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July 15, 2006

Comments

I think the base assumption is that Bush is a simple-minded buffoon, so Putin probably didn't take that as a threat.

One of the interesting things, to me, is that Putin doesn't seem to feel any need to hide what he thinks of this administration. (Witness this exchange, and also his statement that Cheney's comments about Russia were like his hunting accident.)

The question in my mind is whether Bush actually believes that Iraq is a liberal, free democracy because he has no idea what's actually going on over there, or whether Bush is perfectly aware of what's going on over there and still believes Iraq is a liberal, free democracy.

The former argues pathological dishonesty. The latter argues out-and-out lunacy.

Frankly, my preference is for Bush to be an out-and-out loon, since that's the more amusing choice. It's also the one most likely to set off alarm bells in other world leaders, who could then do themselves, us, and the world at large a huge favor by humoring Bush for the cameras and otherwise ignoring him.

Well, as Rummy says, there are unknown unknowns, areas where we aren't even aware of our ignorance. In Bush's case they are quite numerous. Maybe it was a meeting with the boss that inspired Rummy's reflections on epistemology?

"I find the idea of Bush and Putin talking philosophy downright alarming."

I have a vision, now, of an exchange like this:

"Have you ever heard of Nietzsche, President Bush?"
"Yep, Vladimir. He's dead." (guffaws) "God said that."

It seems we have no leverage whatsoever with Russia right now and that for that reason Putin has little incentive to hide his hostility. Frankly, the White House should have known this, and they should not have entered into a situation where the Russian president would be openly making fun of Bush. I'm surprised that conservatives are tolerating just how weak Bush appears now. I read somewhere that he told a group of pro-liberalism reformers that Putin does not want "anyone telling him how to run his government". Well, of course, he doesn't. But an American president really should not be conceding that he has no influence whatsoever, only because of the strength of will of the man across the table. It plays perfectly into the simpleminded rhetoric that strengthens Putin among those Russians who want a new strongman. And it is really awful that Bush is allowing himself to be exploited like this.

Who does hire teachers who can't spell? Where do they come from? The questions grow more ominous the more we think about them.

IIRC, several "blue ribbon commissions," dating back to, oh, the Truman administration, have studied the ever-bemoaned state of American public education and have come to more or less the same conclusion:

You get what you pay for.

What's the median starting salary for a public school teacher in the US these days? Is it actually over $30,000 a year? And how much of that gets funneled back into the classroom when teachers buy basic supplies that otherwise wouldn't be available?

I'm actually afraid we're only beginning to suffer the consequences of this particular market dynamic.

And as to Bush's latest little gaffe, please, this is dog-bites-man. He's doing the same job he's done since Harken Energy -- notably for the Texas Rangers -- and that is Front Man. Other people call the shots (since when Bush does, things like the Harken bankruptcy and the Social Security debacle occur), while he is fed certain limited information and then sent out in front of the cameras to do his prickly/folksy Texas princeling shtick. He mostly knows better than to extemporize beyond certain bounds -- especially not into policy -- but sometimes he gets a little ahead of himself, in which case someone with some actual intellectual firepower (e.g., Putin) can score a rhetorical point or two.

But I wouldn't worry about anybody taking his remarks seriously without checking with one of the adults -- Rice or Cheney, perhaps -- to see whether they were authorized.

[blockquote]
symptoms of a deep ignorance
[/blockquote]

All of your posts seem to be examples of this. If you could please be open minded and not always cling to the negative you might see this. Take your head out of the sand and you might see more of the whole picture.

Your post is depressing, but not for the reasons you might think.

Funny how you criticize Bush, but you don't seem to let ignorance stop you from posting. Just the other day:

[blockquote]
Hilzoy says:

But I also think that it's meant to take advantage of the fact that the US is, at the moment, incredibly badly situated to do anything about this. We are stuck in a quagmire in Iraq, which has not only removed any credible threat of military action from our arsenal of responses, but also placed our soldiers in a position where either Iran or Syria could very easily harm them.
[/blockquote]

Removed any credible military action from our arsental of responses? Were you serious? Were you being funny or just ignorant? I can only conclude you are clueless about the U.S. military.

