Wednesday, December 17, 2008

JINSA Policy Report on Israel-Centrism

JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has issued JINSA Report #836, called Policy Principles: Part I (Israel-centrism).

The report is well worth reading, correctly noting that the Arab-Israeli conflict is really a peripheral issue for Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East.

Many, including American presidents, have acted on the erroneous assumption that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the central issue in that region and ending that conflict was necessary in order to make progress on other vital issues. The reality is the opposite: the Arab-Israeli conflict will be almost impossible to resolve without the core Middle East issues being resolved first.

PP disagrees with JINSA in just one respect.

JINSA asserts President-elect Obama's statement, "The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable," is Israel-centric.

It's certainly not incompatible with Israel-centricity, but is not in and of itself Israel-centric. Indeed, it is clearly a true statement: the anti-American terrorists do use the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict as an excuse … an excuse for actions they would take anyway. The key is whether Obama recognizes it is just an excuse.

Similarly, the status quo is unsustainable and it is in Israel's and our security and other interests to solve it. Unfortunately, most of our actions trying to solve it have only made things, including the core Middle East problems, worse.

Hopefully, if any situations arise where, as president, Barack Obama can help bringing the Arab war against Israel closer to an end he will do so; hopefully he also realizes there probably will be little he can do before the core problems in the Middle East are resolved, something that may take centuries.

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