Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Column One -- Our World: Is America abandoning the fight?

Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post has written another humdinger. I've been remiss in not blogging her columns more. Longtime readers of this site know how much I admire her writing. This is another important one.

The top story in Sunday's Washington Post reported that the Bush administration is revising its counter-terrorism strategy.
Judging from US actions over the past several weeks, it would seem that in his second term in office, US President George W. Bush and his administration have transformed their activist policy from the first term into one best characterized by speaking loudly and carrying no stick.

This can be observed by our treatment recently of Abu Mazen, Saudi Arabia and of course -- Iran.

On Thursday the US allowed Iran to begin negotiations toward joining the World Trade Organization." This concession was made apparently as a quid pro quo in exchange for an Iranian promise to suspend uranium enrichment activities until the end of July.

And we know how much a promise from the Iranian government is worth, right? Glick fears that the US's light stance on Iran is because we don't want to rock the boat in Iran prior to the elections. Sadly, the frontrunner appears to be former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Speaking of what awaits the world under a repeat Rafsanjani presidency last Friday Hojatolislam Gholam Hasani, a representative of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told worshipers at a mosque: "You need to vote for Rafsanjani. This way we will finally be able to have for ourselves the atomic bomb to fairly stand up to Israeli weapons." According to a report by Adnkronos news agency, Hasani continued, "Freedom, democracy and stupidities of this type cannot be carried over to any part, and these concepts are out of sync with the principles of Islam. Islam always spoke with the sword in the hand, and I don't see why now we should change attitudes and talk with other civilizations."

Can't get much clearer than that now, can he? I find that surprisingly enough, people in that part of the world actually do make their intentions quite clear -- it seems to be us who are in denial about what their words mean with our apologists and politicians tripping over themselves to stick up for these militant and lethal losers.

She then goes on to tackle Saudi Arabia, especially in the wake of the King's possible passing.

During Abdullah's visit last month at Bush's ranch in Crawford, the only issue on the table from the US side was the price of oil. Democracy, human rights and Saudi support for terror and the insurgency in Iraq were all ignored. Bush made no mention of the fact that one of the members of Abdullah's entourage was barred from entering the US because of his presence on the terror watch list, or of the fact that Saudi authorities rounded up some 40 Christians in the weeks before Abdullah's visit for the crime of practicing Christianity in a private home.

In its dealings with the Saudis, the Americans apparently feel that they are between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Saudi oil profits finance global jihad. On the other hand, with the world's largest known petroleum reserves, the Saudis exert enormous power over the global economy. If the US presses too hard on Saudi support for terrorism, they can shut down the wells and raise oil prices from their current $50 per barrel to $100 per barrel, plunging the world into a global depression.

Yep, that's a definite hard place. So what's a democracy-seeking country to do? Glick offers up a possibility.

Yet according to the Set America Free Coalition – an unprecedented alliance made up of senior US security experts, labor unions and environmentalist groups – if the US wished it could, for the mere cost of $12 billion over the next four years, move rapidly to end its dependency on foreign oil by developing alternatives to fossil fuel like ethanol and methanol and subsidizing hybrid cars that run on a mix of oil and electricity. The fact that to date, the Bush administration's energy policy involves securing its access to foreign oil, building more refineries and drilling in Alaska, shows clearly that the president and his advisers have yet to decide to deal with Saudi Arabia in a serious manner.

Sadly, she has a point. I don't understand why Bush won't do this. Glick then moves on to Abu Mazen's recent trip to the US.

From the Palestinians' perspective, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas's visit to the White House last week was an unvarnished success. In expanding the responsibilities of US security coordinator to the PA General William Ward to include coordinating Israeli and Palestinian talks on the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, the US all but said that it views Israel and the PA as equals and the US role as referee.

Bush reportedly told Abbas that if he rounds up wanted terrorists, the US will force Israel to uproot all unauthorized Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria immediately after Israel throws 10,000 of its citizens out of their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria this summer. The administration is now even backing a PA initiative to bring 1,500 terrorists from Jordan – otherwise known as the Badr Brigade from the Palestine Liberation Army – into Judea and Samaria. All this the US is doing in spite of the fact that Abbas has done nothing to thwart or combat terrorists since taking office. To the contrary, rather than outlaw Hamas he has upgraded it to the status of political party.

