The Politics of the the Alliance

I sincerely hope this isn’t too tasteless for some. It is the real world and it’s important so I hope no one’s offended. Okay…

Welcome to the world of international diplomacy ! The deal-making isn’t pretty, the relationship with morality cursory at best but, it’s what makes the world go around – and things are going around pretty damn quickly just now. So why not try and understand what’s happening as our leaders burn the midnight oil ?

I guess the first significant thing that happened was Tony Blair handing around the ‘Attack on civilisation’ hymn sheets to all the Euro / NATO members while the US Administration was still coming to terms with the tragedy. That was well played and everyone was on song by Wednesday evening. Article Five was delivered.

Much has happened in the mean time but today seems to be the second big moment.

My take:

The Islamic States have wised up since Desert Storm (when Daddy Bush made promises he didn’t keep (over the Palestinians) for the active Muslim support of the Coalition) and they want a down payment this time – today, Bush has delivered Israeli withdrawal and, potentially, Israel at the negotiating table. I wonder if the ‘deal’ is Pakistan air-space for genuine table talk ?

Of course, if Bin Ladin is found tomorrow, the IDF tank crews dust off their street maps of Jericho again and we’re back to normal programming. But, it’s promising.

As for NATO (excepting the UK), I suspect Bush won’t want too much actual involvement because that nasty word ‘Kyoto’ might raise its head. He’ll settle for public messages of support and token involvement. Maybe France can bring something Bush needs, in which case…well, its interesting.

I imagine the UK will stick to the “This time, you owe us one” mutual understanding.

Canada – I just don’t know enough about what’s going on there.

As for the Russians…lots of scope, there. Mostly economic.

"US President George W Bush welcomed the moves as a “glimmer of hope”.

We’ve had very positive developments in the Middle East today, the next step of course is to stay involved in the region, is to work with both the Palestinians and the Israelis to encourage them to seize the moment," he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said talks between Israel and the Palestinians could start in a “matter of days” if the ceasefire holds."

Wheels within wheels - any thoughts ?

I must say, London_Calling, that is one mighty fine piece of prose you posted above.

Canada’s rhetoric has been tougher than… well, than ever. The government has promised war, if the USA can give it to them. And why not? Could be Toronto next time for all we know. Hell, it could have been Toronto THIS time. What if a planeload of hijackers was diverted here?

“Achmed, we’re over Canada! Shit! Washington is too far!”
“Well, there’s the CN Tower! It’s tall! Let’s hit that!”
“Great idea! Allah Akbar!”
BOOM! CN Tower falls onto Royal Bank Building, 5,000 dead. Not so farfetched - how many dozens of planes had to land in Toronto?

But: Realistically, there isn’t anything we can do the United States can’t do, and usually do better, so what would the USA even WANT us to do? Canada has some elite ground troops that could be inserted into a ground war, and we have a decent fleet of jet fighters, but it would have to be a pretty big conflagration before the capacity of the USA was stretched the the point that our forces would be a significant addition to the mix.

I think enthusiastic support, a token show of force and diplomatic flag-waving is all America really wants from us. Long term, I feel the USA, Canada and the UK 9at the very least) must begin to combine forces in intelligence and counterterrorism. If this became World War III and Western nation mobilized for war, that’s different - we could make a large contribution because Canada had a very large economy and big capacity for long term warfare. but in the short term the USA might want our little army to just stay the hell out of the way.

I don’t think it’s '91 fallout so much as gov’ts needing cover for their own militant minorities. Lots of cash, in one form or another, going to Pakistan and others. Tajikistan waffled back towards US today – I smell money there.

Israel withdrew, and they’ll talk again (ho-hum), but Oslo will still be the best offer Arafat gets. The US didn’t promise more because we couldn’t deliver more and the Arabs know it. But the withdrawal will look good on Egyptian TV. There is no quid pro quo beyond that.

Still, though, wouldn’t you have loved to listen to the DC-Tel Aviv call?

But of course.

Interesting discussions going on in Rome, too. From no troops to “all-out war” in 24 hours. Someone got an earful.

Some smaller countries will give token troops out of honest-to-god noble motives, some will do it with an eye to benefits. (cash or US support for EU membership) Oh, let’s say Denmark, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Hungary … and a couple wacky places like Bulgaria or Czech.

Germany provides logistics.

The Frogs … flip a coin.

Canada is in, but they’re pretty streched with their committments elsewhere. They’ll be low-profile.

The UK will be all-in, and the Aussies will be there.

If GWB feels ambitious, we might see a couple African nations who could use a few million.

Has anybody heard from the Kiwis?

Russia will talk much and do nothing.
Them’s my picks.

I think you’re on the right track here. BTW, the Brits and Canucks(like my dad!) have been marvelous this past week. Just so you know. Thanks.

