombs are mentioned.

Meanwhile , the original owners of Palestine, drived into the rocky hills of the West Bank by massacres like Deir Yassim, have rotted in refugee camps for several decades-- sunk in misery and poverty with many living onless than $1600/year.

I'm supposed you would all assure that the above situation is not due to any malign political manipulations or bribery of US leaders. No doubt is the result of the Lord's favor and his Covenent with the Chosen People.

I'm afraid I can't give you the "Bald faced Hypocrite and Liar of the Day Award", however. That honor goes to Colin Powell, who was quoted today as follows:

"I don't think we have abandoned our role as an honest broker at all," the top U.S. diplomat told reporters.

A close runner up is the Chicago Tribune, which somehow ignored the massive amounts of money donated by American Jews --plus the known influence of AIPAC, Delaware Valley PAC,etc -- and insisted that Bush would get no benefit from sucking up to Sharon because, after all, there are not that many Jewish voters. See

All this deceit would be almost funny if not for the 3000+ Americans dead in New York, the 600+ dead soldiers being buried around the country, the 1000+ soldiers maimed/wounded, and the $3.8 Trillion stolen from Social Security --which ensures millions of American baby boomers will die years before their time due to lack of medical care in the decade to come.

In my opinion, the Lord will not overlook such corruption.
Those who betray this country --and inflict such misery on humanity -- for the gold and ambition of Sharon and the Likud are cursed. They are cursed going in and they are cursed going out. They are cursed in the cities and they are cursed in the fields.
Their fate will make them an object of awe to the nations of this earth.

Their souls will cry in hell for all eternity.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Don Williams has a few soul mates:

“America under George Bush is rushing headlong toward war. This is a war that has been promoted for years by the most radical Jewish supremacists in Israel and America. Some people who oppose this war have taken up the slogan "no blood for oil," saying the coming war is being promoted by big American and European corporate oil interests.

Is oil the real reason for this war? Today, I will discuss the true driving force behind the Iraq War and why this war is actually one that that will be fought against the true interests of the United States of the America. First, let's deal with the "War for Oil" argument.”

--David Duke

Isn’t it interesting how similar Don Williams sounds like David Duke? Are they possibly twins? The radical Left and extreme Right sound almost identical when it comes to Israel. The following is from “Counterpunch.”:

“Israel, American Jews, and the War on Iraq

former CIA political analysts

Most of the vociferously pro-Israeli neo-conservative policymakers in the Bush administration make no effort to hide the fact that at least part of their intention in promoting war against Iraq (and later perhaps against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians) is to guarantee Israel's security by eliminating its greatest military threats, forging a regional balance of power overwhelmingly in Israel's favor, and in general creating a more friendly atmosphere for Israel in the Middle East. Yet, despite the neo-cons' own openness, a great many of those on the left who oppose going to war with Iraq and oppose the neo-conservative doctrines of the Bush administration nonetheless utterly reject any suggestion that Israel is pushing the United States into war”

posted by: David Thomson on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Just to be clear, every dollar in aid the US sends to Israel is identically split with aid to Egypt and Jordan, including militarilly. That doesnt include the billions we have sent to Yassir Arafat that surely have found their way into explosive belts and mortar shells.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"Their souls will cry in hell for all eternity."

Allright im checking out of this conversation. Its gotten way too spooky. Its hilarious how everytime your antisemite radar goes off the other side tries to tell you 'antizionism' isnt 'antisemitism', and not to tar people. Yet somehow this kind of hatred almost always seeps out in the end. And Im a catholic for goodness sake, I wonder how the jews deal with it every day. Later Don. Isnt The Passion playing somewhere near you?

posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

1) "Just to be clear, every dollar in aid the US sends to Israel is identically split with aid to Egypt and Jordan"
Gee, I had the impression that our aid to Egypt was a bride--done to induce the largest Arab military power into abandoning the Palestinians.

2) "Allright im checking out of this conversation. Its gotten way too spooky"

What? No more dismissal of facts and citations with ridicule? No more funny redneck jokes and cheery bon mots --in place of information or logical counterarguments? No more ad hominems or insults?

