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In Acknowledging the Reality about Jerusalem, the U.S. Helped the Cause of Peace

Dec. 13 2017

Belief is widespread in the Arab world that Jews have no claim—historical, political, or moral—to the city of Jerusalem, writes Haisam Hassanein, an Arab-American born in the Middle East. When Western leaders effectively pay lip service to that belief by refusing to recognize the city as Israel’s capital, they encourage the delusion that the Jewish state might vacate it entirely in a future peace deal. Thus, Hassanein contends, the longstanding U.S. policy of ambiguity has made the acceptance of such a deal less likely:

Based on my personal experience, I think U.S. policymakers over many years have been irrational, even deluded, to think that millions of Arabs—let alone Palestinians—will accept a peace settlement acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. The fact is, insisting upon this up front, laying this down as essentially non-negotiable, is the only chance the idea will ever get through their heads. . . .

We have heard all the talk about coming violence [that might occur] if and when the United States acknowledges Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—despite the fact that the U.S. Congress has repeatedly declared this to be the case.

The coming weeks and months will prove those warnings to have been overblown. Yes, there [has been] outrage and protests in some countries. But Arab governments criminalize free speech and the right to assemble. Any protests, violence, and rioting are likely to be staged or permitted by Arab governments to blackmail the U.S. policy community into following their views, which unfortunately previous U.S. administrations have tolerated. . . . Those who do protest [are] driven by a political agenda that denies Israel’s right to exist outright and are fundamentally hostile to the United States. . . .

Acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital just may be the necessary breath of fresh air we need: it will settle this issue, and if they want and need a state, Palestinians will have to move on to issues that truly deserve and demand negotiations.

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy