Skip to comments.Hopeless [David Warren]
Posted on 06/12/2003 3:43:07 AM PDT by tictoc
I have previously described the peace plan President Bush is now advancing as the "road map to hell", and I did not do so lightly. Those who have been reading me will be aware that I am not ill-disposed towards the U.S. President, and I have tried to convey what I think are the large, but essentially reasonable, premises upon which he is acting. A large solution is necessary to a very large problem; and what became fully visible on Sept. 11th, 2001, cannot be fixed with silver bullets.
Here, before we take another step, is a bitter truth, especially unpalatable to those with small and compressive minds, who want to blame a person, a party, a class, even a people, for everything wrong in the world. Now it happens there is something wrong that has grown so large that it cannot possibly be ignored, and yet also cannot be fixed by any conceivable exertion of human will. In politics and diplomacy, such a problem typically resolves itself in a large conflagration.
Example, you may argue that Neville Chamberlain should have behaved differently at Munich in September, 1938; that he should never have attempted a peace treaty with Hitler, on any terms; and in retrospect, I agree. But the person who thinks the Second World War could have been avoided by anything Chamberlain, or any other elected politician might have done, is a fool. It was too late for that; the mistakes that had led Hitler to power had long since been committed, and were too numerous and consequential to be undone. Those who blame everything on the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919, equally miss the point: no Versailles could "justify" the rise of Nazism, which had much deeper causes, as well as much shallower. It had happened, and once it had happened, and had developed past a certain indeterminable point, there was no way out. No matter which direction was chosen, there would be catastrophe.
I fear that is the situation today in the Middle East. Our eyes may be fixed on the issue of Israel/Palestine, and Mr. Bush is addressing it for the very reason that the eyes are fixed there (rather than on, say, the Congo, where millions seem to have been killed, but in wars of only local consequence). Israel/Palestine is a proxy battle; the fuse but not the bomb. Mr. Bush's thinking is: "Put out the fuse and we may then disarm the bomb at our leisure." But he's too late; even Clinton was too late.
That dull sense at the pit of the stomach -- "no escape" -- came to me yesterday as I read the Reuters report that Hamas was refusing even to talk with the new Palestinian premier, Mahmoud Abbas. I could not tell you in 850 words how we came to this situation, only give you the far simpler news, of what the situation is.
It is terminal. It doesn't matter whether Mr. Abbas is sincere in his promise to end the Intifadah, and pursue a negotiated settlement that will lead to the creation of a democratic and constitutional Palestinian state. He hasn't the power to deliver on it anyway. Others have the power, and entirely lack the will. The whole Palestinian society is in the hands of terrorists, and it doesn't matter how many individual Palestinians approve or disapprove. Those who may actually want peace with Israel have neither the leadership nor the physical means to defeat Hamas, Islami Jihad, Hizbollah, Fatah, or even their dancing-master, Yasser Arafat. And nothing short of a Palestinian civil war could possibly remove them.
That is the fuse, but the bomb must also be considered. The entire Arab world, and most of the Muslim beyond it, is too deeply and emotionally invested in that proxy war against Israel, to embrace what must be done to avoid the catastrophe, which I fear lies ahead. As we now learn, even King Abdullah of Jordan very nearly withdrew as host of the summit between Ariel Sharon, Mr. Abbas, and Mr. Bush. He is the best-disposed of all the Arab leaders towards a permanent peace acknowledging Israel's existence, within whatever borders and terms can be agreed. The political heat from below and around was nearly too much, even for him. It must quickly become too much.
I cannot predict how things will fall out, incident by incident. Israel itself could soon face something suggestive of civil war, when it tries to remove heavily armed settlers, whether legal or illegal, from West Bank settlements; but I believe as Mr. Sharon says he does that the Israeli political order can withstand this, and deliver on very painful agreements. It won't matter, however: for the Palestinians cannot. And those who will not, can count on the backing of the whole "Arab nation". As the pressure rises, from Washington and elsewhere, to do the impossible, the point of combustion must be reached.
I'm sorry, I can't see any way out: no solution, no alternative course, that does not rest on some sort of fantasy -- everyone is trapped. The more peace is sought, the more war becomes inevitable; and yet peace must be sought.
I believe Adlai Stevenson paraphrased Goethe from Faust saying:
What you have inherited from your fathers, earn over again for yourselves or it will not be yours.Now is such a time. WW2 was not as bad as it gets; it was just another manifestation of man's inhumanity to man. It will happen again and again, and we must be prepared to meet the threat directly.
Take heart, my friends. We are born of great men and women who knew how to rise to the call of freedom. We will, too.
The Arab world needs to clean its own house. If not, they face ongoing war with the (ostensibly) Christian West, along with Jewish Israel. They will lose, of course, in a "straight up war", but they know this and will continue to fight using brainless 'suicide bombers' while fanning the flames of hatred at every opportunity. I don't see 'average Palestinians'........or 'average Arabs on the street'.........rising up in righteous indignation, taking up arms, and cleaning the vipers from their societies.
In the old days.............a power would merely conquer such annoying enemies.
Israel itself could soon face something suggestive of civil war, when it tries to remove heavily armed settlers, whether legal or illegal, from West Bank settlements; but I believe as Mr. Sharon says he does that the Israeli political order can withstand this, and deliver on very painful agreements. It won't matter, however: for the Palestinians cannot.
Perhaps you did not intend it that way, but your comment seems to paint the Israelis as equally to blame for the situation as the Arabs.
Yes we will. But is "we" the West including Israel, or is it the West minus Israel?
We already know the Euros would throw Israel to the wolves in a heartbeat if it buys them the illusion of safety. But what do the American people want? What about the Congress? Foreign policy decisions are made by the executive branch, not Congress, and not by popular referendum.
Well, they've had their one chance. It's money-shot time. The Bush Administration must demonstrate its resolve again -- and at once, before any of the world's other Islamic madmen get more funny ideas.
At the very minimum, Washington must now tell Ariel Sharon publicly that there will be no adverse American reaction to Israel doing whatever it thinks it must about the Palestinians. I'd prefer to see a joint American-Israeli strike to purge out the PA and all the terrorist groups, but I've always been a bit headlong.
We shall see.
Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
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As we now learn, even King Abdullah of Jordan very nearly withdrew as host of the summit between Ariel Sharon, Mr. Abbas, and Mr. Bush.
Is this true? I've been away from much of the news this week and hadn't heard this before.....
A big part of the problem is there is little accountability in the Arab world. To themselves or to each other. No assumption of personal responsibility as being either part of the problem or of the solution.
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