Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Leaders, Spectators & Clowns: the UN’s General Assembly’s 64th session

Posted by worriedlebanese on 25/09/2009

UN-GENERAL ASSEMBLY-OBAMAThe contrast between these four men is striking. One could easily say that in this world Assembly, they are “worlds apart”. On one hand you’ve got a world/worldly leader, on the other three buffoons with very distinct styles.

Obama knew very well who his audience was, and he spoke to them in his habitual clear and cultured style. He was here to convince the UN and world leaders that the Bush days are gone, a page was being turned and that multilateralism was to replace unilateralism. He spoke as a leader, summing his country’s policy change and telling his audience what it wanted to hear. He addressed many issues, took twice the time that was alloted to him, but everything he said was linked to a policy that he had already launched, and that he vowed to pursue (here is his speech).

Now let’s check out the three buffoons: the delusional megalomaniac buffoon, the possessed preacher buffoon and the dogmatic historian buffoon.

I’ve searched the web through and through, but found no transcription of Muammar Gaddafi’s text. The reason is simple. There was no text! The Libyan autocratic leader preferred to improvise. He brought several folders, papers and books with him, and flicked through them, giving solution to every single conflict that sprang to his mind. And instead of sticking to the 15 minutes given to him, he took a whole 90 minutes. So don’t expect coherence or clarity, it’s rants that you’re going to get.

Amadinejad’s speech on the other hand was very well constructed. It clearly defined the good guys and the bad guys. It also spoke lengthly of God… and to a lesser extent of Zionism. It hardly adressed the nuclear issue or other upsetting matters. It didn’t give much thought about the audience or the fact that Israel has been campaigning against him quite heavily accusing his country of genocidal intent. Autistic to the very end, he stuck to preaching, giving no consideration to the fact that his audience wasn’t particularly receptive to his message, and that he needed to be very convincing if he wanted to get his point through.

And then came Netanyahu! If you want a good summary of Israeli Hasbara (propaganda techniques called “explanation”), you can’t dream of a better lesson. Bibi’s speech will tell you everything about how to be self-righteous, how history is to be used against others, how rhetorical techniques could be effective and how certain references can help you sway an audience toward you.

8 Responses to “Leaders, Spectators & Clowns: the UN’s General Assembly’s 64th session”

  1. lirun said

    interesting views..

    i thought netanyahu used obama intonations and vernacular.. he used to speak with more impassioned tones.. he sounded slow and yes at times insincere..

    i dont know what the speeches did to world opinion but i think they were equally critical for the home front and this is what your analysis misses..

    to you BNs speech was hasbara.. not that hasbara is such a bad thing in a world full of ignorance – explaining – to me at least is welcome.. even if its incomplete at least it gives me something to work with.. but in any event he said a bunch of things that internally he had never said:

    a – palestinian state – this is a huge step away from the economic peace he was so insistent about only months ago..

    b – recognising the palestinian claim to a home – thats a historical and emotional admission that is relevant and potent..

    c – side by side (minus a few caveats) – again a huge step forward

    for the world this may seem like fluff.. but for us its huge.. because now he has finally said it.. and so now he needs to implement his own words..

    by yelling defensively at the world it makes it seem as if this is not a concession but rather a position that israel has always defended.. this way psychologically he can drag across right wingers that trust him to collaborate at the civic level and believe me we will need all the collaboration we can find..

    there was a lot of value for us in his speech by shifting his party’s position leftwards publicly.. now lets see what follows..

    • You’re right Lirun. This dimension completely flew over my head. I listened to Bibi’s speech as a concerned world citizen (who hails from Lebanon), not as an Israeli citizen. This is how interactions like ours get interesting. We get to share each other’s perspectives.
      Now that you pointed out this dimension to me, I’m starting to see how Netanyahu is veering. International pressure (i.e Obama’s) and political responsibilities are pushing him the same direction as Rabin and Sharon. Added to Bibi’s American veneer, this should help him adapt and counter the pressure while changing nothing substantive in Israeli policy toward Palestinians, just as his predecessors did. And like them, he’ll be telling the widest sector in Israel what it wants to hear. And he’ll get compensations for it from the International community (maybe another undeserved Nobel Peace Price like the one Arafat, Rabin and Perez got for changing tactics). If he keeps at it he might even prevent Tzipi Livni and Avigdor Lieberman from taking over the helm in the coming elections.

      • lirun said

        ok

        so i see ur angle but i think its more than that..

        every right wingers coveted wet dream is to bring peace.. to show that their way was right and to justify their belief system via the ultimate desired outcome of regional harmony.. its tough being on that side of politics but the perk is that in essence you are the only one that can shift the mindset of our tough liners towards a peace deal.. and bibi has that power..

        as rough as he may sound – i do believe that he has the power to bring a deal in place..

        and if you look at facts on the ground.. both this time around and last – bibi has been quick to remove road blocks and to ease palo restrictions.. in fact rabin himself mr lovey dovey had more roadblocks (if you ask amira hass of haaretz.com) than bibi.. see http://emspeace.blogspot.com/2007/12/beyond-road-blocks-of-silence.html

        in any event – i believe him that he wants peace as one of his goals and i believe he has the clout to lead israel there as well as sufficient arab reverence to nail an agreement..

        i am not the only one who thinks that btw my former boss (a settler and fanatic) would never vote right wing because he like many others knows that it takes a strong right wing in israel to make peace..

        interesting times..

        i had the same dilemma when i voted.. i have always voted green but you kind of want to vote right to get peace.. at least i wanted to..

      • I don’t know. I see Netanyahu as going towards another kind of “disengagement” (and we both know what Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza brought. Incidentally, the disengagement from Gaza followed the physical closure of the district. Now that the large chunks of the West Bank is walled in and out, withdrawal becomes possible. Withdrawal is only an issue because of the demographic “problem” Palestinians as non-Jews constitute. This is why it is viewed as necessary and as long as one can count on a force to do the policing (for Israel) within the “residual” evacuated territories, only a foolish Prime Minister won’t agree to disengagement. And Netanyahu knows that he can count on Abbas to do the policing. Abbas has already been tested over the years, but how long will he stay in power?

        I don’t believe “disengagement” is a way to Peace (at least not in my understanding of peace). It reverses some of the effects of war, but doesn’t reverse its logic.

  2. lirun said

    i think u under estimate him man.. we have learned lessons from gaza.. and the situation there is no comparable to the one in the west bank because the consequences of a failed pull out would be much graver and the cost of re entry much higher.. it has to be done right the first time.. netanyahu knows this.. his issue about settlement growth expansion etc is to my mind a vital message to the settlers because if he moves ahead in a gang ho way there will be a civil war in israel..

    the only solution i see is based on land swap..

    it is sooo complicated.. im not jealous of the leadership – i can tell you that much..

  3. NB said

    I don’t believe “disengagement” is a way to Peace (at least not in my understanding of peace). It reverses some of the effects of war, but doesn’t reverse its logic.

    Disengagement may be not a way to peace, but it’s a way to something better than becoming another Lebanon which what “engagement” is about.
    😀 😀

  4. PN said

    Hi WL,

    Are you OK? It has been 3 weeks since your last post!

    Hope all is well.

    • Hey PN. thanks for the message. Life has been something of a helter skelter lately. But things have somewhat settled down and work has taken over… completely!
      Hope to hear from you soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: