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What Will Obama Say in Cairo?

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Posted on May 29, 2009

By William Pfaff

Next week President Barack Obama travels to Cairo to deliver what is expected to be a major statement on relations between the United States and the Islamic world.

The speech is expected to offer a redefinition of American foreign policy in the region; it’s meant to replace the Bush administration’s “war against terrorism” and to repudiate Samuel F. Huntington’s famous formulation of a war between Islamic civilization and the West, which many in the Middle East believe motivates American policy.

Certainly, Barack Obama will deny that the United States government thinks that Islam itself, or Muslims, are America’s enemies. He will note, as he has done in the past, that his own father was a Muslim, that his middle name is Hussein, and that he attended a Muslim school as a child and has lived in Muslim society.

That says relatively little about the foreign policy choices of a nation, although it offers some insurance against the gross ignorance that has made itself felt in some aspects of U.S. policy.

The president is expected to deplore the atrocities committed by American forces during the Iraqi and Afghan wars, and promise to reduce the incidence of civilian casualties in American military operations. None of this will be a surprise. He will stress the need for cooperative action against terrorists and pirates.

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But will anything seriously change? Informed Israeli circles say that Obama’s supposedly new policy will be one that American observers will recognize as the continuation of a policy inaugurated in the late months of the Bush administration.

Israel’s wish to instigate an American attack on Iran will be rejected, and Israel will be warned not to try this alone—at least not in the foreseeable future.

Overtures to Iran to negotiate the issues that stand between the U.S. and renewed good relations will continue, but are not expected to be rewarded.

Israel will be expected to halt the expansion of its colonies in the Palestinian territories—at least for the present. It will be offered the reward of recognition by all the Muslim countries in exchange for a two-states settlement with Palestine.

There will be much resistance to this in Israel, and much pressure put on Obama by the Israeli lobby in the United States. Whether he resists will be important to the credibility of his policy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will continue to be backed by the United States to dominate the Palestinian situation on the West Bank and to hold the line against growth in the influence of Hamas.

To judge from what already has been said in administration circles, the effort initiated under Condoleezza Rice and President George Bush to rally an alliance of supposedly stable Sunni nations will continue. These are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and possibly Syria. They will be relied upon to check the radical Islamic movements supported by Iran: Hezbollah and Hamas.

A discussion of this by the commentator Aluf Benn in the Israeli daily Haaretz calls the plan “a classic of power diplomacy,” and attributes it to the influence of Henry Kissinger.

This may not be much of a compliment to Kissinger, although he would approve of abandoning the Bush claim that the U.S. is expanding democracy and abolishing tyranny in the Middle East.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria are not part of any democracy movement in the region, any more than the military regime of Lon Nol in Cambodia or the Chile of Pinochet and the Argentina of the generals were when Kissinger was in the White House and the State Department. The alliance of authoritarian rulers with the United States, against radical and populist forces, is consistent with past U.S. policy.

It usually is described as “realistic” to make alliances with governments thought to be in firm control of their countries, and to discount the value or political merits of pushing such issues as human rights practice in places where they are unwelcome.

One also must ask how realistic this really is. The precedents of Cambodia’s, Chile’s and Argentina’s defense of what Washington conceived to be American interests in those regions are unreassuring.

The possibility that scarcely seems worth mentioning is that Obama declares in Cairo that he wishes to withdraw all American forces from Muslim countries, and seeks the support of all Muslim governments to make this possible. That while he will honor guarantees given to governments in the region, the objective of his government is a creative disengagement, leaving the people and political forces of the region to settle their own affairs, with—should they wish—generous financial help from the U.S., and no doubt from Europe.

Now that would make headlines, and history.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at www.williampfaff.com.

© 2009 Tribune Media Services Inc.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 12, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Sorry KDelfi I automatically take the literal way of things and sometimes stumble in interpreting it. No I don’t think you are a religious extremist. But I do believe such extremism* is on the rise all over the world and is a direct danger to human freedom, the Enlightenment (which it is against) and growing wars for domination of not only lands, and peoples but the scarce resources in a radically changing climate will exacerbate the fanatical tendencies. I will add pandemic(s) as well too. [See the 1300’s for a previous example of all those factors in confluence.]

