April 27, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XIII

Sandy Berger was commissioned by Foreign Affairs to produce a foreign policy essay for the next president from a Democrat perspective.

This is much too long to analyze in one shot, thus the numbered title, Part XII is below:

As part of a new bargain with our allies, the United States must re-engage in what the rest of the world rightly considers the cornerstone of a lasting transformation of the Middle East: ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So long as that dispute continues, Arab rulers will use it as an excuse to avoid reform and to resist open cooperation with the United States in the war on terrorism.

A point may have been reached where unilateral steps by Israel to protect its security are inevitable. For more than three years now, the people of Israel have been subjected to a brutal, unprecedented assault. But the Israeli government's moves must be a way station, rather than an illusory end point, advancing changes in Palestinian leadership that could help foster a negotiated settlement. If Israeli withdrawals from Gaza and the West Bank are coordinated with the Palestinians, and if an Israeli fence is seen as a temporary measure shaped by security and demographic concerns (as opposed to a land grab), hope for a real solution will be preserved. If not, the vacuum left by the withdrawals could result in a failed terrorist haven dominated by Hamas radicals. In this nightmare scenario, the suicidal Palestinian strategy of terror would continue, pushing Israel not to the sea but to the right. A long-term war of attrition would leave Israelis even more divided and disillusioned, and a whole new generation of children in the region would grow up seeing the United States as the problem, not the solution.

U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has traditionally rested on two pillars. We are Israel's staunchest ally. And we are an honest broker between the two sides, which has made us not impartial, but, rather, partial to an agreement that both assures Israel's security and guarantees a dignified life for Palestinians. A Democratic administration must return with energy and urgency to these principles. It should stand solidly behind Israel in its fight against terrorism and help ordinary Palestinians to liberate themselves from a leadership concerned with little more than its own survival. It should also lead the international community in offering a realistic vision of how life would look for Palestinians if they were to accept and respect the security and existence of the Jewish state of Israel. And it should offer the outlines of a two-state solution -- giving Palestinians something to gain and something to lose. The stakes are enormous and there is no way forward without active American engagement.

Likely this was written prior to the presentation of Sharon's unilateral Gaza withdrawal which seems to fit all the qualifications of a Berger foreign policy in this area. And the continuation of the suicide strategy is in doubt now that Israel has made it clear that being a pro-suicide bombing leader forfeits any immunity you might have against assassination. Sandy Berger should be happy.

Indeed, it seems he is happy and has convinced Kerry to come aboard the Sharon initiative. That's got to make a lot of the left spit nails but where are they going to go, Nader?


Posted by TMLutas at April 27, 2004 04:11 PM