Continuity and Change

by , March 17, 2009

Editor’s note: Justin Raimondo is on vacation until Monday.

As a reward for killing 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza blitzkrieg, ignoring U.S. demands to stop the building of “settlements” on the West Bank, and vigorous efforts to breach our security and steal highly classified information via its Washington fifth column, Tel Aviv has been reassured by President Barack Obama that $30 billion in aid will not be cut. World financial crisis? Impending US bankruptcy? Obama’s newfound sense of fiscal responsibility? Put it out of your mind. All it takes is one phone call from Chuck Schumer, a tête-à-tête with Nancy Pelosi, and an editorial or two in the Washington Post, and – poof! – “change” turns into continuity. Obama will keep Bush’s promise, and you can take that to the bank.

The other side of the coin in the Charles Freeman fracas is that the Lobby is positioning itself within the Obama administration, even as it shoots down its most visible critics. Freeman’s demise is paralleled by the rise of Dennis Ross, pro-Israel hard-liner and neocon-aligned supporter of the Iraq war, who will handle the Iran portfolio (!) in the State Department. Michael Crowley over at The New Republic reports the Ross appointment was “unveiled by e-mail under the cover of darkness,” while Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, the other two Middle East-related State Department “fixers,” were given a flourish of trumpets. Crowley and others find this puzzling, yet indicted spy for Israel Steve Rosen, who wears Charles Freeman’s scalp on his belt, explains it well: “A lobby,” wrote Rosen in an internal AIPAC memo, “is like a night flower. It thrives in the dark and wilts in the sun.”

Don’t expect Ross to travel to Tehran and meet with the mullahs. Instead, he’ll be lurking in the shadows of Washington:

“Unlike Mitchell and Holbrooke, he will not be an envoy or negotiator who poses for photos with foreign dignitaries: His influence will be in Washington. According to the State official, Ross will play a ‘strategic policy planning’ role, akin to the department’s Office of Policy Planning, which currently lacks strong expertise in Iranian and Middle Eastern affairs. One former Foggy Bottom official likens Ross’s shop to ‘an in-house mini think-tank’ focused on Iran policy.”

You know, kind of like this in-house mini think-tank…

Hey, remember that little incident the other day, in which a couple of flimsy-looking Chinese fishing trawlers implausibly “harassed” a gigantic U.S. “research” ship (i.e., spy ship) lurking quite close to a sensitive Chinese military base? Yeah, well, anyway, the U.S. protested – those bully-boy Chinese actually threw “wooden planks” into the ocean to block the USNS Impeccable‘s course! – and now Washington has its answer, as reported by the Financial Times:

“Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday urged the U.S. to take measures to guarantee its ‘good credit,’ expressing concern about the ‘safety’ of his country’s huge holdings of U.S. government debt. …

“About 70 percent of China’s near-$2,000bn foreign exchange reserves are believed to be in U.S. dollar assets. ‘We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States,’ Mr. Wen told the annual press conference that marks the close of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament. ‘Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am a little bit worried. I request the U.S. to maintain its good credit, to honor its promises, and to guarantee the safety of China’s assets.’”

I love it when a Communist country lectures the U.S. about its lack of fiscal responsibility. This is Beijing’s way of saying that the U.S. is, as Mao put it, a “paper tiger.” Or, as Clint Eastwood put it: “Go ahead, make my day”…

Quotable quote:

“Both parties colluded in catastrophically misguided policies of militarism and jingoistic xenophobia. We succumbed to panic and unreasoning dread. We got carried away with our military prowess. Our press embedded itself with the troops and jumped into bed with our government. We invaded countries that existed only in our imaginations and then were shocked by their failure to conform to our preconceptions. We asked our military to do things soldiers can do only poorly, if at all. Our representatives pawned our essential freedoms to our commander in chief in exchange for implied promises that he would reduce the risks to our security by means that he later declined to disclose or explain.”

That’s Charles Freeman on what happened to our foreign (and domestic) policy during the post-9/11 era, and reading it, one wonders: how did such a rational, intelligent opponent of groupthink ever get as close as he did to being appointed to a top-to-middling position in the U.S. government? …

Fun link: Hands off Joe Stalin!

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