Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Diplomacy May Work With China, But Not Hamas

Written from Mauritius, Indian Ocean--

There are reports today that a Chinese vessel that sailed into South Africa last week with arms for the brutal Mugabe dictatorship in Zimbabwe, only to be diverted to Mozambique or Angola when South African dockworkers refused to unload it and a court backed them up, may now turn back to China without delivering the arms.

This would be a rare victory for diplomacy in the Zimbabwe crisis, which is now seeing an estimated 1,000 people a day fleeing to South Africa, and thousands of arrests and beatings, even some murders, in Zimbabwe itself by forces loyal to Robert Mugabe. The U.S., Britain and other Western countries have been pressuring African ones to block aid for him and take steps to see that results from the election held three weeks ago are, at last, released.

It would be heartening to find that China is not impervious to diplomatic efforts, and is taking at least some steps to placate world opinion. It would be a great credit to China, and a boon to the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, were China to start showing a decent regard for correct international behavior, not only in Zimbabwe but in Burma, Darfur and Tibet as well.

Diplomacy may end up working with China, despite rising nationalism there. But it can't work for now with the terrorist organization, Hamas, in the Middle East, even if the naive former U.S. president Jimmy Carter thinks it can.

Carter who means well but has proved weak-kneed in dealing with terrorists from Iran to the Holy Land over the last 30 years, tried again last week to engage the Hamas leadership in talks looking to an ease of tensions.

But the same day he was in Damascus seeing the Syrian dictator, Bashir Assad, and the exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, who uses Syria as a base, Hamas units assaulted Israeli forces at one of the Gaza border crossings where the Israelis have been delivering some goods to Gaza, wounding 13 Israelis.

Carter came away from the Damascus meetings saying that Hamas had agreed to a referendum on peace with Israel, and to recognize the Jewish state, if Israel withdrew to the pre-1967 boundaries.

But he had no sooner spoken than Meshal himself appeared at a rare news conference to say there would be no peace unless Israel recognized a right of return of Arab refugees, that any referendum would have to include Palestinians scattered worldwide, and that even then, Hamas would not recognize Israel.

Carter was left looking totally ineffective, and taken in besides. Diplomacy may one day, after many further battles, be possible with a changing Hamas, but it will not be Carter who facilitates it. He has merely been meddling in foreign policy, which U.S. citizens are not supposed to do, and in effect giving comfort to sworn enemes of both the U.S. and Israel.


The New York Times reports today that Rupert Murdoch may be nearing a deal to buy Newsday from the Tribune Co. for a price of about $580 million, and turn it into a joint venture with his New York Post. This would be good news for Newsday, moving from a bunch of losers to a man who continually makes money out of his media businesses. But it would be bad news for the L.A. Times, doomed apparently to be stuck with the Tribune ownership.

Why doesn't Sam Zell throw in the towel altogether in the newspaper business, which he has no touch for, and go back to slum real estate?



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home