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May 24, 2003

THE ROADMAP....Arial Sharon has accepted the Middle East "roadmap." Grudgingly. George Bush explains why:

Sharon "accepted it because I assured him that the United States is committed to Israel's security, and that since we're committed to Israel's security, as we move forward we will address any concerns that might arise regarding Israel's security," Bush said during a news conference at his Texas ranch.

God knows I have precious little sympathy for Palestinian suicide bombers and the intifada, but it's stuff like this that gives me precious little sympathy for Ariel Sharon too.

He accepted only because George Bush personally assured him that we are "committed" to Israel's security? Did he have any doubts? The United States has been the firmest ally any country could hope to have for the past half century, and George Bush has probably been the firmest ally of them all. Why on earth does he need to reassure Sharon of this fact?

If the president of France had expressed similar doubts, conservatives would be howling about the disrespect he was showing toward both our president and our faithfulness as an ally. So why do we put up with this kind of crap from the prime minister of Israel?

Posted by Kevin Drum at May 24, 2003 11:07 AM | TrackBack


Comments

Speaking of which, was anyone besides me amazed to read this headline in yesterday's NYT?

U.S. Says Sharon Is Set to Endorse Bush's Peace Plan

The road map is Bush's plan now?

Posted by: mc_masterchef at May 24, 2003 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Huh? Israel owes its status as a US ally more to the fact that the Arabs do so much to make themselves hard for us to really love them. I think that Israel's reliance on US goodwill could be easily undermined by a change in the behavior of the Arabs. Cut down on hijackings, suicide bombers and anti-Americanism, add the reality of one billion Muslims, mix with a little Middle East oil and you've got the recipe for Bye Bye Israel cake.

Given Israel's precarious geographical realities, certainly vis a vis FRANCE, I don't blame Sharon for wanting some assurances. And I'm certainly no fan of Ariel Sharon.

Posted by: melk at May 24, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I think you need to pay more attention to the phrase "address any concerns." Most likely Sharon got more than a generic commitment to Israel's security; he got a commitment to side with Israel's interpretation of any aspects of the plan that it doesn't like.

And if those interpretations cause the plan to derail further down the line . . . well, as long as it's past the 2004 elections, who cares?

Posted by: Swopa at May 24, 2003 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon got something from Bush that led him to believe he wouldn't have to dismantle too many settlements. The idea of a roadmap is that there is good-faith in increments. If Isreal gets to keep building settlements, or doesn't have to remove settlements built in the last few years, Bush's supposed committment to the roadmap will have been proven a sham.

Posted by: Calvin at May 24, 2003 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I know that we're not supposed to make snarky remarks about GWB's lack of brains, because he's really very smart and has great emotional intelligance. And I know that we're not supposed to talk about how smart Sharon is because it sounds like we're talking about the Zionist World Conspiracy, etc. But every time Bush goes head to head with Sharon, it makes me think of those pictures of 12-year-old guerillas carrying Kalishnikovs. He's really overmatched.

Posted by: zizka at May 24, 2003 02:06 PM | PERMALINK

Arial Sharon is never going to do what Bush wants him too. The Sharon is only politician in whole world who is unafraid to give Bush the finger.

The Jewish constituency must be a hard core bunch that could rival the likes of talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh anyday of week.

Notice how Sen. Lieberman never really seem to be a Democrat.

Posted by: Cheryl at May 24, 2003 04:06 PM | PERMALINK

I believe Sharon agreed to go along with the "road map" because GWB gave him an offer he could not refuse - play ball with the US or lose your $3billion/year foreign aid. I recall that Bush I played a similar game.

Posted by: harvey schindler at May 24, 2003 05:04 PM | PERMALINK

Or (far more likely), Bush said to Sharon 'pretend to go along for now, we'll grant you more money, and derail things later'.

Posted by: Barry at May 24, 2003 05:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yikes..I fear that this just gives Bush the excuse he needs to invade Syria or any Mid East country that is shown to look the other way at the terrorist groups that are responsible for the suicide bombings that are so common these days in Israel. This will be Bush's "reason" to invade these countries. I can hear him now after a suicide bombing occurs..well as part of our agreement for the peace process we all agreed upon, we are just protecting Israel so we are invading country X because they harbor terrorist (sounds like a familiar theme think Afghanistan, Iraq). Unfortunately I still don't think any leader can possibly prevent all suicide bombers no matter how hard they try. Perhaps the optimist in me says the bombings will subside..but the realist in me doesn't believe it for a minute.

Posted by: sigh.. at May 24, 2003 06:24 PM | PERMALINK

For sigh.. :

If it makes you feel any better, it won't give Bush and excuse to invade Syria or wherever, because Bush doesn't NEED even a quasi-legitimate excuse to invade. If they can't find a real justification, they'll just make stuff up, just like they did for Iraq. And, in the end, when it's proven that what they made up was lies, they'll say it was a war of liberation, and what are you, some sort of dictator-lover?

Posted by: YT at May 24, 2003 07:25 PM | PERMALINK

It makes a difference what Sharon SAYS about the road map?

The question is, what will he, or any Israeli leader, DO when it comes to implementing one?

I predict that there will be no land for peace in the Mideast, not now, not ever. Israel is on a collision path with apartheid, and its supporters will degrade their own souls as they find ever more corrupt arguments to justify its actions: they will turn into people they would have once despised.

Posted by: frankly0 at May 24, 2003 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

YT,

I agree with your thoughts. I must admit when I first wrote it I had used the word "INCENTIVE" instead of "EXCUSE" and changed it. The sentence would have read
"I fear that this would give Bush and the INCENTIVE he needs to invade Syria or any other country..."
Not that he probably needs this either...when your that ruthless it really doesn't matter I guess.

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