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View Diary: SoS Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Announce Cease-Fire Between Hamas and Israel (163 comments)

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  •  President Obama took a class with Edward Said (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spit, wilderness voice, cotterperson, AoT

    at Columbia (everyone knows Edward Said, I am sure) according to the LATimes, and sat with him at a dinner for the Arab-American community in 1998, the 50th anniversary of the Palestinian nakbah. This was after he was out of the University, and it was in Chicago, so you can presume they knew one another, especially since photos show the two deep in conversation.

    Take from that what you will. Trivia, if nothing else.

    •  His past indicates he understands the situation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, mahakali overdrive, AoT, sujigu

      Any moves we make right now are strategic. So  it comes down to this: The administration's current very vocal support of Israel's actions and their repeated emphasis that there is no daylight between our govt and theirs is:

      1. Meant to prevent the Pres from being criticized at home.
      2. A strategic move to prevent Bibi from having leverage over the Pres that would then prevent us from being able to push for talks.


      3. Both.

      I think it's both.

      •  I largely agree. (6+ / 0-)

        I think it's been very clear to me that the US is working hard to try to secure an increasingly involved role for Egypt here, and I think that our language around support for Israel reflects that, as well.

        My read of it is that we're actively hoping that a strong and involved Egypt, under its new government, will be able to actively stand for negotiation on behalf of the Palestinians without involving Hamas. It both provides a national voice to those concerns -- one with lots of potential and building regional power -- and takes some of that role out of the direct hands of Hamas.

        Helping to solidify that role for Egypt also probably requires a bit of extra public support for Israel on our part right now. That's not to say that we don't support Israel generally anyway, I just suspect that we're also actively trying extra to ramp down Israeli leadership responding with threat to the changing lines here as a result of the Arab Spring. I think that it is always wise, in diplomatic stuff, to keep in mind that the public statements are always loaded and strategic. None of it is ever particularly straightforward, there are aims in every single talking point.

        This is all conjecture, to be clear. But that's sort of the read I get from the ways this is unfolding, and from attention to our overall diplomacy with Egypt well before this series of events.

    •  As much as I would like to imagine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sofia, mahakali overdrive

      that Said's critical perspectives on I/P and on the role of U.S. foreign policy in MENA were a significant influence on President Obama's thoughts and policies (and I do... I really, really do), the depth of both their relationship and of Said's influence on the President is generally overstated, imo. I wrote a bit about it here, in the context of D'Souza's 2016.

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:29:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate your regard for this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angry marmot

        I have my own perspective on this which predates Obama's run for President, because I was co-teaching Postcolonial Theory at that time in a World Literatures course which looked at global economics as a driving force behind current U.S. Imperialism, and because it came to my attention that we had this Senator who had a relationship with Said. So I found that fascinating. This was before the criticisms of Obama came down the pipeline since, at that time, he wasn't running for President yet.

        I then heard, some years later, that he was. I didn't immediately recall him. But when I did, this was one of my inspirations for his early support. I thought he was very educated on the issue and might prove to create some ideological shifts toward the plight of Palestinians while also not being overly hawkish. Are we seeing that now? It's impossible to say since I'm not privy to what goes on in his mind. But it is noteworthy, and not because of D'Souza (I have no idea who he is, FWIW). We are seeing a different approach from the White House, as Spit and Last Years Man, point to above, then we have previously in regard to Gaza. Talking points aside (and these aren't policy; these are basic rhetorical touchstones that Americans and, or others, need to hear). So we need to look to what's going on. And it looks a little different. But only time will tell how different it is. I was pleased to hear Obama bring up, on his own volition, a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine recently. That wasn't necessary. But he did bring it up.

        •  And you must understand that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angry marmot

          Said, criticisms aside, is a seminal figure to all Postcolonial Theorists! Absolutely. Hands down. Like Franz Fanon. Both right and wrong. But undeniably influential. For an academic like me, and my work has indeed moved into some different directions since then, he was a source of fascination for me (my current view of Postcolonial Theory is pretty in line with the MLA's own stance, FWIW).

      •  Oh, there are so many comments I would love (0+ / 0-)

        to be able to address in your diary (sorry for the delay in reading it in full...)

        This is off topic, but I want to share it...

        I had to laugh at the part about Obama's frustration with the course; it's literally the same frustration 95% of all students in a Literature course state -- they don't like Theory for a variety of reasons and would prefer to read Literature/Shakespeare/anything BUT Theory. That's amongst English Majors. I can't imagine trying to teach Theory to non-majors. Oh Lord... laugh... no, no, no, no, no... yikes. It's hard to follow for many students.

        Okay, sorry to respond here, but I can't respond there.

        It's hard to say that is an indictment of Said, to be honest. It's more like such a typical sentiment toward Theory from students that it's up there with their love of class registration and paying high tuition fees, maybe a series of shots and a class on Grammar to boot ;)

        So here's what I can honestly say. As an undergraduate English major, I remember being the ONLY student in an Intro to Theory class who "liked" the class (!) That's how common it was to not like it. It was just not well-liked by most. In Graduate School, it was maybe only more like 75% of the students who hated it. ;)

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