Saudi Arabia’s No Nonsense Views on American Decline in the Middle East

-

I shared some views on Saudi Arabia’s steely-eyed, unsentimental assessment of the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the consequences of America’s decline in the region with this Radio Free Europe journalist, Abubakar Siddique.
What I see evolving in the Middle East today is a regional Cold War manifested through regional contests between Iranian and Saudi proxies with hot moments.
Even though Israel is a regional nuclear and conventional superpower, it has little long term viability unless it either comes to terms with its moderate Sunni Arab neighbors or convinces the US or Europe or other major security patrons to fully and politically acquire Israel as one of their own domestic states.
I spent Monday in Los Angeles and met an insightful next generation Arab-American thinker, Sama Adnan, who told me he believed that there was something like a mathematical equation in the Middle East that few Americans — Democrat or Republican — understand. He said that democracies or more self-determining populations in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East were impossible as long as the Palestinian-Israeli standoff over Palestine’s state status remained unresolved.
He said that if true democracies governed in any of these states, then those democratic movements would focus on their outrage that Israel was continuing to illegally occupy Palestinian territory. The more totalitarian governments in the region are bulwarks against a popular will that is focused on grievances involving Israel. The only way to create a more liberal and stable order in the Middle East, according to this young observer, is to deliver on Palestine — develop an effort towards regional confidence building between Israel and other states — and then try to encourage incremental change in the region.
But given the decline in American power, in American moral credibility and legitimacy as a fair broker in the region, regional order can’t be established unless Palestine, as a state, is launched. Until then, the region will convulse and American and European basic interests will whither.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “Saudi Arabia’s No Nonsense Views on American Decline in the Middle East

  1. Kathleen says:

    POA.. if Clinton wasn’t the last person to try to bring about a peaceful settlement in the Palestine/Israel conflict, who was?

    Reply

  2. MP says:

    JohnH: “American and European sects do not have their countries’ political leaders assassinated.”
    As Allen Sherman once sang, “Oh boyyy!”
    You know, John, it is so easy to point out all the American and European “sects” who have killed their political leaders, I won’t embarrass you with the list.
    There is no doubt that Israel is a fractious society. It’s also without a doubt a functioning democracy, unlike its neighbors. Given the stresses its been under since birth…and the stresses its founders were under since before its birth…and the oppression they suffered before they arrived in Palestine…
    …Israel stands as a pretty remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards.
    But your original point…that peace will take serious adjustments …I think is a good one. Balance is what is needed here.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The last person to make a credible attempt at peace between I-P was a Dem…Clinton.”
    ROFLMAO!!!!
    Notice how MP always manages to advocate for those that are firmly in Israel’s pocket?

    Reply

  4. JohnH says:

    NYC–I stand by my information. It comes from conversations with a fervent AIPAC supporter who has in-laws in Israel and specifically referred to certain groups as “religious crazies.” I suppose this is another example of the double standard that exists between the ways that things can be discussed in American and in Israel.
    In this regard, let’s not forget that Sharon called an emergency session of the Knesset in 2004 to discuss the clear and present danger of an assassination of the prime minister and the possibility of a civil war. Let’s also not forget who assassinated Rabin.
    You might find this interview with Ha’aretz’ Daniel Bensimmon instructive: “In the case where Palestinians settle their discords and form a civil society, are we able to form one ourselves? I do not think so.”
    http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:XovGZRPxm5wJ:www.hommesdeparole.org/docs/Eentret/Bensimon.pdf+sharon+israel+verge+%22civil+war%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=36&gl=us
    American and European sects do not have their countries’ political leaders assassinated.

    Reply

  5. NYC's Finest says:

    JohnH:
    You betray a serious bias in your post above. IMO, you are completely incorrect about the state of Israeli society. Israeli factions (not sects!) are no more acrimonious than American factions.
    I also think that it demeans this debate to refer to religious people (regardless of their religion) as “crazies!” I don’t suppose that this is indicative of your desire for tolerant, peaceful societies, is it?
    Further, to ignore the ever-present reality of Palestinian/Arab violence against Israelis is intellectually dishonest at best.

