Monday, January 05, 2009

One for the road

White House --

President Bush will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and former Prime Ministers Tony Blair of the United Kingdom and John Howard of Australia, on Tuesday, January 13th, in an East Room ceremony. The President is honoring these leaders for their work to improve the lives of their citizens and for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad.

All three leaders have been staunch allies of the United States, particularly in combating terrorism. And their efforts to bring hope and freedom to people around the globe have made their nations, America and the world community a safer and more secure world.

How intensive can those Gaza peace efforts be if the Quartet Representative, i.e. Blair, is making plans to be in Washington next week? Or is that week the de facto deadline to Israel to have wrapped something up in Gaza -- just as the Bush-Blair meeting in the summer of 2006 was the implicit deadline to Israel in Lebanon, before things went pear-shaped?

On the other hand, John Howard probably has a fair bit of time on his hands.

UPDATE: Blair is also so busy with the Gaza process that he has time to attend Nicolas Sarkozy's financial crisis meeting in Paris later this week.

FINAL UPDATE: John Howard is the mysterious occupant of the White House guest quarters, Blair House, keeping Barack Obama out of it -- and, as a result, the source of traffic chaos in Washington given the street closures around Obama's hotel.

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