*Christian, Islam, Judaism and Hindu are the largest and have many members who are gravitating to the most dangerous and fundamentalist of ways.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant—you do realize that I am not in support of religious extremisn, right? I am not religious at all, and, was actually positing it as a major source for our problems…

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 11, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Napolean I found it was easy to manipulate the masses with thoughts of religious fevour and the tropes of nationalism to get what he wanted done. That hasn’t changed, it is still at core the same motivations but with much better marketing.

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By KDelphi, June 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant—Absolutely!

I was being facetious…lol

The religiosity in this speech was ridiculous. But, that seems to be the course, “Onward (fill in the blank) Soldiers”!

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 8, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

No, that is the fire to fight fire idiocy. All is burned down. One must use the opposite, water to quench the flames.

You don’t deal with a paranoid by playing on their fears and ego. You do the opposite. Tell them that they aren’t as important as they think they must be to be harassed by all of those who are against them, in their minds.

That is how we must deal in the world. Strength and self defense are real but their meanings have been corrupted by the war mongers who cynically use it to their advantage.

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By KDelphi, June 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

I guess more religious extremisn must be the answer to religious extremism

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 4, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

The Christian fanatics here wish us to be the equivalent of Saudi Arabia in that they want our streets to be clean and empty of opinion other than that approved by the church/state/corporation.

Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are long time allies along with Israel in the region. Only Israel appears to be democratic even as its major parties resemble our own. More fanatical and fascist and homogeneous in opinion and action. What will Obama agree with and disagree with or be neutral on?

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By ardee, June 4, 2009 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

Fadel Abdallah, June 3 at 1:38 pm #

Obama will do himself and others concern big favor if he goes to Cairo to listen, and not to talk! However, he should not be listening to the ruling corrupt oligarchy, but to the average people in the street!
.........................

A shame that , as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are both places in which freedom of speech is punishable by imprisonment, exile or worse, the streets are rather empty of opinion.

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By tahitifp, June 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

You’re welcome, KDelphi

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By tahitifp, June 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:

“If all fear could be eradicated for just one day, all killing would end. For that day.”—Tahitifp
******************

Actually it should be lust for power and egotism that would do that not fear. A certain amount of fear is good for survival, a surfeit of it leads to other evil things.

N-G, I was thinking of the psychological aspect of fear. IMO lust stems from the fear of not getting what you want/need or think you want/need.  I also think it begins in childhood and has various manifestations.

There was a study done of American and Mexican orphanages.  The Mexican children may not have been in the cleanest environment, but they were hugged and held a lot, which means they felt loved and valued.  The children in American orphanages had plenty to eat and drink and had clean everything, but were seldom touched or held.

The Mexican children grew up to be much more adjusted socially and much happier than the American children; and much more loving.

So..fear of not being loved or lovable is my take on the root causes of greed, hate, envy etc.

Perhaps the opposite of war is not peace, but love.  Or at the very least, respect.

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By KDelphi, June 3, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

tahitifp—Thanks—that is the link I was looking for, and, you saved me a NYC long distance phone call!! lol

He/she was just answering my question as to what word was used to justify Israel’s future agression in Iran—Amalek. (It was mentioned on Bill Maher and I couldnt remember it)I thought it was Netanyahu who said, it but, I guess not. It is scary.

An “existential threat” is particularly worrisome, in that is cannot be resolved, except by “biblical” means…genocide, no?

WHY is Obama going , first to King Abdullah????? Does he think that he is “popular” with Muslims or something?? Cheeezz!!

Pres. Obama has been alot more conservative than most people thought he would be, although some will not admit it, still. But, one thing that there should not be any logical debate about anymore, is that he intends to continue Bush-style Imperialism…

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 3, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Obama will do himself and others concern big favor if he goes to Cairo to listen, and not to talk! However, he should not be listening to the ruling corrupt oligarchy, but to the average people in the street!

Since this is not what politicians do, then there is nothing positive that will come out of this visit! Just a lot of extra financial cost and burden to be added to the crushed tax-payers masses in both countries!

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By samosamo, June 2, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

This is what obama needs to say:

Ching chong obama man sitting on a fence,
twisting his balls with a monkey wrench,
wrench slipped,
tickled his balls,
shot all over his overalls.

Don’t think obama could make a more powerful statement than that, which is how he remains master-bator-in-charge.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 1, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

“If Iran’s nuclear program is, metaphorically, Amalek’s arsenal, then an Israeli prime minister is bound by Jewish history to seek its destruction, regardless of what his allies think. In our recent conversation, Mr. Netanyahu avoided metaphysics and biblical exegesis, but said that Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons represented a “hinge of history.””Tahitifp

The fact that there is no evidence that Iran is working on “nuclear weapons” is the fear mongering propaganda of the war monger. Both here and in Israel with their respective multi-faced Amaleks. (We see where the Christians get their idea of immanent martyrdom too even as they destroy others.) The fantasy is treated as a reality without a ripple of change from Bush to Obama should explain to people just how homogenous our so-called democracy is.