    Reply

  6. MP says:

    Posted by JohnH at August 16, 2007 10:02 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Interesting point. Could well be. Once there is peace, it will be difficult and new for a lot of people over there.
    Your categories are a bit off, however. The Russians are Ashkenazim, mostly, just a different tranche, because they came later and under different circumstances.

    Reply

  7. pauline says:

    this is just so great for ME peace prospects, ain’t it?!
    U.S., Israel Sign $30B Military Aid Deal
    The Bush administration has made official a massive increase in military aid to Israel. On Thursday, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns signed an agreement to provide more than thirty billion dollars in weapons over ten years.
    Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns: “To say how pleased we are that the United States can make this long term investment in Israel’s security of a 30 billion dollar figure of defence assistance over 10 years. That’s a major contribution of American assistance and we do it first and foremost because the United States has an abiding interest in the security of Israel.”
    The deal increases annual U.S. military aid to Israel by twenty-five percent, or six-hundred million dollars per year. The boost is part of a multi-billion dollar military aid package to U.S. allies in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In Gaza, Hamas leader Sami Abu-Zuhri said the military deals were a blow to peace prospects in the Middle East. Sami Abu-Zuhri: “This is an expression of the U.S. support of the Israeli occupation and this shows the U.S. policy in the region. It gives big support to Israel, but on the other hand it gives nonsense promises to our Palestinian, Arab and Islamic nations.”
    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/17/1323233

    Reply

  8. JohnH says:

    MP: you forgot one ME player for whom “Palestine is a lot more valuable as a stalking horse.” That player is the Israeli ruling elite. From what I understand, fear of Palestinians is what prevents the various Israeli sects from going at each others’ throats. You’ve got Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Russians, seculars and religious crazies. There is tremendous income disparity with most of the economic spoils going to a tiny elite and the rest competing for the scraps. On top of that many Israelis are armed and dangerous. They have been battle trained, and many suffer psychological problems from their brutalization of Palestinians. Can you think of a better recipe for disaster? Without Palestinians to demonize, who knows what would happen?

    Reply

  9. pauline says:

    Duh, there’s billions of dirty war/armament dollars involved, so why would the US/AIPAC/Israel want peace in the ME?
    Didn’t Eisenhower say it best?
    “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    Reply

  10. MP says:

    Sorry, PC…maybe you can post a link to your group, then.
    The last person to make a credible attempt at peace between I-P was a Dem…Clinton.

    Reply

  11. Pacific Coast Ron says:

    Hey, it’s not my fault if someone else put out an article somewhere using the words “nov. 5th” — make my comments on this the most hit-upon instead.
    And what are we going to do? We have one self-appointed anti-imperialist candidate, Kucinich, and nobody likes him. He can’t seem to get traction, even if figuratively we could give him a 69 Pontiac and a bag of sand.
    We’re not supporting a Republican. We’re not sitting on our hands in ’08 if it allows a Republican to win. The marginal bones a Dem may throw us on Supreme Court appointments and health care will be more than we’ll get from any Repub.
    And as Carroll has so amply documented, all the Dem. candidates that the media will allow to ink to flow to, have TERRIBLE positions on Israel and imperialism.
    So the proper thing to do is become a part of their coalition, not the most enthusiatic part perhaps but worming our way in there and getting our brownie points within the Dem machine, while being very clear about our reservations and objections to their foreign policy, and preparing to fight like hell beginning on Nov. 5 and for four to eight to twelve years after until we can successfully sell our ideas to our fellow Americans. I do think we can ultimately do it.
    But it’s going to take some smarts and determination. Please note I’m carefully not taking a position on whether this effort 8 years out will be D. party or another party. That’s to be determined, there are advantages (and disadvantages) to working within an existing machine. Let’s start by getting to where the intelligent people are having an intelligent conversation on these issues.
    And so just to repeat for all the people who are determined to mis-understand, you firmly oppose the candidate’s position on the issues that you care about, while supporting the candidate, at least in the ballot booth if they still let us have that privilege. Big business does it all the time, that’s why they have all the money and all the power, while all us high-principled idealists on the left are disorganized, poor, and crushed under the bulldozers of larger forces.

