Cutting Through The Crap

Friday, June 5, 2009

Convergence


I was impressed with the speech.

Without doubt there are people in the world who would hate to see peace come to the Middle East. Osama bin Laden is one. And, if it were to happen on Obama's watch, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are others. With exceptions like those, I think it's fair to say nearly all Americans hope for peace, and see it as so important to our and the world's security that they'd not care which people or party got the credit, if such credit were due.

Presidents, popes, and potentates have tried for decades. As a foreign policy matter, Middle East peace is surely at the top of the importance list. Something, it's clear, needs to change, dramatically. And what could be a more dramatic a change of the dynamic than a US president named Barack Hussein Obama, who lived for a time in a Muslim country, whose father was a Muslim born in Africa? Such a president, willing to speak in Cairo about the unbreakable bond between the US and Israel, and of the suffering of Palestinians. Willing to talk tough with Israel about settlements. (Bush, as we have now learned, made secret side deals to allow them. A perfect example of saying one thing in private and doing another in public, which Obama decried in his speech.) And, yes, willing to admit that America has made mistakes.

People say it was only Nixon who could go to China. People say it took a charismatic man like John Fitzgerald Kennedy to assure people a Catholic president would not answer to the Pope. I have no idea if Barack Hussein Obama can change the dynamic in the Middle East. In fact, given the deeply rooted religious differences which, as we know, lead to the most deadly sort of intransigence, I'd guess not. Still, it seems to me that it's an amazingly propitious happenstance of fate that, at this most perilous of times, we have such a president.

What's so hard about admitting it? Why can't people like all the RWS™ and their fawning and credulous minions take a break? After years of frustration, of brokered and broken deals, we might be seeing a sea-change. Someone who literally stands astride both worlds, at least to a degree heretofore unseen. Someone able not only to say "enough is enough," but to command unique credibility in doing so. Can't we agree this is something clearly new, something with potential to lead to breakthrough? At least in theory? It might not happen; it probably won't. But isn't it clear that there are some unprecedented differences between Barack Obama and every other president who tried to make a difference? Isn't that something to relish, something for which all Americans could hope? As bad as things have been, isn't it time to try something different?

And yet, from the right wing there is reflexive and nearly unanimous condemnation. The fat addict says Obama and Osama are in a race to see who can destroy our country first. What more clear example is there of placing politics over country? It's like a drowning redneck rejecting a life raft because it was made in San Francisco. (Remember that motto before which so many Republicans stood? They don't.) Are the political considerations of the right wing so entrenched that it's literally impossible for them to say, hey, this could be an opportunity that will benefit the whole world? For them, if not to voice support, at least to shut the hell up? For a while? Enough to see if there are cracks in the wall?

Richard Nixon made my skin crawl, literally. But when he went to China I was impressed. Like Obama risking the support of parts of the Israel lobby, Nixon opened himself up to the rage of the hard right of his party, and it led, mostly, to good. Is there nothing Obama could do -- even moving the Middle East toward reconciliation -- that the right wingers might acknowledge?

Clearly, the answer is no. And what does that tell us? About them.
.

14 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

Sid, I was impressed, what Eloquence, Tact, Mastery of the Intricate Details of the Palestinian Experience, I was brought to tears, which was really embarassing since I was at Hooters...
Just Kidding, thought I'd tuned into Gay Porn by mistake... One Guy Fellating 2500 A-rabs.
Your post WAS satire, wasn't it??
Guess its gonna be up to the IDF to put I-ran back in the Stoneage...or maybe move em up to the Stoneage...
Google "US FOREIGN AID TO EGYPT" sometime... they get as much as Israel does...

Frank

Sam Spade said...

Frank,

What would you like to see happen with the Palestinians? Please, no Drackmania. I'm genuinely curious.

Easy as Fission said...

"The fat addict says Obama and Osama are in a race"

And I didn't know Ted Kennedy was making public statements!

Really--BO gets points for trying. His solution, though, seemed to be all about the Palestinians changing their culture of violence. He's right, but I doubt that will happen without some powerful encouragement. I don't think that Israel giving in to them will do it.

I can't answer for Frank, but I'd like to see the Palestinians become responsible citizens of the country they live in. It wasn't a country before 1948. Barring that, maybe Jordan could donate some land for them...to help their Arab brothers.

--Easy as Fission

Sid Schwab said...

E a F: thanks for a comment that is (comparatively) snark-free and actually thoughtful.

I agree with the idea that (some) Palestinians won't change. But, I think, the message isn't to them, any more than it's to Senator Inhofe. It's to potential moderates; if they are given reason, they may increase in numbers, and work to reject the violence within their ranks. Provide intelligence, teach their kids differently. Maybe not much more likely; but that's the value in changing the dynamic: marginalizing the extremists everywhere, as opposed to giving them fodder.

Easy as Fission said...

Now Sid, this is why you get so much snark in your comments:

"E a F: thanks for a comment that is (comparatively) snark-free and actually thoughtful."

That's just snark. If you don't like it, don't deal it.

--Easy as Fission

Sam Spade said...

Fission:

"'The fat addict says Obama and Osama are in a race'

And I didn't know Ted Kennedy was making public statements!"

That is snark, so Sid's remark was a plain statement of fact.

Sid Schwab said...

What Sam said.

And evidently you can't take a compliment, or a thoughtful answer. Good to know. l apologize and won't make the same mistake again.

Frank Drackman said...

Sam,
I'd prefer the "Palestianins" live wherever they want to, legally, their own country might be a good place to start... Or anywhere if they'll quit blowin things up all the time... and any y'all ever BEEN to the Middle East?? I've been to Saudi, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, and Israel and they ALL hate each other... Google "Iran/Iraq War" if ya wanna see some REAL War Crimes...

Frank

Sam Spade said...

Frank,

"I'd prefer the 'Palestianins' live wherever they want to, legally, their own country might be a good place to start... Or anywhere if they'll quit blowin things up all the time"

I guess I don't need to tell you that the Palestinians, or whatever you want to call them, are living where their families have been for generations. Also, Israel kills what, 100x as many Palestinians as vice versa, both innocent and guilty. I imagine property damage is at least as lopsided.

The Palestinian birth rate is very high. The problem is just going to get worse. You don't suggest a particular solution, so why not give Obama's a chance? Do you honestly believe he favors Islamic nations over Israel?

Incidentally it's very peculiar to read Haaretz on the subject. The range of viewpoints they present is much wider than what I see in US media, especially points of view sympathetic to more Palestinian autonomy.

Frank Drackman said...

Sam, lopsided casualty rates happen when technologically backwards peoples take on advanced civilizations in warfare, notwithstanding a few Little Big Horns and Khe Sahns... Sometimes you gotta realize you lost and go about your business...you don't see any "Virginia Liberation Organizations" Blowin up stuff and demanding West Virginia and their part of DC back... The friggin A-rabs kill more of each other anyway... That Sarin the Iraquis had was left over from what they hit the Iranians with...

Sam Spade said...

"Sometimes you gotta realize you lost and go about your business"

I don't think anyone doubts that the Palestinians lost. But what can they do? There are more and more of them, and in a smaller and smaller area, with fewer and fewer resources and more and more security walls and checkpoints and Jewish-only roads and settlements. They have no hope. There will always be some among them who resort to violence, and always be some Israelis who wish to take more and more away from them. I don't think you've proposed a solution.

Frank Drackman said...

Hmmm...maybe they could do what the Israelis did...except for the military part...you know, build a thriving democracy right smack in the middle of the 3rd world...
Nahhhhhhhhhhhhh
Seriously, those security fences work both ways...only other country that could really invade em is Egypt and they haven't had a winning season since King Tut days... They're A-rabs..not happy unless they're blowin somethin up or choppin off heads...Seriously, if I was a Palestinian, heck, if I was any A-rab I'd save up my Dinars, fly to Mexico and sneak into the US like the other 12 million illegal aliens...

Frank

Marie said...

I am 54 years old and, I thought, relatively worldly. Granted I am an Obama supporter. But I did like his speech and felt it was, at the very least, a beginning. And I wrote a post saying so,http://nourishourselves.blogspot.com/2009/06/some-thoughts-on-speech-in-cairo.html .

One response I received, from a highly respected regular reader, also a physician, indicates a belief that I am 'naive'.

Twitter comments are jaw dropping in their vitriol. "BO can put his message of peace where the sun don't shine" WHAT?!?! Who doesn't want peace?!?! Well, it seems people who would rather embrace hateful stereotypes than make an effort to learn about a culture or a religion.

Ok, he's not perfect. Ok, he did lay it on thick. But we have to start somewhere.

This negativity is terrifying. Because it indicates to me that we have so very, very far to go. And we are running our of time.

Sid Schwab said...

It is, indeed, terrifying. And I think it's being whipped up to unprecedented degrees by the right-wing media. No biggie, people say: there's been vitriol since the founding fathers founded. But not with such reach; and not with such a willing reception among people poorly educated, embittered, and frightened without understanding why.