In December 1990, upon realizing that the US is geared toward an all out war, Saddam Hussein moderated his rhetoric, announcing his willingness to negotiate the fate of his invasion of Kuwait. President Bush reacted with a massive military offensive. PRESIDENT BUSH’S RESPONSE TO IRAQI TERRORISM WAS BASED ON A SUSTAINED STRATEGIC EXAMINATION OF IRAQI POLICY, RATHER THAN ON A TACTICAL STATEMENT BY SADDAM. How will Israel respond to PLO terrorism?
Washington DC has gone through a significant transformation since the 2000 election. However, Jerusalem “experts” have yet to shift from the Clinton-Channel to the George W. Bush-Channel. They misperceive and issue of US Pressure, blowing it beyond proportion, thus delaying the inevitable massive Israeli military reaction to persisting PLO terrorism.
In his April 2001 address to the annual conference of the American Jewish Committee, PRESIDENT BUSH SAID: “FOR A TEXAN, a first visit to Israel is an eye-opener. At the narrowest point, it’s only eight miles from the Mediterranean to the old Armistice line: That’s less than from the top to the bottom of DFWAirport. The whole of pre-1967 Israel is only about six times the size of the King Ranch.” In his May 20, 2001 interview on Meet The Press, VP RICHARD CHENEY refrained from condemning Israel‘s use of the F-16 against targets of PLO terrorism. The VP was aware that the US Administration suspended, in 1981, the supply of aircraft to Israel , as a result of Israel‘s employing F-16s and F-15s in the June 1981 bombing of Iraq‘s nuclear reactor. In his May 1, 2001 interview on Fox TV, DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD RUMSFELD stated: “[That’s] what the Israelis did on Baghdad when they took out the Iraqi nuclear capability many years ago — and thank goodness they did.” In his interview with the CQ Weekly, SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK (KS-R), then CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE NEAR EAST AND SOUTH ASIA, noted: “People understand strength and resolve. When you start showing weakness and duplicity, you start getting pushed around.”
CONTRARY TO THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, THE GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION attempts to downplay the internationalization of conflicts, to minimize US participation in peacekeeping missions and to refrain from over-involvement in the Oslo Process. Contrary to the Clinton Administration, the current Department of State does not always reflect the consensus of the Bush Administration. For instance, the Department of State bureaucracy has supported Clinton‘s rapprochement with North Korea, the easing of sanctions on Saddam Hussein, the softening of policy toward Iran and the moderation of the stance on ballistic missile defense. However, President Bush has adopted the recommendations of Cheney (the most influential VP in US history) and Rumsfeld (who may become the most effective Secretary of Defense). In contrast with the pro-Israel position adopted by most Americans and US legislators, the Department of State has traditionally reflected a critical (to hostile) attitude toward Israel. In 1947/48 it lobbied, intensely, against the establishment of the Jewish State!
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT BEEN ENAMORED WITH CLINTON’S OSLO PROCESS AND THE CLINTON-INITIATED MITCHELL COMMISSION, headed by the former leader of the Senate Democratic majority. Contrary to former President Clinton, PRESIDENT BUSH HAS REALIZED THAT THE OSLO PROCESS, AND THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT, HAVE NEVER CONSTITUTED THE KEY AXIS IN MIDEAST POLITICS. He understands that the key
Mideast conflicts – which have plagued the region since the seventh century – have been independent of Israel‘s policy and of Israel‘s existence. Israeli concessions would not moderate the Islamic zeal of Iran and of Islamic terrorists threatening the regimes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, would not alter the megalomaniac aspirations of Saddam Hussein, would not reduce Syria‘s hostility toward Turkey and Jordan and would not calm down the inherent Sunni-Shiite hostility. However, President Bush has recognized the potential contribution of Israel – and its power of deterrence – to US battle against MUTUAL THREATS, which have been nurtured by the PLO and other Arab radicals: Islamic terrorism, Iraq, Iran and ballistic missiles. The President has, also, appreciated the SHARED VALUES binding together the US and Israel.
ISRAEL’S STRATEGIC COOPERATION WITH THE US HAS BEEN ENHANCED DRAMATICALLY DURING 1948-1993, IN SPITE OF – AND PROBABLY DUE TO – THE REFUSAL BY ALL ISRAELI PRIME MINISTERS TO ADHERE TO THE CLASSICAL POLICY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE (1967 Lines, Palestinian State, effective repartitioning of Jerusalem). On the other hand, giving in to Department of State pressure – since 1993 – has undermined
Israel‘s posture of deterrence in the Mideast, thus eroding Israel‘s potential strategic contribution to the US in face of mutual threats. Dwindling Israeli resolve in face of US pressure has further damaged US interests, by transforming the US Administration into a preferred object to-be-pressured by the Arabs. Succumbing to US Administration pressure, has ignored the difference between psychological and effective pressure, and the support enjoyed by Israel among the American People, the US Congress and among prominent non-Department of State elements within the Administration. For instance, two days before the convening of the October 1998 Wye Summit, President Clinton was notified by Congressional Democrats that any attempt to pressure Israel via threats to cut off foreign aid, or to suspend bilateral cooperation, would be opposed by Congress, which possesses the Power of The Purse. However, the Israeli prime minister was rolled-over by Clinton‘s psychological pressure, preferring short-term political convenience over long-term strategic goals.
RESPONSIBLE ISRAELI LEADERS should not ignore US pressure. However, responsible Israeli leaders should harness the immense reservoir of US goodwill toward Israel, in order to reduce the impact of the pressure. THEY SHOULD NEVER ALLOW US PRESSURE TO ALTER ISRAEL‘S STRATEGIC GOALS. Such was the conduct of ALL Israeli prime ministers until 1993. They succeeded in bolstering Israel‘s national security, as well as Israel‘s strategic ties with the US, while defying US pressure. Such was not the conduct of ALL Israeli prime ministers since 1993. PRIME MINISTER SHARON SHOULD JOIN PRIME MINISTERS BEN-GURION, ESHKOL, GOLDA, BEGIN AND SHAMIR, THE PRE-1993 HALL OF FAMERS, RATHER THAN THE POST-1993 HALL OF SHAMERS!