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Thursday, November 19, 2009


The tone of U.S. foreign policy: Afghanistan and Israel

The headline is quite straightforward: "Obama Demands Results From Afghan Reforms." Demands! And not only that, but "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Mr. Karzai privately that future civilian aid would depend in part on how his government performed" (and don't be fooled by that "privately," by the way; if it really was "private," how would we know about it unless the U.S. government wanted us to know about it, which is to say it isn't "private" at all). Adding to that, "Mr. Obama has increasingly warned that his is not an 'open-ended commitment.'"

And why is the U.S. "demanding" things, threatening to withdraw aid, and saying their support may end? Because of "cronyism" and the failure the develop an "effective army."

Well, Israel can never be accused of not having an "effective army," but their sins (wholesale slaughter of Lebanese and Palestinians, routine denial of human rights to Palestinians within Israel's international borders and much, much worse treatment of Palestinians outside of those borders, like denying them access to food, medicine, shelter, and education) are more than just quantitatively worse than those of the Afghan government. The latter's actions amount to incompetence and routine crimes; the former's, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Now think. Have you ever seen the word "demanded" in conjunction with U.S. requests to Israel to change its policy? If you have, it's an anomaly. "Urges," yes. "Demands"? Hardly ever, if ever.

In the latest development, with Israel approving the construction of 900 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem, the U.S. expressed its "dismay," but naturally not wishing to go too far it urged "both parties" not to act unilaterally, just so Americans wouldn't notice that only one party was acting unilaterally. And as far as threatening to withdraw aid or saying U.S. support was not "open-ended" and might end unless Israel changes its behavior? Pull the other leg.

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