ISRAELI BANALITY: Biden and the Settlements – Wiping the Spit Off His Face

Some weeks the news is dominated by a single word. This week’s word was “timing”.

It’s all a matter of timing. The Government of Israel has insulted the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, one of the greatest “friends” of Israel (meaning: somebody totally subservient to AIPAC) and spat in the face of President Barack Obama. So what? It’s all a matter of timing.

If the government had announced the building of 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem a day earlier, it would have been OK. If it had announced it three days later, it would have been wonderful. But doing it exactly when Joe Biden was about to have dinner with Bibi and Sarah’le – that was really bad timing.

The matter itself is not important. Another thousand housing units in East Jerusalem, or 10 thousand, or 100 thousand – what different does it make? The only thing that matters is the timing.

As the Frenchman said: It’s worse than criminal, it’s stupid.

* * *

THE WORD “stupid” also figured prominently this week, second only to “timing”.

Stupidity is an accepted phenomenon in politics. I would almost say: to succeed in politics, one needs a measure of stupidity. Voters don’t like politicians who are too intelligent. They make them feel inferior. A foolish politician, on the other hand, appears to be “one of the folks”.

History is full of acts of folly by politicians. Many books have been written about this. To my mind, the epitome of foolishness was achieved by the events that led to World War I, with its millions of victims, which broke out because of the accumulated stupidity of (in ascending order) Austrian, Russian, German, French and British politicians.

But even stupidity in politics has its limits. I have pondered this question for decades, and who knows, one day, when I grow up, I might write a doctoral thesis about it.

My thesis goes like this: In politics (as in other fields) foolish things happen regularly. But some of them are stopped in time, before they can lead to disaster, while others are not. It this accidental, or is there a rule?

My answer is: there certainly is a rule. It works like this: when somebody sets in motion an act of folly that runs counter to the spirit of the regime, it is stopped in its tracks. While it moves from one bureaucrat to another, somebody starts to wonder. Just a moment, this cannot be right! It is referred to higher authority, and soon enough somebody decides that it is a mistake.

On the other hand, when the act of folly is in line with the spirit of the regime, there are no brakes. When it moves from one bureaucrat to the next, it looks quite natural to both. No red light. No alarm bell. And so the folly rolls on to the bitter end.

I remember how this rule came to my mind the first time. In 1965, Habib Bourguiba, the president of Tunisia, took a bold step: he made a speech in the biggest refugee camp in Jericho, then under Jordanian rule, and called upon the Arabs to recognize Israel. This caused a huge scandal all over the Arab world.

Some time later, the correspondent of an Israeli paper reported that in a press conference at the UN headquarters, Bourguiba had called for the destruction of Israel. This sounded strange to me. I made inquiries, checked the protocol and found out that the opposite was true: the reporter had mistakenly turned a no into a yes.

How did this happen? If the journalist had erred in the opposite direction and reported, for example, that Gamal Abd-el-Nasser had called for the acceptance of Israel into the Arab League, the news would have been stopped at once. Every red light would have lit up. Someone would have called out: Hey, something strange here! Check again! But in the Bourguiba case nobody noticed the mistake, for what is more natural than an Arab leader calling for the destruction of Israel? No verification needed.

That’s what happened this week in Jerusalem. Every government official knows that the nationalist Prime Minister is pushing for the Judaization of East Jerusalem, that the extreme nationalist Minister of the Interior is even more eager, and that the super-nationalist Mayor of Jerusalem practically salivates when he imagines a Jewish quarter on the Temple Mount. So why should a bureaucrat postpone the confirmation of a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem? Just because of the visit of some American windbag?

Therefore, the timing is not important. It’s the matter itself that’s important.

* * *

DURING HIS last days in office, President Bill Clinton published a peace plan, in which he tried to make up for eight years of failure in this region and kowtowing to successive Israeli governments. The plan was comparatively reasonable, but included a ticking bomb.

About East Jerusalem, Clinton proposed that what is Jewish should be joined to the State of Israel and what is Arab should be joined to the state of Palestine. He assumed (rightly, I believe) that Yasser Arafat was ready for such a compromise, which would have joined some new Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to Israel. But Clinton was not wise enough to foresee the consequences of his proposal.

