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November 26, 2007

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Marcy you are the first person in the progressive blogosphere to write about the summit. I have read some interesting articles at the Forward and National Review this morning. Find it odd that Diane Rehm does not have any shows about this week. I depend on Diane

November 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Farce
Burying the Bush Doctrine in Annapolis.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Kathleen

This is also on the summit.

EW - as you have so cogently observed, the Saudis have been very busy lately, and the coordination of an Iran-isolation policy instead of an Iran-confrontation policy as favored by the Cheneyites is consistent with Saudi interests. I haven't seen any mention of the recent events in Lebanon and the declaration of a state of emergency by outgoing President Lahoud - surely this must represent some jockeying by Syrian or Iranian backed interests in Lebanon leading up to the conference?

Ishmael

I haven't mentioned it because I don't know what to make out of it. Though I think the Hariri faction is currently negotiating with Hezbollah, which would support your argument.

To be honest, I can't make heads or tails of Lebanon right now, but that may be by design, as a way to stall Lebanon to make way for the conference.

Whoever's doing this work (and I doubt it's Condi), they're scarily effective.

EW - I agree, it sure isn't Condi and Big Time must be snarling at these developments - it has the feel of something like Poppy's team, James Baker and so forth, working with the Saudis, although I am mystified as to the leverage that is being exerted, I don't think it could be as simple as just spreading some petrodollars around.

....oh, and the fact that W is putting his "prestige" on the line by participating shows that there is already some communique already drafted that W can use to say that history is vindicating him.

"But someone is sure putting a lot of pieces into place to ensure that the conference's primary accomplishment turns out to be countering growing Iranian strength."

Jim Baker?

Bob in HI

But WHY are the pieces coming together? What could possibly have convinced Syria to attend? There is no rationale that explains it, at least to my satisfaction. Condi doesn't have the juice to get this done, and Bush is apathetic.

I think it has something to do with the Syrian target Isreal hit a while back. I think something about that rattled Assad. What if it was a reactor, but Syria didn't know about it until Isreal hit it? Total speculation without a scintilla of evidence, of course.

I'm in the Baker camp on this one, too. Awhile back Sara and I had an exchange, late in a thread, where she gave me her take on the establishment Republicans (represented by GHW Bush and his fixer Baker) who are trying to salvage the disaster W has made not only of his presidency but of his party. It seems to me this fits in nicely with what Sara explained to me then (hopefully she'll turn up and add her two cents). Certainly, the Bush family connections to Saudi would make it possible for Baker to work with them directly to orchestrate a political success for W. This has two advantages for Team Baker, first giving W something positive to hang his "legacy" on, and second something positive for the Republicans to run on next year.

Meanwhile, the Saudi's cannot possibly view Cheney's Iranian ambitions positively, and they also need to do what they can to prevent the US economy from becoming a total train wreck. From what I can tell, the Saudi's are real power brokers in their region, so they would know what it would take to get the various players to make nice, at least for a bit. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see something significant in the short term, but I doubt a permanent long-term resolution of the conflict is at hand.

Yep. My comment was to be that I think we are seeing part of a year long "fix it" program by the old guard GOP like Baker, Poppi etc. They can't save much for W in terms of overall legacy, but if they can put a positive spin on a few critical areas, they can blunt the pain and keep the death of the Republican party from being his final "accomplishment". Phred effectively beat me to it. By the way Phred, yes that is indeed why I am a Sun Devils fan. I don't dislike the Cards, but they are basically ungrateful carpetbaggers in my state, much like McCain; they both came for the opportunity, not out of any connection to the state. Bidwell seems like a nice enough man, but if you look up "loser" in the dictionary, there has to be a picture of him and his Cardinals. They have had good coaches, they have had good players, they have had easy schedules; but they always suck. The only year they have had a winning record since moving to Arizona (not by much, it was 9-7), the same year they won their only playoff game in the last 60 years, was all a result of Jake Plummer singlehandedly pulling big plays out of his butt. The Sun Devils have a rich and successful history and are native; got to love that.

bmaz, it's not often I beat you to the punch ;) And yep, you gotta love teams that belong to their community -- like the Pack ;)

I just have offer a thought regarding the "old guard" and its involvement... I don't doubt that there is something at work here, but I also have to wonder about the future: Could the party element that is presently in power get "tidied up" as well? Meaning, could we suddenly begin to see some major information coming available that will lead to indictments to take some of these people out of play?

Interestingly, there was a recent excellent commentary in our local paper decrying the rise of the radical element in the Repub party. The author's bottom line was, "I am fed up!" There are many of us leaving the party in droves because of what is going on. Maybe the old guard will attempt to get it back on some solid footing... We can only hope.