What happened? Is it something I said?

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Speaking of Turkey, virtue is its own reward but any Texas "bidness" man knows it never hurts to sweeten the pot.

Excerpt from
WASHINGTON (AP) - The International Monetary Fund approved a new $495 million loan for Turkey on Friday, the latest installment in an assistance package designed to bolster the country's economy. ...So far, Turkey has drawn $16.2 billion in loans out of a total package of $18.6 billion...The IMF program for Turkey has been supported by the Bush administration, which views Turkey as a key ally in its war against terrorism and its effort to stabilize neighboring Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. The United States is the largest shareholder in the 184-nation IMF.

U.S. support for Turkey's sizable $18.6 billion loan program has come even though the Bush administration took office highly critical of the large-scale IMF bailouts that the Clinton administration backed to deal with the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

in matters of diplomacy and world politics, is it always the right thing to make explicit what had been implicit?

The obvious answer is no.

Otherwise, we'd have told China a long time ago that Taiwan is so obviously an independent country already, and they should just get over it.

posted by: fling93 on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

This conversation is disgusting. Bush's advisers talk openly about peeling Jewish votes away from the Democrats, but somehow it's anti-Semitic to mention this.

And the Right says they don't believe in political correctness.

As for pipelines from Iraq to Israel, no less a figure than Benjamin Natanyahu talked about an oil pipeline that would be opened shortly.

I can't wait to hear how anti-Semitic the former Israeli Prime Minister is.

posted by: Carl on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Message from Sharon to Hamas leadership and the Palestinians.


This time please hit the funeral as well.

posted by: Rocketman on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

"This conversation is disgusting." yes it is but because of opinions like yours. "Bush's advisers talk openly about peeling Jewish votes away from the Democrats" dont proves anything like you're are implying : it can be support to have some famous US jew in a stamp to a conspiracy to rule all world. Usng that line of reasoning

Pipeline Dreams(lets talk about oil version) is old it will be opened again if both side wants. but i fail to understand how people think that a pipeline is a such "7 wonder" that puts USA or Israel in war footing: relative rich countries not dependent on oil possession. But theres no pipelines wars between Iran, Russia, other ex-Soviet republics, Argelia, Lybia, Gulf States etc. all countries that much of income came from oil or natural gas.

Btw theres a pipeline between israeli mediterranean coast and Eilat port to export Russian oil to far east( Arab countries sell oil to Asian countries 1$-2$ barrel more expensive than to Western countries)

@ Don Williams

So with a couple of rivers near border Israel bought a super power like USA to attack a country with a big river 1000km distance. Hmm...
with things like this is easier to circunstancially prove that you're in a hospice!

@ Palestinians
What a good willing palestinian can do against a gang Mafia produced by KGB and culturally supported by western media? nothing much they're are a too much powerfull alliance . Fatah
that in every place it has been accomplished destruction :
Jordan 1970: 5000 deaths in a couple of months after rape, murder, ransom etc.

Lebanon 1975's
a country destroyed

Israel 1980's 90's...

btw territories are not illegally occupied by Israel.

posted by: lucklucky on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

This conversation is disgusting." yes it is but because of opinions like yours.

It's not just my opinion, lucklucky, but also that of Bush's advisers

"Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel," [Philip] Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of September 11 and the future of the war on al-Qaeda.

Zelikow was on Bush's transition team, was appointed by Bush to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), and again appointed by Bush to be on the 9-11 commission.

Then you have the "Securing the Realm" paper by Feith, Perle, and Wurmser, written in 1996 for Netanbyahu:

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions."

We also know that many in the administration wanted to go right after Syria immediately, which made no sense since Syria was helping us until recently with al-Qaeda.

None of this is to say that the Jews are trying to run the world. But it is just a fact that the Israeli gov't -- not the Israeli people -- has a lot of power over our foreign policy, mostly by allying itself with the Christian right. The war wasn't run for a pipeline, but it was just an example of how many thought that this war would benefit Israel.

