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Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:24 AM PST

Susan Rice

by featherboa

Susan Rice

In diplomacy the core question is often this: What do I want to get and what do I have to give to get it? Certitudes and bluntness get you only so far. It is less a question of what you know than how curious you are about what you do not." Roger Cohen on Susan Rice - NYT
What I want to make clear from the start is that I think Susan Rice is a very talented high achiever, with total access to the President of the United States. For me it is also clear that her being a woman and an African-American are both pluses in representing the United States in a world where the majority of human beings are neither white nor male. And at least she is not contemplating running for president in 2016, with all the pandering that something like that entails (Cuba, Israel, etc).

My objection to Susan Rice as Secretary of State has nothing to do with the Benghazi incident, for example, and I think she may be well qualified for many things, but simply not qualified for diplomacy.

The problem for me is that she appears not to have the basic temperament needed for a diplomat, which is to be "diplomatic". For, whatever its color, American diplomacy's face should be a friendly face and Susan Rice's face is anything but friendly. "Diplomacy" is the old word for international "public relations" and this is not likely to be carried out efficiently by anybody whose primary facial expression appears to be that of a flamenco dancer with hemorrhoids.

One of the first qualities of a diplomat is apparent friendliness and charm, which, more often than not, may very well be a disguise for harsh realpolitik and cynical "truthiness", but charm is essential. The last thing the USA needs is to be seen as a "strict governess" and Susan Rice seems totally humorless, self-righteous and authoritarian in manner, which is always a bad sign in anyone charged with managing human foibles and convincing people to do things they might prefer not to do.

If she becomes Secretary of State, her presence will be provocative and counterproductive. In short, despite her many merits, she doesn't fit the job description, like a midget for a basketball team or a fat lady for synchronized swimming.


Who do you prefer for US Secretary of State

51%29 votes
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| 56 votes | Vote | Results


Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM PST

Palestine at the UN

by featherboa

Some commentators have said the UN vote, which, by a massive majority, gave Palestine observer status is meaningless... Meaningless?

Now, for starters, we finally are not talking about a stateless "PLO" or the "Palestinian people", we are talking about "Palestine", a country that now actually and officially exists as a sovereign state, although its territory is totally occupied and subjugated and slowly being colonized, by another state, Israel.

The Israelis, of course act as if nothing had happened, in fact to show their contempt for the UN vote they have authorized the construction of 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, only a day after the UN upgraded the Palestinians' status.

As always any body or anybody that backs Israel into a political or humanitarian corner immediately ceases to be "a credible mediator", or "partner for peace", that is the general hasbara line and always has been. Nothing new here, except it wont work anymore.

The significance of the UN vote is that as of now, the vast majority of the world's sovereign states, with their vote, or with their abstention, have simply told Israel that it ceases to have that special status of political and moral immunity that it has hidden behind until now.

Even Germany abstained!

That is how much moral legitimacy Israel has lost; Germany dared to abstain!

Not important? To begin with the UN vote is a universal slap down of American hypocrisy and the US role in the pantomime "peace process"... It also drains a lot of energy from the march to war with Iran.

But, in my opinion the most important thing the UN vote does is to firmly underline the validity and continuing relevance of the post - six day war, UN Resolution-242, which most Israelis consider a joke.

Now the West Bank territories that are illegally occupied by Israeli troops and "settlers" are clearly the legitimate property of a people whose existence and rights as the citizens of a universally recognized, but illegally occupied, state have now been overwhelmingly validated by the "international community"...

This leads us to the point that most worries the Israelis: the possibility that the state of Palestine will take the state of Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And well the Israelis may worry: for decades they have been in flagrant violation of international law as an occupying power with hundreds of well documented incidents, each of which could lead to international arrest warrants.

The UN vote has made it clear that if Israel doesn't change its ways, it is about to gain apartheid-South African-pos-Milosevic-Serbian status. This will certainly complicate things for them in dealing with their only friendly neighbors and major trading partner, the EU, both culturally and commercially.

Because Israel is about to replace apartheid South Africa as a universal pariah.

Not important? I cannot think of any comparable disaster in the entire history of modern Israel.


The UN resolution on Palestine is

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Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 09:34 AM PST

The last campaign poster

by featherboa



Did this make you laugh?

91%42 votes
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| 46 votes | Vote | Results


The most important result of this election in my opinion is to have kept the Tea Party from filling the coming vacancies in the Supreme Court.

One would hope that now that Barack Obama doesn't have to run for office anymore that he might stand more firmly against the Republican ultra-right in the coming four years.

I "hope" he will "change", but I doubt it.

I am amazed at how mediocre he has proven, how timid and uninspiring he has been after such a build up as he gave himself in 2008... it would have served him right to lose.

However today the Republican party is in the hands of a neo-fascist movement and must be kept out of power at all costs until they move back to moderation... if they ever do.

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