    Reply

  12. MP says:

    Pacific writes: “I myself am a old small-d democrat, yet I want to see all tendencies on the left coming together for the “Nov. 5th Coalition,” …”
    I googled this, and it would appear to be mostly about education reform.
    “I’ve done the 3rd party thing, ironically these days the leftish 3rd party thing has the highest tidal forces during a centrist Democratic administration, and any dreamer who talks about a real 3rd party effort by smart people in 2008 is far too late, we would have had to be working in ’03 to get anywhere in that direction by now.”
    Yes. A third party needs something more than a last minute “we’re sick of the alternatives, so let’s try something else.” You have to actually like politics to pull this off. The party has to stand for something the other two don’t stand for. And you have to field candidates for offices way down the food chain. Dog catcher isn’t too low.
    You can’t just be “against.” It’s pretty tough to “support” a candidate while, at the same time, “opposing” him. Not the way to win, IMO.

    Reply

  13. MP says:

    WB writes: “The same is true for Middle East politicians: for many, Palestine is a lot more valuable as a stalking horse than as a prosperous, secular democratic state, which at one point, pre-Bush, was the most likely result of a settlement.”
    I would have to say that the same goes for Palestinian politicians. A two-state solution would, of course, announce that Israel is here to stay–something that many, in their heart of hearts, don’t want.
    As Saif writes: “That is the most conservative scenario, but a more likely and realist one would just see Arab countries launch a wide military assault against Israel.”
    Which is the threat that has ALWAYS been in the background. Why else would SA agree to call off the war–the 1948 war–as late as 2002? Why else would Hizbullah and Hamas still call for the removal of Israel–not from the 1967 lands, but from ALL the lands? Why would Iran call for the same sort of “vanishing”?
    It remains to be seen whether, in the view of Arab peoples, this is about 1967 and the Arab lands occupied in that war, or about 1948, and the Arab lands occupied in that war, or about the partition and the Arab lands occupied then.

    Reply

  14. Kathleen says:

    Solving the Israel/Palestine question is indeed the key to peace in the Middle East, but we don’t care a damn about peace or democracy in the ME, only capital investments. We want to piratize the whole planet.
    And Csrroll, I think we’ll be hitting bottom first.

    Reply

  15. john somer says:

    The European Union will only allow Israel into either Sarkosy’s projected “Mediterranean Union” or its own “Barcelona Process” (both of which intend to create a cooperation framework between the countries of the Mediterranean and the EU) unless it has settled its problems with the Palestinians, to whom the EU is the largest financial contributor and on whose side most of European public opinion is.

