Pressure On Washington
With Tony Blair rushing to Washington for talks, there are bound to be increasing pressures on the United States to push for a cease-fire in the Lebanon war.
It's difficult to see Secretary of State Rice's recent trip to the Middle East, Rome and Southeast Asia as much of a success.
And that's a very diplomatic way of phrasing it...
She seems to have been devoting most of her activities to resisting calls for an immediate cease-fire. She wants to give Israel more time for its military activities in the profoundly mistaken belief that these can achieve any reasonable objectives.
There is little doubt that the United States is paying a high price for this political stance.
In an OpEd piece in today's Washington Post, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher joins those that are highly critical of her line:
"Every day America gives the green light to further Israeli violence, our already tattered reputation sinks even lower. The reluctance of our closest allies in the Middle East even to receive Secretary Rice this week in their capitals attests to this fact."
Based on his own experience, he also argues forcefully for both an immediate ceasefire and for engaging Syria in order to achieve it.
Warren Christopher might not have been the most spectacular of Secretaries of State, but at critical junction - he himself mentions his Balkan experience - he demonstrated that he could be a man of sound judgment.
And he is not alone.
I would consider it highly likely that Tony Blair will argue along very similar lines when he sees President Bush in the White House. Whether he will be prepared to state his position openly is another matter.
We'll see. In the meantime the war continues and the situation in the Middle East deterioates.
The guns of July will soon by the guns of August...