In practice, it was an open invitation to the Israeli government to speed up the establishment of new settlements in East Jerusalem, expecting them to become part of Israel. And indeed, since then successive Israeli governments have invested all available resources in this endeavor. Since money has no smell, every Jewish casino-owner in America and every Jewish brothel-keeper in Europe was invited to join the effort. The Biblical injunction – “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God, for any vow; for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 23:18) – was suspended for this holy cause.

Now the pace is speeded up even more. Because there is no more effective means of obstructing peace than building new settlements in East Jerusalem.

* * *

THAT IS clear to anyone who has dealings with this region. No peace without an independent Palestinian state, no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem. About this there is total unanimity among all Palestinians, from Fatah to Hamas, and between all Arabs, from Morocco to Iraq, and between all Muslims, from Nigeria to Iran.

There will be no peace without the Palestinian flag waving above the Haram al-Sharif, the holy shrines of Islam which we call the Temple Mount. That is an iron-clad rule. Arabs can compromise about the refugee problem, painful as it may be, and about the borders, also with much pain, and about security matters. But they cannot compromise about East Jerusalem becoming the capital of Palestine. All national and religious passions converge here.

Anyone who wants to wreck any chance for peace – it is here that he has to act. The settlers and their supporters, who know that any peace agreement would include the elimination of (at least) most settlements, have planned in the past (and probably are planning now) to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount, hoping that this would cause a worldwide conflagration which would reduce to ashes the chances of peace once and for all.

Less extreme people dream about the creeping ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem by administrative chicanery, demolition of houses, denying means of livelihood and just making life in general miserable for Arabs.  Moderate rightists just want to cover every empty square inch in East Jerusalem with Jewish neighborhoods. The aim is always the same.

* * *

THIS REALITY is, of course, well known to Obama and his advisors. In the beginning they believed, in their innocence, that they could sweet talk Netanyahu and Co. into stopping the building activity to facilitate the start of negotiations for the two-state solution. Very soon they learned that this was impossible without exerting massive pressure – and they were not prepared to do that.

After putting up a short and pitiful struggle, Obama gave in. He agreed to the deception of a “settlement freeze” in the West Bank. Now building is going on there with great enthusiasm, and the settlers are satisfied. They have completely stopped their demonstrations.

In Jerusalem there was not even a farcical attempt – Netanyahu just told Obama that he would go on building there (“as in Tel Aviv”), and Obama bowed his head. When Israeli officials announced a grandiose plan for building in “Ramat Shlomo” this week, they did not violate any undertaking. Only the matter of “timing” remained.

* * *

FOR JOE BIDEN, it was a matter of honor. For Mahmoud Abbas, it is a matter of survival.

Under intense pressure from the Americans and their agents, the rulers of the Arab countries, Abbas was obliged to agree to negotiations with the Netanyahu government – though only “proximity talks”, a euphemism for “distance talks”.

Clearly, nothing will come out of these talks except more humiliation for the Palestinians. Quite simply: anyone building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is announcing in advance that there is no chance for an agreement. After all, no sane Israeli would invest billions in a territory he intends to turn over to the Palestinian state. A person who is eating a pizza is not negotiating about it in good faith.

Even at this late stage, Abbas and his people still hope that something good will come out of all this: the US will acknowledge that they are right and exert, at long last, real pressure on Israel to implement the two-state solution.

But Biden and Obama did not give much cause for hope. They wiped the spit off their faces and smiled politely.

As the saying goes: when you spit in the face of a weakling, he pretends that it is raining. Does this apply to the president of the most powerful country in the world?

Ref: Counterpunch

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

MURDERED: Asesinan a Walter Trochez

viernes 4 de diciembre de 2009
“Ha sido duro, sabemos que hay mucha lucha por delante, pero… somos Mujeres en Resistencia”
Por Rosa C. Báez
“Ha sido duro, sabemos que hay mucha lucha por delante, pero… somos Mujeres en Resistencia”
Amazonas en Resistencia

“A todas mis hermanas en resistencia; hijas y madres inquebrantables de Honduras. Con los pechos duros de rabia, herencia de Harmonía, y las caderas en equilibrio guerrero, van las amazonas hondureñas en marcha por la voz de luz. Salpicadas de odio ajeno y sangre iluminada, con brillo de leona navegando en sus ojos, marchan las Amazonas.

