The US in the Middle East – Can’t Negotiate Unilaterially Anymore, But Can Go To War on its Own (or with Israel)
In Response to Kirk Feffers, Denver Peace activist:
1. Despite a precipitously slow but steady global decline, the US still has, as we all know, enormous power. What has intrigued me is why the Europeans (in what is called the Quartet: U.S.,E.U.,U.N, Russia) have essentially let the U.S. walk all over their faces (the Russians too) in the Middle East. It isn’t a quartet, or hardly that, but a `solo’ operation with the US dragging the other three along, sometimes willingly, sometimes complaining rather mildly.
What I cannot prove but am looking for evidence of, and thus sharing with you (collectively) is that some deal was cut in the 1990s when the Europeans (read: Germany, France and Italy) couldn’t resolve the Yugoslavia mess militarily. The U.S.. went in to `save’ them but only at a price and I believe the price was European subservience to U.S broader Middle East plans – especially the Israeli Palestinian situation. At the very least it suggests a great European reluctance to play an enhanced security role in the world independent of the U.S. The Europeans are neither ready or willing to play such a role and thus are stuck in letting the U.S charge ahead as it has since the collapse of Communism.
What is the `hole’ in this theory? that the Europeans didn’t come along in Iraq. ok. But if you follow policy in the rest of the region (Iran, Israel-Palestine) these countries and the rest of the Quartet are subservient more or less to American interests and march in lock step. This is even true of the Russians despite their anger at the proposal to place anti-satelite missiles in Poland and the Czech republic (which is simply a way for the u.s. to divide the `old europe’ – w. europe from the `new’ former Soviet satellite states). Russian thinking goes something like this: let the u.s. screw things up in the middle east…with all its oil and gas, its position can only strengthen as a more `reliable’ source of energy.
2. Anyhow getting to the point, .Despite its awful record on Middle East peace making – to the contrary – it has fanned the flames of war in the region and the US Congress, egged on by the New York Times and Senator Joseph Lieberman in particular seem to be at it again with Iran – I don’t see the U.S.. out of the Middle East negotiating process. Although the U.S. has lost a great deal of political capital in the region, so much so that as a fair broker, unfair broker, it can no longer impose its will unilaterally, it still has a lot of clout. The danger still exists that to bypass compromises with its allies it will instead go to war without their consent or participation, despite the dangerous consequences of so doing. Remember who’s in power in Washington.
Still, the other countries will have more of a role in future negotiations if and when they take place. The U.S. will try to limit their role over tradition and plain old fashioned imperial arrogance. But the days of the U.S. simply dictating Middle East policy I believe are over and painful as it will be, Washington will have to make compromises. This will make the political situation even more complex. Of course Washington will try to make the fewest compromises possible and then break them but still I believe we’re in another ball game from where we were only a few years ago.
All this sounds contradictory, I know, but it is the situation that is contradictory, more than the logic here presented. The US is facing new pressures at present and is following contradictory policies. Condoleeza Rice makes (admittedly feeble) peace gestures on day and almost immediately her `undersecretary’ of state (acting more like a political commissar), undercuts and contradicts her efforts the next in line with Cheney’s and Bush’s thinking.
Unfortunately all this effects the Middle East negotiating process in which a new balance of forces does exist, but proceeds at a snail’s pace. And at the same time there are some initiatives for peace, there are all kinds of scenarios and plans for more war. The danger of yet more Middle East war – and soon – exists. While in the U.S., Europe and Israel, the media continue to savage the Palestinian people with sanctions as cruel as those enforced against Iraq in the 1990s for voting for Hamas, leading to the humanitarian crisis and sectarian warfare in Gaza, Israel, with the continued flow of U.S.. aid, continues to build and strengthen colonial settlements (what else can it be called?) in the W. Bank, works feverishly to complete the Wall, retains 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners in its prison system, blithely continues the Nazi-like policy of targeted assassinations, etc. etc….it goes on its merry way.
No pressure is being put on Israel to negotiate – none…and if Israel is not preparing for peace than it and the U.S. are once again colluding for war, which is what I suspect happening at present. Will it be to a stunning blow to re-enforce Israeli military prestige that hits Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas in Gaza all at once? Will it be some fool-hearted attack (using conventional or nuclear weapons) on Iran (since the U.S. feels some restraints in doing it there are some reports that Cheney, in his evil wisdom is encouraging the Israelis to do it)? Or will it be some other yet to be defined form of military or political subversion…whatever…Israel remains, as Uri Avnery recently put it `a floating arsenal without a rudder’ and the times are very dangerous..and it appears that the Europeans, the UN and Russia will not intervene to stop any of this aside from a few insipid statements.
All we can do is expose the scoundrels’ plans, scenarios as we learn about them and counter their march for war with calls and plans for peace.
Oh yes, Happy 4th.