Atleast we agree that this is all depressing. But mostly due to people blinding themselves because they hate Bush. One would hope people could see past Bush and use their brains and not their emotions to understand what is going on in the world.

What you have there are a genuine hardass and a hayseed who thinks he's a hardass.

I'm guessing Bush supporters would be unable to correctly identify which is which.

"and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing."

This is true. Just the other day I was casually talking to the nice checker at the supermarket and she mentioned between ringing up the rutabaga and the bagels that she was fervently in favor of Russia doing the same thing. Some people overheard us and before I knew it, a group (I get caught up in romantic causes) of us strode into the parking lot and began marching toward the Russian border. Others in the parking lot left their cars and joined us (knowing a good cause by the smirks on our faces), leaving their groceries half-loaded and trunks open as we marched, chins into the winds of destiny, lockstepped into the free-market future.

One guy didn't come with us because he was considering taking a lawn chair and a squirt gun to the Mexican border so he could help lay the footer for the barbed-wire-topped- wall in the works. He had other fish to fry.

We're half way through Kansas right now marching East, millions of us. We had started out marching West, but I reminded everyone it was shorter to go East, so we lost a few days.

If this fails, I say bomb Moscow and don't sweat the little stuff. Because when romance fails, can death be far behind.

I feel the need for lyrics.

I have a theory.

It is a bad situation in part because the President is weak. I read that Israel did not give advance warning to either DoD or the State Dept about the Lebanese attacks. Even by hawkish standards this administration is failing, because of its incredible inability to influence. What we have now are a number of enterprising actors -- Putin, Hezbollah, Iran, North Korea -- who are risking a power grab. I don't understand what point of view is left by which this administration might be supported, because I don't know any reasonable set of interests they've succeeded in satisfying.

"It is a bad situation in part because the President is weak."

And so someone in the opposition in East Timor might say.

That it has pretty much nothing to do with the Leader doesn't occur.

Removed any credible military action from our arsental of responses? Were you serious? Were you being funny or just ignorant?
I suppose that nuking Russia is, in theory, a credible military action that remains in our arsenal. I'm guessing that what Hilzoy meant was that given the situation in Iraq, we cannot credibly threaten large-scale military action elsewhere in the world.

We can certainly break stuff, using a variety of bombs, cruise missiles, nuclear weapons, orbital mind-control beams, lasers, etc. But our ability to project force -- to put feet on the ground and impose our preferred solutions on chaotic places -- is undeniably diminished by Iraq.

That, I thought, was the lesson of Bosnia -- that the threat of boots on the ground is the true currency of military negotiation. Everything else is just force multiplier.

It really honestly truly has very little to do with Bush.

To the extent it has anything to do with people outside the Middle East, it is a failure of the international community as a whole to take things seriously against anyone other than Israel.

Much of the international community (especially members of the EU) have encouraged Israel to take chances for peace. Many in Israel believed that if they took steps (like withdrawing from Gaza) influential members of the international community would take steps to ensure that at a very minimum things would not get worse for Israel. Maybe they couldn't make things any better, but they wouldn't get worse. Whether because the international community doesn't have enough influence or because it doesn't care, that has not happened. Personally I never believed that withdrawing would even help the moral case so far as Europe was concerned, much less the practical real case.

But in any event, the risk has proven to be not worth it.

And really the ultimate failure is because there isn't anything to be done. The groups that want to push Israel into the sea are still too large. The war over that won't be over until many of them get killed or die of old age or succeed (perhaps via Iranian nuclear weapons).

Whoops, I read the post but got sucked back into the Israel conflict again. Powerful stuff that. ;)

Well, this is a large setback for those who were waiting for that generation that wanted to push Israel into this sea to die off. Now there will be a new generation with childhood memories of Israeli bombings. In fact, bombings seem rather counterproductive to that intention. Consider that Hezbollah was created in 1982 as a consequence of the Israeli invasion. And Hezbollah has always wanted political control over Lebanon, and now I fear Israelis are handing it to them. What I do not understand is why Israel does not recognize that having weak states surrounding it decentralizes control, making their security situation so much worse.

