THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Friday, November 10, 2006


A perspective from Dr. David Palmer, Senior Lecturer in American Studies at Flinders University, South Australia, who says:

“Perhaps, but very unlikely.

This time Hezbollah will not take the IDF bait. Furthermore, neither Syria nor Iran will permit it (though Hezbollah in Lebanon is hardly an extension of either of those two countries - simply a recipient of aid and arms from them, with loyalties). Syria in particular will focus on its historic self-interest - Lebanon and Gollan Heights. Iran will focus on its interests in Iraq with the Shia majority there. Gaza is an afterthought to these powers, in reality. It is a symbol of oppression, but not strategic to either country - and Hezbollah has enough on its hands to retain popularity and influence in Lebanon, putting pragmatism above ideology.

The "war" between Israel and Hamas is in fact more akin to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising - one side conducting massacres on a population living in an open air prison, the other side trying to respond however ineffectively to defend itself - while the world watches on doing nothing.

Major conservatives - including Gates (now head of Defense) - in the US have gone on record advocating the consideration of discussions with Syria and Iran - in complete conflict with neo-cons (and Rumsfeld / Cheney among the conservatives). This will reinforce this focus for Syria and Iran - they want talks, not a war (despite Iran's rhetoric). The result will be that the Palestinians - once again - will be on their own - and others in the region are not going to sacrifice on their behalf.

Cheney can say what he wants. Given the Democratic control of both houses of Congress now, and Gates moving into Defense, he is increasingly a man with lots to say but less and less real power. Gates and the generals will make sure of it. And Cheney's base in State Dept. is diplomatic - without real power in the current administration (as both Powell learned and Rice is learning). Power in the current administration - in terms of foreign policy - now - after last Tuesday - emanates from two sources: economic (Treasury) and military (Defense). Both Cabinet positions are now held by hardcore pragmatists / conservatives who have no time for neo-con nonsense. Both accepted their posts with the proviso that they could operate completely independently (e.g. Paulson now has total control over trade talks / relations with China, and did not campaign for Republicans in the last election - sanctions here have become the key weapon of choice also; Gates will have same autonomy, being able to coordinate all military and intelligence operations as he chooses - and he will get the generals onside to push his new agenda).

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