Sooner or later unless they are stopped the Israelis will will launch and all out attack on not only Iran’s nuclear research sites but their military and communications too. Then World War III will officially begin. Just remember that Hitler was furious with the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor but was bound and had to declare war on the USA after. The same could happen with the USA if Israel attacks Iran. A pledge to defend Israel will be supported. [World War I was started by such pledges.]

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By ardee, June 1, 2009 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

ahitifp, May 31 at 10:24 pm #

ardee, when I read the first five books of the bible, realizing they compromised the Torah, I was flabbergasted.  They are all about smiting and smoting and grabbing of land and killing everything in their path.
..............................

I have read the books of the old testament, but the new version contains equally disturbing images of the martyrdom of the saints, in detail too….

Religion, the opiate of the masses…be good little boys and girls, suffer the inequities of this world and be rewarded in the next. A perfect ideology that benefits the slave master and not at all the slave.

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By Joe King, May 31, 2009 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First stop the Israel Occupation; then speak.
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/occupation-101/

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By tahitifp, May 31, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

ardee, when I read the first five books of the bible, realizing they compromised the Torah, I was flabbergasted.  They are all about smiting and smoting and grabbing of land and killing everything in their path.

Gaza is obviously an Amalek to them.
****************
Folktruther, it’s not just the crazed RW Zionists who justify the killing.  The Christian and Islamic RW fundamentalists are as bloodthirsty.
**************

Did anyone here watch Ammanpour’s “God’s Jewish (Christian, Islamic) Warriors?”  It was a great series and scary.
**************
This place should be hopping on Thurs.  grin

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By ardee, May 31, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

regarding the biblical reference to the Amalekites:

Samuel 15:3
“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do
not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and
sheep, camel and donkey.”

Sounds like very little has changed with the Israelis, in all those years too…..

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By tahitifp, May 31, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

folktruther:

Of course I know it’s BS.  S/O here was trying to remember the context in which it was used and I researched and found it.

I’m left of Kucinich.  grin

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By Inherit The Wind, May 31, 2009 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Looks like the TD site got messed up again…no pages on “Reports”.

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By Folktruther, May 31, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

tahiti, do you actually believe that bullshit, calling Iran “amalek” legitimates aggression against them?  It never occurred to me that anyone could take that powerbull seriously.  Appeals to the holy massacres and sacred atrocities of the Holy Bible is how the religous justify their mass murders, torture rape and other barbarism, but it never occurred to me that normal people could do so.  If so, religous crap serves a more important power function than I realized.

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By tahitifp, May 31, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

It would appear that most anything could be an “existential threat” which of course can lead to pre-emptive war.

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By tahitifp, May 31, 2009 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, is this what you’re looking for?  grin

http://aroundthesphere.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-amalek-controversy/

his began with a Jeffrey Goldberg piece in the New York Times.

  Nevertheless, the prime minister’s preoccupation with the Iranian nuclear program seems sincere and deeply felt. I recently asked one of his advisers to gauge for me the depth of Mr. Netanyahu’s anxiety about Iran. His answer: “Think Amalek.”

  “Amalek,” in essence, is Hebrew for “existential threat.” Tradition holds that the Amalekites are the undying enemy of the Jews. They appear in Deuteronomy, attacking the rear columns of the Israelites on their escape from Egypt. The rabbis teach that successive generations of Jews have been forced to confront the Amalekites: Nebuchadnezzar, the Crusaders, Torquemada, Hitler and Stalin are all manifestations of Amalek’s malevolent spirit.

  If Iran’s nuclear program is, metaphorically, Amalek’s arsenal, then an Israeli prime minister is bound by Jewish history to seek its destruction, regardless of what his allies think. In our recent conversation, Mr. Netanyahu avoided metaphysics and biblical exegesis, but said that Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons represented a “hinge of history.”