Much of the international community (especially members of the EU) have encouraged Israel to take chances for peace. Many in Israel believed that if they took steps (like withdrawing from Gaza) influential members of the international community would take steps to ensure that at a very minimum things would not get worse for Israel. Maybe they couldn't make things any better, but they wouldn't get worse. Whether because the international community doesn't have enough influence or because it doesn't care, that has not happened. Personally I never believed that withdrawing would even help the moral case so far as Europe was concerned, much less the practical real case.

Sebastian, at this point in time I am seriously wondering wether you blame the " International Community" for rain if you ordered fair weather.

Dutchmarbel, I noted that in reality I suspect the international community didn't have much influence over actors in the Middle East.

There may have been some other perception, but in reality they couldn't do too much. And as such I don't blame Israel for just doing whatever they feel is necessary, no one is going to be helping.

Putin dry wit is quite funny, even if the punch lines manufacture themselves given his sidekick. Bush's word are simply embarrassing and tragic. A kind interpretation of his words is not feasible (like Ted "Tubes" Stephens).

The sad thing is that the Bush administration (and implicitly the US) has lost all credibility of critizing other countries. This saps all efforts to strengthen democracy in Russia and elsewhere.

By the way, as far as I know, freedom of religion is not endangered in Russia. I would go so far to say that religion is one of the few positive stories in post-communist Russia. Both the orthodox church as well as US missionaries are busily tending the flocks. So even within the warped Bush world, facts do not add up. Oh, when will the Republicans wake up?

@Sebastian:
Compare Zinedine Zidane's headbutt and Israel's recent reaction.

"Well, this is a large setback for those who were waiting for that generation that wanted to push Israel into this sea to die off."

Yes, I suspect that one of two realities will come to pass--lots of people die on one side or the other ending the war, or the war will not end for another few generations at a minimum.

I honestly believe that it will end with Tel Aviv and other major cities in Israel destroyed in a nuclear explosions. (Well that is probably one step from the end as Israel destroys cities in response in a dying strike) Not this year, not next year, but very probably in the next twenty unless something serious changes in the dynamic.

failure of the international community as a whole to take things seriously against anyone other than Israel.

----

in reality I suspect the international community didn't have much influence over actors in the Middle East.

There may have been some other perception, but in reality they couldn't do too much

that's a tad contradictory

One of the interesting things, to me, is that Putin doesn't seem to feel any need to hide what he thinks of this administration. (Witness this exchange, and also his statement that Cheney's comments about Russia were like his hunting accident.)

It does seem to veer from the usual nebulous summit-speak, eh? But I suspect that Putin's remarks might have been meant as much for the folks back home, who enjoy seeing their guy tweak the U.S.

Jon H --
Well said. What I don't get is, when did the hayseeds learn to type?

"that's a tad contradictory"

Umm, please read and quote the full sentence:

To the extent it has anything to do with people outside the Middle East, it is a failure of the international community as a whole to take things seriously against anyone other than Israel.

That is followed with:

And really the ultimate failure is because there isn't anything to be done. The groups that want to push Israel into the sea are still too large.

So I'm well aware that there isn't much to be done--especially now. But to the extent that there was something to be done in the past, the international community has not done so. Most of the international community has made it very clear that Israel is on its own for security. So when Hezbollah and Hamas continuously act against Israel they don't bother consulting with the useless (to them) UN and EU.

Seb: with respect to i/P, "the international community" means us. Our president decided to disengage from the whole issue as soon as he took office, and except for a few rather cursory gestures has stayed disengaged ever since.

Frankly, I have no idea what actual leadership might have accomplished, not having seen any for six years.

This is the guy that also repeatedly said that the WMD had in fact been found in Iraq based on the weather balloon trucks.

I vote for out-and-out lunacy.

Well the last time we saw real leadership we had the intifada. The time before that we had GHW Bush resurrect Arafat's power when it was at its lowest ebb. You can argue that both took place at a more hopeful era where we believed that what Palestinian leaders said in English was more important than what they said in Arabic. But Israel knows better now and they can't even get empty promises, much less security guarantees.

So I'm not convinced that 'real leadership' is the issue--at least so far as US presidents are concerned.

Yeah, but Seb: I'm only wishing, just now, for enough leadership to defuse this crisis before it spins out of control. That, it seems to me, would be a good thing.

