Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israelis Consider French Proposal. It appears that Israel is considering a French proposal for a 48 hour cease-fire "to see if Palestinian militants will stop their rocket attacks on southern Israel . . . . Any offer would be coupled with a threat to send in ground troops if the rocket fire continues."

Who knows. The Israelis may decide that they've made their point about the invincibility of their military and accept.

But that doesn't seem likely.

French President Nikolas Sarkozy made the cease-fire proposal within the framework of the Quartet--a group of international powers trying to stabilize the Middle East. Incorporating the U. S., UN, EU, and Russia, the formation of the Quartet is yet another sign of the failure of the Bush foreign policy vision. Much of American policy during the early Bush years had been geared toward freeing the U. S. from the "constraints" of global institutions like the United Nations and the traditional NATO alliance with European countries.

But with the formation of the Quartet, it appears that the U. S. is involved in a new kind of global institution that will once again constrain American policy. Far from being the "new Roman empire," the U. S. is just a very large element in the global institutional picture.

John Bolton must be rolling over in his grave (not that he's actually dead).

The other important consideration here is that the U. S. is not the lead element in international political initiatives either.

That honor is going to the French.

Boxed in by its commitment to support Israel, the Bush administration does not have the interest or the will to actively pursue cease-fire proposals. That's making us secondary players in a region where we have something like 150,00 troops and the EU, UN, Russians, and everybody else has none.

Only the Bush administration is ineffective enough to turn such overwhelming military superiority into such pathetic diplomatic weakness.

No comments: