Some Friendly Advice
Secretary of State Sponsored Terrorism Condaleeza Rice is touring the Middle East. Her visit is not particularly welcomed right now, especially in such places as Lebanon. An editorial in that country's Daily Star explains why.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's current mission in the Middle East faces a number of difficult hurdles that are indigenous to the region, but the most daunting obstacle is one of her own government's making. The crux of the matter is that the secretary of state cannot hope to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process unless and until she at least feigns evenhandedness.
...There is no shortage of issues on which Rice could focus on without contradicting existing American policy. Provocative Israeli policies like settlement expansion and assassination, for example, are two areas in which she could help convince Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, of America's good faith. To do so, however, Rice needs to take a stand.
It is rare for American officials to criticize Israeli actions publicly, which is precisely why a forthright American message is so necessary at this juncture. The Arabs need to feel that the would-be mediator in any future negotiations is capable of straight talk when it comes to their Israeli charges' more egregious activities. And the Israelis need to understand that there are limits to how far they can go without incurring American displeasure.
Rice and her colleagues have not been reticent to condemn immoderate positions held by the current Palestinian Cabinet. Without a similar willingness to acknowledge the extremist and unhelpful nature of certain Israeli policies, however, American words will continue to ring hollow among Arab audiences. [Emphasis added]
The cartoon posted above is pretty grisly, but it accompanied the editorial and it gives some insight as to just how bad our relations in the Middle East actually are. We are seen by the area as being pro-Israel, no matter what horrifying actions that country takes. The current US policy goes beyond the verbal support given Israel, however. The many cluster bombs dropped by Israel on population centers in Lebanon were provided by the American government, and experts say it will take at least a year to defuse the unexploded bomblets still scattered across that country. That's the kind of gift that keeps on giving, and the US is at least partially responsible for that horror.
Tragically, not even "feigned evenhandedness" will be forthcoming from this administration. That much is clear. I believe we will pay for that when it comes time (and that time will come) when the US is forced to call on Arab assistance in Iraq.
Heckuva job, Condi.