Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How Bush Failed to Get His Peace Groove Back

George Bush is doing everything but grabbing the mic and belting out All I Am Saying is Give Peace A Chance when in front of his Middle Eastern audiences. Out of the other side of his mouth comes - Iran is bad, does bad stuff and see Iran is creating tension with their tiny speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz. Bush dashed about the region trying to sway leaders to his view of peace from the United Arab Emirates to Jordan and across the Sinai Desert into Egypt's capital where he was Captain Supportive to quasi democratic President Hosni Mubarak amid major protests of his visit. Bringing up Egypt's well documented history of torture would be just bad form because the US of A renditioned its own prisoners there at his direction. Meanwhile, the Bush administration's top diplomacy fashionista, Secretary of State Condoleeza, took a heavily protected detour into Iraq where she pronounced signs of life returning to the streets of a blown up Baghdad.

“I appreciate very much the long and proud tradition that you’ve had for a vibrant civil society,” said Mr. Bush, whose joint appearance with the Egyptian leader was unannounced and, according to the White House, had been uncertain until the last minute.

Mr. Bush’s remarks reflected some of the contradictions evident in the issues he addressed during his trip.

The Bush Peace Tour is ending with thousands of miles logged to six different nations or kingdoms with Peace no closer in the region and no new champions of his idea to put Iran in the bad behavior timeout corner. Like Barbra Streisand, this is the penultimate farewell tour - Bush is stating his intentions for a final return in May to check on his current goal of increasing support for the Israel-Palestine peace process. Consider the real accomplishments of this tour, a young Israeli girl sang a beautiful but ironic Hebrew rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Bush spoke in Abu Dabi, the crown prince in Saudi Arabia let him hold his prize pet falcon while Bush begged the King to lower oil prices for US sakes by turning on the taps full blast, and finally his painful peppering of I MEAN IT statements at every opportunity.
"When I say I'm coming back to stay engaged, I mean it," said Bush, who added he'll return to the region in May. "When I say I'm optimistic we can get a deal done, I mean what I'm saying."...

"So the Iranians ... better be careful and not be provocative and get out there and cause an incident," Bush told reporters. "Because there's going to be serious consequences. What I said in my statement was, if they hit one of our ships there's going to be serious consequences. And I meant it."

For seven years, the Bush administration allowed the fields of peace to lie fallow or dropped cluster bombs and munitions in a nineteenth century vision of Manifest Destiny on Iraq. Now, Bush is eager to be the bearer and bringer of peace while not developing the relationships necessary to have influence and credibility in the tempestuous region. Iran is solidly in his missile and gunboat sights. That he dared to try a Peace initiative at all says the distortions under which his warped world view operates. Under the devastation of preeminent war doctrine and failures of intelligence, the incompetent Bush administration, Peace has gone from Mission Accomplished to Mission Impossible.

An Arabic speaking former diplomat in both Clinton 42 & Bush 43's administrations, Dennis Ross, wrote an interesting and highly recommended book on the Middle East peace process. It is appropriately entitled, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace.

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