Funny how anti-Semites like myself were against the war in part because it would make Israel less secure.

posted by: Carl on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]


1) In the above posts, I provided citations to show that:
a) Israel has a major water problem --which will only grow worse in the years to come as population
b) Israel's leaders have stated that the diversion of even small amounts of water away from Israel ( a 4 inch pipeline ) could be a cause for war
b) Israel and Turkey have publicly announced plans to run a water pipeline from Turkey to Israel.
c) Turkey has been building dams in the headwaters of the Euphrates to capture water used by Syria and
Iraq. The government of Hussein and Syria protested that strongely.
d) I personally doubt that Dick Cheney gives a shit if every Jew in Israel died of thirst tomorrow. But he and Karl Rove understand the value of allies, of political logrolling, and that seducing billionaire supporters of Israel away from the Democratic Party dooms the Democrats. Because Israelis like Haim Saban are the Democrats' financiers. Who do you think gave $7 Million for the construction of the new headquarters for the Democratic National Committee (DNC)? See

2) In response to the above facts, lucklucky provides no facts, citations, or counterarguments--only insults and irrelevent ad hominems. Based on my
experience, it seems to me that there are only two explanations for such a response:
a) Bush supporters realize they're too stupid to engage in rational arguments --that they will only embarrass
themselves and their cause if they try. Hence, they are self-limited to spewing out rah-rah cheerleading bullshit for what they perceive as "their team" -- not realizing that "their team" is also screwing them like dogs. Or,
b) Bush supporters realize the truth of what I've been saying and don't give a shit. Because they feel that 3000+ dead in New York, 600+ dead in Iraq, and more dead to come is a small price to pay for Bush's tax cuts.
So long as Bush dumps their share of the Reagan/Bush1 debt off onto common Americans --by stealing Trillions from Social Security/Medicare accounts in order to pay off Reagan/Bush1 Treasury Bonds -- then they will support Bush. After all, Bush, Cheney, Delay, and most Bush supporters will never get within 500 miles of an active battlefield.
Rationally, I can even understand such corruption. I do wish Bush and Cheney would stop waving the American flag and lying to US citizens, however.

Does anyone have an alternative explanation for why my comments are never refuted with facts or rational counterarguments?

To paraphrase Fox News: "Morons or whores -- we report, you decide".

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Re lucklucky's comment about "a big river 1000km [distant from Israel]" , I gave a link above to the public news release in which Turkey announced a plan to run a large water pipeline from Turkey to Israel.

Consider this note: "Euphrates is 2,735 km long and has a discharge of 900,000 litres per second. The surface of the river is 450,000 km². Euphrates gets 90% of its water from Turkey, through a set of tributary rivers like Karasu, Murat, and Khabur. "

If the Euphrates in Iraq turned into a muddy ditch, what do you think Hussein would have done with those alleged "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

PS Regarding who gave $7 million to build a new DNC headquarters, see

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

@Carl the man is talking as someone from outside (like a guessing analist) and you're picturing him as someone with knowledge in US gov. policy!?
What we know about his role to gauge that phrase relevance? in itself a sort of snack-bar phrase...

"We also know that many in the administration wanted to go right after Syria immediately, which made no sense since Syria was helping us until recently with al-Qaeda"

In my opinion was precisely because there was people that wanted to go after Syria that was a sort of cooperation, but as we are seeing by recent(and not so recent) combats in Syrian border it was just for show-off.

"mostly by allying itself with the Christian right" hmm christian right seems to be a sort of black sheep with an original sin, nevermind i am not a religious person. For me and from the sample of friends and blogs in US and other countries 90% not much religious the support for Israel is that they are in the frontline of western civilisation. I am not only talking about West vs Arab Muslims but also at time of Cold War. Israel is the prove that education, democracy and knowledge is enough to succed even in dificult times. Of course that irritates many people.

In my opinion there was much more probablity for an US attack to Iraq or other Arab countries if Israel wasnt an issue for Arabs. There wasnt any need to pandering Arab regimes and sensibilities.