And Seb: consider also the delights of the last time(s) we couldn't defuse a crisis in Lebanon. -- The one I remember best, of course, is the one I was there for -- there we were, my sister and I, sailing into Haifa on the ferry, and we were ordered to put cameras and binoculars away. I thought: gee, I knew Israel was security-conscious, but this is extreme! Then I noticed that there were a lot of jets overhead, and they were all going -- what direction is that? Oh, north...

I had known a war was likely, but I didn;t expect it to be starting literally just as I arrived in Israel for the first time.

That time, it resulted in, among other things, the founding of Hezbollah, not to mention such delights as Sabra and Shatilla. Trust me, it wasn't really so wonderful either. And Israel stayed in Lebanon for 18 years, iirc.

When I stack up your examples against mine, I note three things. First, both suck. From this I conclude that things suck a lot in the Middle East, and thus that inferences of the form "whenever X happens, things suck" are as likely to be explained by the general background suckiness as anything else. Second, In at least one case (Clinton), the intifada was not related to the leadership, whereas the rise of Hezbollah was plainly the result of the Lebanese war (aka Operation Peace for Galilee, ha ha ha), so mine has a better claim to causal explanatoriness. Third, my outcome sucks more than yours did. (Comparing Arafat's resurrection to anything is hard, not knowing what would have happened otherwise -- though if your idea is that the entire Oslo process was a mistake given what anyone knew at the time, I have to say that I think that's just flatly wrong. But the intifada was/is, for all its horribleness, less horrible than the Lebanese war.

So I still opt for leadership.

OK, I retract "contradictory" and settle for muddled thought and the explanation for it is simple: you keep on bashing what you call 'international community' for their perceived impotency, but you don't want to come down too hard on Bush and the ineffectiveness of his foreign policy

The fact that the President is a simple-minded buffoon is not the depressing part.

The depressing part is that a good 35% of our population knows this about him, and respects him all the more for it.

When I look at Bush these days I begin to think that the profound anti-intellectualism of our culture could very well be this country's undoing.

You seem to be missing a much bigger flub, on the part of Putin. Bush is such a dolt that he has become the only world leader, up to the G-8 Summit, standing beside Putin as an ally, having "looked into the eyes" of Putin. This man comes to Russia and all Putin can think to to is publicly insult him! Classic Russian self-destruction!

Moreover, it is a fact that there is more freedom of religion and Freedom of Press in Iraq than in Russia, and far more democracy. It's rather silly to suggest that there is more personal safety or a higher standard of living in Iraq, but in fact Bush didn't mention either of those things.

It's Russia, not Iraq, that is playing a national anthem written to glorify Josef Stalin after all.

La Russophobe,
Bush and Putin are certainly a match, both not exactly furthering democracy home and abroad. Diplomacy is something Bush does not do either individually (cf the blind reporter insult) or collectively (cf this thread's topic). Putin is more veiled prefering passive agressiveness (cf the Ukrainian energy crisis).

Despite your nickname, I hope you can accept that the situation in Iraq as well as in Russia is not optimal, but by any measure Iraq is a lot worse off. A barren discussion could weigh the situation in Chechnya and Iraq, but Russia and Iraq?

This does not mean that I applaud the Russian situation. Quite to the contrary, Russia needs strong help and feedback from democratic nations. Bush, however, is simply not credible. And the critique should be valid. We should neither recommend Iraqi nor oligarch-owned (Fox News) media policies to Russia. Regarding freedom of religion, Iraq suffers from almost daily attacks on mosques. Surely, this is not the case in Russia.

The adoption of the melody of the Soviet anthem was, in my opinion, one of the best decisions of Putin (not that there is much choice).

It is a great, inspiring piece of music. Witness the brilliant moment when the marines intone the Soviet anthem in "Hunt for Red October". The old, (in my opinion, YMMV) only mildly offensive text has been replaced with the re-adoption in 2000. More about the Russian anthem in Wikipedia. For comparison, the story of the German anthem is also notable (melody appropriated from the Austrians, nationalistic text sanitized).

