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Bush's latest strategic mistake ^ | Tuesday, July 2, 2002 | Joseph Farah

Posted on 07/02/2002 7:47:00 AM PDT by JohnHuang2

Before President Ronald Reagan told Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down that wall," his own State Department lobbied heavily with him to remove the daring, provocative and bold remark from his speech.

He was told it was inflammatory. He was cautioned that it was undiplomatic. He was warned it would backfire.

Instead, it led directly to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet communism.

President Bush should think about that. He needs to take what his own State Department tells him with a grain of salt. He needs to measure what it says, particularly with regard to the Mideast conflict and the global Islamist jihad, by the standard of common sense. He needs to evaluate just how high a price the U.S. is willing to play for its micro-meddling in the affairs of others.

The presidency is best used internationally as a bully pulpit. There's plenty of good work to be done by the White House in ending injustice, furthering peace and fostering freedom around the world. Very little of it can be accomplished with peace plans developed or approved by the U.S. State Department.

Last week, President Bush made a terrible mistake in committing the U.S. taxpayer – and, by extension, U.S. military might – to the creation of a Palestinian state.

What he did was anything but bold and innovative. It was the continuation, instead, of the failed U.S. peace initiatives of the last 12 years.

Here's what President Bush should have said: The U.S. will support no more discussions or negotiations regarding the creation of a Palestinian state until all terrorism against Israel ends. Period. End of story.

By failing to do that, and by outlining his vision for a "provisional" Palestinian state, President Bush has yielded to terrorism – encouraged it, invited more of it.

It's not enough to be rid of Yasser Arafat. The U.S. must demand the end of a culture of violence fostered by the organization he created. No more anti-Semitic textbooks. No more calls for jihad against the infidels in the West. No more indoctrination of martyrs. No more official broadcasts of hatred and threats.

The U.S. must, while waiting for such a development, end all aid – direct and indirect – to the Palestinian Authority.

It's time for President Bush to live up to his own words after Sept. 11: "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists." It's very clear who Arafat and his subordinates are with. They fraternize with Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad – all allies of al-Qaida. Arafat has regularly over the years attended terrorist conferences with Osama bin Laden. Arafat is not with us. He and his Palestinian leadership are clearly with bin Laden. In fact, they are, in many ways, the inspiration for bin Laden.

The U.S. is never going to be able to micro-manage a solution to the Mideast conflict. It's time to recognize our limitations. If we insert ourselves any deeper into this quagmire, we will someday find our country deploying military forces there to "keep the peace." That would be a disaster, as we found out following the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon.

We need to allow our ally in this terror war – our only true ally in the Middle East – to defend herself. We need to stop putting the handcuffs on Israel. We need to stop meddling in her affairs. We need to stop giving ultimatums to the only party in the Mideast dispute who actually listens to us.

Israel has some responsibility here, too. Israel needs to get out of the international dependency racket. It needs to develop a five-year plan (or less) to get itself off U.S. welfare. It needs to stand on its own two feet so it can tell-off the U.S. when it is advised to take actions counter to its own national self-interest.

President Bush made a strategic mistake last week with his Mideast policy speech. But it is not irreversible.

Bush needs to reaffirm his earlier standard for alliances. He needs to remember the U.S. and Israel are under attack by a common enemy. He needs to make demands only on the hostile forces in the Middle East. He needs to use his bully pulpit more effectively – directing his condemnation at those who deserve it.


Ultimatum from the Rose Garden
by JohnHuang2
June 25, 2002

This wasn't a Presidential statement on Mideast policy as much as a bill of indictment of Arafat and co.

Like a prosecutor, the President methodically laid out the case against Arafat in his long-awaited address from the Rose Garden yesterday.

He charged the Palestinian Authority (which Arafat directs) with aiding and abetting terrorism, pilfering the treasury, corruption, despotism, graft, misgovernment and other systematic, egregious abuses. While not mentioning Arafat by name -- he didn't need to -- the President denounced the P.A. as exploiters and manipulators -- for using the "Palestinian" people as pawns in a game of subterfuge, of endless deception.

"Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing terrorism," charged the President.

That being the case, nothing in the President's blueprint remotely envisions a role for Arafat nor the current Palestinian Authority in this 'provisional', "Palestinian" entity.

Indeed, the President explicitly called on 'Palestinians' to give Arafat & accomplices the boot -- at the ballot box.

"Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership," he observed, "so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror."

The President wasn't calling for elections merely as a goal in itself, but elections as part of new arrangement, borne of reform encompassing the spectrum of civic and political institutions. And if Arafat is "elected," what then? All bets would be off. The call is for new leadership, regime change.

"A Palestinian state will never be created by terror. It will be built through reform. And reform must be more than cosmetic change or a veiled attempt to preserve the status quo. True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism."

In essence, the President threw the ball back in the 'Palestinians'' court. He turned the tables, reframing the issue entirely.

You want a state? Behave like civilized folks, then. States aren't created by presidential fiat, nor executive orders from Washington. Nor are they given away on demand: Don't expect a handout. Grow up.

Physician, reform thyself.

Those hoping for a Bush sell-out of Israel were bitterly disappointed. The media and the Democrats were champing at the bit, savoring the chance to pounce on the President as a milksop, a coward, a liar -- a double-crossing, double-dealing weakling pantywaist shivering before Arafat, Big Oil, and the "Arab world."

