As the Bush Administration’s Lights Go Out . . .

So now Israel has unilaterally decided to stop bombarding the Gaza Strip. Gee – why just now? Could it have anything to do with the inauguration of an entirely-new American administration on Tuesday? And could the timing of whole episode from the attacks’ very beginnings on 27 December be somehow connected to a desire to take advantage of the “hands-off” attitude of top American leaders while Israel still could?

For all the evident excitement about Inauguration Day, people need to stay on the alert on Monday, tomorrow: Pardon Day. That is the last day of George W. Bush presidential power, and so surely the day he will issue a set of shocking and unprincipled pardons to protect himself and his underlings from, among other things, war crimes charges. Isn’t this clear? Doing so at any point before would have spoiled the effect of (and probably increased the volume of flying shoes at) his rather pathetic “farewell tour” of self-justifying interviews and press conferences. So stay tuned.

Oh, and Obama has a fresh foreign policy crisis waiting for him as soon as the inauguration euphoria winds down. Yes, it’s Gaza too, but I’m referring more here to North Korea’s new “all-out confrontational posture” towards South Korea (the latter’s military is now on high alert) together with its claims to have procured enough plutonium for four or five nuclear weapons.

UPDATE: Well now, on the question of further pardons it looks like I was wrong!

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