The “Great Satan” all soft and cuddly

By Chris Morrison

American Secretary of State Colin Powell is travelling to the Middle East this week. On the record, he’s there to try and find some solution to the ongoing troubles, namely Israel’s reoccupation of the West Bank. Off the record, he’s there to help his boss, the usurper-in-chief Dubya, extend his campaign in the war on terrorism.

Ever since September 11, the American government has had the support of the Arab and Muslim world in its Afghan campaign. Americans died largely because of the decisions of those in charge in Afghanistan, so they were given a relatively free hand. Most Arab and Muslim governments genuinely supported the American intervention in Afghanistan. These governments have their own problems with exploding populations and mass unemployment. The young and unemployed masses fall prey more and more frequently to fundamentalist groups like the Taliban. Its destruction by mighty America, formerly known as the Great Satan, was hailed by these governments as a positive.

But ever since Dubya’s "Axis of Evil" speech earlier this year, the same governments that happily acquiesced to the Afghan campaign and the defeat of the Taliban have cooled to Bush. That speech was seen as a sign that the Americans want to widen the war on terror into Iraq, and possibly Iran and North Korea. Bush does not yet realize that Iran may be America’s best friend in the Muslim world, and in this decade its only Muslim allies are the governments of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. All are very fragile and could topple at any time, radically redrawing the map of the Middle East. In fact, a major topic of discussion at this week’s Texas meeting of Tony Blair and Dubya is the possible extension of the war into Iraq.

Nowadays, the Israeli reoccupation of much of the West Bank delays the upcoming campaign against Iraq, something Bush the Elder and the American people had not the political will to do 11 years ago. In order to gain the support of the previously mentioned Arab and Muslim governments for the war in Afghanistan, the Americans promised something would be done soon about the situation regarding Israel and Palestine. Dubya even came out in favour of a Palestinian state late last year. But that was last year, when America had a small amount of moral currency at its disposal.

Ariel Sharon’s current invasion of the West Bank, looking for militants he creates on a daily basis by forcing Palestinians out of house and home and then destroying said homes, now turns America’s moral currency into post World War I Reichmarks–worthless. The Arab and Muslim world will not support Dubya in Iraq, like they did his father a decade ago, if Israel is allowed to walk over the Palestinians willy nilly. So, Dubya has been forced to come out against Israeli intervention in Palestine, the first American president to do so, to get at Saddam. I don’t know whom I should root for. I’m against the extension of the war into Iraq and I’m also against Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Nonetheless, don’t be fooled by Colin Powell’s "peace tour" of the Middle East. He’s trying to broaden a war. Save the lives of the Palestinians in order to kill some Iraqis. Seems like a fair tradeoff to some, but not to me. In an ideal world, no innocent people would have to be sacrificed in the name of foreign policy, but our world is not ideal. I have enough confidence in Ariel Sharon that there will be no peace in Israel any time soon. With that goes Dubya’s chance to right the "wrongs" of his father, that is to defeat Saddam.

Ah, well, we will always have Jenna and Barbara.

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