Monday, October 09, 2006

American diplomacy: Can the dollar, the Tomahawk and the F-16 provide an answer for everything?

Gideon Levy has an interesting piece in today’s Haaretz. He is highly critical of Israel’s relationship with Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza but I think the more interesting issue he presents is the decline of effectiveness of American diplomacy. I think he probably does reflect a view of the United States shared by more and more people from around the world. It is not a pretty picture.

He writes,
It happens once every few months. Like a periodic visit by an especially annoying relative from overseas, Condoleezza Rice was here again. The same declarations, the same texts devoid of content, the same sycophancy, the same
official aircraft heading back to where it came from. The results were also the same: Israel promised in December, after a stormy night of discussions, to open the "safe passage" between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This time, in what was considered the "achievement" of the current visit, Israel also promised to open the Karni crossing. Karni will be open, one can assume, only slightly more than the "safe passage," which never opened following the previous futile visit.

Rice has been here six times in the course of a year and a half, and what
has come of it? Has anyone asked her about this? Does she ask herself?

It is hard to understand how the secretary of state allows herself to be so
humiliated. It is even harder to understand how the superpower she represents
allows itself to act in such a hollow and useless way. The mystery of America
remains unsolved: How is it that the United States is doing nothing to advance a
solution to the most dangerous and lengthiest conflict in our world? How is it
that the world's only superpower, which has the power to quickly facilitate a
solution, does not lift a finger to promote it?

What happened since 1956, when the U.S. made Israel withdraw from Sinai overnight with a single telephone call, immediately after the "Third Kingdom of Israel" speech by the strongest Israeli leader of all times, David Ben-Gurion? Now, as the occupation continues for years, with a government no less dependent on the good graces of the U.S. than in the past, why is America a bystander?

The recent years have not been good for America. From "the leader of the
free world," it has become detested by the world. Not only do South Africa, Asia
and Africa feel strong animosity toward it, most of the public opinion in Europe
has also turned away from it. Is anyone in the administration asking why the
world loves so much to hate America? And what implications will this growing
global feeling have on the strength of the U.S. in the years ahead? Can the
dollar, the Tomahawk and the F-16 provide an answer for everything?


Joel Monka said...

Of course, the U.N. ceasefire also required Hamas to disarm, leave Southern Lebanon, return the kidnapped Israelis, and recognize Israel, none of which did happen or ever will happen- instead, Hamas is stockpiling weapons like crazy (they now have more missiles than before the hostilities began). And yet you don't describe this as a U.N. diplomacy failure. The U.N., China, Japan, and South Korea were all involved in negotians with North Korea, and yet their testing a bomb is a *US* failure. I'm not a Bush fan either, but I'm beginning to wonder if you've lost all objectivity altogether.

Jonathan Mark said...

Gideon Levy, Amira Haas and Akiva Eldar at Haaretz are certainly entitled to their opinions. They are also loyal Israelis who live in Israel.

However, they are not representative of Israeli opinion. I don't know if they are correct or incorrect.