"OK, I retract "contradictory" and settle for muddled thought and the explanation for it is simple: you keep on bashing what you call 'international community' for their perceived impotency, but you don't want to come down too hard on Bush and the ineffectiveness of his foreign policy"

I'm perfectly happy to note Bush's idiotic approach to foreign policy. But the role of the US in the Israel/Palestine conflict isn't the problem. Do you believe that if the US were tougher on Israel they would say "They can bomb and shell us every single day and kidnap our soldiers and we are ok with that because the US said so."? I rather think not.

Seb: it's not clear to me why the right way to think about this is to focus on what or who is "the problem", as opposed to whether there is anything we can do to help.

Also, I would suspect that progress here will not come as a result of anyone's doing anything that would cause Israel to say "Hey, we're OK with being shelled and bombed", or for that matter the Palestinians to say: Hey, we're OK with having tiny carved-up bits of land with no water and no functioning government, and accepting a sort of slow strangulation. It will come, if it does, as a result of things slowly improving, of tiny bits of things getting better, and of anyone who can blocking any disastrous turn of events that can be blocked.

"It will come, if it does, as a result of things slowly improving, of tiny bits of things getting better, and of anyone who can blocking any disastrous turn of events that can be blocked."

I don't think that the history of war bears that out. It will come when the Palestinians either decide to accept a two state settlement (they lose the war), or when some Middle East power or another nukes Tel Aviv (they 'win' the war). The reason there is no peace is that there is a stalemate which has not allowed one side or the other to lose in its own mind. That is why I think that much international involvement is counterproductive, we keep them propped up just enough that they believe they aren't really losing. Let them lose, let them admit defeat, and then we should do everything in our power to rebuild. Letting them believe they can't really lose has only prolonged the war for generations.

I don't think that the history of war bears that out.

When discussing the possibilities and problems of international action, invoking the history of war seems a bit broad. You might be able to define international action as starting with the Boxer Rebellion, but it is relatively clear that we haven't figured out what international power can really do cause we haven't figured out what is the best way to wield it.

"You might be able to define international action as starting with the Boxer Rebellion, but it is relatively clear that we haven't figured out what international power can really do cause we haven't figured out what is the best way to wield it."

Ok, but that doesn't really help us much does it?

Well, that's precisely my point, that you can't argue against international action by invoking 'the history of war', especially as a rhetorical out when Hilzoy counters you on the specific facts of the conflict at hand. Coming from ObWi's resident international power skeptic (I think you edge Chas out slightly in that regard), I'm not surprised, but it seems like arguing against sous vide because of the history of cooking. I think that there are conditions today(both technological and cultural) that make the use of international power essential. Basically, your suggestion is that we let them all lose and then we can sort it out, which sounds a lot like an infamous phrase about letting God sort them out.

"Basically, your suggestion is that we let them all lose and then we can sort it out, which sounds a lot like an infamous phrase about letting God sort them out."

No I'm specifically suggesting that we let the Palestinians really truly lose the war and then aid them in rebuilding. Right now what the international community is doing is propping them up just enough that they can continue the war indefinitely. That is a stupid strategy that hasn't particularly worked well in ending the war.

And maybe I'm not being clear enough. The international community has had a policy of propping up a government that makes war against Israel. It is a war that the Palestinians cannot reasonably hope to win, and it is a war that the international community is not going to help them win. But it props them up enough that, combined with Israel's reluctance to engage in total war, has allowed them to continue the war for decades. This constant war has been much more damaging to the civilians on both sides and the Palestinian culture.

Seb: for starters, we should define which conflict we're talking about: the Israeli/Palestinian one, or the -- war? conflict? stuff? in Lebanon. In this post and the discussion that followed, I was mostly talking about Lebanon.

In the case of the Palestinian conflict, what exactly do you think "really losing" would look like? Are you expecting that at some point Israel will, say, exterminate the Palestinians? If not , what short of what's already been done do you envisage? And if it has already been done, then since (presumably) it hasn't worked yet, what specific features of the current situation make you think it will this time?

In the case of the Lebanese conflict, I think it's way, way too soon to be giving up on anything short of all-out war. We are talking about a country that has only just emerged from decades of foreign occupation, which badly needs help confronting Hezbollah and establishing a monopoly on the use of force within its borders, and which does not have, e.g., a track record of broken promises etc., since it doesn't have much of a track record at all.

