The Arab Plan for Peace

So what's with those Arabs wanting peace with Israel? True, if they stopped fighting each other a sudden burst of prosperity would hit the region. But that's not enough of a reason. Maybe these Arab leaders are tired of the criminal element that is exploiting radical Islam. Maybe they don't think Israel will go for it and that will be a good excuse for even more bad behavior in the future.

Maybe Iran's actions are really starting to freak them out. Maybe the annihilation of Israel is not something they want, at lease by nuclear means. After all, the fallout would be on them. Maybe Iran is too strong now, and that is a bigger problem for them.

Who knows? Either way, it is a welcome development


Unleashing David Hicks

When David Hicks settles into Australia again, he will have a story to tell. This Administration is not planning on shutting down Guantanamo Bay, ever. Not until they are forced to.

Of course, as part of the plea agreement, David Hicks is not supposed to talk to the media for a year. Hmmm. And if he does, what does the U.S. plan on doing about it? What could they do?

Aren't we going to have a Presidential election in a year? Someone was not thinking good that day.

Guantanamo: The Confession of David Hicks

You're kidding me, right? David Hicks confesses to the equivalent of hosting a fundraiser and gets a life sentence?

Remember all the talk from this Administration about how the worst people on Earth are being housed at Guantanamo Bay? What the confession of David Hicks shows is that assertion is false. If the U.S. had information that David Hicks was one of the worst people on Earth, then there would be more evidence to confront him with and he would have pled guilty to something more egregious. Prosecutors would certainly not have accepted such a paltry confession otherwise.

Another thing that David Hicks' confession shows is that it is most likely that some other inmates in Guantanamo won't have adequate derogatory information against them as well. Think about it. Of all the cases where prosecutors will be putting their best foot forward, it will be with the first "trial." And they get a confession for "providing material support for terrorism." No killing, no attempt at killing, no participation in a terror cell. Just "material support."

If this is the beginning, the United States is going to look awful by the end of it. Especially once David Hicks starts talking.

Iran and Its British Hostages

The world has generally been confused by Iran's actions in taking British marines hostage. Why, after so nearly becoming engaged in a war with the U.S., would Iran choose to engage the U.S.'s number one ally so aggressively?

Here's an idea. The Iranian government is trying to get the new Iraq leaders used to the watery boundaries that the Iranian government wants. The Iranians are demonstrating clearly the boundary that will trigger a war and the boundary that they are willing to fight for.

After a time has passed, the hostages will be released. The message would have been conveyed to the Iraqis "Don't let your people go here or it will be considered close to an act of war."

What the Iranians may not be considering is that dramatic actions like these take on a life of their own. Once you do something like take hostages, the outcome cannot easily be controlled. Iran has seriously placed itself in a position to get attacked, this time led by Britain and supported by the United States. What the hell are they thinking?


Iran Captures British Soldiers

What does this mean? After Russia's public pressure for more money, Iran is Ahmadinejad is naturally feeling defensive. The whole ruse that Iran didn't pay the money to Russia for enriched uranium sounds bogus. The Iranians are neither stupid nor crazy. Of course they would pay. And if it was merely an matter of cash, the squeeze for more could have been made privately.

My suspicion is that Russia never intended to hand over the goods to Iran in the first place. They want to manufacture it and export it to other countries, to include Iran.

So that brings us back to the original question: what does this mean? Perhaps the Iranian military is not strongly controlled by Admadinejad. Perhaps a little taste of what we did to them, i.e., capturing the Iranian diplomats, helps set a boundary.

Can we be reasonably sure that the Iranians DON'T want a war with U.S. and Great Britain? Up until now, that has seemed the case. Of course, no one is talking about uranium enrichment now. That's probably the point of all this.


Russia, Iran and Bush

So the great thing about Bush getting his head out of his ass is that he is finally talking to the people he needs to talk to. One of them is Putin.

Remember the 43rd Munich Security Conference? Remember how Econo-Girl went on and on about it? Putin said many important ideas there, one of them being that Russia and the U.S. should work together to get Iran in line. And that is what is happening now.

Econo-Girl predicts that Iran will become much less defiant in the future. In a way, Ahmadinejad was playing the old Cold War game of pitting the United States against Russia. Now that we are in agreement, Iran will not be able to avoid listening.


Makeover For The Ugly American

So Senator McCain wants to improve the Ugly American image overseas. The problem is America's power and the global resentment of it. We are hated/disliked simply because of our power. And if the United States was supplanted tomorrow, the world would then hate the new power that took its place.

Too much of this anti-U.S. ranting seems adolescent.

Chavez Sounds Crazy

Despite his appealing to supporters in Venezuela with frantic cries of CIA targeting, Chavez is a world leader. He speaks not to one audience, but to two or more. That's why he is losing it. He will not increase his standing or influence internationally by ranting about CIA plots to kill him. He will decrease it.

And no, the United States does not have a stellar history in Latin America. But that does not mean that anyone is trying to kill Chavez now. He is not so important, nor such a threat, that he would be worth it.

What would killing Chavez do? Nothing really. Another person would take his place to complain about the U.S.

Econo-Girl maintains that if the CIA was really intent on killing Chavez, we'd all be talking about his death instead of the prospect of it. Not that the CIA does that kind of thing these days anyway. It's not like it was a successful strategy in the past. Remember the exploding cigars?


Putin, Russia and Iran

Remember the Munich Security Conference where Putin outlined his vision for multilateralism? And remember how Iran, for a brief moment, became cooperative about its nuclear program?

A prominent Russian reporter, Ivan Safronov, died on March 3 from falling out of a window in his apartment building. He was writing a story on the sale of weapons by Russia to Syria and Iran, some of which could reach Israel if fired.

So when Putin said at the Munich Security Conference that more could be accomplished by acting as a partner with Russia, there was weight behind what he said. After all, he is selling them important weapons. Of course they would listen to him.

The United States could take advantage of this situation, and not just complain about it, by working with Russia to keep Iran and Syria in check. But that would be a new idea, and Bush doesn't allow those.

Chavez Is Losing It

Venezuela's Chavez claims that CIA assassins are trying to kill him. Even if that were true, which it isn't, he sounds like a lunatic talking about it. Chavez obviously has no one around him who will tell him about this. Isolation for a guy at the top is never a good thing.

Chavez had a real opportunity to lead prior to the United Nation's sulfur comments about Bush. Now he adding to his image damage by going on about CIA assassinations. Who's going to ally with a guy like that? His unexpected outbursts make him scary to his friends, not the United States.


Dog Walker, Hilary, Obama - The Dog Walker's Handbook

Econo-Girl has a dog walking business now and it is great. I'm outdoors all day long which I enjoy even in bad weather. It began in mid-January with one dog, and now there is 10. The dogs themselves are fun, too.

What this career shift has given me is NO DESIRE for following the Presidential race. The little tales of one-upmanship are too much for me to care about for the next two years.

Intellectually, I know that it is important who becomes President. But how can you get wrapped up in it this early in the game? Most of these guys are going to be gone in a year.

But really, when you snuggle those furry creatures every day, when you wipe their feet and feed them treats, it gives me a grounded and settled perspective on things.

Read about the dog walking business in The Dog Walker's Handbook.