Sojourner - That would be a good thing, but hard to envision. I have for a long time, way before I stumbled onto TNH, advocated that if the Republicans were smart, they would join in an impeachment of Bush and Cheney in order to save themselves. Best i can figure is there is a hangup at the "smart" part...

I dunno about Baker and poppi and all that - you are all being too optimistic. Read today's Froomkin. This is all just Condi trying to do her thing and Bush going along - to a point and no further. Nothing will come out of this except a joint statement and then there will be no follow-up. Cheney will shut it down after Condi's 15 minutes.

BMAZ... Yup! There are a few nuts and bolts missing somewhere.

If they are trying to salvage anything, it isn't W's legacy but America's position in the ME and the possibility of a modicum of peace.

Now we know what gave Cheney his irregular heartbeat.

The nuts and bolts for Syria are that it is dealing with a huge Iraqi refugee situation. HUGE. No one is making any real effort to give Syria a hand with that either and US efforts have been less than paltry.

So Syria asks for the Golan Heights to be put on the agenda. It's not really, but it is kinda. That gives an "principle based" reason for them to go. But keep in mind, after 9/11 Syria was being wined and dined by Britain and was also torturing Canadians for the US. So it was knocking at the door for a bit, until the Iranian situation in Iraq and the situation in Lebanon and the unending rhetoric. But it, like Libya, has shown signs of wanting to be in the larger fold.

While I agree with the farcical aspects of the summit, McCarthy's piece, referenced above, is about as near hysterical frothing as you will find. He won't come right out and say the words, but he pretty much leaves you with the "final solution" being that the 93% of young Palestininans, and what the heck - all Palestinians, need to be wiped from the face of the earth as there is nothing else to be done with them.

I'm not sure if McCarthy's condition is what Obama had in mind when he mentioned the possiblity of legalizing medicinal marijuana, but maybe it should be.

I think you're missing the context, Marcy.

Israel is putting out that Syria is going to the talks because Israel's bombing caused a major strategic defeat, a line almost begging Syria to avoid the summit. I think both Israel and the US (or at least the neocons) want Syria to boycott the talks as a prelude to further hostilities, and that Syria is going to deprive the US and Israel of any cause for war.

No, I think you and I disagree about the context, Charles. Having Golan Heights on the table, however tenuously, is pretty damned radical for this crowd, independent of any bombing.

Nothing is likely to result from this conference. These are talks about talks, and Bush has already signaled that he is not going to be very actively involved.

The Syrians will go anywhere where the Golan is discussed, but they are sending a deputy foreign minister so it is definitely not the first team. And they will keep the Iranians informed.

Maliki and Bush making nice is a straightforward calculation by Maliki to keep a reduced American presence to forestall any chance of a Sunni takeover. If and when the Shia feel they have the forces to deal with the Sunnis, we are likely gone.

I haven't seen the agenda but I doubt that Iraqi refugees are going to be on it. There are other and better venues where this issue can be ignored.

Hugh - Iraqi refugees aren't on it. I guess I didn't make the point very well, but they are a driver for Syria, a day to day and huge issue. That makes the handling of those refugees the kind of issue where Syria can be "incentivized" to send someone to the summit in exchanges for a quid pro quo that doesn't have to be revealed or discussed. fwiw.

WSJ Striptease:

Abu Dhabi Invests $7.5 Billion in Citigroup

Citigroup Inc., seeking to restore investor confidence amid massive losses due in credit markets and a lack of permanent leadership, is receiving a $7.5 billion capital infusion from the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government.

The investment by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will help rebuild Citigroup's capital levels, which have been eroded by a credit crunch that began in the summer. Citigroup Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Charles Prince resigned earlier this month after the bank, which had already written off billions of dollars, said it was facing as much as $11 billion more in losses.

Is part of what we're seeing the cost of capital? The not-so-invisible hand of those who can make Cheney's li'l heart go pittapat? Put him back in the box and it might get a lot easier to bring forth these other gestures of co-operation and move back toward that old time kabuki of Middle East politics. And one way to get that done is to point out what will happen if Saudi money is not made timely available to those who need it much more than they need unitary fourth branches.

I don`t get it, where do the Chinese and Russians fit in to all this?

Interesting view Mary. Israel has not taken any heat that I am aware of for pre-emptively attacking Syria. What else is new?

Amazing how so few of the so called "progressive" blogs are focused on the summit this morning. I guess they bought the "low expectation" script from the MSM. If we are not willing to really discuss this issue in the states how can our government be pressured into pressuring Israel to abide by the many UN resolutions that they are in violation of?

Christy Hardin Smith mentioned the Mearsheimer/Walt paper and book at one of her blogs at Firedoglake,but most commenters were OT too afraid to really discuss this issue. Fascinating.

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