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US Foreign Policy and the Middle East

Siegfried Ramler writes: "There is no doubt that the combining and labelling of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as "the Axis of Evil" was ill advised. This designation obstructs the emerging moderate factions in Iran and disregards South Korea's initiatives towards reconciliation with the North. It also makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for inspection teams to return to Iraq.

As to the Middle East and US policy, Sharon is certainly a hardliner and carries a lot of baggage as a ruthless military commander. However, though Israel's population is about evenly divided between moderates, former Barak supporters, and hawks, Sharon's election was a clear response to the ongoing intifada and the reaction to the bombing of discotheques , restaurants, and the cycle of violence. Every US administration has tried its hardest to mediate and bring about a reconciliation. Clinton came close at Camp David and Arafat missed an offer which would have brought the Palestinians close to their goal, including the establishment of the state of Palestine and the return of most of the occupied territories. The Bush administration is trying again, to little avail. Arafat has not been resolute in stopping violence. A strong leader, committed to restoring order, would have taken immediate steps to root out the sources of attacks. It is not credible that he was ignorant of a large shipment of arms aboard a ship from Iran. The US administration's disillusionment is understandable.

Whether or not one feels that it was a mistake by President Truman to recognise the establishment of Israel in 1948, its existence is a fact, it is the only democracy in the region, it has a viable economy, and it is one of America's strategic allies in a region of vital importance. Eventually there will be a resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict, though it is not yet in sight. The US position, indeed the world's position, should be quite clear: Two viable states, Israel and Palestine, existing side by side, in peaceful cooperation".

My comment: As an earlier posting, the US and Israel are out of step with the rest of the world. What Siegfried says about Israel is true, but my reports are that Israelis are now becoming very discouraged. Utopianism or dreamland , of which "the American dream" of Mexicans is the latest example, goes back to the beginning of time and explains much of human migrations. The Jews who went to Israel dreamed that it would be an ideal Jewish state, but, as from most dreamlands, the dreamers wake up to reality.

Ronald Hilton - 2/23/02