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Minimize our expectations and maximize our defenses

Reader comment on item: Fighting and Hugging in the Middle East

Submitted by Dave (United States), Mar 19, 2021 at 20:51

Golda Meir used to point out that peace agreements with the Arab states were very fragile, given the instabilities of the Arab countries. She cautioned against putting too much stock in a long term peace with Egypt during the glamorous era of shuttle diplomacy, when Carter and Kissinger rode into town on their white horses, and people expected the dawning of the Age of Aquarius in the Mideast.

Too bad George W. Bush didn't share her skepticism; it would have saved us a lot of wasted effort. Recall his high hopes for "freedom for the Iraqi people". That landed with a thud.

And we still don't get it. It's extremely unlikely that Iraq or Afghanistan can ever become normal states, free of violent extremists, but we send in the troops and keep cooking up solutions, like the witches in MacBeth. And do the allegedly educated adults in our government really believe that a "Palestine" will "live side by side" with Israel and not pose a threat, or oppress her own people? Is Hamas just an anomaly? This must be the mirror image fallacy at work. At least the Trump administration had a healthy dose of skepticism in these matters, although President Trump's trusting of Erdogan in Syria in green-lighting his Afrin invasion betrayed alarming naivete and shocking callousness given the displacements and killings that ensued.

The best we can do is manage the situation and not look to mercurial leaders for permanent fixes.There are some hopeful signs in the Gulf, particularly in the UAE, which shows that sanity and stability are possible. The emphasis should be on protecting ourselves and our allies - for example, by preventing Iran from getting nukes. We have a formidable military. Let's use it for defense and leave the salvation to the local missionaries.

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