Imagine the torrent of Democrat fundraising letters to Jewish Americans: 'Dumbya sold Israel down the river, just like his daddy! This Smirking Chimp must be stopped! But who's going to stop him? We, the Democrats, that's who! So empty your wallet and send us money, now! Oh -- and vote Democrat in November, too!'

After yesterday's speech, no-one will buy it.

Instead, the President was firm, determined, resolute -- and unflinching. No attempt to draw moral equivalence, either. To Bush, there isn't any. Israel is locked in a struggle for its very survival; no-one knows this better than President Bush.

Even as IDF tanks surrounded Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah, Bush reiterated steadfast support for Israeli self-defense.

"I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people. You've lived too long with fear and funerals...The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offered hand and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life. You have a right to security. And I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security."

On Israel, Bush has never wavered, never faltered, never failed. His support is staunch, tenacious, uncompromising.

Yes, he called on Israel to halt new settlements, but not their elimination -- a key 'Palestinian' demand.

Yes, he asked that Israel "release frozen Palestinian revenues," but only into "honest, accountable hands" -- i.e., after financial reforms are in place, under close international supervision.

Yes, he asked that "freedom of movement" for 'Palestinians' "be restored," but only if and when "violence subsides."

And, yes, the President did ask for Israeli withdrawal, but not -- Repeat: Not -- to pre-'67 borders -- another key Arab demand. A retreat to Israeli positions "held prior to Sept. 28, 2000" would be suffice.

To Arafat et al, that's a slap in the face.

Moreover, Bush challenged the "Arab world" to get off their duffs, to get with the program.

"Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah."

So, let's recap:

1) The President expressed support for a provisional, "Palestinian" state, but support was very conditional: "Palestinians" would need to surmount gazillions of hurdles to achieve it.
2) And only after rigorous 'final status,' negotiations by immediate parties, to boot.
3) All "demands" on Israel were merely reciprocal -- corresponding to progress/reform on the "Palestinian" side.

So what's the point of this exercise? Why would the President waste time with something this unachievable?

In a word, Iraq. Toppling Saddam and preventing a nuclear 9/11 -- that's what the President's attention is focused on. Arafat is a terrorist, no question about it, but Saddam Hussein poses a far greater threat to U.S. security. To Bush, there are bigger fish to fry than Arafat.

And fry he will.

Bush's Rose Garden statement allows him to 'back-burner' the Mideast -- get it 'off the table', as he shines the spotlight back on Iraq.

Bottom line: El hombre de Tejas has out-flanked his enemies, yet again.

Anyway, that's...

My two cents...
Copyright Enrique N. ©2001

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Quote of the Day by Southack

1 posted on 07/02/2002 7:47:00 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
Farah somehow assumes that there is a choice about whether or not there can be a Palestinian state. There isn't. There are too many Palestinians there. Nobody's going to allow them to be deported, and a long-term Israeli occupation is both too expensive, and too politically damaging. A Palestinian state is a foregone conclusion.

The only remaining question is whether it is possible to guide the de facto Palestinian state into some form of civilized behavior. We have the means, and thus the responsibility, to try to make this happen.

2 posted on 07/02/2002 7:51:41 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: JohnHuang2
I agree that the Rose Garden speech back-burners the Pali state issue, it sets the bar so high that it guarantees we won't have to involve ourselves with Pali state building, while sounding like we are anxious to begin the process. To worry that US taxpayers will be tapped to build a Pali state ignores the fact that they will NEVER come close to agreeing with the conditions outlined.

GWB bought himself a ticket out of the thicket. The USA now has plausable deniability.

3 posted on 07/02/2002 8:46:50 AM PDT by moodyskeptic
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To: JohnHuang2
"Here's what President Bush should have said: The U.S. will support no more discussions or negotiations regarding the creation of a Palestinian state until all terrorism against Israel ends. Period. End of story."

GW used the carrot and stick approach; Mr. Farah prefers the stick only. His opinion.

Did the U.S. support discussions or negotiations regarding the creation of a Palestinian state before Arafat's terrorism against Israel started? It seems to me that we have already "yielded to terrorism" by negotiating only after the violence had begun.

4 posted on 07/02/2002 8:48:54 AM PDT by robertpaulsen
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To: r9etb
A Palestinian state is a foregone conclusion.

There already is a Palestinian state: Jordan.

5 posted on 07/02/2002 8:50:57 AM PDT by fogarty
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To: JohnHuang2
I'm with Farrah on this one. Getting rid of Arafat won't change much I am afraid. If Hamas takes over, is Bush still going to insist on a Palistinian state?

What Hamas and Islamic Jahaid do has always been more important than the incoherent ramblings and lies of Arafat. He has always been the mouth piece of the Palistinians, but since he seems to have litte control over them, and always lies about his true intentions anyway, he is mostly irrelevant.

I don't understand why anyone gives him the time of day?

6 posted on 07/02/2002 9:00:18 AM PDT by monday
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To: fogarty
There already is a Palestinian state: Jordan.


It may have been intended as such, but it's out of the question now. Nobody country is going to take these people who call themselves Palestinians, which means that they're going to stay where they are -- all several million of them.

The only remaining question about a Palestinian state is the form of government. Israeli occupation is one possibility, but that cannot last for a variety of reasons.

The reality is that eventually the Palestinians will have a self-governing state whose borders will be approximately those of the current Palestinian Authority.

7 posted on 07/02/2002 9:21:11 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: r9etb
Nobody country = "No country"
8 posted on 07/02/2002 9:21:51 AM PDT by r9etb
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