UN set to vote on settlement resolution; U.S. set to veto - Haaretz Daily

jordash12122/17/2011 10:09:28 pm PST

re: #9 Bob Levin

The key word in foreign relations, stability. The US knows what it wants, what it’s going to do—and so they can heavily influence current events.

There are other key concepts besides stability in foreign relations. Let’s be honest here, historically American pursuit of stability in the Middle East hasn’t always yielded the best results. Good intentions might have been motivation, but still bad results ensued. Just look at the two oil embargos all caused in large part by the United States’ involvement in the region. There is a long list here both for and against.

Not as long as there is oil in the ground and shipping that needs to go through the Suez Canal.

You make a cogent point about the Suez and oil, but the Suez only concerns Egypt. Israel, to a certain extent, plays a role but only up to the point in which normalization between the two countries is maintained. Oil is a concern, but in this country we’re willing to pay in body parts to fill up. Unless the Suez is closed (and I can’t find evidence it will be), I don’t see a need for the Europeans or the U.S. to step up, and so far the Saudis have remained quite secure on their throne, so let’s not get too hyperbolic about stability and oil flow. What I’m suggesting isn’t to completely overthrow regimes and create anarchy. I think the U.S., Europe, and Russia are capable of grabbing the steering wheel if Israeli-Palestinian-Arab hands become unsteady.

Not allowed. Religious boycott by the Arab nations. A broker is needed.

A broker may be needed, but the Israelis can supply an attache as I suggested. It’s a false dichotomy to say that it’s either the Israelis or the West that communicates with other Arab nations. And are you really going to believe these Arab countries aren’t banning public communication with Israel only to save face? It’s not like Israel hasn’t struck up secret deals or anything with the Palestinians or other Arab nations. Think Oslo, think Palestinian Papers, etc.

It’s not that I don’t agree with you about maintaining stability. I’m all for American involvement, but I really don’t think we are in a position to maintain our position as the primary broker in the region. Let’s try something new and actually make the Arabs, Palestinians, and Israelis accountable. In due time maybe a truly democratic Egypt, which historically has considered itself at the helm of Arab culture, can begin the peace process afresh.

At this point, the best thing the US can do is make a very clear position about where it stands on democracy in the Middle East, self-determination, foreign relations between all countries in the Middle East and the U.S., and its position on the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I really hope you’re not looking at this entirely through a realist lens because that will diminish your optimism on what’s possible for the region. Like I said earlier, stability isn’t the only key concept to foreign relations. A lot of terrible mistakes have been made for the sake of “maintaining stability.” But then again, if all you care about is making sure your gasoline prices remain low, perhaps it is in your interests to make sure the oil sheikhs still have the Israelis to scapegoat for their country’s poverty, underdevelopment, and misery.

Goodnight. I’ll check back tomorrow.