    Reply

  16. Pacific Coast Ron says:

    Isn’t that nice, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama joined with Tom Tancredo in co-sponsoring the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006?
    The choices an anti-imperialist American is left with … besides following Carroll in awaiting America’s self-destruction. (You’re giving us great stuff Carroll, but I have a personal need to find a more hopeful path, and allowing our self-destruction would hurt too many good people.)
    I myself am a old small-d democrat, yet I want to see all tendencies on the left coming together for the “Nov. 5th Coalition,” referring to the Wednesday after the Tuesday next year when we’ve held our noses and worked for the successful election of a Democrat who has a TERRIBLE record on Israel and imperialism, and then we turn around and work AGAINST that President on Israel and imperialism, and we build the organization that will take the Democratic party away from them, and to our candidate, in 2012 or 2016.
    I’ve done the 3rd party thing, ironically these days the leftish 3rd party thing has the highest tidal forces during a centrist Democratic administration, and any dreamer who talks about a real 3rd party effort by smart people in 2008 is far too late, we would have had to be working in ’03 to get anywhere in that direction by now.
    We will have to support the D. in ’08 to prevent the Republicanism-forever alternative, and we will have to have a real plan for if they try to steal it again. We have to be smart enough to be able to support a candidate while opposing him/her and lobbying him/her to our position … judging from the comments I read on most of the blogs, not too many people are that smart … or they’re the ones too smart to be commenting on blogs.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Pick your posion. Edwards looks the least dangerous among the electables when it comes to Israel and the Lobby.
    This also probably accounts for Reid and all the other dims who have the knives out for Edwards. Before reading thru prepare youself you are going to see candidates for president of the US declaring their loyalty to a foreign country. I guess you could say that is progress, at least they are telling the truth about Americans not being their first concern or duty.
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/13579/
    The Candidates on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    Updated: August 13, 2007
    For decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict complicated and, indeed, sometimes undermined U.S. diplomatic goals in the Middle East and beyond. With roots going back thousands of years (BBC), the conflict’s emotionally charged claims fuel religious, ideological, and proxy violence around the world. With some notable exceptions, candidates of both major U.S. parties put forth similar views on the conflict, stressing their commitment to defending Israel’s right to exist and calling on the Palestinian leadership and extragovernmental factions to renounce terrorism. But beyond rhetoric, each candidate faces a similar challenge: crafting a position which balances the historic U.S. alliance with Israel against the widely recognized need to press Israel to agree an equitable peace with the Palestinians. Most—though not all—accept the notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict animates other conflicts far from the Holy Land.
    .
    Democratic Candidates on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    .
    Joseph R. Biden
    Sen. Biden (D-DE) is a self-described Zionist. Biden believes the United States should maintain extremely close ties with Israel, because in his experience, the Middle East has only progressed when “the Arab nations have known that there is no daylight between us and Israel,” as he said in a March 2007 interview with Forward. Biden dismissed the Iraq Study Group’s claims that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is related to the problems of the Iraq War, saying on Shalom TV in March 2007 that Israel’s behavior has “nothing to do” with Iraq.
    Biden cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. That act, which passed, expressed U.S. support for a two-state solution. It also deemed the Palestinian Authority a terrorist organization and cut off all U.S. funding until it renounces terrorism, acknowledges Israel’s right to exist, and holds up its former agreements with Israel. He has regularly supported military and financial aid packages to Israel throughout his long career on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is now chairman.
    .
    Hillary Clinton
    Though her advocacy (NYT) for Palestinian statehood in the 1990s drew criticism from American Jewish groups at the time, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) generally has aligned herself with pro-Israeli interests throughout her political career. In a February 2007 speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Clinton said Hamas, which took control of the Palestinian Authority in January 2006 and formed a coalition government with Fatah in February 2007, should not be recognized “until it renounces violence and terror and recognizes Israel’s right to exist.” Clinton also supports Israel’s “security wall,” which divides Israel from the West Bank with the declared purpose of preventing terrorist attacks.