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By KDelphi, May 31, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

How in the world can the uS purport to be an honest broker with folks like Dennis Ross and Hillary Clinton running the show
Al other things beign equal, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Does anyone know what Hebrew/Biblical? (which?) word it was that Netanyahu used , when asked what he would summarzie as his approach to Gaza? It was “Think (___)” (something), right after his talk with Obama.
Bill Maher used it Friday night…

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By tahitifp, May 30, 2009 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, samosamo, I spelled your name wrong.  Oops.

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By tahitifp, May 30, 2009 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

samasamo:

ROFL

His adoring fans will say how wonderful and bright and thoughtful he is.  They’ll be so busy basking in the projected glow of their hope and change that they won’t hear a word.  grin

Report this

By samosamo, May 30, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think obama knows what to say so a speech writer will handle that and it will mostly effect everybody who won’t understand what he said until it is too late.

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By omop, May 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

After being “allegorically” screwed for close to 1500 years, the Arab/Muslim population of planet earth numbering close to 1.7 billion scattered over Africa, Asia and parts of Europe with several languages, and differing social customs will hardly take whatever Mr. Obama says seriously.

His speech will be popularized in the Western media as a first in reaching out to the Muslim world as a counter to the neocon, likudnik “clash of civilization” and going past the zionist proposal to “change the ME to satisfy Israeli interest and supremacy” known as “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” proposed and promoted by Boom-boom Bibi Netanyhu, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, AIPAC, Horowitz, et al.

If this is intended to seduce Muslim and/or Arab states to take sides in the emerging global line up of “who is for and who is agin US” its going to take years and a lot more than just hyping a two state solution for Israel and the Palestenians.

Stopping the killing of MUSLIM/ARAB men,women and children in Gaza and the daily bombings in Pakistan and Afghanistan might well be a beginning that transcends any words in Mr. Obama’s speech.

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By Folktruther, May 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

The reason Obama is going to Egypt on June 4 is that there is an election on June 7 in Lebanon and Hezbollah might win.  So Obama will do what he does, sling some shit and hope a small percentage of Muslims in Labanon will actually believe it.

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By TAO Walker, May 30, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

The subspecies homo domesticus is waging all -out war on the whole Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth….with very ‘predictable’ CONsequences to their own selfs.  Virtually everything ‘covered’ here and all over the ‘media’ deals only with symptoms….and various ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical attempts to mask or suppress them. 

Meantime, few care to consider here or anywhere the implications of their purely BIOLOGICAL predicament….for which there is only a Living remedy.  Try The Tiyoshpaye Way, tame Sisters and Brothers….or, if you like, call it Organic Community.

Abuse, you lose!

HokaHey!

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By truedigger3, May 30, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

It is obvious even to the blind that both Obama’s and Bush are and were following the same policies, both domestic and foreign.
The only difference between the two is a difference
in style.
Obama is a gifted orator and has mastery in make-believe and smoke and mirrors measures that amount
to nothing.
So, Obama will give a moving speech that might bull-shit some of the people there temporarilly, but nothing will change and I am sure when he leaves office, there will be more Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands and still no peace in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Iran and Pakistan.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 30, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, May 29 at 11:55 pm #

who would you rather follow around, Inherit, JLo or yogi Berra. That’s why she has a bigger enterage. Granted, yogi is smarter, as two differnt people who at differnt times I was acquanted with raved.  But he is wrong about the future.
***********************************************

Since:
a) I’m happily married and faithful (well, there’s ONE place where this Agnostic has faith! smile )
b) J-Lo wouldn’t look twice at a mid-50’s somewhat overweight guy going gray who ain’t famous anyway
c) her ego protrudes even more than her most famous ass-et
d) And Yogi has 65 years of GREAT baseball stories…...........
I’d enjoy hangin’ with Yogi a lot more, even though she’s a whole lot nicer to look at.

****************************************************

The future is usually like the present, only longer.  The US has not only supported the settlements, it helped finance them.  Israel was increasing settlement units in the north West Bank WHEN NETANYAHU WAS TALKING TO OBAMA IN THE WHITE HOUSE.The Obama change from the Bushite Roadmap to Peace is non-existent, except for rhetoric.  He’s rebranded it, as he as so many other Bushite policies he is pursuing.

There was a long front page article this morning in the LATimes portraying the Change and US conflict with Israel.  Pure bullshit.  Why all this perception management now I don’t know.  But it is obvious that Obama is supporting Israel’s policies, just as he did the Gaza slaughter.

I am beginning to think that Israel is not the major roadblock here as much as the US.  If the US wanted a two state solution, Isael is so dependant on US support that it would have to concede one.

