Topic: World View
Hard Rice: Dominatrix Diplomacy
Well, we're doing a good job ticking off everyone around the world.
Our new UN ambassador - a recess appointment because the senate had a bit of trouble confirming a fellow who often said the organization was totally useless, we should pull out and let it die, and the place should be leveled - seems now to be coordinating his work at the UN with James Dobson, head of the Christian evangelical "Focus on the Family" group (see this for details). Of course - it is a problem that some of those countries at the UN aren't even Christian folk, like normal people. What should we do? James knows.
Bolton too has already ticked off the Brits, big time, by threatening to shut down all UN spending, which the Brits see as somewhat bonkers, and they were willing to disagree with our King George on the matter.
But it's important we get our way, isn't it? We cannot be seen as wimps. And what kind of religion do they have over there, anyway? The pope wasn't good enough for them so they came up with that Catholicism-lite Anglican stuff. Screw 'em.
But Bolton cannot offend everyone on his own. His boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is joining in the fun.
Reuters has a late Friday afternoon scoop here (Friday, December 2nd, 3:30 PM Eastern), on how we plan to respond to the allegations we hold prisoners in secret in Eastern Europe - incommunicado and in violation of local and EU laws - and seem to have transported these "detainees" through small airports (and some large ones) to our "black sites" where we practice "enhanced interrogation" (seems like torture but we say it isn't).
For a month we've been refusing to deny or confirm media reports about whether we do this or not. The European public and various parliaments don't seem to want to participate in potential human rights violations, and some don't like their own laws being violated. One EU commissioner, Franco Frattini, said Monday he would propose the suspension of voting rights for any nation found to have hosted a secret detention center. Spain has been upset about us using their airports for stops on the way to oblivion and pain for those we think may be bad guys, or may know something about bad guys, or may know someone who knows something about bad guys. And Friday, December 2nd, the French figured out we've been using their airports - one on the coast and Orly - as refueling stops for the flights of those we are "disappearing." There's a bit of grumbling.
The Rice solution, if Reuters's sources are good, is that we're going to tell the effete fussbudget European wimps to just "back off." Rice is going to remind these "allies" they themselves have been cooperating in our anti-terror operations - and they should simply "do more to win over their publics."
In short, yeah, we do this, and the message will be clear to the leaders of the European nations - it's your jobs, not ours, to explain to your people that all this is just fine. It's necessary. And you know it.
This is said to be what Rice and the administration decided was the best way "to deflect criticism directed at the United States." In short, it's not our problem - it's yours.
A little detail from Reuters -
That seems to be a clear "fuck you" to the Irish - we're doing this and there's nothing you can do about it, so tell your people we're the good guys, no matter what you think.
And Reuters understands Rice will deliver just about the same message in private meetings with officials in Germany and at the EU headquarters in Brussels. This "in your face" trip starts Monday - and, to top it off, this excursion includes a stop in Romania. Romania denies the accusations it hosts a secret prison, but the evidence is pretty clear they do. Rice is sending a message here.
Will this work? Ahern said he accepts our word on matters from here on out. The Irish are no dummies - you don't mess with the bully.
"Germany, whose foreign minister also pressed Rice this week during a visit, said it would wait patiently for a US response."
Yeah, but the new chancellor, Merkle, will fall in line. The we-think-for-ourselves former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, is gone. The new Iron Lady wants to be one the side of the Big Dog. She's no dummy.
The whole thing is a bit of theater - Rice will say, in public, that "Washington does not violate allies' sovereignty or break international law," and she will say in her speeches that there's no issue - all governments "are cooperating in a fight against militants who have bombed commuters in Madrid and London." There's nothing to see here, folks - move on. Behind the scenes she'll crack the whip (note the boots) - telling these folks to get in line and get their press and public under control.
And within an hour of the Reuters story, Associated Press ran this on the wire - White House Defends Human Rights Record.
Listen up -
We do this stuff, but prosecute the low-level people actually involved in the physical act, so we're clean. In fact, that makes us good guys.
Well, that one way of looking at it.
Yeah, yeah - we do understand, sort of.
AP notes that Europe may be harder to persuade. The European Union's justice commissioner said that secret prisons would violate European law. That's something we need to work around.
And we see that these European lawmakers accused European Union countries Thursday of "failing to address allegations about CIA prisons and flights across the continent."
This should be interesting.
Sarah Ludford, a British member of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee -
Sarah and Condoleezza need to talk. Condi will set her straight, and make her shut up.
We will get our way. Maybe. And maybe not.