The US can only lose in Mideast peacemaking
Regarding "The US Mideast-policy whipsaw" (April 2): We should let the Israelis and Palestinians work out their conflict for themselves. In every conceivable condition I can envision, the US will come out a loser by deeper involvement. Arabs continue to be alienated by the United States' ties to Israel, and now consider us a "demonic" partner with Israel. And the Israelis are torn between the need for US support and the need to govern their own affairs. And with an escalation of terrorist activities following Sept. 11, it's apparent these terrorists are serious in pursuing a war.
President Bush and his cabinet are working to upgrade the defensive capabilities of the US. We have a long row to hoe before our nation is secure again, and further escalation, by introduction of weapons of mass destruction, must be anticipated and intercepted before they are used. This is where our primary concern should lie.
Part of the problem facing the Bush administration is that the philosophical underpinnings of both sides of the conflict directly violate US laws and founding beliefs. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's strategy is to use brutal suppression of Palestinian villages and refugee camps to provoke acts of violence that, in turn, help legitimize de-facto ethnic cleansing. Palestinian extremists play along with this terrifying calculus, trying to "even up" the toll of civilian deaths. Bush can't defend the use of US dollars for this end.
Mr. Sharon and Yasser Arafat are partners in crimes against humanity, each needing the other to justify the pursuit of their respective, and unobtainable, aims. And President Bush can't easily pick one side over the other as a clear element of his battle against world evil.
Your article reflects on the ongoing violence in the Mideast and wonders whether "more US involvement will make that much difference." Israel would surely respond to forceful US demands, given the vast financial and political support the US bestows. If only we had taken a firmer stand in opposing Israel's settlement policy when it began 35 years ago. If only we would join the international community and demand Israel's withdrawal from occupied Arab territory.
Who would doubt that when faced with the threat of UN sanctions and the end of American aid, Israel would end its quest for a "greater Israel" and do what's necessary to end this conflict?
Today, the world has every reason to view America as a protector of the powerful and oppressive. Its double standard in military and economic policy is most disturbing. It claims to support the UN, yet maintains diplomatic and trade relations with India and Israel, which refuse to implement UN resolutions pertaining to the Kashmir and Palestinian conflicts, respectively. It claims to support disarmament, yet refuses to ratify the mine-ban treaty or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. It claims to support world peace, yet withdraws from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty to increase its military superiority.
America appears to believe international rules apply only to those too weak to break them. Leadership can't stand on a foundation of hypocrisy. We should restore American policy to the respected principles of liberty and equality. Otherwise, America will find itself increasingly criticized and isolated by the world community for selfishly advancing its own vast economic and military power, as opposed to working within established international frameworks to enable the harmonious and equitable globalization of all the world's peoples.
San Jose, Calif.
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