Like others, I don't at all see that "the history of war" is (a) useful, or (b) on your side. Lots of wars end without ringing defeats, because one or both sides get exhausted, or because the parties arrive at a negotiated settlement. Just pulling examples out of my hat, where was the decisive defeat in the Korean war? The struggles in Ireland? The Thirty Years' War? The War of 1812? The war in Bosnia?

I mean, I could go on, but the point is just: the history of war is capacious enough to contain an example of just about anything you want.

Seb (after reading what you posted while I was writing my last): the Palestinians barely have a government, and barely have any territory. Their economy is a joke. Israel can basically cut off their power and water, not to mention large chunks of their revenue stream, at any time. Whatever Israel can do to keep them from being armed, it is presumably doing. Apparently, it's not working. So long as arms can get in and the people want to use them, which I personally wish they had stopped decades ago, but still -- as long as that's the case, what exactly is it that you think "really losing" would be, at this juncture? Should the Palestinians be enslaved? Presumably not. Occupied? Well, lots of the territories are occupied, and much good it's doing. Just wiped out? What is this 'really losing', and why do you think it hasn't already happened?

More to the point, if the losing that has already happened has only served to create hatred, what reason is there to think that more losing will make things any better?

I mean, again, the Palestinians are not like the Lebanese. The Lebanese have something to work for: a possible functioning normal country. Look at the map of the territories (it helps if you've been there, but if not, imagine that all the territories are basically scrubby desert, and the Israelis control the water), and ask yourself: can I imagine some future in which Palestinians are upset about the disruption of their tourist industry, the way the Lebanese were during the first few days of this?

The Lebanese have something very significant to lose. The Palestinians don't. Again, they already lost it.

"Occupied? Well, lots of the territories are occupied, and much good it's doing. Just wiped out? What is this 'really losing', and why do you think it hasn't already happened?

More to the point, if the losing that has already happened has only served to create hatred, what reason is there to think that more losing will make things any better?"

"Lots of wars end without ringing defeats, because one or both sides get exhausted, or because the parties arrive at a negotiated settlement. Just pulling examples out of my hat, where was the decisive defeat in the Korean war? The struggles in Ireland? The Thirty Years' War? The War of 1812? The war in Bosnia?"

Sure, wars can end with negotiated settlements. Absolutely. But the sides have to want to settle. The Palestinians as a group do not want to settle. At the very most they want to take a break so they can regroup and try to drive Israel into the sea later. Their ceasefires don't even last days--you have to ignore rockets and suicide bombers to even pretend there is a cease-fire.

As for occupation, they have always dealt with occupation plus massive amounts of ameliorative assistance. They are the only place with multi-generational 'refugee' camps. The war goes on forever, because we make it possible. If your husband goes off to fight Israel instead of work, the UN will feed your family.

The problem with international help in the Israel/Palestine situation is that the international community wants to not take sides, but ends up propping up the losing side enough to let the conflict drag on and on. Helping them into 'refugee' camps for 60 years is not good policy. Helping them teach anti-Semitism in the schools isn't good policy.

If the international community want to take sides and help one side win, so be it. If the international community wants to put boots on the ground between the parties and say "whoever shoots at us gets destroyed" so be it. But, the effect of the current policy is to extend the war decades longer than it could have lasted without international aid. Large segments of the population don't go to a war they know they cannot win if they know that their wives and children depend on. They might go for a short time if they think they can win. But you don't get whole communities going if they know they will lose and they know that losing will make them worse off than they are now. At this point, you are right. They don't have anything significant to lose because we make sure that they can't lose anything more.

"The Palestinians as a group do not want to settle."

That's not upheld by opinion polls or any other objective measure. I've linked to this post on ObWi somewhere close to a dozen times now.

I can give you more numbers, if you like. Or you can check for yourself.

We could go back four years and note that 70% of the Palestinian population then still wanted a peace agreement with Israel.

There's plenty of factual research on what the majority of Palestinians want: it's a peace agreement with Israel based on mutual recognition; same as the majority of Israelis.

We can discuss any number of implications and off-shoots, but it's crucial to start with the facts, and to avoid myths.

Any more recent counterpart to the 2002 JMCC finding that 51% of Palestinians "expect the 'end result of the current intifada' to be the 'liberation of all historic Palestine,'"?