    Clinton cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. She also sponsored a Senate resolution in 2007 “calling for the immediate and unconditional release of soldiers of Israel held captive by Hamas and Hezbollah.” That resolution was approved. Since taking office in 2000, she has regularly supported military and financial aid packages to Israel.
    .
    Christopher J. Dodd
    Sen. Dodd (D-CT) has taken a solidly pro-Israel stance throughout his political career, according to pro-Israel lobby groups. At a speech before AIPAC in October 2006, Dodd boasted that he has “supported substantial foreign aid for Israel” since he was first elected to the Senate in 1980. Dodd cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. He also cosponsored Clinton’s Senate resolution in April 2007 urging Hamas and Hezbollah to release captive Israeli soldiers. Dodd, a longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposes the recognition of any Palestinian government including Hamas, which won the January 2006 Palestinian elections. Throughout his career he regularly has supported large financial and military aid packages for Israel.
    Dodd says as president he would send former president Bill Clinton to the region “on a permanent basis for a while” to help negotiate a peace agreement. (DesMoines Register) Dodd joined Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in a controversial trip (BosGlobe) to Syria in December 2006.
    .
    John Edwards
    Edwards’ statements on the conflict have been generally supportive of Israel. In a speech in Herzliya, Israel, Edwards said that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon showed “courage” in evacuating (BosGlobe) the settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Edwards also said in that speech that Israel should “upgrade” its role in NATO, and possibly even become a member, and he sharply criticized the late Yasser Arafat in a vice presidential debate in the 2004 election. Yet pro-Israel lobbyists have criticized Edwards for choosing former Rep. David Bonior (New York Sun) as an adviser to his campaign. Writer Matthew Yglesias describes Bonior as “quite possibly the Israel lobby’s least-liked legislator in recent history.”
    .
    Mike Gravel
    Gravel says the U.S., its allies, and regional actors should “sponsor direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Hamas” to forge a two-state solution.
    .
    Dennis Kucinich
    Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) is critical of Israeli use of force in the Palestinian territories. Although he has said that Hamas should renounce terrorism, he opposed the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, arguing that the legislation would exacerbate a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories. He said the United States should urge Israel to “accept the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and economic survival and humanitarian relief, for food, medical care, for jobs.
    In July 2006, Kucinich expressed concern that Israel’s response to the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers was disproportional and risked worsening conditions for Palestinian civilians. He called on Hamas to back down, but also argued that Israel should “halt its incursion into Gaza” and begin to work again toward a two-state solution.
    .
    Barack Obama
    Sen. Obama (S-IL) has taken a strongly pro-Israel tone in addressing the conflict. In a speech before AIPAC in March 2007, Obama said the United States must “strengthen the hands of Palestinian moderates” and isolate Hamas. Haaretz U.S. correspondent Shmuel Rosner said that before AIPAC, Obama “sounded as strong as Clinton, as supportive as Bush, as friendly as Giuliani.”
    Obama cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and, like most of his fellow candidates, has called on the Palestinian leadership to “recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region.”
    If elected, Obama says he would “insist on fully funding military assistance to Israel” (JPost) and continue to cooperate with Israel on the development of the Arrow missile defense system.
    .
    Bill Richardson
    Richardson says that the United States must “re-engage” both parties in negotiations for peace and a two-state solution. “The suffering of the Palestinians is the most useful propaganda weapon the jihadists have,” Richardson said in a May 2007 interview. Richardson says he would send former president Bill Clinton to the Middle East as a “peace envoy.”
    .
    Republican Candidates on Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
    .
    Sam Brownback
    Sen. Brownback (R-KS) calls Israel “a beacon of freedom and hope in an otherwise troubled region.” He advocates a Palestinian state as soon as “the Palestinians have demonstrated their commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and their full acceptance of the State of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital.”