Viven por el día, por el aire, por el agua. Sus gritos elevan dagas hasta el cielo. Están en pie de guerra. Luchan por una tierra justa y libre. Van con las aves en vuelo silencioso conquistando el aire que respirarán sus hijos. Llueve en sus mejillas la rabia. Defienden las Amazonas.

La fuerza incólume de sus brazos, golpea firme la injusticia, la impunidad. Destruyen la farsa con su lanza de fuego. Con látigo temerario echan abajo la hipocresía. Melenas majestuosas, al viento enarboladas, protegen sus ideas. Castigan las Amazonas.

Banderas de esperanza y castigo flamean en sus vientres. Territorio abierto al amor y a la justicia. Arcos y flechas vibran en sus manos, destinados a eclipsar a los traidores de la patria. Defensoras de lo suyo, del pueblo, del sudor. Aman las Amazonas.

Marchan las Amazonas con paso constante, invariable. Aplastarán hasta el último parásito en su ruta a la libertad. Redimirán al pueblo, devolverán la vida. Más que la paz, reconstruirán la esperanza. El pueblo saluda su paso de ángeles. Ellas, impacientes, marchan por Honduras”.

Melissa Merlo
Con el rostro serio y en la mirada todo el dolor acumulado por el recuerdo de los numerosos casos de mujeres violadas y atropelladas que ha debido recoger en estos cruentos días vividos (“La denuncia y el seguimiento son armas de sobrevivencia”, postulan estas luchadoras), la escritora y feminista independiente hondureña Jessica Sánchez, llegada a la Habana para participar en el I Taller Regional sobre Género y Comunicación “Cambiar la Mirada”, comparte con nosotros estas vivencias…

“Estábamos allí, en el aeropuerto, mientras el avión de Mel sobrevolaba la multitud que lo esperaba: de pronto, se sucedieron disparos, no sabíamos de donde provenían, qué sucedía… unos corrieron, otros quedamos a la espera, pero todos seguros de que no nos moveríamos de allí… luego supimos la horrible noticia de que la primera vida era cobrada: el joven Isis Obed Murillo había caído bajo las balas asesinas y aún hoy día su padre guarda injusta prisión”.

“Hemos estado reportando detenciones, hemos entrevistado a mujeres, de todas las edades y etnias, que han sido violadas y nos dicen: ‘yo iba a acudir a la policía… pero ¿a qué policía si fueron ellos quienes me violaron, quienes usaron sus palos de goma para violarme, mientras yo les rogaba que no me hicieran daño, que tenía hijos pequeños’. ¿Quién puede admitir la legitimización de un régimen que no sólo toma el poder por la fuerza, secuestrando al legítimo Presidente de un país, si no que suelta sus ‘perros de caza’ contra la población inocente, que asesina a sus propios hermanos, mientras muestra una cara de credibilidad e inocencia?

“Las mujeres hondureñas hemos estado desde el primer día en la calle: fuimos las primeras en difundir el mensaje sobre el Golpe de Estado, sumándonos después al Frente Nacional de Resistencia contra el Golpe, apoyando en las asambleas casi diarias, en las reuniones, en las marchas. Luego debimos documentar las represiones, los abusos sexuales contra mujeres, los abusos físicos, las detenciones, trabajamos junto al Comité de Familiares y Desaparecidos de Honduras (COFADEH) para hacer guardias en los hospitales para evitar las detenciones o denunciarlas. Hemos sufrido el dolor de ver a familiares golpeados, hemos perdido, masacrados a machetazos, a amigos de toda la vida… pero nada nos ha detenido: somos más del 70% de la resistencia tanto en acciones como en marchas, ayudando en las cocinas, haciendo mantas, camisetas, haciendo pintas, difundiendo consignas…

“En la actualidad estamos, con medio casi artesanales, difundiendo la boletina Feministas en Resistencia –somos más de doscientas- en el que denunciamos la detención de compañeras, de compañeros, de líderes de nuestros grupos de resistencia pacífica y a través de la cual nos pronunciamos contra las elecciones bajo el lema “Ni violencia contra las mujeres, ni elecciones fraudulentas”.

