The election season and the primaries, along with all the polling and speculation have taken some of the spotlight from a development which may lead to another military engagement. For the first time in his Presidency George W. Bush has visited Israel and some things he said there are worth listening to.
In Ramallah on Thursday Bush has promised support for the Palestinians and announced a peace treaty within a year from now, a Palestinian state would indeed be possible. He bolstered this with his assertion that the US are increasingly critical of the Israeli settlements politics and see the settlements as a crucial obstacle to said peace treaty.
Israel is historically security-conscious to say the least. Being peppered by rockets from neighboring countries on an almost daily basis and the rethoric of extremist politicians like the Iranian president Ahmadinejad don’t help to allay their fears. The Israeli settlements as well as the fence are part of a national security policy, or are at least called such.
So, in order to change the US position on the settlements, the United States will have to offer something in exchange, to up the security issue for Israel. The Israelis deal with Syria by themselves as proven by the still somewhat mysterious air strikes last fall. Israel, will not or cannot, deal with Iran by itself, to get Israel’s concessions on the settlements, the US will have to give them – Iran?
Let’s change the perspective a little bit and just look at recent news and rhethoric:
Right there in the middle of it all is the incident in the “Straits of Hormuz”. It’s been reported on, videotaped, another video showed up and the incident still got murkier! That felt like Pakistan’s handling of the Bhutto assassination where new videos and new evidence was shown every few hours and the persistent feeling was: Each video serves a purpose and the truth is not the purpose.
There’s more to it, that you can see on a video. The US military claims there was a shift in strategy by Iran. The more provocative acts were due to an increased use of Revolutionary Guards speedboats. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards were labeled “terrorist” only last summer in an unusual move to raise pressure on Tehran, at the height of the tensions along the lines of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme. Well the nuclear threat was debunked as exaggerated in the NIE last year. Remains the terrorist threat by an officially named terrorist group, which happens to be part of the Iranian government and which is increasingly involved in “provocative incidents”. And still some more: The top U.S. commander in Iraq claims: Iran’s involvement in Iraq bombings has stepped up again in January, according to CNN.
So where are we now? Israel needs an incentive for seriously engaging in Middle East peacemaking. The chatter on Iran is increasing, the arguments for military actions are being played by the audience. There is one more thing missing to make the case for war. The moral high ground, the “it’s-the-right-thing-to-do”-perspective.
Enter Yad Vashem: President Bush visited the Holocaust History Museum while on his Israel visit yesterday. And here something unusual happened: After being shown the aireal pictures of Auschwitz George W. Bush uttered the first acknowledgement by an American president of failure to strike Nazi death camps. He reportedly said to Condoleeza Rice: “We should have bombed it.” And later in his speech:”(…) It is a sobering reminder that evil exists, and a call that when evil exists we must resist it,“. (emphasis added)
This setting for an acknowledgement of such an importance. The fact that he discussed this more or less publicly with his Secretary of State. Connecting mistaken US policies of the past to one of the biggest crimes of humanity, is either another huge blunder by a historically ignorant man, and a diplomatically ignorant woman, or an unbelievably cynic move to justify policies of military involvement in the past – or the future.
So let’s do the equation again:
“Israel incentive” + “Iran is dangerous” + “It’s the right thing to do” = ?????
“Europeanview” wishes you all a peaceful, healthy and fun filled weekend! Take Care!