But Obama isn’t even negotiating with Palestine’s representataives, Hamas, but with the US-Isareli puppet Abbas, whose military the US finances.  I don’t know what Obama hopes to accomplish in Cairo, but he certainly is not going to fool the Muslim massses.
***************************************

Every now and then out of the manure heaps of your posts a real rose of insight grows.  Mainly, if Obama recognizes that he and the US truly have a choke-hold on Torah-Orthodox fascists who recently took power, even with THEM he may be able to get something done.

The irony is that they actually FOUGHT the establishment of the Israel, because the Moshiach hadn’t come.  Now they are the disruptive jingoists who shame all Jews.

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By Alfred di Genis, May 30, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After President Obama’s speech in Cairo, the relationship between Islam and “the West” will be positively altered for the better. The grievances of the Islamic world are basically one of semantics and a few well-chosen words will straighten out any misunderstandings.

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By Nap, May 29, 2009 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well that is a no brainer. He will maintain fiction as fact, praise some, threaten others and all the while playing footsie with the same flea ridden tyrants. All the supposed pressure on Israel is null and an empty gesture if Hamas and Hezbollah and their constituents are ignored or sidelined in favor of some fossilized alliances.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 29, 2009 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

Sorry InheritTheWind your off course comment that was totally irrelevant from Israel/Palestine to baseball just didn’t compute for me. Sorry if I just didn’t read your tongue-in-cheek aspect of it. Just off topic with still no comment by you on it. I couldn’t even find a tangential intersection to it. So what’s the deal? Did you just find the emotional need to unburden your love of baseball and Yogi Berra in particular? How about a baseball forum somewhere and let us get on with our own analysis if you don’t care to get involved.

Don’t get angry, get involved in the subject or go find out one you are interested in. Simple remedy for all of us.

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By tahitifp, May 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

If Obama were serious about peace in the M/E, he would withhold military funds from Israel, until they became more compliant.  Ånd he would at the very least go to Gaza.

I, too, am new on the block. grin

Report this

By idarad, May 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I won’t touch yogi - but the statement is as true today as when first uttered.  The problem is not what Obama says, because no one - arab, european, jew, atheist, muslim, christian, asian believes the dribble coming from the mouth of any president - well except maybe the american public which has little understanding of the realities of the world.
Bush - I mean Obama- I am willing to bet will drone on and on about our compassion, the rule of law, blah blah blah, while the drones fly over pakistan bombing children, while we let shell get away with murder in nigeria, while the continuing genocide in darfur remains unaddressed….....
Say what you will Mr Obama, but until we act like citizens of the world, we will be remain looked upon as the greedy, egocentric people we are.

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By Folktruther, May 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

who would you rather follow around, Inherit, JLo or yogi Berra. That’s why she has a bigger enterage. Granted, yogi is smarter, as two differnt people who at differnt times I was acquanted with raved.  But he is wrong about the future.

The future is usually like the present, only longer.  The US has not only supported the settlements, it helped finance them.  Israel was increasing settlement units in the north West Bank WHEN NETANYAHU WAS TALKING TO OBAMA IN THE WHITE HOUSE.The Obama change from the Bushite Roadmap to Peace is non-existent, except for rhetoric.  He’s rebranded it, as he as so many other Bushite policies he is pursuing.

There was a long front page article this morning in the LATimes portraying the Change and US conflict with Israel.  Pure bullshit.  Why all this perception management now I don’t know.  But it is obvious that Obama is supporting Israel’s policies, just as he did the Gaza slaughter. 

I am beginning to think that Israel is not the major roadblock here as much as the US.  If the US wanted a two state solution, Isael is so dependant on US support that it would have to concede one.

But Obama isn’t even negotiating with Palestine’s representataives, Hamas, but with the US-Isareli puppet Abbas, whose military the US finances.  I don’t know what Obama hopes to accomplish in Cairo, but he certainly is not going to fool the Muslim massses.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, May 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

AbuMubarak, May 29 at 8:49 pm #

I understood the Yogi comment and thought it was appropriate and lightly humorous and truthful.  I didn’t quite understand the reprisals it received.

But what do i know? I am the new kid on the block.
**********************************

Clearly more than most! Welcome, AbuM!

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By AbuMubarak, May 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

I understood the Yogi comment and thought it was appropriate and lightly humorous and truthful.  I didn’t quite understand the reprisals it received.

But what do i know? I am the new kid on the block.

