America losing diplomatic leverage: Shape of things to come?

Read my new The US Can't Run the Show in the Middle East It's time for the Europeans to get more active in diplomatic efforts

and the read this latest piece of news from The Times(London) August 03, 2006

France moves in to fill the US vacuum
Foreign Editor's Briefing by Bronwen Maddox

THE US took a long step towards the position of France yesterday in
drawing up a United Nations resolution on the Lebanon crisis.

The text, which could be presented to the UN Security Council as early
as today, represents concessions by France, the US and Britain, but
its centre of gravity is closest to French views.

In a week when Tony Blair delivered his sharpest ever criticism of the
US's conduct of the War on Terror, this reflects a realignment of
loyalties and some weakening of US influence, which may extend beyond
this crisis.

Talks between the US, Britain and France, all Security Council
members, yesterday morning thrashed out agreement on the sequence of
next moves, but left big gaps in their content.

In the first step of the plan, a Security Council resolution would
call for a "cessation of hostilities" from Israel and Hezbollah — a
piece of jargon that means both sides must stop the violence, but not
that they have agreed a formal, permanent ceasefire.

They hope that a second resolution could secure a permanent ceasefire
and authorise a new international force to enter southern Lebanon.

"Both America and France have moved," a British official said.
"America has recognised you can't just put in an international force
to carry on what Israel is doing (trying to annihilate Hezbollah). But
France now recognises Israel's security concerns about allowing
Hezbollah to come back in." For instance, by rearming. The plan
represents a big shift by the US towards the French position of
accepting that the violence must stop and a formal agreement must be
in place before an international force goes in. Britain, which had
been close to the US on this point, also shifted. But it does also
take in key US (and Israeli) concerns: that the Syrian border must be
monitored to stop Hezbollah rearming.

However, the gaps are obvious. Israel said yesterday that it would
keep up its assault until an international force went in; that does
not fit with the "consensus" on the sequence.

Nor is the mandate of the new force clear, except that it will be more
"robust" than Unifil, the much-derided UN presence now in southern

Exactly how combative the force will be depends on France, which will
likely lead it. The new weight France carries in shaping policy has
been evident this week — even if that stems partly from the dubious
merit of past responsibility for a country that has been in crisis
ever since. France administered Lebanon as a protectorate from 1920 to

But some of France's new influence represents the loss of US
authority, as Iraqi violence makes a mockery of US hopes in the

Mr Blair, speaking in the US on Tuesday, argued that the West should
focus on values as much as force in fighting terrorism, and should
pour energy into the peace process between Israel and the
Palestinians. This is a criticism of US policy in all but name.


Anonymous said…
uHizbollah is a faith based initiative. They don't seem to care what Blair thinks.
Anonymous said…
Meant to say Hezbollah.

It really matters not what France, England, or the US say. Sure everyday that goes by will bring more people in the west to the 'stop fighting' position.

It's really not clear how sincere these governments are - or if they just want to be seen as wanting to stop the fighting.

Everyone's policy is influence by domestic politics.

Any western government would be insane to let themselves be tricked into putting troops in Lebanon.

They will try to get Turkish troops in there instead.

Also, it's really hard to know what to make of Nasrallah because everything you read about him seems like propaganda from either side. Who are the military commanders?

Bush said Syria just has to call up this Hizbo guy and tell him to stop that s---.

Do you think he really thinks that?
Jim Henley said…
Tony's almost as bad as Brink Lindsey. Dude, when we could have used you, you weren't just useless, you were a menace. The US and Israel both really need to learn the difference between friends and enablers.
Stabintheback2.0 said…
"Knife in the Back
Here's what Uri Avnery says now:

"The day after the war will be the Day of the Long Knives.

Everybody will blame everybody else. The politicians will blame each other. The generals will blame each other. The politicians will blame the generals. And, most of all, the generals will blame the politicians.

Always, in every country and after every war, when the generals fail, the "knife in the back" legend raises its head. If only the politicians had not stopped the army just when it was on the point of achieving a glorious, crushing, historic victory

That's what happened in Germany after World War I, when the legend gave birth to the Nazi movement. That's what happened in America after Vietnam. That's what is going to happen here. The first stirrings can already be felt."

Sounds bleak!

Now here's where the blame shifting starts - Bush is the first off the bat:

"According to correspondents, President Bush is frustrated. The Israeli army has not "delivered the goods". Bush sent them into war believing that the powerful army, equipped with the most advanced American arms, will "finish the job" in a few days. It was supposed to eliminate Hizbullah, turn Lebanon over to the stooges of the US, weaken Iran and perhaps also open the way to "regime change" in Syria. No wonder that Bush is angry."

Then Olmert:

"Ehud Olmert is even more furious. He went to war in high spirits and with a light heart, because the Air Force generals had promised to destroy Hizbullah and their rockets within a few days. Now he is stuck in the mud, and no victory in sight."

Of course, in American politics this wiil work out in odd ways.
Anonymous said…
If Bush did lean on Israel to accept cease fire and withdrawl, the Israelis would probably not like it in the short term, but in the long term they would be able to always say that they were just about to win - until Bush stabbed them in the back.

That's a lot better than blaming fellow Israelis for stabing each other.

(Bush is a genius at deflecting blame toward others -in part because the myth of his stupidity works like squid ink for him- It's unlikely the Israelis would be able to best him at this - they suffer under the myth of genius)

Preserving the myth of invicibility is very important for Israel - otherwise the Arab armies might get ambitious again.

As it stands now, the war looks bad for Israel .

Hezbollah has managed to do to the IDF what the Viet Cong never was able to do to the US army or Marines - Namely, beat them in some battles - Maybe they were not solid wins, but judging by press reports they seem to have won to the extent a guerrilla organization can win.

So the IDF cannot let that stand . they will have to end things on a way - decent interval and all - that will allow them to say to themselves and to America, that it was tough, but worth it.

How they pull that off remains to be seen.
There is going to be a political bloodbath in Israel after the war (assuming that it would end at some point in the near future and doesn't degenerate into a wider conflict). I'm almost certain that the political right will benefit. Yes, Jim, wagging the enabler...
Anonymous said…
The right will benefit here too.
Well, I don't really suppose this is likely to have effect.

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