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Explaining American Presidents - The Legacy Issue

Reader comment on item: Can Hezbollah and Hamas Be Democratic?

Submitted by Boris Celser (Canada), Mar 23, 2005 at 11:49

Daniel Pipes is absolutely correct when he disagrees with the US Administration's tentative steps to engage Hamas and Hizbullah in the political process pending their making a few changes. Arafat and the PA did not worry too much about fixing potholes, either, while the Palestinian charter still calls for Israel's destruction.

The explanation for the new American position, however, is remarkably simple and even overdue. Legacy! Any leader in any country wants to leave a legacy, but most can only do so internally. America, being a superpower, allows a President to pick and choose. And they prefer to choose Israel. It didn't quite happen with Bush Sr. because he wasn't reelected. Clinton, after all the scandals, did his utmost to get Barak to give up the whole farm, lock, stock, and barrel. Had Arafat signed, Israel would have been in an even worse mess today, but Clinton would have claimed victory, regardless. Blame can always be shifted to others in the future.

Now that George Bush has got his second term, it is time to take stock and plan for his historical legacy. There are also books to be written by him and Rice, money to be made, and maybe a Nobel Peace Prize. The Iraq situation won't be concluded by the time he leaves office, if ever. No victory to be claimed there. The Arabs won't democratize because tyrants are not fools and know that in two years Bush will be a lame duck.

Therefore, the Administration's glory can only happen at Israel's expense. It is a risk free strategy for Bush. If Hamas and Hizbullah continue with their current policies, the US pressure on Israel to create a Palestinian state by the end of 2008 will continue unabated. If the two terrorist organizations pretend to reform, the US can embrace them and put even more pressure on Israel to capitulate, so that Bush can achieve what Clinton couldn't.

The Israelis will be the ones paying the ultimate price, but it won't be Bush's fault if the sides can't get along afterwards, will it?

Since I have no information that Bush doesn't, I invite the readers to take a look at the Memri TV web site, video clip #570 - "Anti-Zionist Rabbis Join Hizbullah and Hamas At Beirut Pro-Palestinian Convention", and draw their own conclusions. A picture is worth 1000 words, George Bush.

URL for the video:

http://switch5.castup.net/frames/20041020_MemriTV_Popup/video_480x360.asp?ClipMediaID=51575&ak=null
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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