Term Paper: United States' Task of Setting

Pages: 8 (2510 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] S.S.R. broke up, and now is strategically important because we can use those bases as we did during our war on the Al-Queda in Afghanistan, and as we may if we go to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction. Turkey also is helpful to us in our war against terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as assisting us in various ways in our war on terrorism (Barry & Honey, 1999). U.S. planes fly regularly from Turkey to survey the "no fly" zone in northern Iraq. Critics point out that we emphasize military benefits rather than the needs of Turkish citizens, and that we may affect internal Turkish policy in a way that might alter the country's development (Barry & Honey, 1999), thus illustrating the difficult nature of establishing foreign policy.

International political pressures have to be taken into account when establishing foreign policy. Relatively recent events that affect foreign policy in the Middle East include the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. And its subsequent breakup, the allied victory in the Gulf War, and ongoing events between Israel and both its neighbors and disenfranchised Palestinians (Mark, 2002).

Relations between Syria and Israel have been particularly problematical over the last half-century. Before its breakup, Syria had strong ties to the U.S.S.R. And received significant military help from that country (Zunes, 2000a). The United States has tried to act as mediator on occasion, but because of our political and financial support for Israel, we don't always appear neutral. However, Syria has made a choice to be less belligerent, partly because of the effect years of supporting a war machine has had on its economy (Zunes, 2000a). A change in Syria's attitude will require a change in our foreign policy toward them in response. Syria's change in attitude reflects what some see is a general shift among Arab countries to a recognition that Israel is not going to go away (Zunes, 2000a). In fact, one reason the United States aided Israel militarily to the extent it has was to counter-balance the help the U.S.S.R. was giving to Syria (Zunes, 2000a).

Right in the middle of all of this, of course, are all the Palestinian refugees, millions at this point, who view themselves as disenfranchised, separated from their land, and believing that a great wrong must be righted before the region can live in peace. For many of them, the only way to right the wrongs done to them is for Israel to be eliminated, all the Jews forced out, and the land returned to Palestinians.

Most people, excepting at least some Israelis, recognize that some terrible wrongs have been done to the Palestinians. Some Palestinians, of course, have also inflicted terrible wrongs on Israeli citizens. Nevertheless, there has been some effort to try to bring peace to the area. One of the most famous ones was instigated by then-President Sadat of Egypt in 1978. He and Jimmy Carter, then-President of the United States, met at Camp David with Prime Minister Begin of Israel multiple times trying to work out a solution that would be acceptable to all people. This "Camp David Peace Accord) negotiated Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula, which they had occupied since the previous war. However, it did not address all concerns, and later U.S. administrations upset Arab parties to the Accord by not opposing some Israeli policies, such as their building of new settlements in disputed areas. In addition, the Palestinians feel that President Clinton allowed Israel to take too much control over the Arab section of Jerusalem (Zunes, 2000b).

All these conflicts and intertwining issues, impossible to completely separate after centuries of conflict going back to the Crusades, require a delicate hand. In addition, the Department of State and government leaders have to consider the effects of finances given to Israel, especially military support, given that the U.S.S.R. can no longer make significant contributions to Israel's potential enemies. Public sentiment in the United States must be considered also. Most Americans recognize Israel's right to exist, but many are often appalled when Israel responds to terrorist acts with what Americans tend to view as excessive force.

All these often-conflicting pressures must be digested by the Secretary of State, currently Colin Powell; the President, currently George W. Bush; and the advisors they include, when forming major foreign policy, and Middle Eastern foreign policy is always major foreign policy. The United States is not in the business of solving all of the world's problems; our policies must reflect the perceived needs of the United States. In order to meet United States needs, our relationships with other countries may change over the years. Thus, when Iran was our enemy, Iraq became a friend of sorts because they too were fighting Iran. Now, we have significant differences with Iraq and have become friendlier with Iran. Sometimes popular opinion doesn't agree with such pragmatic decisions. Many citizens are not ready to be friends with Iran and do not think we should have ever had any military dealings with Iraq. Those who set foreign policy might find it difficult to think in such absolutes.

Bibliography

Barry, Tom, and Honey, Martha. 1999. "Turkey: Arms and Human Rights." Foreign Policy in Focus: A Think Tank Without Walls, 4:16. Accessed via the Internet 12/9/02. http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol5/v5n03isr.html

Le Gail, Michael, Ph.D. St. Olaf College, with Le Gail, Dina. 2000. Middle East. Accessed via the Internet 12/9/02. http://www.puhsd.k12.ca.us/chana/staffpages/eichman/Adult_School/us/spring/foreign_policy/3/middle_east.htm

Mark, Clyde R. 2002. U.S. Congressional Research Service, Clyde R. Mark Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, Updated Nov. 14, 2002. Accessed via the Internet 12/9/02. http://www.uspolicy.be/Issues/MiddleEast/middleeast.htm

Zunes, 2000. Stephen. "The U.S. And the Israeli-Syrian Peace Process." Foreign Policy in Focus: A Think Tank Without Walls, 5:3. Accessed via the Internet 12/9/02. http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol5/v5n03isr.html

Zunes, Stephen. 2000. "U.S. Failure to Pressure Israel Scuttled Camp David Peace Talks." August 10. Accessed via the Internet 12/9/02. http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/pubs/20000810ib.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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