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Monday, January 7, 2008

Mr. Bush: You are not in Kansas anymore

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/01/mr-bush-you-are-not-in-kansas-anymore.html

07.01. 2008
http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000476.html
Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center
http://zionism-israel.com

Not much peace is likely to come out of President Bush's upcoming visit to the Middle East. As Hillel Halkin notes, nobody in the Middle East probably really wants peace anyhow.

Unlike Hillel Halkin, I do not think this is a Good Thing. But it certainly seems to be a fact. As I note elsewhere, if US diplomats ever grasp this truth, it may set US policy in the Middle East on a much firmer footing. Since sometime after the Six Day War, the U.S. has held to the same policy in the Middle East. It is based on these principles:
  • Arab-Israeli peace will stabilize the region and open the way to further progress.

  • The various actors in the Middle East really want peace, though they each want it on their terms.

  • Peace can be obtained by using US leverage on Israel to extract territorial concessions from Israel. LI>

    By achieving peace and return of territories, the US can leverage Israeli return of territories into US influence with Arab states.

  • The US can maintain its leverage over Israel by making Israel dependent on US aid and weapons, and likewise, it can use the same mechanism to maintain leverage over other states in the region.

The model that is supposed to have validated the thesis is Egypt. Egypt made peace with Israel and got its territories back, and Egypt and Israel remain firm allies of the US, in part because of hefty foreign aid subsidies. But what if all the above assumptions are false? What if peace between the Arabs and Israelis would violate cultural taboos that have been in place in the Arab world for the last 100 years? What if it would destabilize all the regimes that signed peace treaties with Israel, by labeling them as "Jew lovers" and an easy target for extremists? What if the Israelis, once anxious for peace even in 1967 borders have in the interim gotten used to the "new" situation that has prevailed for 40 years, and are not anxious to trade real estate for flimsy peace agreements like the one with Egypt? What if instability in the Middle East, backward conditions and volatility are the cause of the Israel-Arab conflict rather than the effect?

Continued: Mr. Bush: You are not in Kansas anymore


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