Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Nine Ways the Clinton Administration Can Strengthen Middle East Security

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Nine Ways the Clinton Administration Can Strengthen Middle East Security

Article excerpt

Nine Ways the Clinton Administration Can Strengthen Middle East Security

Security and stability in the Middle East must be the cornerstones of U.S. Middle East policy. Central to those goals is a comprehensive negotiated settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Bush administration concentrated on foreign policy issues: ending the Cold War era and beginning the Middle East peace process. President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team should focus on continuation of the peace process without interruption.

Although the Clinton administration is likely to concentrate on domestic affairs, there are nine things it should do initially to ensure a more balanced Middle East policy:

(1) The U.S. should support the idea of land for peace.

(2) The U.S. should oppose unconditional loan guarantees to Israel.

(3) The U.S. should continue improving its alliances with such Arab countries as Egypt and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. These countries are important to the U.S. as well as the world economy. Thus, strengthening alliances with them would strengthen them against extremists and promote the democratization that is essential for world peace.

(4) The U.S. should work to end Israeli occupation of Arab territories, and halt all further settlement activity. Continuation of such imperialistic and inhumane acts on the part of Israel would have a negative effect on world peace and further destabilize the region.

Israel's security must be maintained, of course, but peace in the region will not be strengthened by depriving the Palestinian people of sovereignty and a homeland, and thus thwarting their aspirations for political legitimacy and independence. In the past, the U.S. repeatedly has demonstrated its friendship for Israel, which is the largest recipient of U.S. military and foreign aid.

(5) The Clinton-Gore administration should reaffirm the American commitment to the current framework and timetable for Middle East peace. A special U.S. envoy with credibility on both sides could offer proposals to facilitate the negotiations. With the support of regional and American experts, the envoy can inform policy makers concerning the political dynamics in Arab countries and reinforce the impetus toward democratic reforms. …

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