“No sólo luchamos por Mel, por el Golpe de Estado: luchamos porque la voz de la mujer hondureña no pueda nunca más ser acallada, luchamos por no ser relegadas a la casa, por que nos hemos ganado este sitio y vamos a seguir luchando, porque, como dije una vez “La rabia no se me cansa, tal vez por eso todavía sigo escribiendo y protestando”

Apenas hicieron falta las preguntas: como un río de fuerza descomunal, desbordado ante el crimen, ante el dolor de su pueblo, esta mujer que hoy representa ante nosotras a todas las mujeres hondureñas, termina este encuentro con estas palabras:

“Lucharemos por la restitución del verdadero orden constitucional, seguiremos enfrentándonos a esta represión que desdichadamente continuará, porque estos hechos son un mensaje de la derecha, renovada y aupada por los grupos más conservadores de Estados Unidos y América. Y estamos seguras que venceremos, que seguirán las Jessica, las Suyapa, las Mariana, las Regina, las Dianas, luchando para que la memoria de Wendy, de Isis Obed, de las mujeres violadas, de las madres y las hijas e hijos que esperan con temor en nuestras casas no caiga en el olvido… porque cuando la gente se pregunte “¿y éstas quiénes son? les diremos ¡¡ SOMOS FEMINISTAS EN REVOLUCION!!!”*
*Lema de las Feministas en Resistencia
REF: Publicado por Feministas en Resistencia CR

VIDEO: Obama is a disaster! (Robert Fisk speaking the truth!)

VIDEO: What future for ‘Greater Israel’?

What future for the “Greater Land of Israel”?

Six decades after its founding, Israel has grown into one of the world’s top 20 industrial states, with GNP (General National Product) superior to all its neighbours combined.


With an estimated 200 nuclear warheads, and one of the most advanced air forces in the world, Israel promotes itself as the Middle East’s most powerful military and one of the world’s five leading arms exporters.

Priding itself on being a Western-type democracy; Israel has always sought close relations with empires and superpowers, underlining its estrangement within its own region.

Thanks to decades of preferential treatment by Western superpowers, Israel has had its cake and eaten it too. It has occupied, annexed and exploited Palestinian and Arab lands with impunity, and at the same time received over $100bn as the West’s foremost ally in the Middle East. Israel’s control over the Occupied Territories has radicalised its own society and identity as much as it has deformed that of the Palestinians. And yet, despite all, Israel’s borders remain undrawn, its capital unrecognised, its Jewishness unaccepted, and its security in question.

Part II

Today, after two failed wars in Lebanon and Gaza and a deadlocked peace process, Israel’s moment of truth has come …

A radical right-wing coalition government in Israel is determined to press ahead with the expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

Palestinians refuse to accept anything less than a total freeze on all settlements but they are divided on the best way forward – diplomacy or resistance.

The all-powerful US is powerless. Since the election of Barack Obama, the US president, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, relations have become stifled.

Is Israel still a strategic asset? Was it ever? Or is it a strategic burden? Obama staked his presidency on a breakthrough, but his efforts have stumbled at the first hurdle.

The United Nations continue to issue toothless resolutions with no impact on the ground. Is it left to the European Union to make the running with yet another vague overture?

The diplomatic vacuum leads to more unilateral policies and a radicalisation of both sides that could escalate the conflict even further. So how can the international community end an illegal occupation that has lasted for four decades? Is a two state solution still possible, or one state or no state!

This episode of Empire airs from Wednesday, December 23, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0300, 1400; Friday: 0600.

GAZA ONE YEAR LATER: Who Cares About Gaza?

Gaza?  Where’s that?  Have you heard about it recently?  It doesn’t figure on the list of important matters for consideration by the world’s presidents and prime ministers.  It has vanished from the media.  Most people couldn’t care less about a generation of Palestinians who are subjected to viciously inflicted privation by an imperialist nation that has lost touch with humanity.

Most countries, most human beings, with predictable exceptions, condemned Israel for indulging in frenzied savagery during its blitzkrieg on Gaza last December and January. There is no doubt that many of its actions were criminal. For example, there are well-documented instances of use of white phosphorus artillery shells against civilians. Poison gas, in other words – if a bit more hi-tech than the venomous vapors that exterminated so many millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children in Nazi concentration camps.

