Last week’s failed ceasefire proposal by John Kerry highlights the clash between the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East, and the strategy preferred by Israel and other American allies in the region.
The West was arrogant thinking it could transform Iraq into a stable democracy in 2003. Believing that Iran can be dissuaded from its course without the credible threat of military strikes is an even greater show of hubris.
US Policy Regarding the Upheaval in Egypt: Endangering the Strategic Foundations of Regional Stability
The dream of turning Cairo 2011 into “Berlin 1989″ is a chimera; the challenge is to prevent “Tehran 1979.” Obama Administration policy, however, threatens to widen the crack in the strategic foundations of regional stability that has served as the indispensable basis of peacemaking since the mid 1970s.
The speech represents a political success for Netanyahu, as he managed to improve relations with the US while simultaneously keeping his governing coalition intact. But down the line he will need a national unity government to make difficult decisions on settlements and more.
Obama’s “soft power” approach cannot form the basis for a sound, workable American strategy in the Middle East. The speech lacked resolve regarding the most urgent problem for Israel and America’s other regional allies – the imminent threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Barack Obama has enunciated a clear program for Middle East policy based on multilateralism and negotiations to deal with Iran, Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. In reality he will have to make tough choices when other countries reject the US approach, especially with regard to Iran.
Liberals argued that the Oslo process collapsed because it was not implemented properly; while Realists said that the process was flawed from the outset. Israel and the Palestinians were ripe for negotiations but not for conflict resolution because the parties remained too far apart on core issues. Attempts at integration actually made matters worse by increasing friction. The key to conflict management is not integration but physical and political separation.