Middle East: Will US delay moves?
Nicosia, Cyprus — President Reagan's period of recuperation is believed by observers in Lebanon and Israel to increase the likelihood that Mideast policymaking in Washington will suffer further delays.
The Israeli government, for instance, is wondering if Secretary of State Alexander Haig's planned visit to the Middle East is still on.
Relief at the President's survival was mixed with concern about violence in America -- and about some of the radical political philosophies, such as neo-Nazism, which people in this region believe appeals to some Americans. This concern comes in an area where dozens of open and secret wars are being waged, and where there is a long history of terrorism and street battles. It is as if better were expected of America.
The history of political assassination in the United States "indicates a sort of political violence inherent in American life," Shafik al-Hout, Palestine Liberation Organization representative in Lebanon, told the Monitor March 31.
"It seems to come from lack of an open political life. People [in the US] are not enjoying freedom to express themselves. I think frustration arises because there is a ruling class: There is no difference between a Republican and a Democrat."
Noting the alleged assailant's reported link with neo-Nazism, a prominent anti-Nazi in Israel told the Monitor the Nazi philosophy tends to appeal to the frustrated.
"Hitler's first basis for support was among the frustrated, those with complexes that made them want to resort to violence," said Knesset member Gideon Hauzner, who was prosecutor in the trial of Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann. "His first supporters came from the sort who believe the answer lies in the gun."
While Hauzner believes there is no danger of Nazism spreading in the US, he says the "lunatic fringe," plus the ready availability of handguns, enables unfit personalities to project themselves through violent actions.