George W. Bush: "America Reshaped Our Approach to the Middle East"

Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

George W. Bush: "America Reshaped Our Approach to the Middle East"


Published in the Spring 2009 Middle East Quarterly, pp. 75-80.

On December 5, 2008, President George W. Bush delivered his valedictory Middle East policy speech (excerpted below) before the Brookings Institution 's Saban Forum in Washington, D. C" ? a tour d 'horizon of developments in the region, ranging from the fight against terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 and the decision both to invade and democratize Iraq, to rapprochement with Libya, the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon and, finally, the Annapolis peace process.

Bush 's omissions, however, are also illustrative. He speaks of extremism but, more than seven years after the 9/1 1 attacks, fails to mention Islamist ideology as a motivating factor. And while he had declared a global war on terrorism, he draws equivalence between Palestinians and Israelis killed during the Palestinian terrorist campaign of 2001 and appears also to draw equivalence between the refusal of late Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat to make peace and the reluctance by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to offer territorial concessions in the face of terror. He defends the logic of preemption, which led to the invasion of Iraq, but curiously does not link Libyan leader Mu 'ammar al-Qadhafi 's decision to surrender his nuclear program to the demonstration of U.S. power.

While Bush defends his administration 's support of dissidents, he ignores the backsliding that occurred in his second term in Egypt and Lebanon, which arguably left democrats and liberals in a worse position than before. And, when discussing the Annapolis peace process, he never reconciles this with his first-term refusal to deal with terrorist leaders.2 Nor does he address his administration 's reversal on Iran, offering incentives and diplomatic concessions despite continuing Iranian defiance ofU.N. Security Council resolutions.

The Middle East constituted the chief U. S. foreign policy challenge of the Bush years, and there is little doubt that 9/11 represented a paradigm shift in U.S. policy. But whether historians will accept Bush 's claims to success, outlined at the Saban Center, remain to be seen. - The Editors.

A Central Role in U.S. Policy

From our earliest days as a nation, the Middle East has played a central role in American foreign policy. One of America's first military engagements as an independent nation was with the Barbary pirates. One of our first consulates was in Tangiers. Some of the most fateful choices made by American Presidents have involved the Middle East - including President Truman's decision to recognize Israel 60 years ago this past May.

In the decades that followed that brave choice, American policy in the Middle East was shaped by the realities of the Cold War. Together with strong allies in the Middle East, we faced down and defeated the threat of communism to the region. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the primary threat to America and the region became violent religious extremism. Through painful experience, it became clear that the old approach of promoting stability is unsuited to this new danger - and that the pursuit of security at the expense of liberty would leave us with neither one. Across the Middle East, many who sought a voice in the future of their countries found the only places open to dissent were radical mosques. Many turned to terror as a source of empowerment. And as a new century dawned, the violent currents swirling beneath the Middle East began to surface.

In the Holy Land, the dashed expectations resulting from the collapse of the Camp David peace talks had given way to the second intifada. Palestinian suicide bombers struck with horrific frequency and lethality. They murdered innocent Israelis at a pizza parlor, or aboard buses, or in the middle of a Passover Seder. Israeli Defense Forces responded with large-scale operations. And in 2001, more than 500 Israelis and Palestinians were killed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

George W. Bush: "America Reshaped Our Approach to the Middle East"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.