    Brownback cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. He also sponsored a resolution in the Senate that would recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided capital of Israel before the United States recognizes a Palestinian state.” That resolution, first introduced in April 2007, has not yet been voted on. Brownback introduced the same resolution in the Senate to no avail in 2003 and 2005.
    .
    John H. Cox
    Cox’s stance on this issue is unknown.
    .
    Rudy Giuliani
    Giuliani has held up Israel as “the only outpost of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the only absolutely reliable friend of the United States.” (Haaretz) In a 2002 speech, Giuliani stressed that Jerusalem must “remain the undivided capital” of Israel. He also said at that time that the Palestinian Authority is not a “moral equivalent” to the Israeli government, because “there is a difference between a nation based on law and democracy and one that harbors terrorism.” Giuliani called on the Palestinian Authority to create “institutions of political and economic freedom and religious toleration.” More recently, Giuliani has said that in his view it “makes no difference” whether the Palestinian Authority is run by Hamas or Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. At a March 2007 fundraiser, Giuliani also said that the United States should “not push any peace process” until the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel’s right to exist and condemns terrorism.
    .
    Mike Huckabee
    Huckabee, who has taken nine trips to Israel in past 35 years, calls himself a “steadfast supporter” of Israel. On his campaign site, Huckabee pledges that as president, he would “ensure that Israel has access to the state-of-the-art weapons and technology she needs to defend herself from those who seek her annihilation.”
    .
    Duncan Hunter
    Rep. Hunter (R-CA) says Israel should not give up “one inch” of territory. He supports Israel’s security wall and also says Israel should improve its missile defense system, with assistance from the United States, to “prevent the sort of attacks that country suffered during its war with Hezbollah.” Like Giuliani, Hunter says a peace process will be impossible until Palestinians “renounce terrorism and stop their attacks on the Israeli people.”
    .
    John McCain
    Sen. McCain (R-AZ) has described himself as “proudly pro-Israel.” Like Giuliani and Hunter, McCain argues that there can be no peace process “until the Palestinians recognize Israel, forswear forever the use of violence, recognize their previous agreements, and reform their internal institutions.” McCain says he would be willing to use military force against Iran if it attains a nuclear weapon and poses a “real threat” to Israel.
    He also believes the United States should continue to provide Israel with “whatever military equipment and technology she needs to defend herself.” He has said that if elected president, he would “work to further isolate the enemies of Israel” like Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, and he would “never pressure Israel to make concessions to states or movements committed to its destruction.” (JPost)
    McCain said Israel’s military action in Lebanon in 2006 was justified. (Arizona Daily Star)
    McCain cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.
    .
    Ron Paul
    Rep. Paul (R-TX) has criticized U.S. “meddling” in the Middle East, which, he says, “has only intensified strife and conflict” He has said U.S. financial aid to Middle Eastern countries is only “adding fuel to the fire” and is “foolish and unconstitutional.” Though he advocates some U.S. diplomatic role in brokering an end to violence in the West Bank, he says the U.S. “should draw the line at any further entanglement.”
    Paul spoke out against a July 2006 House resolution condemning attacks on Israel and “supporting Israel’s right to defend herself.” He argued that the resolution’s “strong message” could lead to an escalation of the war between Israel and Lebanon.
    .
    Mitt Romney
    Romney has declared his commitment to “defeating the jihadists” around the world. His rhetoric regarding Israel has largely focused on curbing Iran, rather than resolving tensions between Israel and Palestine. Still, in a speech at the 2007 Herlzliya conference in Israel, Romney called on Arab states to stop providing financial support and weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah, and to pressure the Palestinians to “drop terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist.” Romney also supports the security wall that divides the West Bank from Israel.
    .
    Tom Tancredo
    Rep. Tancredo (R-CO), who has campaigned tirelessly for a wall to separate the United States from Mexico, frequently has cited the effectiveness of the Israeli security wall cordoning off the West Bank. In 2004, Tancredo called on then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to “stop settlement expansion on the Palestinian side of the fence.” In 2006, Tancredo cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. He joined in resolutions condemning the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during the early years of the Bush administration.
    Compiled by CFR.org’s Joanna Klonsky and Michael Moran.