But Israel, propped up as a strutting jackbooted puppet on the global stage by the well-muscled fingers of Washington and some other capitals whose endorsement of violence seems boundless, can get away, quite literally, with murder.  Innocent men, women and children can be exterminated by armed forces that have no reason to fear justice or even criticism from the world’s juridical system.

A highly respected international jurist, Mr Richard Goldstone (a South African Jew), produced a report for the UN about Israel’s attempted genocide and Hamas atrocities and was impartial and objective about assessing facts and apportioning responsibility, as would be expected of such a distinguished judge.

His terms of reference were “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

He investigated thoroughly (although the Israelis refused to cooperate in any way) and reported fairly. His finding was that Palestinian terror groups were culpable of atrocities, as were Israeli armed forces, and for the latter ruling he was promptly attacked by Israel, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Financial Times.

And by President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration pronounced the report to be “flawed,” without giving any indication of what the flaws might be. Mr Goldstone, courteous and balanced as ever – if a trifle taken aback at such a reaction – observed gently that “I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are . . .  I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are . . . Of course I’m concerned and would like to engage with the Obama administration, at least informally.”

Fat chance of that happening, unless Mr Obama is prepared to risk the wrath of Israel.

But Mr Obama, like his predecessors, isn’t in favor of anything that is critical of Israel.  He wants a second presidential term, after all, and must not offend the rich and dominant Israel Lobby.  And his country’s legislators, who are equally beholden to that Lobby and have to follow the Tel Aviv line, “overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning a report by a United Nations fact-finding panel that criticized Israel as part of an assessment of the conflict in Gaza in 2008 between Israel and Hamas.”  They voted against the report by 344 to 36, thereby showing, like the White House, their contempt for impartial analysis, the UN, the eminent Justice Goldstone, international law, and almost everything that remains civilized in this horrible world.  (And you wonder how many of them read the report before voting.)

Hundreds of legislators in the US and Britain have sold their souls to Israel and will support Tel Aviv in any circumstances.

Britain’s governing Labor Party is right behind Israel, and it is recorded that “The Labor Friends of Israel (LFI), ‘a Westminster based lobby group working within the British Labor Party to promote the State of Israel’ fostered close ties with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined the society upon his premiership.”

After his catastrophic decade as prime minister, Blair,  a squalid, greedy and unprincipled man, and a proven liar, was appointed “Middle East envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU,” as which he achieved precisely nothing.  The selection of Blair as a representative to the Middle East was absurd. Nobody could imagine for an instant that his activities would be regarded as impartial – unlike Mr Goldstone – but this didn’t matter, because he had the seal of Israeli approval.

Just as in the US, Israel knows no political borders in Britain, whose present prime minister, an uninspiring and petulant dullard called Brown, declared that :

“it is one of the great privileges I have to be able to address the Labour Friends of Israel, to be able to thank you for everything that you do to promote the cause of justice . . .  I count myself not only a friend of Israel but someone who wants to support the future of Israel.”

“The cause of justice”?

As Judge Goldstone recorded, Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” by intentionally killing civilians during its Gaza blitzkrieg.

But Britain’s prime minister imagines that Israel’s slaughter of over 300 children will “promote the cause of justice.”

And the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party was equally toadying in June when he told the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) fundraising dinner at the Dorchester Hotel that he supported Israel unequivocally, “Not simply because of my party’s unstinting support for Israel through the decades, but also because it’s something I feel very deep inside of me.”

What drivel.  This little man, whose name escapes me, has jumped on the Israeli bandwagon because it means money. 80 per cent of Conservative legislators are members of the CFI, and subsidies for political campaigns from Israel-supporting business organizations are discreetly disguised and happily grasped.

There is hardly a word of criticism of Israel by politicians in the US and the UK, and it’s not at all surprising that this is so, because so many of them couldn’t exist without cash from the Israel Lobby, passed on in one way or another. All the lavish expenses-paid holiday trips to the land of “the cause of justice” are simply confirmation that legislators are out to get whatever they can for free.

And Peace Prize-winning Mr Obama, of whom so many of us had high hopes of even-handedness, has a Secretary of State who told the Israel Lobby “It is wonderful being here with all of you among so many friends and I feel like this is a giant family reunion . . . and I feel like I am among family . . .  I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security . . .  God bless Israel . . .

