fuzzy think-tank thinking

  1. 5,748 Posts.
    Mar. 9, 2003
    Fuzzy think-tank thinking
    David M. Weinberg

    In an otherwise fragmented world there is universal consensus: after Saddam goes, a Palestinian state arrives

    The Organization of Islamic Conference held a hastily-called meeting last week in the plush Ritz Carlton hotel in Doha, Qatar. Sort of a last ditch attempt by the Islamic world to avoid a war against Iraq.

    According to the New York Times, the following snippet sums up the level and quality of debate: "Shut up, you monkey! Curse be upon your moustache, you traitor!" said Izzat Ibrahim to Mohammed Sabah al Salem al Sabah. That's the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council vice chairman speaking to the Kuwaiti minister of state for foreign affairs.

    "You hypocrite, you barbarian," responded al Salem al Sabah. At which point, the Kuwaiti information minister, Sheikh Ahmed Fahd al Ahmed jumped up to defend his country by waving a miniature Kuwaiti flag. Then, pandemonium erupted.

    Deeply thoughtful debate, indeed.

    It seems that the imminent American campaign against Iraq has everybody in the West, East and Arab world in wild disagreement, with curses, flag-waving and flag-burning underway across the continents. On one matter, however, we have global consensus: that after Saddam goes, the next most important, urgent item on the international agenda is the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    You would think that after taking down one terrorist state, the world would be less than eager to establish another one. Curiously, the opposite is true: those most anxious to see Saddam smashed - like George Bush, Tony Blair or Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - feel the need most to declare their commitment to the cause of Palestinian statehood. As if support for Palestinian statehood somehow provides a hechsher - validation to their anti-Saddam stance.

    WEIGHING in with intellectual support for such dangerous linkage in post-Saddam diplomacy is a roundtable of foreign policy has-beens convened last week by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and chaired by former American Jewish Congress executive director Henry Siegman.

    This is same Siegman who long-ago become a virtual propagandist for Yasser Arafat, and who now sits on a 5 million dollar grant from the EU to study "reform" of the Palestinian Authority.

    Joining him in the CFR Roundtable were Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, national security advisors in the Ford, Carter and elder Bush presidencies who never have had a good word to say about Israel; Robert Malley, the former Clinton administration NSC staffer who has been selling to the world a revisionist version of the failed Camp David summit (the collapse was Barak's fault, not Arafat's); and other frustrated old-school experts who once sang the praises of Oslo.

    Their learned conclusion: the US "should continue to encourage vigorously the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, yet without conditioning a resumption of the peace process on the replacement of particular individual" (i.e., Arafat).

    Now listen to this convoluted reasoning: President Bush should spell out as soon as possible "an explicit description" and a "clearer vision" for this state, say the CFR wise men, because "only the credible promise of a Palestinian state will encourage an end to Palestinian terror."

    Not at all. In fact, we know that the opposite is true; Arafat turned up the violence the minute Barak offered him a full-fledged state. Rewarding the Palestinians for their violence only guarantees more violence.

    "There is no national security reason for the US to delay such a (detailed Palestinian state) proposal," wrote Brzezinski and Scowcroft in the Wall Street Journal upon publication of the Roundtable recommendations. They callously speak as is Israel hadn't already tried Oslo and learned the hard way a lesson or two about Palestinian intentions.

    A firm US drive to establish a Palestinian state, Siegman and company add, "would also facilitate cooperation with the US in its war on global terrorism and in its efforts to encourage the spread of democracy throughout the world."

    Now that's a warped twist we haven't heard before. Countries around the world - meaning Arab and Moslem countries - supposedly will be more disposed towards democracy and fighting terrorism if the US pushes for the establishment of a what will undoubtedly be an anti-democratic and pro-terror Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Such shameful, detached-from-reality nonsense could be easily dismissed were it not for the fact that the august CFR was its peddler and purveyor.

    At least the CFR is consistent: its Foreign Affairs journal 30 years ago published George Ball's infamous essay "How to Save Israel in Spite of Herself;" along with the very first essays promoting Palestinian statehood.

    Disturbingly, the recommendations represent a broader global trend to disregard the Palestinian barbarity, treachery and malfeasance exposed over the past ten years.

    Despite the clear danger to Israel, much of the Western establishment is prepared to foist upon the Jewish state a solution that is both cancerous and wrong, cooked and prettified by people who do not have our best interests at heart - to say the least.

    Beware the day after Saddam.

    The writer is director of public affairs at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
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