Okay, which countries will provide military, strategic/intelligence, law enforcement, political support?
Britain, Canada, Israel*, Belgium, Australia, S. Korea
*expect to be kept in background

Which countries will provide all except military support?
Europe(with exception above), Mexico, Pakistan(so they say),

Questionable on military support?
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, India, Oman

Waiting to hear extent of assistance?
Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, Greece, So. American states, African states(except above)

Expect lots of early finger-pointing at US?
Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan

This is still preliminary, some based on my best guess. We’ll see where the chips fall once military action is taken.

** Monty** - Thanks :slight_smile:

** RickJay** – You may be right. Perhaps public support is all Bush needs from Canada at this point.

** NaSultainne** – Thank you, also.

I doubt it’s cash – the Islamic world has money, what they’re aiming for is concessions from Israel. They’re as on-message on that as were NATO for ‘Freedom everywhere’. And there is a lot of residual ‘anxiety’ over what the USdidn’t do in the aftermath of 91.

Oh yeah ! I do wonder if Sharon really has blown a piston this time. From what I can see, the early tentative approach by Colin Powell (for some kind of Israeli gesture) stopped the minute Sharon described Arafat as the “Bin Ladin of the Middle-East” – from then on the US replaced the gloves off with knuckle dusters and it’s possible a significant degree of middle-term damage has been done to US-Israeli relations by Sharon’s apparent inability to even consider compromise when the US needs it most.

Not only may he have done serious damage to US-Israeli relations but we also (“reliable sources state…”) have the spectre of a ‘UK Senior Foreign Office Official’ describing Sharon as “The cancer at the centre of the Middle-East crisis”. As an indication of the international undercurrents, I’d give that a loud ‘Ouch !’.

It seems possible we will soon be back to the Oslo positions, with diplomatic channels still open. One can hope.

Strange you should mention that. Guess who paid a visit to London yesterday and left Downing Street looking like a man who’d been strapped to a chair and liberally thrashed about the face with a haddock for 45 minutes. The Italian PM. Hey ho.

I’m starting to think this could be Pressy Putin’s big, big moment. There’s so much on the table: Disarmament, Missile Defence, a potential timeline for NATO membership – Putin’s got the Southern (former Soviet) States in his pocket and has to be going to go for a full contribution on this one (including bases, air-space, even Special Forces) like a bat out of hell.

The more I reflect on the seeming changes in US Foreign Policy in the past few days, the more it catches my breathe. What’s happening truly is remarkable - this isn’t just an ‘about turn’, it’s a Steve McQueen, 60mph handbrake turn in the middle of the Freeway with rubber all over the tarmac. I guess, in time, it’s possible that Bush will try to get back to the ‘Oil First’…sorry, ‘America First’ agenda but, at this point, it’s difficult to see how he can withdraw again into semi-isolation.

I think the big change has come from the Palestinians, not from the US or the Israelis. If you remember back to the early days of the Bush administration the head of the CIA was able to broker a ceasefire agreement along similar lines as to what is occuring now. However, back then the ceasefire was soon broken and hostilities resumed. Since then the position of Isreal was that there needed to be seven days without violence for negotiations to resume. Now Arafat realizes that any association of the Palestinian cause with suicide bombers or civilian casualties would be public relations suicide. So they are now arresting suicide bombers and ordered a ceasefire in Arabic.

The gulf states have cash, but I’m guessing some of the central asians could use a joint-venture factory or two. Just my WAG, tho. Sorr, I’m not following your gulf war angle. Please help me.

Agreed. What I was getting at was that the Pals will not get any more than Oslo.

Don’t know which I like more. Tony Blair and the UK’s stout freindship and all around good character, or the mental image of the Italian PM being “liberally thrashed about the face with a haddock.” Hilarious.


I’m starting to think this could be Pressy Putin’s big, big moment. There’s so much on the table: Disarmament, Missile Defence, a potential timeline for NATO membership – Putin’s got the Southern (former Soviet) States in his pocket and has to be going to go for a full contribution on this one (including bases, air-space, even Special Forces) like a bat out of hell.


OTOH, he’s got so many Muslims in his own state. I agree, he ought to go for it … but I don’t think he will.

Agreed. I didn’t vote for W, but he is a good man and I believe he really does want to conduct moral foreign policy. But over against that, he has the isolationist instinct; and for a superpower, our inaction is as important as our inaction: see Kyoto. Plus, his views on many issues are problematic in foreign relations. See support for oil industry vs. alternative fuels, see abortion.

I will say this with no hesitation. This is the most personally humble man we have had as president in a long, long time. Whether or not this equates to an effective president is another issue. Carter was a nice guy, too.

Just to throw in my 2 cents,

I think Russia* had enough of Aghanistan in thier recent scuffle. There are some intresting quotes in the Daily Herald (Chicago) by Russian* soldiers to the effect that you can invade,occupy, and bomb Aghanistan but you can’t make them quit.
*At the time of the war it was the USSR