Monday, June 25, 2007

Tony Blair’s Promotion

Due to his tremendous success with the war in Iraq, President Bush wants to reward Tony Blair by naming him a special Middle East envoy. Maybe he could throw in a Medal of Freedom for Mr. Blair as well. While, I admire the fact that Mr. Blair won’t be unemployed for long thus lowering the worldwide unemployment rate, I question him for this particular role. With the Middle East in particularly worse shape than usual, which seemed nearly impossible until George Bush got into office, I don’t think one of the principal partners in the Iraqi war should be handling difficult negotiations. I believe that due to his almost “groupie” adoration of George Bush, Mr. Blair has lost credibility in the region.

Does anyone besides this befuddled administration think this appointment will work? This just shows how much the Hamas takeover of Gaza has shaken up things in Middle East politics. I am sure that Tony Blair is a fine man and wants to do the right thing in the region, but because of his unwavering support of George Bush, he will always be identified in that role. This will prevent him from being seen as fair and impartial in negotiations. My thinking is that he will not be sent to broker any final terms of a peace deal, but more than likely to help build credibility for the Fatah faction of the PLO.

You would think that the fiascos in Iraq (Chalabi) this administration would get that you can’t pick and choose the leaders for others. Whether you like them or not, you have to negotiate with the people’s representatives, not who you want to negotiate with. An agreement with someone who cannot deliver is not worth the paper it is written on. Rather than continue to bolster a leader who has lost his base, it would be better to work toward bringing Hamas into the process. How can you rehabilitate a terrorist organization? The same way we have rehabilitated all the others that were once on our list (Sandinistas, IRA, etc.) we use carrots and sticks. You cannot hope to resolve an issue without one of the major players involved in the process.

When Hamas first came to power after the election, they desperately sought recognition from the West, but due to our intransigent foreign policy apparatus we let the opportunity slip away. Hamas realizes that now it must govern which a terrorist organization cannot do. They know that they have to deliver on the basic services that the people require. It is not in their self-interest to allow the people of Gaza to starve. The MSM media will make it appear that the people of Gaza are leaving because of Hamas, but the reality is the people are leaving because they know the storm that Israel will unleash against them. It is one thing to promote democracy, it is quite another to undermine democracy when you don’t like the results. Of course that has never happened (Chile, El Salvador, etc.).

The time is overdue to discontinue the rhetoric and demagoguery of the past and begin to make serious efforts to resolve this conflict. There will be no peace until we do. The only reason to continue to support Mr. Mazen is to allow the foot dragging and corruption to continue. Israel knows as long as this conflict between the Palestinians continues they will not have to do any serious negotiations. And rather than call them on this, the friendly regimes in the region (none of which are democracies) go along with this charade to placate their people.

There will be an uprising in the Middle East, not because of what Mr. Bush has done but in spite of it. The people of that region will one day rise up against those who have sold them out and it won’t be because we planted the seeds of democracy, it will be because they are tired of being misled by their own governments. We can continue our age old policy of supporting lost causes or we can finally for a change support the winds of change, before they blow us away.

Mr. Blair will bring nothing substantive to the negotiations because he will not have the power to persuade Mr. Bush or more importantly Mr. Cheney and the Jewish PACs into making any real sacrifices. Without the freedom to negotiate independently, Mr. Blair is just another mouthpiece of this administration. We would be served just as well by sending Tony Snow. Using a different messenger to deliver the same message is not going to work. It is time for a different message not only for Israel and Palestine, but for the region as a whole. If Mr. Blair is not coming with a new message and a new policy how can anyone expect to get anything different. Insanity; doing the same thing and expecting different results…

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