Sounds like a freakin' mess to me. Is this really what's happening?

A revised US strategy toward fighting global jihad that placed in the crosshairs the regimes that indoctrinate hundreds of millions of people to believe in jihad would be a welcome policy development. And yet, from the Bush administration's actions on the ground from Teheran to Riyadh to Ramallah, it seems that rather than placing these terror regimes in the crosshairs, the president and his advisers are strengthening them. If this is the case, then Israel is in for one of the toughest periods in its history.

They aren't the only ones.


At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Rory said...

There's a new book out by Gerald Posner, who has an excellent reputation as an investigative journalist. I can't recall the details as to where the information came from, but he lays it all out in the book, and he claims the Saudis have basically booby-trapped their oil fields so, in the event that the royal family is in danger of being overthrown, they'll have a way to pressure the U.S. into protecting them. If that's really the case, it could explain a lot.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger beakerkin said...


The Saudis are a crime family.

I flushed another Anti- semite on my blog . The bigotry is fairy impressive . Jewish question take a look.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

I have been wondering something similar to Glick lately. I am still disturbed by the Mazen/Bush press conference.

There could be several reasons for allowing Iran to join the WTO. But, I don't think it fixed China and it won't fix Iran.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Nicely done, Esther. I read the Glick piece today, but I also enjoy your running commentary. The fact that you and Gindy are concerned about Bush's second term (non) actions toward Saudi Arabia, et al., is enough to make me concerned!

I was most impressed by Glick's endorsement of spending some money now toward alternative energy sources. It is vital that we kick the oil habit -- not for environmental reasons, per se, but for national security reasons.

By the way, Rory, I have heard the same thing about the Saudi oil fields. Can't recall where, though.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Rory said...

I looked up Gerald Posner's book about Saudi Arabia and it's called "Secrets of the Kingdom." Jonathan, I don't know if that's where you might have heard about this business with the Saudi oil fields, but Posner was interviewed about the book on Fox News recently.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

Yes, the three issues:
Ira, SA and PA.
I think the article hits the nail on the head.
Is the administration running out of steam?
I'd wait a few more weeks before "deciding" what to think about it.

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

'On Thursday the US allowed Iran to begin negotiations toward joining the World Trade Organization." This concession was made apparently as a quid pro quo in exchange for an Iranian promise to suspend uranium enrichment activities until the end of July.'

Its a concession to the EU and the Russians.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Batya said...

Yes, she's definitely one of the best.

At 11:08 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

When it comes to the apparent turnaround in the Bush administration's tough policies, I blame the far left acitivists who would undermine Bush at any cost (including endangering Americans), and the Bush administration itself for remaining aloof when it needs to be proactive. Morons, ideologues, and evil men don't back away from their pernicious designs when the opposition takes a soft approach.

The house of Sa'ud... We've been in bed with these oil-drunk miscreants since the early thirties when we showed them where there oil is and how to get it out. Every last president, ambitious congressman, and K Street lobbyist since then has jumped into that foul bed with alacrity. Man is mercenary when it comes to gobs of cash. Don't think for a moment, though, that we don't have extensive and highly detailed plans ready to take those fields if we have to—and you'd better believe that France, Germany, and Russia would be on board this time.

Whether it's Bush, some other Republican, or a Democrat in the White House, the days are numbered when how to handle genocidal nutcases, Islamic or secular, is open for debate and foot-dragging. Imminent existential threats have a way of forcing the hand that wishes to survive.

We are no longer on the terra firma of the cold war. It's new, weird, and confusing. I think we'll come out on top. The free world will maintain its lofty ideals of unqualified tolerance long enough for its enemies to step far out enough onto that bridge of hatred that they can't get off before we bomb the hell out of it.

All that being said, way to go, Caroline—she's got moxie!

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Sergeant America said...

The house of Sa'ud... We've been in bed with these oil-drunk miscreants since the early thirties when we showed them where there oil is and how to get it out.

The Prize and British/French colonization also gives credence to the position(s) the United States takes toward "the lands of great oil deposits."

The Bush Administration is taking "lame duck" to a whole new level, IMO! :(

Sidebar: What happened to the German (Nazi) technology that allowed Hitler to pursue WWII using synthetic fuels and oils?


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