Three Letters of Opinion
To: Al-Ahram Weekly On-line - History of Failure
Sir-- When it comes to issues of genuine international concern, such as Iran's President Ahmadinejad in tandem with his nuclear programme, sometimes I find myself wishing that America's neo-conservatives were right about the magnitude of American power. But these neo-conservatives would be wise not to forget even this small sampling of modern history's salient and humbling facts: that the US was not able to stop either the Soviet Union or China from acquiring nuclear weapons; could not prevent the USSR's post-war takeover and occupation of eastern Europe; could not stop China from becoming Communist in 1949; could not make North Korea surrender in the Korean War (even with 50,000 US soldiers dead); did actually lose the Vietnam war to tiny North Vietnam (with another 50,000 US soldiers dead); could not prevent Cuba from becoming Communist in 1959 or the Bay of Pigs from floundering in 1961; could not prevent the crushing of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 or Dubcek's Czech "Spring" of 1968; could not rescue the American hostages in the US Embassy in Iran; could not prevent India or Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons; could not create a successful world order of peace and prosperity after the implosion of Soviet and East European Communism in 1989; could not (so far) create an Israeli-Palestinian peace; could not catch either Osama Bin Laden or Taliban leader Mullah Mohamed Omar or even assuredly keep the Taliban from retaking Afghanistan; could not even remotely succeed in Iraq, and for that matter could not prevent Israel from claiming Jerusalem as its capital and pouring 450,000 of its settlers over the Green Line, both of these also against American wishes and policies.
There are limits to American power, so consider the low likelihood of US success at destroying a multiplicity of secret, dispersed, buried and bunkered Iranian nuclear sites.
To: The Jerusalem Post - Re: "Say yes to the Saudi peace plan" by Colette Avital
January 25, 2007
Sir, - Thanks to the Post for Collete Avital's "Say yes to the Saudi peace plan" (January 24). Negotiations based on the Saudi and Arab League plan could isolate and serve as a large regional counterweight to Iran, as well as putting overwhelming pressure on Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas to get into step with the rest of the Arab League.
It is precisely the present pessimistic atmosphere that gives Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and regional extremism in general the green light to grow in strength and numbers, and act with impunity.
And yet the region as a whole wants to act moderately. A regional deal which worked out over the long term would bring security to Israel, and could also reduce and eventually eliminate extremism.
By simply trying, what could Israel have to lose? Also, should Israel continue to say no to the offer until Iran - or growing extremism, born of frustration - eventually makes it too late ever again to say yes?
To: Haaretz.com - Re: "Whose problem is Iran?"
March 1, 2007
Can there be reason rather than hysteria about the objectionable government of Iran?
Would a war against Iran help Israel?
It could instead topple Israel's moderate neighbors and have their armies invading alongside Hezbollah and Hamas rockets.
And whether Iran gets an atomic bomb now, it surely will sooner or later. Arab countries also will want an Arab atomic bomb.
What is Israel's long-term strategy? Where will Israel be without region-wide negotiations?
Negotiated agreements are why Egyptian and Jordanian armies haven't already swept through Israel.
Isn't this the best time to negotiate with Syria? These would isolate Iran from Syria.
Iran couldn't be as bellicose if its chief ally were engaged in negotiations with Israel.
Negotiations based on the Saudi Arab League plan would isolate, and act as a region-wide counterweight, to Iran - as well as put overwhelming pressure on Hizbollah and Hamas to get into step with the rest of the Arab world.
It is the present pessimistic atmosphere which gives Iran, Hizbollah and Hamas the green light to act with impunity.
A regional deal would not only bring security to Israel, but reduce, and gradually perhaps even eliminate, extremism in in general.
What other strategy could there even be before it becomes too late for there to be Arab moderation and acceptance and peace, and for Israel a long-term future?
And so what could be a smarter and more and hard-headed and attractive overall strategy for giving security to Israel both for now and into its long-term future?
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