“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Maliki and Bush

There are all sorts of speculation as to the reasons why the meeting between Maliki and Bush was cancelled. There are the soft diplomatic fabrications, which include:

* "No one should read too much into this," said Dan Bartlett, Bush adviser.
* The incredulous, " al-Maliki and Jordan's King Abdullah II had decided mutually that a three-way conversation was not necessary because the Jordanian and Iraqi leaders had met earlier in the day." ; This from Bush staffers.
* A Jordanian source said Abdullah and Bush met longer than expected because of Palestinian issues and had to cancel the meeting with al-Maliki.
* al-Maliki needed the delay, which was requested by Abdullah, for political advantage to calm the al-Sadr movement.

There are no questions that tensions have been rising between the Maliki Government and the Bush Administration. The leaked Nov. 8 memo by National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, hinted at such..."His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shia hierarchy and force positive change," the memo says of al-Maliki, text posted on The New York Times' Web site. "But the reality ... suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action."

That is not what you want to read about yourself over your morning coffee. I believe there is another reason. On June 13, 2006, you will recall that President Bush made a surprise visit to Baghdad to visit Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki. The photographs and videos of the meeting show Maliki having a real WTF moment.

Bush met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Cabinet, and pledged his full support behind the newly formed government.

Bush stayed in Iraq for less than six hours and caught everyone by surprise, especially Maliki who reportedly had five minutes' notice that President Bush was in the Green Zone. That in itself was embarrassing and humiliating to the Iraqis, who after all are politicians and egoists.

So let's review the bidding. A surprise visit from Bush where he pledges undying support and the next meeting where Maliki is surprised to hear Bush no longer loves him.

Maliki must be thinking, " Mr. President, we have to stop meeting like this."


They met this morning. Mr. Maliki had some inspiring and forceful words:

"We are very clear together about the importance of accelerating the transfer of the security responsibility.''

Maliki said all political factions in Iraq have a responsibility to respect the law and that he wouldn't allow neighboring countries to interfere with affairs inside Iraq.

"Those who participate in this government need to bear responsibilities,'' Maliki said.

"This should apply to all the partners of the government who have chosen to participate in the political process.''


  1. US Iraq panel 'to urge withdrawal'

    Mark Tran and agencies
    Thursday November 30, 2006
    Guardian Unlimited

    "George Bush today praised Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, as a "strong leader" and said the US would be in Iraq "so long as the government wants us there".
    But the pressure on Mr Bush to whittle down America's military presence in Iraq looks set to increase a notch. Next week, the Iraq Study Group led by the former secretary of state James Baker and the former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton is to recommend a gradual withdrawal of US combat troops, reports say.

    According to the New York Times, the 10-member bipartisan panel has reached a consensus after eight months of discussions that the US should wind down its military commitment and make clear the US troop presence is not open-ended. The US currently has around 140,000 troops in Iraq.

    Crucially, the panel avoided a specific timetable for withdrawal - something the Democrats on the panel wanted but the president strongly opposes.

    The report, to be delivered next Wednesday, is to recommend that a military withdrawal start relatively soon, however, next year being the implicit message."

  2. I'd be very interested in responses to the comment I left on DR's thread.


  3. Skip. That is worthy of a debate I Will put that up as a post this afternoon. If you want to review it, do so, post it here and I will put it above the fold.

  4. Boy, I check the first thread and discover I had one of my own and did not even know it.

    To skip's question, I'd agree. The "Permanent Government" has grown beyond control.

    Especially in Mr Bush's case, where he did not have any kind of "Clean sweep" when he went to DC. Leaving the Clinton appointees in place. If one does not control what is within one's reach, those things on the periphery will be unconcerned & unmolested.

  5. As to Mr Bush and Mr Maliki, the blood is in the water.

    The US will accelerate the turnover of the ISF to Mr Maliki, as he desired. Mr Maliki will use the ISF to hammer the Sunni Insurgents, on the theory that when they stand down, the Shia militias will as well.

