New for­eign pol­icy for a new cen­tury

Well, for­get the old at­tempts at el­e­gance and dig­nity in for­eign pol­icy. We are see­ing some­thing not ex­actly co­her­ent or com­mon­sen­si­cal.

The Pak Banker - - Editorial5 - Ge­orgie Anne Geyer

So this is sup­posed to be a "new world" af­ter the fall elec­tions. So we were told we will be see­ing dar­ing new poli­cies for ev­ery­thing --from the Tea Partiers' do­mes­tic poli­cies to the Obama for­eign pol­icy. So, what are we see­ing? Well, for­get the old at­tempts at el­e­gance and dig­nity in for­eign pol­icy. We are see­ing some­thing not ex­actly co­her­ent or com­mon­sen­si­cal.

Take first the ad­min­is­tra­tion's new pol­icy on Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans, and the peace process that has stretched out such a long time that one could won­der if it ac­tu­ally started with the Queen of Sheba. Af­ter nearly two long years of pro­claim­ing the Mid­dle East his pri­mary quest for peace, Pres­i­dent Obama --and per­haps even more so, Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton --has come out with a pol­icy so de­void of com­mon sense as to make any rea­son­ably in­tel­li­gent per­son trem­ble with dis­be­lief.

In mid-Novem­ber, the "Amer­i­can pro­posal" emerged from the Clin­ton State Depart­ment af­ter per­haps too many meet­ings with ul­tra-right­ist Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu. Un­der what might bet­ter be called the "Is­raeli pro­posal," Is­rael would freeze set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity in the West Bank -- al­though not in East Jerusalem, where the Pales­tini­ans have al­ways planned to have their cap­i­tal, and FOR ONLY 90 DAYS! In re­turn, Is­rael would re­ceive F-35 jets worth $3 bil­lion, a pledge by Amer­i­cans to veto Pales­tinian ef­forts to gain state­hood recog­ni­tion through the U.N. for at least a year and --most im­por­tant -as­sur­ances that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion would not press Is­rael for any fur­ther set­tle­ment mora­to­rium. Think about this! The United States is --or was sup­posed to be --the in­fin­itely stronger state of the two. Is­rael is de­pen­dent upon Washington. We are talk­ing about a peace process to help them, not us. Yet the ad­min­is­tra­tion not only over­whelmed Is­rael with mil­i­tary good­ies, but promised, af­ter 90 days, to not press Is­rael again to stop build­ing set­tle­ments. So all Is­rael has to do is fil­i­buster or sab­o­tage the ne­go­ti­a­tions for 90 days and --bingo! --it's all over.

Is it pos­si­ble that our sec­re­tary of State and oth­ers around here and in the White House could be so naive as to not un­der­stand this ex­am­ple of rudi­men­tary Machi­avel­lian­ism? Next we have the new re­lease of a quar­ter-mil­lion (yep, and that's a lot!) su­per­sen­si­tive Amer­i­can diplo­matic doc­u­ments through this strange Aus­tralian-formed group Wik­iLeaks. From what I hear, since I haven't ex­actly had time to read the quar­ter-mil­lion, quite a bit is re­vealed. The doc­u­ments show how Arab lead­ers were largely in agree­ment with Is­rael in want­ing to curb Iran's nu­clear devel­op­ment, even if it in­volved mil­i­tary ac­tions. One cable showed that U.S. in­tel­li­gence be­lieves Iran has ob­tained from North Korea, an­other nu­clear threat, pow­er­ful mis­siles able to at­tack Euro­pean cap­i­tals. But my fa­vorite is one from April 2008, which has Saudi Ara­bia's King Ab­dul­lah telling the U.S. to "cut off the head of the snake," the snake, of course, be­ing Iran. Just as we were try­ing to pull all of this to­gether in our ad­dled brains --and try­ing to fig­ure out just what ter­ri­ble things the new Tea Party mem­bers of Congress are go­ing to do in for­eign pol­icy -here come the North Kore­ans, bomb­ing a South Korean is­land near the par­al­lel that di­vides the two coun­tries. It is hor­ri­ble, it is tragic, and it makes you want to take out Py­ongyang (al­though it's prob­a­bly not worth it), but it is also what North Korea's greatand/ or-dear­est-beloved-leaderof-the-moment can be de­pended upon to do about ev­ery two years. It is sort of a re­minder that he is still around. This time, as in pre­vi­ous al­ter­ca­tions be­tween North and South, Amer­i­can com­men­ta­tors on tele­vi­sion widely used the sit­u­a­tion to make the point that we were in­ca­pable of re­spond­ing to the at­tack on the is­land be­cause North Korea is a nu­clear state.

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