Report this

By ardee, May 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, May 29 at 5:28 pm #

Doesn’t anyone here have a phuggin’ sense of humor???
.................
....Probably, but it appears that you have none at all. My reference to Yogi’s public persona set you off on a hissy fit, to what freaking end?

This entire subject has been an exercise in tongue in cheek posting, until you decide it isnt?

“It aint over ‘til right about now!

Report this

By Mohd. raja, May 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After reading Fadel, Medea Benjamin and a few others I realised we are not talking about baseball or Yogi bears philosophy.
The discussion was what would Obama’s talking points be. As long as he is not going to talk about corruption or democracy in Egypt, he will do well.
Our ME policy is to add more fuel to the Shia/ Sunni
conflict. Hamas (shias) and Mahmoud Abbas et all (sunni). This is the new ME foreign policy. Iran (shia) and Egypt et all (sunni).
In ME, generally people know Israel is conducting our foreign policy.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

During His Trip to Egypt, Obama Should Visit Gaza

By Medea Benjamin

May 29, 2009

“But the administration has said almost nothing about the devastating Israeli invasion of Gaza that left over 1,300 dead, including some 400 children. To many in the Middle East, this is an unfortunate continuation of past policies that condemn the loss of innocent Israeli lives, but refuse to speak out against the disproportionately greater loss of Palestinian lives at the hands of the Israeli military.

The Israeli invasion of Gaza began on December 27, 2008, when Obama had just won the election but had not yet taken office. While he spoke out against the November 26 Mumbai terrorism attack, he refused to even call for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying coldly, “When it comes to foreign affairs it is particularly important to adhere to the principle of one president at a time.”

Once inaugurated, Obama appointed George Mitchell as a special peace envoy and immediately sent him on a “listening tour” to key places in the Middle East—except Gaza. Mitchell returned for a second trip to the region in late February, visiting Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel and the West Bank but once again bypassing Gaza. The same thing happened on his third trip in April.

Hillary Clinton has never visited war-torn Gaza. She promised $300 million for rebuilding, but the aid won’t get to Gaza as long as the administration insists on dealing only with Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority in the West Bank while shunning Hamas, which controls Gaza and was democratically elected.

Obama won great support from the American people during the presidential campaign when he said that America must talk to its adversaries, without preconditions. But his administration now puts ridiculous conditions on talking to Hamas: It must recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous international agreements. Israel, on the other hand, does not have to recognize Palestine, renounce violence or abide by past agreements. Putting preconditions on just one side of the conflict makes it impossible to move a peace process forward.

While Obama prepares for his trip to the Middle East, more than 150 people—mostly Americans—are trying to enter war-torn Gaza through both the Egyptian and Israeli borders. Organized under the umbrella of the peace group CODEPINK, this is the largest group of Americans to travel to Gaza since the siege began.

The delegations, invited by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), are bringing medicines, toys, school supplies and playground building materials. An estimated 1,346 Gazan children were left without one or more of their parents as a result of the Israeli assault and the majority were left traumatized and depressed.

That’s why the peace group CODEPINK has launched an international petition (see http://www.codepinkalert.org) calling on Obama to visit Gaza and see for himself the devastation and deprivation that continues to plague the region’s 1.5 million people almost 6 months after the invasion. Just this week, Obama just tacked a new stop to his upcoming Middle Eastern visit: Saudi Arabia. If he can make room for a private dinner with the King, then surely he can find the time to go to Gaza. Isn’t it more important for Obama to visit a region where 1,300 people have recently been killed and thousands of homes, schools and mosques destroyed? Isn’t it more important for him to see how the Israelis are using the yearly $3 billion in military aid from U.S taxpayers?

Obama should take the opportunity, during this visit to Egypt next week, to visit Gaza. He should express his condolences for the loss of so many innocent lives, call for a lifting of the inhumane siege that continues to imprison an entire population, and support an investigation of how U.S. military funds to Israel are being spent.”

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22733.htm

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By Inherit The Wind, May 29, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Doesn’t anyone here have a phuggin’ sense of humor???

Anyone who thinks Yogi Berra is stupid is either a moron himself or incredibly naive.  It is YET AGAIN a reflection of the arrogance of those who have higher education to automatically assume those that don’t are stupid and ignorant. 

That’s why they look down on a guy like Yogi, and ignore the fact that he is not only a member of a tiny elite, those that play Major League Baseball, but among them he had a stellar, even astonishing career, first as a player, then as a manager.  He’s a man of perception and principle, standing up to George Steinbrenner for many years, someone supposedly brighter than him.