    The Sauds were going to build a fence on the Iraqi border, that they'd fund Sunni brigades is with out doubt.

    I am not sure that the Sauds have the capacity to collapse oil prices, but certainly hope they do.
    It'd but a damper on the more outlandish behaviour by both Iran and Russia.

    As to what types of actions I envisioned from the previous thread, it'd be nonnuclear but overwhelming force applied quickly and without remorse. From the Air, Land or Sea.

  6. I wonder if the Cheney trip (Cheney who knows how to talk production-capacity-tech) was to ask the king whether, if Iran went off-line for a few months, KSA could and would "surge" awhile.

  7. Dr K couldn't answer that question, buddy?

    I'd hate to think we've paid for all those military toys and never get to use them, in a worthy cause.

  8. I doubt if Dr K can commit the gov't, as Cheney can.

  9. Mr Cheney also represents the Sauds, as Dr K does?

    Or perhaps Mr Bush and Mr Cheney wanted to hear it from the horse's mouth, directly.

    We'll know, pretty much for sure, by May, at the latest.

  10. A question for anyone that knows:

    Westhawk put the migration out of Iraq at 3,000 per week, or 12,000 per month.

    Quite recently I have been seeing it reported that the number is now reaching 100,000 per month, without a reference as to the source of that number.

    Does anyone know where that number came from, or has it been created whole cloth?

  11. Dunno, rat--but one would think that our jillion-dollar professional press industry would be way up on such signal info.

  12. Deuce,

    Mr. Maliki is an inspiration to us all.

    "Those who participate in this government need to bear responsibilities"

    Words to live by.

  13. Before one can bear Responsibility they must have Authority.

    Authority nor Responsibility have been vested in the Iraqi Government, by US.

    Perhaps we will begin to speedily transfer both, perhaps not.

  14. DR,

    Every citizen has responsibilities. Maliki, being the First Citizen of Iraq, has responsibilities commensurate with a role he voluntarily assumed. If Maliki believes the presence of the United States deprives him of the authority needed by the First Citizen, he need only say so. Instead, both Bush and Maliki have danced a petty minuet, bringing disrepute to both and a personal insult to every American. (Granted, like Bush, few Americans seem aware of the insult. You may be sure Messrs. Putin, Hu, Assad, et al did not miss it.)

  15. Allen, Mr Maliki has been saying that the US was depriving him of the Authority comeserate with his Responsibility. The Generals had always said he and his were not ready.

    Now Mr Bush has decided he is, maybe. We shall see if Authority transfers, really.

    Mr Bush reinterted the US will leave if the Iraqi Government asks US to.

    The Grand Summitt has taken place, and you are right about Mr Bush and US being dissed by Mr Maliki. The Iraqi want control, will we really be handing it over?

    Seems to me, we will. Then Mr Maliki, in June or July will want an end to the Occupation. A Schedule of Success, to be culminated on or around Nov '07 as he stated when taking office.

    That is his oft stated Mission Goal, what is ours?

  16. buddy larsen,

    You are correct. This is classic Teresita-Woman Catholic et al.

    From the BC:

    Drive By Blogger said...
    Wu Wei said, "If we could have tracked nuclear terrorist back to the Soviet Union back then, then we could track them today."

    They've already tracked the nuclear assassination back to planes which traveled between London and Moscow, but nothing more will come of it than a frown, possibly a little scorn, but definitely not a shunning.

    11/30/2006 08:53:32 AM

  17. DR,

    Skipsailing commented at length on your thread. By any reasonable standard, it does seem apparent the administration has been sabotaged from within. Skipsailing quite reasonably assumes that such blatant betrayal is opposed by the Bush administration. But, what if it is not? Instead, what if the Bush administration is merely another in a long line of insider elite administrations, accepting as normal those behaviors found by Skipsailing treacherous?

    If after six years no effort at VIGOROUS prosecution has been launched by the White House, may it be assumed the White House considers such behavior just part of the game?

  18. It would seem that way, allen, to a what would a "reasonable man" believe standard.