At a press conference on Tuesday, Bush talked about his meeting with Prime Minister Olmert Of Israel. "It's a chance, Mr. Prime Minister (Olmert), for us to work on our bilateral relations."
Now we know one of the fruits of these bilateral relations... Bush has announced that "the U.S. signed an agreement to increase its military aid to Israel" from $2.4 billion a year to $2.9 billion a year (the increase will occur in steps, over a ten year period).
On Monday, Condi Rice promised to send $40 miliion to Palestine, "Therefore to help ease the suffering of all Palestinians, (nearly four million people) especially those in Gaza, we intend to contribute $40 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
You do the math. Since 1976, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of US foreign assistance and according to various indices Israel is ranked 27th or 37th on the richer countries in the world.
Of course, the public pronouncements of Olmert "the road map is not dead" and Bush's observation that Abbas is "the president of all the Palestinians" are either very disingenous or remarkably sanguine. From the same press conference, Bush: "those of us that believe in liberty and human rights and human decency (an ideology in Bush's words ''based on the human condition,") need to be bound together in common cause to fight off these extremists, and to defeat them."
Samuel Rosner puts Bush's thinking neatly in his article in 'Haaretz', 'Between a vision and a mirage' "For Bush it is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that fuels the extremists, but the extremists who are adding fuel to the conflict. And they will not stop until they are defeated- in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Palestine, in Iran, in Syria and in Afghanistan."
Of course if the extremists continue to win fair elections as they did in Palestine, an election that the US was pushing over the objections of Sharron, it complicates matters. This is the fundamental incoherence of the Bush policy. Arabs are encouraged to vote but they must choose the right moderate government friendly to US and (even Israeli interests) if the election can be viewed as legitimate.
How plausible is that outcome given the occupation of Iraq and the Bush doctrine of preemptive war in the region? And as Israel becomes armed more strongly, aided by the US, to maintain it's "qualitative military edge," I think we are looking at - to use another euphemism - lots more 'assymmetric warfare', and perhaps worse, in the region.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!