Yogi doesn’t talk politics—except when it touched baseball, like integration.  He and Larry Doby were good, close friends and neighbors in Montclair, NJ until Doby’s death.

No, Yogi isn’t golden-tongued, and his malaprops are more than legendary—they are actually crystal clear to anyone with a brain. “Nobody goes there: It’s too crowded” means “Nobody I want to hang with goes there—it’s too crowded” 
“It ain’t over till it’s over”  Unlike Football or Basketball with clocks, baseball is NOT over until the last out.  Ask Billy Buckner or the Dodgers catcher who dropped the third strike of the last out of the ninth allowing Tommy Heinrich to reach first and the Yankees to come back.

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”.  Yeah, lots of people with PhDs phug up predicting the future every day.  My wife makes her living predicting the future—if she’s right 75% of the time she’s delighted.  If President Obama is anything, he’s not predictable.

Now compare Yogi’s life to other celebs.  Married to Carmen for, what? 60 years? Raised lots of kids, only one had any real trouble with drugs, but cleaned up his act.  Simple man, but not stupid.  He doesn’t travel with an entourage, like J-Lo with 70 people.

I’m actually more a Met fan than a Yankee fan, but Yogi Berra may be one of my all-time favorite players (along with Sandy Koufax).  He’s certainly my all-time favorite Yankee.

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By tahitifp, May 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Good post, Fadel.  Why can’t we predict the future?  After all, Obama’s preventive detention would jail people for what they MIGHT do..so I’m going to follow his lead and predict what he MIGHT say.  Blah blah Israel blah blah peace and justice..blah my middle name is Hussein blah blah I’m talking out both sides of my mouth and the Obamabots can’t hear that blah blah look how earnest I sound and look blah blah just becuz we keep torturing and killing you doesn’t mean we don’t love you.

His past votes (FISA) and actions (escalating wars & continuing MCA) and his choice of cabinet members, not to mention lack of prosecution of bushco..oh there are so many things to indicate that he’s MOTS and likely worse.  He has already shown where he wants to take us. 

The question is:  Is this who he really is or is he another puppet like Bush?  Did the corporate powers tell him what to do..or else?

How can we get enuf people, with one progressive for peace, to challenge him? How can we beat him in IA?

Here’s what he should say. “I want to withdraw all our forces from the ME.  I need all of you to help me do that ASAP.  In return, we will help re-build the countries and lives we have destroyed under the Bush regime.  Thank you.”

If he says that, but he won’t, he’d win in a landslide in 2012.  If not, we can’t just stay home or vote all over the place.  We need to organize and put up a good candidate.  It’s time for bold action, don’t you think?  JMO

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By ardee, May 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, May 29 at 2:50 pm #

Oh I realise how unworthy am I to attempt dialogue with Yogi’s supporter. But, having been at that game 5 with my Dad, sitting in a third base box seat, a lad barely in his teens in fact, might I dare be deemed worthy of opining on this subject.

I remember there was a priest sitting one row behind
and rooting for the Dodgers…About the fifth inning my Dad leaned back and asked the priest to side with Larsen as he needed all the help he could get.

You know, ITW, I dont believe Yogi even knows where the Middle East is, probably thinks St.Louis…...

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By Night-Gaunt, May 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Well InheritTheWind your analogy with Yogi Berra and his success in baseball compared to our discussion of geo-politics as as disjointed in syntax as Bera‘s many malapropisms. It is as unintelligeable too. Why not use your own intelligence to tackle the matter.

One can make informed assessments and even predict to a certain degree what may happen with accuracy. Try it before you criticize. Once something is finished how can it be anything else?

Obama will surprise me it he takes a 180 degree turn away from what the USA has been doing in the Middle East since World War II. I don’t expect it.

