Geyer Spans Globe to Get the Story; Foreign Correspondent Georgie Anne Geyer Has a Good Knack for Tracking Down History Makers and a Keen Eye for Discerning the Next Dangers That the World May Face. (Picture Profile)
Goode, Stephen, Insight on the News
Intrepid is the right word to describe foreign correspondent and syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer, whose life has been the stuff that movies are made of In 1965 she found Dominican President Juan Bosch in hiding in Puerto Rico while revolution raged in his native country. The following year she had the first interview with Walter Rauff, one of the world's most-wanted Nazis-in-hiding, in Tierra del Fuego at the very southern tip of South America.
Geyer has been held by Palestinians as an Israeli spy, imprisoned in Angola for writing about revolutionary government while civil war raged, and traveled on foot through Guatemalan mountains during the darkest of nights to meet with Marxist rebels.
She's also interviewed at length a Lion's share of the big names in history of the last 40 years: Fidel Castro, Yasset Arafat, Juan Peron and presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, to name a very few.
Geyer tells her story in her 1983 autobiography, Buying the Night Flight (recently released in paperback by the University of Chicago Press). She sat down with INSIGHT at her Washington apartment, where her practical attitude toward foreign policy was revealed when she said: "When people march around for peace saying `don't use force' all the time I get very, very nervous because peace doesn't come from marching; it comes from careful diplomacy and the things that very practical men and women on the ground do."
Insight: How has President George W. Bush been handling the war in Afghanistan and the war against terrorism?
Georgie Anne Geyer: I would say that President Bush's handling of the Afghan war has been more polished than any in my time. His team has hammered out the most sophisticated military/political/ psychological/cultural policy I have seen. When he says from the top that we're going to do it and follow through, he means it. And for this I have the greatest respect.
Having said that, there are areas where I think we are going to face real danger ahead, and the Middle East is one of those areas. We are pretending to be a negotiator between Israel and Palestine, for instance, but we are not a negotiator -- we're 5,000 percent on one side.
Also, we're talking about going into Iraq without a coalition behind us, including the Brits, who have been steadfast in Afghanistan. Foreign policy is supposed to have an element of diplomacy, of working with others, of inspiring others. I don't see what we're gaining by cutting out the Europeans -- or the moderate Arab states -- who have supported us in many, many ways.
I want to win; I don't want to lose. I'd love to get rid of Saddam [Hussein]. But I'm not at all convinced that there's any opposition on the ground there who could prosecute a serious war without 100,000 American troops. It is very serious business even to start talking about fighting that very brutal country in that very violent atmosphere.
Insight: What should our policy toward Israel and Palestine be?
GAG: First, let me say I support the state of Israel. It would be the worst thing in the world for everybody involved if there were to be a real threat against Israel. My complaint is that if things keep going the way they are going that threat will emerge.
The role the United States should play in this is that of the truth-teller, the scorekeeper. We should have been telling both sides and telling them every moment: "This is what the Oslo Accord calls for, and you must act accordingly." We didn't do that and we're not doing it now, so we lose a tremendous opportunity to be a force for peace and eventual reconciliation.
Meanwhile the situation is going badly. Half of the population among the Palestinians is under 14. Half the population in the Arab world is under 25. There are millions of Muslim boys coming out of the universities every year with nothing to do, with no jobs. There are 60 million Egyptians. …