Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for November 27th, 2007

Israel, Palestine and the Legacy Trap

Posted by Ryan on November 27, 2007

Bill Clinton tried it in 2000 and now Bush is giving it a go late in his presidency:  Mideast peace among Israelis and Palestinians.  The time is always right for a lame duck President who wants to build a legacy to try to get the irreconcilable to reconcile.  If it works, you’re awesome!  If it doesn’t… ah well, no one’s been able to fix this problem so the expectations are low.  I’m really trying not be be cynical here, but while Olmert and Abbas shake hands and harrumph speeches, Hamas still represents over a million Palestinians in Gaza and still wants Israel blown off the map.

After Zippergate, BJ Clinton (his middle initial is “J” for Jefferson) needed to have something to show for eight years of drift and scandal:  Mideast peace!  All it led to was the Second Intifada, as Yasser Arafat was (as usual) in no mood to concede anything.  So, the violence and subsequent negotiations eventually led to a split in the Palestinians after Arafat’s death in 2004 which also has a geographic dimension:  Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank.

There is a big difference this time:  Arafat’s not in the room.  Clinton’s attempt to have Israel give away the farm yielded no results and showed Bush that Arafat is not a man to work with.  Since then, Abbas has been reasonable and Olmert is willing to listen.  The problem is Gaza.  Isolate them from the West Bank Palestinians and maybe they’ll get their stuff together, or maybe they’ll lash out harder.  It’s tough to say.  Lately it’s looking less like the traditional Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and more like Israel taking sides in a Palestinian civil war. 

Bush’s overture reminds me of Clinton’s in 2000.  Maybe it won’t spark a rebellion, but it’s hard to see Hamas in Gaza not flipping out no matter what happens, especially with Iran egging them on.  It looks like legacy-building for an embattled president seeing his tenure diminish as time moves on.  I agree with Bush, though, that at least it’s worth a try.  Just forgive me for the hint of cynicism.

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Sean Taylor, Dead at 24

Posted by Ryan on November 27, 2007

The Washington Redskins’ Pro-Bowl Safety, Sean Taylor, died of a gunshot wound this morning at Jackson Memorial Hospital.  The circumstances of the death are unfortunate.  He was shot by an intruder, about a week after someone tried to break into his home.  The intruder fired twice, hitting him in the leg.  The shot tore a major artery and Taylor nearly bled to death.  Ultimately, he succumbed to his wound.  Thus far, there are no suspects. 

Taylor was a great talent, being the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft.  He made it the Pro-Bowl in 2006 for his reputation as a hard-hitter.  In fact, since entering the league he has been a boat load of trouble:  $25,000 in fines for missing mandatory meetings, seven fines for late hits, spitting in the face of an opponent during the playoffs (another $17,000 fine).  His personal life wasn’t cool either, since he once plead no-contest to brandishing a gun at a man during a scuffle. 

However, after his daughter was born last year, those close to him indicated that he really began to clean things up and noticed a changed attitude.  His attitude on the field became more respectful and serious.  I believe that people can change and that in America, we can pick ourselves up and turn over a new leaf, not forgetting the past, but using our mistakes as a source of strength and purpose to avoid them again.  He could have been part of a great story, but his story turns out to be a tragedy mired in intrigue.

Pic from Sports Resource Zone.

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