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    Well what is there to say…everything in Steve’s post is true…as a lot of us on here have said over and over and over and over.
    One of two things will happen to Israel.. it will scale back it’s Greater Israel ambitions, get humble and get along with their neighbors and live with what it was given…or it will keep up it’s land grab occupation and go up in a smoke plume eventually. I am betting on the smoke plume because the US Lukid and their congress poodles are overstuffed with hubris and truely stupid.
    Be taken in by the US or a European country as a full “domestic” State?…what a spectacle that would be!
    I don’t think there is a country in the universe that would do that. It would also be the end of the “Jewish Nation”. It would be the final defeat and admission of failure of the zionist nation concept. Israel is already considered, for all intents and purposes, a ‘dependent area’ of the US just like the Marshall Islands and other ‘dependents”. If they were converted to a US domestic state they would have to follow our laws and be subject to our constitution..and have to pay taxes to the US treasury. HUUUMMM….that might be one way to get some of our money back.
    But the best idea is to just kick Israel out of our US nest, off our welfare role and pentagon gifts program and watch how fast their occupation of Palestine fizzles.
    But to do that you first have to get rid of our Israeli occupied congress…or wait until the US hits bottom, whichever comes first.

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    Amr says, “While the United States is working to ensure the flow of oil from the Gulf region, looking to contain what it views as Iranian threats and expansion, the United States also wants to see change in the region [and] countries to open up in more democratic ways.”
    How refreshing to see someone frankly talk about US ambitions for oil [not those mysterious vital strategic interests]! Evidently European audiences are mature enough to entertain such talk, while American ones are not. So much discussion is censored in Washington…
    Too bad Amr falls for the usual canard about democracy. Washington does not give a whit about creating democracies, only about opening oil producers up to subservience to Washington. If Washington cared about democracy, the ruling elite could start by responding to the will of the people at home, where only 14% approve of Congress and 30% of the President.

    Reply

  20. saifedean says:

    As an Arab, I never really understood just how the Bush Administration was calling for democratization. It is certain to anyone who knows anything that the first thing any Arab democracy would do, if it could really carry out the will of its own people, is cut all relations with Israel, and be completely intransigent towards America until something happened in Palestine. That is the most conservative scenario, but a more likely and realist one would just see Arab countries launch a wide military assault against Israel. Yes, Israel is vastly superior militarily, but a million Hizbullahs would emerge and Israel would have the impossible scenario of trying to occupy Arab land to stop attacks on its own land, a long-term losing proposition.
    It was America (and Britain before it in some cases) that had installed these authoritarian regimes specifically to do America’s dirty job in the region: subdue the masses from attacking Israel, and sell oil cheaply. For decades the CIA trained many of these regimes specifically to supress their populations for this end.
    When the Bush Administration started calling for democratization, I was sure they were lying. There is no way they would want to undo the good work that the CIA had done over decades. There is no way they could be stupid enough to call for a democratization that would bring about the true will of the people, because that will was not in America’s interest, or the interest of Israel.
    Lately, I realized they weren’t lying when they were saying that, they were just ignorant enough about the history. But now they’ve learned their lesson and have given up on this democratization business. But, the cat may well be out of the box, and what will transpire might even be worse for America.

    Reply

  21. Matthew says:

    As an American, I see two tragedies here:
    1. We cannot continue to burn off our national credibility opposing a just settlement. Everytime we bend the rules for Israel we impeach ourselves in the region.
    2. The decline of American power in the ME will be the catalyst to a peace agreement. The neo-conservative lie, i.e., the road to peace in Jerusalem lies through Baghdad, has been exposed in Iraq. We have had 15 years as the lone superpower and our record in the ME is dreadful. Does anyone seriously think China or India would be worse?
    I predict that within the decade we will be forcing Israel into a peace deal or face our own political ejection from the ME. (Zbig wrote about this in his recent book “Second Chance: The Crisis of American Superpower.”)
    And that will be the supreme irony: By supporting Zionist intransigence, our Lapdog President and Leming Congress are cutting our own throats.

    Reply

  22. Matthew says:

    As an American, there are two tragedies here:
    1. We cannot continue to burn off our national credibility opposing a just settlement. Everytime we bend the rules for Israel we impeach ourselves in the region.
    2. The decline of American power in the ME will be the catalyst to a peace agreement. The neo-conservative lie, i.e., the road to peace in Jerusalem lies through Baghdad, has been exposed in Iraq. We have had 15 years as the lone superpower and our record in the ME is dreadful. Does anyone seriously think China or India would be worse?
    I predict that within the decade we will be forcing Israel into a peace deal or face our own political ejection from the ME. (Zbig wrote about this in his recent book “Second Chance: The Crisis of American Superpower.”)
    And that will be the supreme irony: By supporting Zionist intransigence, we will be cutting our own throats.

    Reply

  23. weldon berger says:

    I’d guess that a fair number of Americans know that a just resolution to Israel-Palestine is the essential element for a progressive, relatively speaking, Middle East. Unfortunately, many of them don’t see that as necessarily a good outcome for the U.S.. The same is true for Middle East politicians: for many, Palestine is a lot more valuable as a stalking horse than as a prosperous, secular democratic state, which at one point, pre-Bush, was the most likely result of a settlement.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *