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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 9th, 2006 - 00:47:06

Bush�s international diplomacy goes �green�
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 9, 2006, 00:44

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Much of Corporate America has accepted, and is committed to, the green concept, or so we are PR-told; �sustainability� being the fashionable term these days. Now that concept, so masterfully faked by many businesses, has been adopted by Bush in his international diplomacy, the catchy phrase du jour being �sustainable peace.�

Sustainability may be thought of as a balanced compromise of the economy, society and the environment, a region where the three can and do coexist, but the reality put forth by so many of these businesses is that sustainability, even if just an empty word, when repeated sufficiently in the realm of advertising, will do the trick. And trick it is! To the point where more than a few businesses get re-baptized using that name, while little or nothing in their operations change.

Ditto with diplomacy! The new Washington farce is being played in the oratory, post Lebanon invasion, of Condoleezza Rice and the other enforcers of American foreign policy. The administration has masked its unwillingness to help stop Lebanon�s profuse bleeding, in lives and infra-structure, under the guise that a cease-fire has no value unless it comes with assurances of a �sustained peace.�

The reality of this conflict has become grotesquely clear after wasting almost a thousand lives (Israeli, Lebanese and even UN peacekeepers), causing indescribable human suffering and several billion dollars in destruction. The United States has made it perfectly obvious that it abides by Israel�s formula for peace: �Take two steps forward, forcefully if you must, so that you can be in a position to negotiate taking a step back later.� But in the long run the only win-win situation, at least in the Middle East, will come with a level, not a tilted, negotiating table. A period of d�tente evolving into true peace will only happen if the entire process meets the criteria of fairness by all. There is absolutely no room for policies of one-upism by any party.

The current proposal at the UN for a cease-fire is derisive, and had to be presented as a Franco-American proposal to shave off a little embarrassment, if only a whisker�s worth. It gave French diplomacy a way to earn a few needed points with the White House, while probably losing twice as many elsewhere. One could tell by Bolton�s demeanor that the proposal was unacceptable. By advocating it, and taking part in its drafting, it sentenced it to be one-sided . . . on the side of unfairness. There�s no better measuring instrument for diplomatic fairness, in my estimation, than the Boltonmeter.

Voting on this American-French resolution in the UN Security Council appears as an irrelevant issue since the party that has been most critically injured in this conflict, Lebanon, rejects it . . . finds it lacking. One cannot help but identify with the pain and anger of the Lebanese, while also acknowledging the human suffering of the many Israelis caught in the fray.

By enabling Israel with a false sense of power -- power unlikely to survive the test of time on its own merits -- the United States is not only hurting the aspirations of Palestinians and those who identify with their cause, but also damaging the long-term viability of the State of Israel. Dismissing Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorists, client organizations for Syria and Iran, is incredibly puerile and speaks volumes either to the Bush administration�s consequential stupidity, if believed . . . or its designs in controlling the Middle East.

Has it ever occurred to anyone in Washington or, for that matter, in Tel Aviv that both Hamas and Hezbollah could easily, and willingly, become demilitarized once a fair peace is reached between Palestinians and Israelis? It might prove worthwhile to accept that premise, even if considered far-fetched by many, and build on it. It�s not unlikely that the survival of Israel, and a promising future for nations in the Middle East, hinge on it.

Meantime things in Lebanon are going from bad to worse. Yet, it would be very simple for the United States to put an end to it all. Obviously, this administration is not willing to do so. Is it because the Republican Party is in need of an October Surprise prior to the election? Will Syria or Iran be the next loaf ready for the Pentagon�s oven? Why not bake them both? If we think only war criminals or political cretins would do something like that . . . we are probably right.

Pacification leading to true peace in both Lebanon and Palestine is solely in the hands of the United States . . . at least for now.

� 2006 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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