I predict the Secretary of State of the worlds' mightiest country will return from the Middle East with the permanent label of an ineffective and impotent negotiator. For the past six days the Israeli's have basically shot the bird to President Bush. 225 Palestinians have been murdered and 6,000 captured and thousands of Palestinian homes bulldozed. Powell's visit is looking like a big joke. The first question he was asked by the Saudi chief minister was: "Why did you come here FIRST instead of going to Jerusaleum?" DUH?
Powell is a good man, brilliant and even-minded , but in my opinion, he is being sacrificed. Why?
Bush said "Y'all Israeli's withdraw now, without delay !!" He said that 5 days ago. The Israeli's have doubled their aggression in the past five days.
The president uttered that proposal, but every nation in the world recognized their was no "teeth" in his demand. He didn't back it up with anything. How about...A phone call to Sharon, "either withdraw and your Secretary to the negotiating table, or I will withold $3 Billion of your $7 billion in 2003?? What would happen then?
Apr 11, '02
I don't agree. I can't honestly see that Powell is going to be vilified as incompetent for failing to do something that no other negotiator or world leader has been able to pull off in a much longer time frame: broker a lasting peace in the Middle East.
I don't, however, disagree with you that Bush's demands are being perceived as "toothless." An excerpt from MSNBC.com
White House aides also fear that Sharon's intransigence in the face of Bush's repeated demands over the past week for an end to the Israeli attacks could make the president appear ineffective and erode his standing in the world.
As part of the emerging shift of opinion about the Israeli leader, some White House officials are now making a distinction between support for Israel and support for Sharon.
"Sharon is arguably doing what he thinks needs to be done," a senior administration official said. "After he's finished, what's next? The fear is that he knows no other way than being tough."
The administration's tougher line on Israel is already facing resistance in Congress, with some lawmakers accusing the White House of compromising the moral clarity of its anti-terrorism crusade.
Support is building for draft legislation proposed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would designate the Palestine Liberation Organization as a terrorist group, close down its Washington office and deny visas to its top officials. The State Department successfully lobbied against a similar measure last fall.
There are no easy answers here. If there were, they would already have been enacted. I post to another website with a lot of folks who are more politically savvy than I'll EVER be, including many Europeans, people with poli-sci backgrounds, and people working at foreign embassies. We've been discussing this endlessly in the past couple of weeks, and they can roll out facts and figures and history until my eyes roll back in my head ---but when all's said and done, even the armchair pundits among us admit frankly and helplessly that they simply see NO good solution, which scares me. An oft-repeated quote from the past week: "The Middle East makes my head hurt."
Apr 12, '02
Powell is in an impossible position. Between Sharon and Arafat. Until there are different leaders in control of Israel and Palestinians, there is little hope.
Apr 13, '02
Powell is in a no win situation, as I see it the US will be criticized for initiating peace talks or not initiating peace talks. Isn't it worth the risk of being criticized by other nations, I think it's the right thing to do, we aren't miracle workers here. And I don't see any other countries stepping up to the challenge of talking to these two leaders.
Apr 13, '02
Colin Powell and our President both need lots of prayer for the very hard work they both do for ALL nations, not just our own. Our nation is in serious trouble, and talking to Sharon and Arafat is like trying to get a baby to understand what Colin Powell and President Bush are trying to accomplish. I wouldn't want either of their jobs!
Apr 14, '02
Have you all read Newsweek last week? The cover was asking how would Israel survive. They had a really interesting take on the fact that Clinton and Barak couldn't make peace in the region mainly because of Arafat. Then they discussed how much more difficult it is now with our un-Clinton (Bush) and Israel's non-Barak (Sharon). It was an interesting article, though I am sure many will disagree with it
Apr 14, '02
Fergus, I thought it was a wonderful article.
Apr 15, '02
Fergus, I had heard that too about Arafat during those discussions.
That is a great article, thanks for bringing it to our attention.
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