Which by the way is a really silly thing to believe.

And hey, if 70% want peace, they should consider electing leaders who aren't from the organization that wants to destroy Israel. Just a thought.

Given that the September 2002 JMCC poll had this

A majority of Palestinians do not believe that the Palestinian leadership can conduct serious reform and internal changes during the current situation (Israeli re-occupation, attack and besiegement of Arafat).

I have to suggest that you are just cherry picking.

Also, the JMCC page on the same poll says

A great majority of Palestinians, 80.6 percent, steadily remained supportive of continuing the Intifadah with 48.4 percent saying its goal is to end the Israeli military occupation and establish the independent Palestinian state based on UN Security Council resolution 242. Only 16.4 percent strongly or somewhat oppose the continuation of the Intifadah.

Popular opinion considering the aim of the Intifadah is to liberate all of historic Palestine dropped to 43 percent from 51.1 percent last June. When asked what is the favored solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, 44 percent said a two-state solution, 28.9 percent said a bi-national state in historic Palestine, and 12.6 percent said there is no solution. In March 2002, 41.6 percent preferred a two-state solution, 31.6 percent said a bi-national state.

The majority of Palestinians, 52 percent, believe that the continuation of the Intifadah and negotiations together is the best path to achieve Palestinian national goals and end the occupation, showing similar results as June 2002 (51.4 percent).

It would seem a helpful step to not imply that the invocation of 'historic Palestine' represents an impossible to be sated desire on the part of the Palestinians. Just a thought.

hilzoy--

you surely didn't expect honest responses to all that, did you?

Haven't you caught on that this is the stage when all of the Bushist supporters are switching from "we can fix the world, and anyone who says otherwise is racist!" to "oh well, it was broke already and there's nothing anyone can do and so it's not our fault"?

Now instead of starry-eyed neocons, they're all turning into jaded realists. You know--history tells us this and that sad story. Can't get our hopes up. The world is dreadfully complicated. Silly to think we can change those ingrate natives--you must be a bleeding-heart liberal.

And of course the people who are now doing this complete ideological back-flip are constantly true to only one thing: the Loser in Chief must never look bad. "The President is always right"--that's what one of his lawyers told Congress the other day, and its what his blogging proxies tell us every day.

So they held off on expressing their world-weary cynicism about the prospects for change *just* long enough to allow Bush to do his own rhetorical pivot, from saying we were invading Iraq to rid it of WMDs, to saying we were doing it to spread democracy. During that whole campaign of lies, today's steely-eyed realists uttered not a peep to suggest they had any doubts about the feasibility of the undertaking. Why should they? They knew it wasn't really a serious undertaking at all, just a face-saving response to the complete evisceration of the war's original rationale.

But now that everyone in the world has to confess that there is no democracy in Iraq--or rather, everyone with a clue--now we get the parade of Kaplans and Brooks and their down-market blogging imitators, telling us they knew it all along.

So now, having unleashed a war that never had to happen, they sit back and tell us that a lot more wars are inevitable. Not just inevitable--something to look forward to. A salutary blood-letting, really--just what the doctor ordered.

The irresponsibility of lying us into the war that never had to happen is now outdone by the irresponsibility of blandly and blithely saying that the total crushing defeat of some mere population or another is really what the world needs to get back on an even keel.

These are people who think it is clever and funny to talk about whole countries and their fates as though they were pieces on a game-board, or ants on the pavement. You intervene when you feel like stirring them up--that's fun. Then you pour bug-spray on them when you're tired of the game. So that they can really truly lose the war.

Never again should these people be listened to. Never again should they even be treated as possible participants in reasonable conversation. They learned to cloak their barbarism in smooth talk and a poise of reason and responsibility. But these are people without any morals, and without any shame.

"Popular opinion considering the aim of the Intifadah is to liberate all of historic Palestine dropped to 43 percent from 51.1 percent last June. When asked what is the favored solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, 44 percent said a two-state solution, 28.9 percent said a bi-national state in historic Palestine, and 12.6 percent said there is no solution. In March 2002, 41.6 percent preferred a two-state solution, 31.6 percent said a bi-national state."

