that the White House “bribed” its partners to go along with the war, and the current Egyptian and Syrian leadership, two of President Bush’s most important allies, expect prompt repayment in the form of pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Arab territories their survival at home depends on it. As an Egyptian soldier at the Saudi-Kuwaiti border envisioned the anticipated quid pro quo, “We are helping the Americans. When this war is over, then it will be time to create a Palestinian state.” Unfortunately, his view of what the United States plans or hopes to accomplish seems no less naive than other ideas beginning to be discussed in Congress, on campuses, and inside the Beltway. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Lee Hamilton typifies the view of postCold War crusaders who see the war as creating the “opportunity to reshape the Middle East” \(as he told Christian Science Monitor packed agenda: “peacekeeping in Kuwait, containing Iraq, controlling arms, creating future security structures.” Intellectual efforts to map out and to legitimate this expanded interventionist project will increase in the coming months. For instance, I have been invited to participate in a workshop in May, involving two dozen Middle East specialists, with a preliminary schedule that includes such questions as: “Can the U.S. occupy Iraq and impose a new regime? Are Kuwait, the UAE and the GCC viable units or will they inevitably have to be put under Saudi hegemony? and Can King Hussein Survive? Do we care? Should Jordan become the Palestinian state?” Similarly, recent \(and these will grow at contributions to the op-ed pages of leading dailies point to some of the conflicting hopes and fears among the crusaders. For example, Bernard Lewis, a historian of the pre-20thcentury Middle East, argued last month in The Wall Street Journal, that the “real danger with the Americans is not that they will stay” in the region “but that they will go.” He advocates that the United States veil its power through a “naval presence” rather than a “military garrison,” and, taking a page out of the Cold War planning books, urges America to “help create a regional security pact.” While silent about his preferred solution to “the Palestinian problem,” Lewis makes a special plea for the United States not to “distance itself from its allies,” in anticipation of a potential clash with Israel’s right-wing government. Yehoshafat Harkabi thinks the clash is inevitable, as part of an extremely ambitious post-war project for the United States which he outlined in the Los Angeles Times last month. The ex-Israeli intelligence chief is a controversial figure in Israel because he advocates negotiations with the PLO and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. After the war he envisions “an American about-face concerning its Arab allies, pressuring them to democratize and to share their wealth.” And he wants the U.S. leadership to exert parallel pressure for a “peace settlement” with the Palestinians that inevitably “will entail Israeli withdrawal.” He ends with a plea for “the American people to take pride in the task that has befallen them and be ready to pay its price.” But as Harkabi must surely realize, current U.S. policy in the Middle East is no more guided by concern for the principle of Palestinian self-determination than was Baghdad’s decision to invade Kuwait. HE DEBATE ABOUT American priorities and objectives needs to be revived and expanded, as soon as possible. The U.S.-led war with Iraq is both a consequence of the decline of the Cold War and critical to the process of defining a post-Cold War foreign policy. The White House expended enormous efforts to build a coalition in support of its war aims, to shape the terms of the debate and, ultimately, to undermine the opposition to war. Defense contractors “lobbied for the President’s position” and AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, “turned loose its nationwide network of contributors, prominent businessmen” and friends of the Congress, according to The New Yorker’ s Elizabeth Drew. Many of the crusaders will try to depict the policy choices starkly, dusting off the tired rhetoric of the Cold War: Either a “compassionate pax-Americana,” else a “return to isolationism.” We should reject these terms and reframe the debate. There are alternatives to U.S. armed intervention, military proxies, and weapons transfers, however purposefully See Gulf pogo 23 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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