The American Window of Opportunity

Ynet, April 18, 2001

 

 

The US media has been relatively calm upon the 2001 election of Prime Minister Arik Sharon, unlike the assault on former Prime Minister Netanyahu upon assuming office in 1996.  It was the vicious media briefings, and leaks, by the Clinton Administration, which fueled the media in 1996, and it was the decision by President Bush to refrain from such a brutal campaign, which disarmed the US media in 2001.  Former Secretary of State, George Schultz, an informal advisor to the Bush Administration, commented upon hearing the results of the February 2001 election in Israel: "It's good to know that our ally has decided to refrain from suicide."

 

Former Secretary Schultz, just like President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell, National Security Advisor Rice, the US Congress and public expect a significant change in Israel's policy toward the threat of Palestinian terror and the Oslo Process.  They also anticipate a bolstered degree of steadfastness, by the Sharon government, in face of domestic and external pressures.  Such expectations have been nurtured by the American political system, which involves sweeping policy departures upon a change of Administration, in addition to a drastic turnover of judicial and bureaucratic officeholders. President Reagan redirected President Carter's policy toward the USSR and international terrorism, thus producing the demise of the Soviet Union.  President Clinton reshaped President Bush's attitude toward the US military, threats of ballistic missiles, Saddam and other radical leaders, thus severely weakening the anti-Saddam sanctions and boosting the proliferation of non-conventional military systems among rogue regimes. President George W. Bush has reshaped Clinton's order of national priorities, focusing on National Missile Defense, buttressing the US armed-forces, and bolstering efforts to counter Islamic terrorism, to eliminate Saddam and to neutralize the threats of Iran, China, Russia and other rivals and enemies.    

 

The current US Administration and Congress have not been members of the "American Friends of the Oslo Process."  They are aware that the process has bolstered Mideast radicals, has threatened Mideast moderates (e.g., Hashemite Jordan), thus undermining regional stability at the expense of vital US interests.  They are aware of Arafat's strategic intimacy with Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Bin-Laden, Hamas, No. Korea, Cuba, China and Russia.  Just like the former Bush and Clinton Administrations, President George W. Bush DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH EACH ENEMY, as evidenced by the sustained US bombing of Iraq. The US has not aimed at individual Iraqi terrorists, but rather at THE ERADICATION - and not the suspension - of the planning, logistic, operational development and production INFRASTRUCTURE OF SADDAM'S TERRORIST CAPABILITIES.

 

The Bush Administration has realized - just like the Turkish government in its battle against the PKK terrorism - that THE DIALOG WITH SOME ENEMIES SHOULD BE CONDUCTED ON THE BATTLEFIELD, RATHER THAN IN NEGOTIATION HALLS.  The US Administration has made it clear to the American People that sovereignty entails the obligation/privilege of bearing arms and the willingness to shed blood, sweat and tears, even when it entails a war conducted thousands and hundreds of miles away from home (Iraq, Libya, Panama and Grenada).  In the past, a lapse of US willingness to bear arms and shed blood in face of Hitler's belligerence, exerted a horrific human cost.

 

Contrary to ALL his predecessors - since the 1993 Oslo Process - Prime Minster Sharon has adopted the world view of the George W. Bush Administration and ALL Israel's Prime Ministers until Oslo. 

He is aware that the US RESPECTS DETERMINED AND PRINCIPLE-DRIVEN WINNERS (with whom it may occasionally disagree), who are WILLING TO SHED BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS on the alter of their sovereignty.  On the other hand, The US DISRESPECTS WHINING AND CONVENIENCE-DRIVEN LOSERS, who seek peace-at-any-price, willing to compromise TRADITION, giveaway the CRADLE OF THEIR HISTORY and undermine their SELF-RELIANCE on the alter of political accommodations and agreements.

 

Just like his predecessors, until Oslo, Sharon knows that SOMETIMES A NATION HAS TO WITHSTAND A MIGHTY PRESSURE, IN ORDER TO ADVANCE ITS OWN LONG-TERM STRATEGIC GOALS.  In 1948, BEN-GURION declared Israel's independence in defiance of a brutal pressure by the US Department of State.  In 1967, Prime Minister ESHKOL launched a pre-emptive war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan, in defiance of savage threats by the US Administration and France and doomsday assessments by Israel's military intelligence.  In 1981, BEGIN bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in spite of fierce opposition by the US, West Europe, the Mossad and Israel's military intelligence.  In 1990, SHAMIR was determined to end immigration of Soviet Jewry to the US and lead them to Israel, notwithstanding reservations by US Jewish leaders and many of Israel's friends in Congress. A FAILURE BY ISRAEL'S LEADERS TO ADHERE TO LONG-TERM STRATEGIC GOALS, IN DEFIANCE OF MILITARY, ECONOMIC and DIPLOMATIC (SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE) PRESSURE, WOULD HAVE DOOMED THE JEWISH STATE TO STAGNATION AND EVENTUALLY TO OBLIVION.

 

Prime Minister Sharon recognizes that STEADFASTNESS IN FACE OF US pressure could cause a SHORT-TERM POLITICAL TENSION; however, it nurtures LONG-TERM STRATEGIC APPRECIATION. IT HAS BEEN STRATEGIC APPRECIATION TOWARD ISRAEL, RATHER THAN POLITICAL AGREEMENT with the US, WHICH HAS PLAYED THE KEY ROLE IN ISRAEL'S POSTURE OF DETERRENCE - A PREREQUISITE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND DURABLE PEACE. 

 

 

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