In the film The Interpreter, Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) tells Secret Service agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) that she works as an interpreter at the United Nations because she prefers words to guns, even though she knows that words are “slower.” Later in the film we see a photograph of a younger Silvia brandishing a gun; she had once been a rebel fighter in Africa.
The U.S. State Department has for the first time included Saudi Arabia on a list of “countries of particular concern” for not allowing religious freedom—a potential stumbling block for relations between the U.S. and its Persian Gulf ally.
A senior Israeli official, listening to President Bush’s June 24 speech outlining U.S. policy on the Middle East, kept waiting to hear what pressure the U.S. was going to apply to Israel. He never heard it mentioned. “I thought all the way through the speech: this is the carrot, now comes the stick,” said the official. But “there was no stick.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s slow journey to Jerusalem gave Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon an extra week to continue his military assault on the Palestinian West Bank. If that was the purpose of his meandering schedule, Powell need not have bothered. Sharon still repudiated President Bush’s demand that he pull out his forces immediately.
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