@ Don Williams

"Consider this note: "Euphrates is 2,735 km long and has a discharge of 900,000 litres per second. The surface of the river is 450,000 km². Euphrates gets 90% of its water from Turkey, through a set of tributary rivers like Karasu, Murat, and Khabur. "

If the Euphrates in Iraq turned into a muddy ditch, what do you think Hussein would have done with those alleged "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?"

Blablabla that data about the river is important for the discussion? or is just show off for you ?

hmmm Israel makes a deal with Turkey to have water from Euhprates...then explain why it needed to invade Iraq?

So Iraq Euphrates will be a muddy ditch because of Turkey why Israel needed to make USA invade Iraq for a muddy ditch...? which means without water...

The reasons for Iraqui invasion are two: the fight for futur of Arab political power, theres only 2 political movements that are alive: westernisation
mainly tech/cultural/aesthetical and radical islam
the present governements will fall in one side or another.30 years ago it will not be important but technology evolution puts increasing destrutive capacities in small groups.second:put the enemy in a battle field distant from US civilians.
How many potential terrorists died fighting US troops in Iraq instead of exploding in cities in Europe, USA, and other countries?


About Dan Dresdner question that i didnt answer in my first post: both , theres times and circunstances that theres need to be explicit and others that dont.
Theres another view: the level of ambiguity, in most international issues, they can be divided in various subjects we can have ambiguity in some parts but i think is counterproductive to have ambiguity in all. A sort of Line in Sand must be always present, it means that we prefer that situation stay unresolved in that conditions.

Looking for history i would say ambiguity consequences are potentialy worst: can apparent weakness, untrustiness, or that the issue is not important. We have to be present also the cultural diferences and or the volatility of the adversaire: With palestinian/arab playing with a weak hand is an invitation for disaster.The more volatility more necessary to be explicit.

Ps: i think i must refer that i am not from USA but Portuguese.

posted by: lucklucky on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

lucklucky, I honestly couldn't follow a lot of your points, but I thank you for not bringing up anti-Semitism in your post (hope that doesn't sound condescending; I'm sincere).

On Drezener's post, I'd like to bring up a more basic issue, even tho it's too late for this thread. Who are we to be deciding what should be explicit/implicit between the Israelis and Palkestinians? It's not our conflict, and IMO we shouldn't be contributing to either side if want to call ourselves an honest broker.

Then if both sides ask us to mediate we could express an opinion, but not until.

posted by: Carl on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

1) It's a little late for the US leaders like Bush to pose as an honest broker. As I noted above, the US has created Israel and hence is viewed as responsible for Sharon's aggression.

Israel is greatest military power in the Middle East --because of past US aid of $91 billion, present aid of at least $3 billion/year --plus a $3 billion/year bribe to Egypt to support Israel, and massive transfers of advanced weapons to Israel. Sharon and Likud could never afford to sabotage peace negotiations if not for US aid.

For Bush to say that the Israelis and Palestinians should "negotiate" at the same time that Bush is giving massive military support to Israel is the height of hypocrisy.
The long chain of US vetos which have halted UN actions to address the Israel-Palestinian conflict only emphasize Bush's hypocrisy.

Most Americans do not realize how US leaders, bought and paid for, support Sharon's attacks on the Palestinians. Most of them are unaware that Bin Ladin cited US support for Israel as a reason for Islamic jihad in interviews with US TV networks in 1998 --because US TV networks suppressed those interviews after Sept 11. Most Americans do not know that Bin Ladin, in November 2001, stated that US arms sales to Israel were the motivation for Sept 11 --because our US mainstream news suppressed that information.

Most Americans do not see the symbolism in US-made Israeli flown F16s bombing apartment buildings in heavily populated Gaza and killing innocents -- versus US made Arab flown Boeing 737s flying into buildings in New York and killing innocents.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

Middle Eastern policy is complex, wellmeaning people can disagree, and I certainly do not have the answers.

What really angers me, however, is the deceitful nature of the Neocons and Bush supporters -- who are still lying and deceiving American by telling on a part of the truth and concealing much.

posted by: Don Williams on 04.15.04 at 11:35 AM [permalink]

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