I'm thrilled that support for the end of Israel has dropped to 43%, but dipping from a majority to a vastly huge minority isn't all that exciting when their main tactics are guerilla-based.

Well, I'm waiting for Gary to come by and point out that the polls he cites are from 2004, which is two years after the ones you cite. Cherry picking is still cherry picking.

Inspired by a commenter at Brad DeLong's place, I present "The Big Iraq Candy Mountain".

The polls he cites don't address all the same issues. If he has one that does, I would be happy to see it.

"The polls he cites don't address all the same issues."

If you're ignoring all the data I linked to, it's unclear to me what the use would be of citing more data for you to ignore.

Alternately, I could repeat the data directly here, but repetition also rarely helps.

However. From 2006:

84% of Palestinians support a peace deal with Israel; 75% of Hamas voters are opposed to calls for the destruction of Israel....
From March, 2005:
84% of the Palestinians and 85% of the Israelis support a return to negotiations on a comprehensive settlement.

[...]

48% of the Israelis believe that Israel should negotiate also with the Hamas if it is necessary in order to reach a compromise agreement; 47% oppose it. Among Palestinians, 79% support the participation of the Hamas in the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel compared to 19% who oppose it.

[...]

General support for reconciliation among Israelis has also increased and stands now at 84 percent compared to 80% in June 2004. 81% of the Palestinians support reconciliation today compared to 67% last June. More important however is the consistent across the board increase in support for a list of specific reconciliation steps, varying in the level of commitment they pose to both publics.

· 55% of the Israelis and 89% of the Palestinians will support open borders to free movement of people and goods after a comprehensive settlement is reached, compared to 44% of the Israelis and 82% of the Palestinians who said so last June.

· 70% of the Israelis and 73% of the Palestinians support joint economic institutions and ventures compared to 66% and 66% respectively last June.

· 43% of the Israelis and 40% of the Palestinians will support joint political institutions designed eventually to lead to a confederate system given a comprehensive settlement compared to 35% of the Israelis and 26% of the Palestinians who said so last June.

· 66% of the Israelis and 42% of the Palestinians support taking legal measures against incitement directed towards the other side compared to 61% of the Israelis and 35% of the Palestinians who said so in June 2004.

From the poll on 6-8 December 2005:

Total size of the sample is 1316 adults interviewed face to face in 118 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.

[...]

80% support, and 18% oppose, the extension of the “quiet” period which ends at the end of December 2005. Moreover, a similar percentage (75%) supports, and 23% oppose, the current ceasefire. Percentages of support for extending the “quiet” period and for the ceasefire are larger in the Gaza Strip (86% and 77% respectively) than in the West Bank (77% and 74% respectively).

[...]

82% support and 17% oppose the absorption of members of armed groups from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fateh in the Palestinian security services so that they would become part of the PA. Support for this measure reaches 84% in the Gaza Strip compared to 80% in the West Bank.

While 83% of the Palestinians view the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip as victory for armed resistance and while 68% believe that armed confrontations have so far helped Palestinians achieve national rights in ways that negotiations could not, the percentage of those supporting armed attacks from the Gaza Strip does not exceed 36% while 60% oppose it. Opposition to such attacks increases to 66% in the Gaza Strip compared to 57% in the West Bank. Moreover, 61% of all Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip oppose, and 33% support bombing attacks or the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, opposition to such attacks increases to 68% compared to 58% in the West Bank.

[...]


When Palestinian respondents assumed the existence of a Palestinian state--recognized by the state of Israel and emerging as an outcome of a peace agreement between Palestine and Israel--support for reconciliation, between July 2000 and September 2005, ranged between two-thirds and three-quarters. In December, one month after Arafat's death, support for reconciliation jumped to 81 percent.6 Indeed, a majority of Palestinians are willing to accept the two-state solution, even when this entails a formula whereby Palestinians recognize Israel "as the state of the Jewish people" and Palestine "as the state of the Palestinian people." In June 2003, 52 percent supported and 46 percent opposed this formula, and by September 2005 support rose to 63 percent and opposition dropped to 35 percent.

And so on and so on and so on.

And again, polls only measure opinion, which is fluid, and which responds to circumstances; when circumstances grow worse, negative opinions grow; should things get better, positive opinions grow again.

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