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By mohd raja, May 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing is going to change. oil and israel. both oil industry and israel’s neo con supporters will keep the status quo. obama will use all his mushroom cloud rhetoric. He has blinked so many times now they (meaning the above 2 and the rest of the robber barons, banking, insurance, pharmacutical industry) have him figured out.
We have to revisit 9/11 and catch the real culprits and hang them high before we can heal our domestic and international wounds and bring rest of the robber barons to heel.
We have to break the strangle hold, Israel has on our Media, Congress, Exec. branch. then we can have a good honest foreign policy.
Yesterday an officer from the USS Liberty was awarded a silver medal for his act of bravery during the Israeli attack on American vessel and make it look like Egypt was responsible. We did not have the cajones to protect our American uniformed and to add insult to injury, the crew was asked to keep quite and every thing was whitewashed. 2008 was the 40th anniversary, corporate media was silent.
9/11 was an inside job with lot of help from our friend Israel.
Israel agents were arrested from hi rise building, celebrating. The police arrested them after they were reported by some aghast neighbour, and these agents were deported. Pretty cowardly, we did not check them, “water board” them,
no investigating them, just sent them back.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 29, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

None of you are smarter than Yogi Berra.

Yogi has 10 World Series rings as a player and called the only Perfect Game and only No Hitter ever thrown in the World Series.

It ain’t over till it’s over!

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By rollzone, May 29, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

hello. the withdraw our troops from the oil regions and supplant that with unlimitted welfare support funds from our overabundant foreign aid reserves speech: because he lives in a world of blind unreality. the Israel play nice with Palestine speech. the i don’t have any concrete solutions, but i am happy to proliferate democracy in your region speech. this distraction speech; because i am trying to pass international law in the United States, and continue to fight wars that exist in my own head speech;; he needs to return to his own planet speech.

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By Jeff, May 29, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed, 

I think you miss Inherit-the-Wind’s point.  The problem with biases is that if we hold too strongly to them, they tend to cloud our vision.  And I think you and I will both agree that the matter of the sun rising is much less complicated than international relations.

Is it worth it to get so fixated on an event that has yet to happen, especially since we aren’t the actors but the audience?  Who knows, we might just be surprised.

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 29, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Though some people might not be sure about what Obama is going to say in Cairo and the consequences of his speech, I am one who relatively can claim to predict something based on my analysis of politics as usual and of Obama’s character, stand and philosophy.
 
First, we are going to hear the usual sugar-coated talk about peace, justice and right of self-determination for the Abbas Palestinian faction, all juxtaposed next to the usual talk about Israel’s security!

Obama will use his deceiving rhetorical skills, talking from both sides of his mouth, to promise everything to everyone. But it will be all cheap talk, and what will come of his mouth are just layers over layers of sugar-coated shit, hypocrisy and falsehoods that will have only the effect of prolonging wars and suffering for the usual victims.

And unless Obama has cleared in advance his speech with Israel and its agents, I also predict that Israel, reading behind the lines of this idle talk, will find one or two objectionable things with Obama’s speech, providing heated discussions for the pro and con media outlets for months to come.

And the worse part of this is how misguided and irrelevant media outlets will find in this occasion the usual pastime exercise to continue calling this farce “Obama’s Mideast peace talk” initiative!

Having read those who posted here before me, I find AbuMubarak and Ardee’s comments most relevant and insightful.

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By Ed Harges, May 29, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind: Pfaff may be guessing based on his own biases, but the biases of such an informed and principled observer are well grounded.

I have a “bias” that the sun will rise tomorrow; but I’m not ashamed to have this bias, because it only shows that I’ve been paying attention.

In the same way, any honest observer expects that the US under Obama will remain so subservient to Israel that US relations with the Arab/Muslim world will remain lousy.

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By AbuMubarak, May 29, 2009 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

Obama is going to try to placate the Muslim world? Good luck.  Not since the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition has the Western world unleashed its fury on the Islamic world.  The west has broken all codes of conduct and even their own laws to wage an unrelenting crusade on the Muslims.

Kidnapping, torture, arrests, transferring 5,000 miles from home, without charges, relabeling of prisoners, rape, wholesale bombing of entire countries, over a MILLION dead.  It has even waged a hearts and mind campaign to actually change the religion itself.  It has gone into the muslim world, corrupted its leaders and educational facilities to change how Islam is taught.

A speech by Obama may placate a few modernist-western thinking muslims, but it will only further alienate the grassroots.

But, considering the great successes that the West has undertaken in the past 8 years; America shooting itself in the foot, once again should not come as a surprise to anyone.

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By ardee, May 29, 2009 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

I am certain that ITW will agree that a somewhat accurate guess can be made based upon the past speeches, references, appointments and plans of this President.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 29, 2009 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

“It’s really tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”—Yogi Berra

As the great Yankee sage notes we don’t and can’t know what Obama is going to say and all Pfaff is doing is guessing based on his own biases.

We can only hope it’s a wise and powerful statement.

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