With servile, bootlicking friends like these, Israel can continue to defy UN Security Council resolutions, it can build scores of illegal settlements on land stolen from Palestinians, it can condemn the people of Gaza – and especially countless thousands of children – to indefinite and hideous hardship.  The state of Israel exists in a wicked and vicious parallel world, bolstered by smug and sleazy western politicians.

Ten years ago Justice Goldstone declared that “bringing war criminals to justice stems from the lessons of the Holocaust.”

Indeed it does.

But when so many politicians and so much of the media in the US and Britain are intent on supporting Zion and ignoring Israel’s repulsive human rights violations, you wonder if the lessons of the Holocaust are perhaps a bit one-sided. The people of Gaza are suffering from the effects of an illegal and malevolent Israeli blockade.  Its people are enduring horrible privation. The crimes against them go unpunished.

And nobody cares.  For it would be very difficult to admit that war crimes have been committed by people who come to your giant family reunions, promoting “the cause of justice.”

Ref: Counterpunch

Brian Cloughley’s book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, is to be published in the US by Skyhorse next month. His website is http://www.beecluff.com.

Beyond Copenhagen: Dialogue, not diktat

As it drifts from the present into the past, the Copenhagen climate change conference looks both better and worse. Worse, because a considered reading of the accord, which was its only tangible output, reveals that it is not just inadequate but in fact utterly empty. Better, because of the novel manner in which this ultimate failure was reached. As the sight of the daily chaos drops out of view, it becomes easier to appreciate that the rich world was forced to haggle with the bigger emerging economies on more equal terms than ever before.

As the dust has settled on the “meaningful agreement” proclaimed late on Friday, it has become plain that it was scarcely an agreement at all. For one thing it was “noted” rather than adopted by the assembly, and for another it contains no commitments with real bite. The gaping hole where emissions targets should have been was immediately apparent, but it took a little longer to spot that seemingly firm pledges on aid were hedged with lawyerly language, and that passages dealing with supposed “easy wins” – such as on forestry – were devoid of all detail. But amid all the multiple omissions in the three pages of waffle that constitute the accord, the most damning of all was a lack of anything firm about what happens next.

Failure to fix the climate in Copenhagen might have been forgiven, had the delegates emerged with a credible timetable for getting the job done. Instead, progress made under the text’s inaction plan is to be “assessed” in 2015, with a view to considering whether to tighten the 2C lid on temperature rises to 1.5C. This may sound a noble idea, but the review is set to be futile, since the science says that rises above 1.5C will probably be guaranteed by the middle of the new decade. About the only action committed to at an earlier date is for the rich countries to come up with targets by the end of next month, an obligation which the big players could fully discharge by simply repeating the pledges each has already made.

While the Copenhagen product is every inch the sham that campaigners say it is, the Copenhagen process has set important precedents. Most obviously, although the haggling proved fruitless, the sheer fact that it took place – and at such a high political level – means it will probably do so again. Many of the presidents and prime ministers who swanned off to Denmark told their people that their mission was saving the world. Before Copenhagen, across much of the planet, the highly complex risks faced by the climate had rarely been discussed in such dramatic terms. Now that leaders from Beijing to Brasilia have shown that they believe that the clear and present threat is sufficiently serious for them to turn up in person, they would have a tough time explaining why they were not going to bother next time.

Just as significant is what the summit revealed about the terms on which the ultimate climate deal will have to be brokered. Two moments were particularly instructive. The first involved the derailment of a western-led stitch-up, which became known as the Danish text. It would have done away with the Kyoto protocol, with its explicit acknowledgement of the industrialised world’s unique responsibility for the pollution it has pumped out over the centuries. When the poor countries made plain they would not wear it, the rich felt forced to back down. The second, which occurred only moments before stumps were finally drawn, was an American concession on monitoring emissions designed to sooth Chinese anxieties about sovereignty. Hours before, President Obama had taken a pointedly tough tone towards Beijing, but despite justified concerns about holding it to account, in the end he rightly recognised the need to compromise.

The silver that glistens within the dark cloud of Copenhagen’s failure is the west’s recognition that the world will not be rescued by diktat, but only through genuine dialogue.

Ref: Guardian

COP-15: Greenpeace asks: Money for war, not the planet? + Hopenhagen! (Naomi Klein)