Friday, July 14, 2006


Cyprus and Turkey argue over whether the territorial water limit is five kilometers or twelve. Israel has set up a sea blockade of Lebanon, warships are seen right off the coast/beaches. The press hasn't found it strange.

Hezbollah has thrown down the gauntlet, saying it's ready for all-out war. Meanwhile the pundits dissect the relationship between Hezbollah and Hamas, on the one hand, and Syria and Itan on the other. It doesn't seem to cross anybody's mind that whatever their different nuances, they certainly see themselves broadly as one polity - even if the Iranians are not Arabs. Is that so hard to understand?

Survivors of the Holocaust wanted a place to call home, where they could be safe, or at least defend themselves. Religion inspired them to choose the worst possible place, and the scale of their suffering did not prepare them to be humble, as they settled among members of an alien culture. Sixty years on, the world is a very different place, yet the same principles prevail in Israel, which could result in a regional holocaust.

As the Middle East continues to spiral out of control, the G8 meet in St Petersburg to argue about whether the Russian president is a democract. As the NewsHour mentioned that regional governors are no longer elected,but appointed by Moscow, I couldn't help imagine that President Bush wishes the same were true in the country he runs.

To argue about which regime is more or less democratic is pure spin: each ruler does what it takes to remain in power. Talk about it is window dressing.

Ironic fashion note: George and "Vlad" have adopted Iranian President Ahmadinejad's open shirt collar. You'd think they would want to avoid seeming to imitate him.

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