Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Furrin policies

Via the P-I comes a little AP Q and A on that whole "why is the Middle East so FUBAR" question:
Q: Why are there Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon?

A: Lebanon still has about 400,000 Palestinians -- mostly refugees who fled after Israel was created in 1948, and their descendants. Many are crowded into 12 impoverished and often violent camps, banned from all but menial jobs and mostly living off U.N. aid.
Sixty years seems like kind of a long time to be camping.

In all seriousness, there has to be a sensible middle way between "Islam is a dirty religion that we hate" and "we refuse to call it Israel because it's Palestine."

People get Nobel Prizes for even moving folks forward a tad, so far be it from me to say for certain what the heck would work. There was hope in the last century, and maybe there can be hope again, if sane people can stop the crazy people. Call me an optimist.

In absurdly broad policy terms, the U.S. needs to pursue its traditional role of being something of a cop to hardliner tendencies in Israel, while at the same time holding firm against the Islamist movement. If the Bushies want to compare themselves to the Truman administration, then they need to find a modern doctrine of containment and match it with economic and diplomatic initiatives in the region. Since the legacy of 43 is apparently worth so much damn blood and treasure, they could at least spend their last bit of time in office actually working for it.

Frankly, I'm not sure there's a lot of time. Bombing the crud out of Lebanon worked so well last year that one has to fear what an Israeli government headed by Netanyahu might contemplate. Combined with problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan and that crazy little thing called Iraq, the U.S. could arrive at the 2008 elections in some serious doo-doo.

But go ahead and clap louder, it probably can't hurt at this point.

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